Sale ja vu

Posted by Jenny in Grab Bag | 13 Comments

Mobile yard sale sign

Sometimes, we go to a yard sale and get the strange sensation that we have been there before. It’s not some metaphysical time travel or past life regression thing. Just the simple fact that when you have been going to yard sales in the same area for more than a few years or so, you are bound to find yourself retracing your steps. Combine that with the fact that people who have a yard sale once will usually have another one down the line, and you have the makings of a phenomenon: sale ja vu.

Last weekend we had a whole rash of these experiences while making the Memorial Day weekend rounds. Sometimes it was a sale that was good before, but sucked this time around. Like when we hit a block sale which Meghan instantly recognized as the site of her major Aveda score two years back. Unfortunately there was no Aveda or anything else good to be found this time around.

Another stop was a fundraising sale for a meditation center. Once we were there I instantly recognized it from a previous visit. I remembered that there had been something annoying at the sale last time, like high prices or crazy sellers, but couldn’t quite place my finger on what had been so irritating. In any case, it was bad before and bad again, which is sadly often the case. (If we recognize a known bad sale from the car, we usually just keep driving.)

The best is when you pull up to a sale and are so stoked because you remember how good it was last time. This was the case when we found ourself at the sock guy’s sale. We rifled through his huge tubs of brand-new socks ($2 a pair!) and both got a few items from his racks of vintage men’s clothing. Meghan even scored a great old leather jacket for $30 (much to the dismay of the long-time vintage dealer who showed up right as we were leaving).

We also made yet another stop at the latest installment of what we’ve been referring to as “the avant garde lady sale.” (I don’t think it actually counts as sale ja vu when you’re deliberately hitting the same sale week after week.) This time she’d unearthed her jewelry stash. I managed to resist buying anything, but Meghan grabbed a few small items.

We did hit some sales that were brand new to us. One was advertised as “Grandma’s Estate Sale.” Let me tell you, Grandma had some bad stuff.

Rock art rooster

Then there was the sale where I was compelled to buy a giant light-up Santa for $1. I did not, however, take them up on this item, even though it had the exact right price.

We'll Pay You $1

At one sale we found some of the wackiest homemade pillows we’d ever seen. Meghan asked if she could take a picture and (more or less predictably) the sellers tried to convince her to just buy them. Um … no.

Bad jeans pillows

Walking back to the car, she said “Smell my hand!” This is not a command that one should generally comply with, but it is a testimony to how much I trust her that I did. It had an oddly strong sort of lavender-sagey odor. We figured the pillows had been stuffed with something smelly. It wasn’t bad, just weird how intensely the scent clung to her hand after only a few seconds of contact.

There was a sale which had basically nothing except for these Cabbage Patch dolls, just kicking back in the front yard.

Hanging out

And last but not least, there was a sale filled with piles of baby stuff, with a few mundane household items thrown in. We left pretty quickly and as I reviewed my list to plot out our next stop, Meghan mentioned seeing a sign nearby promising an “Awesome Sale!” We found it, and realized it was the sale that we had just been at. An irresistible compulsion to jump out of the car and make the sign a little more accurate got the better of me.

Defaced yard sale sign

We laughed for a while, wondering what the people would think when they came back to take down their signs (assuming they weren’t the kind of people to just leave them up for weeks or months after the fact). Personally, if I found someone had done that to my sign I would probably think it was pretty funny. And really, “just OK” is not half as mean as I could have been.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad day … especially for an always-questionable holiday weekend!

Junk In My Trunk 5-23-09

13 Responses to Sale ja vu

  1. meghan says:

    hmm. Sock guys wife rang me up and my socks cost $3 a pair, not $2. Still a screaming deal for high-end band new socks.

  2. Naomi says:

    I miss you both so much. You have no idea.

  3. chris says:

    hilarious yardsale sign vandalism!

  4. sue says:

    As always, you made me laugh out loud (sign vandalism, this time). You tempt me to start going to yard sales, if only for the stories. Nah, I’ll leave it to the pros. XOX

  5. Melissa says:

    That “Turkish Rugging” sign requires some serious explanation.

    Also, yard sale signage amendment = hilarious.

  6. Barbara says:

    Oh, truth in advertising – bless you! If only you could start working on the classifieds section of my newspaper now.

  7. Karen says:

    As always, I laughed out loud as I read your blog – Grandma’s bad estate sale, “we’ll pay you $1”, the jeans pillows, and the best – your sign vandalism!

  8. laurie says:

    I so want to tag along on one of your weekend ventures…your posts are great! I also hate it when i hit a sale I have hit before. I have even jotted down a couple of addresses that I keep in my planner for sales NOT TO HIT AGAIN…they were bad one, bad twice, three times is never a charm for me.

  9. livia says:

    this must be so funny! unfortunately, we don’t have this in brazil…

  10. grunge-queen says:

    Too funny – I want you to let us know if that sign is there in a week!

  11. Jenny says:

    Thanks all for the support on my sign-defacing (or should I say, sign-IMPROVING) ….

    Melissa: Apparently Turkish Rugging is some kind of plant that grows rampant in parts of Southern California. More than that, I couldn’t tell ya.

    Grunge Queen: They (or someone) took down the sign! I can only wonder what the reaction was.

    Laurie: I too maintain a sale blacklist, but it’s mainly in my head, and not always as reliable as it should be.

    Naomi: Awwwwww. 🙂

  12. katherine says:

    Holy god, this is so true. I hate sale ja vu! The “we’ll pay you” price tag is hilarious, though. In all the years of garage sales, every once in a while a trick actually amuses me for the first time.

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