Monday, August 20, 2012

Thrifting can be a depressing activity

The older I get, the less I like getting up early on Saturdays to attend yard sales. There just has to be a better way.    However, until I figure that out, I’m stuck being an early bird going after the proverbial worm.

On Saturday, the worms were few and far between, but I found myself driving to a 6 a.m. sale, arriving about 5:30 a.m. I had hoped that since it was at a church, it would be inside, but those hopes were dashed as I drove up and saw a few people setting up tables under the romantic glow of car headlights.

I sat in my car for a bit, not wanting to get in their way, but was invited to start perusing their wares, even though most everything was still in boxes.  I accepted their kind offer, but found it hard to see anything, let alone anything of value.  Luckily, another set of car headlights further illuminated the area, and I was able pick up a few items.  No one wanted to take ownership of pricing, though, except for an eight-year old girl, who seemed to be doing most of work anyway.  I actually had to negotiate with her on a couple of items; she was one smart cookie.

Unfortunately, that was the highlight of my day.  I attended a few more sales as the morning progressed, finding a few items, but generally wasting my time and gas. 

What would become my last sale of the day was at a storage unit, but it was being packed up as I arrived, even though it was only 10:15, and the ad said it would last until 1 p.m.  I got out of my car anyway, but the couple running the sale said they had to leave because they had to take their dog to the vet to be “put down.”  They pointed to the open passenger side door of their car, and I saw a small white dog sitting on a pillow, panting.  Apparently, the 10-year-old dog was suffering from congestive heart failure, had almost died twice that morning, and was obviously in distress.  After asking permission, I walked over to the dog, and gently rubbed its head and back.  Despite its ragged panting, the little dog raised its head, and with bright eyes, seemed grateful for the attention.  I kept the little pooch company until its owners were ready to leave.

I really didn’t feel like going to any more sales after that, so I went home, gave my dogs a couple of bites of cheese as a treat, and dreaded the day when I might have to make the same decision for one or both of my dogs.

I spent the rest of Saturday listing items on eBay and Amazon.  Sales had been strong both Friday and Saturday, and I woke up Sunday morning with about 33 items to pack.  After getting everything packed, I loaded the car and headed to the post office.  I never use their Automated Postal Center, but I love their oversized dropbox.  I dragged the largest of my totes full of packages inside, but after dropping a few in, the door wouldn’t open anymore.  Apparently, my packages had filled it up.  Great, just great.  The post office rarely empties the box, except at the officially listed pickup times, so I knew I would have to carry the rest of my packages inside the post office on Monday, and pretty much waste my lunch hour.

Lugging my packages back to my car, I decided to head over to the local Goodwill, just for grins.  To my surprise, I actually found a few books and a new in package game.  Taking my loot to the register, I got my favorite clerk, I’ll call her Nancy, who always has a tale of woe.  Nancy, a petite dirty blonde, appears to be in her late 40s, maybe early 50s, and it’s a cliché, but you can almost see years of bad breaks and/or bad decisions on her face.  I asked her how she was doing, and she sort of shook her head, and looked as if she was wearing the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Tallying my purchases, she told me that her sister suffered a stroke last week, and that she was exhausted from trying to work and provide care-giver support while her sister recuperated.  While she detailed her ordeal, I thought that if this woman didn’t have bad luck, she’d have no luck at all.  A few weeks ago, her divorce from her husband was finalized, and someone poisoned her two dogs.  She was more upset about the dogs.  Before that, her grandmother was in the hospital in serious condition.  Before that, she was hobbling around the cashier stand, suffering from chronic back pain.  For whatever reason, this woman seems to attract bad karma.

As always, I listened politely, sympathized with her, wished her well, and left, not wanting to hold up the line.  I think she enjoys venting for a few minutes to a semi-stranger (me), but I suspect that if circumstances warranted it, she would talk for hours about her troubles. 

Sunday was pretty much shot after that, so I decided to begin “Operation Straighten the House Before Ella Comes Home.”  I’ve got a week to de-clutter the house before Ella returns next Sunday.  It’s not going to be fun.

How was your weekend?


  1. Your story made me sad. I can't imagine putting my doggies down. You better get working before Ella comes home or you might be the one with the sad story at work. Good luck.

    1. I have a feeling that no matter how hard I try, I'll still have a sad story to tell once Ella gets home.

  2. That was really sweet of you to sit with that dog and give him a little love. How sad. I guess you'll have a furry angel watching over you now. Where are my tissues.....?

  3. Hi I'm curious...why don't you have the Post Office just pick up your shipment the next day. If you have at least one eligible item (priority Mail, express, mail) they will pick up for free...unless there is a limit? LOL

    Margaret @ Live Like No One Else

    1. I've considered it, but I don't like the idea of leaving all my packages on my porch if no one's home.