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The Circle of Life for a Yard Sale Treasure


October 20, 2011 by Annie McCormick

A few weeks ago, some knucklehead decided to promote a 30-mile long yard sale on Highway 71. I know it was to bring the community together for a common cause: shopping. On the other hand: to make a few bucks.

I both love and hate yard sales. I love to go to them and buy stuff for a good price, but hate to actually have one. They are too much like moving. Boxes are filled with junk I don’t want or need and then schlepped out to the carport to be arranged precariously on old wiggly card tables.

As opposed to moving things to a new house, the stuff that doesn’t sell goes right back into my old house. If I happen to get lazy and leave it out overnight and it gets rained on, I can put it in the dumpster without too much guilt. Otherwise it goes to the charity shop where it probably came from. I wish I could make it all disappear. Auto-magically.

I’ve thought about the yard-sale-treasure cycle of life. Where did it come from? Why did someone buy it? How many places has it been in its life? How the heck did it end up in my house?

I imagine a cute little shelf-sitter, for sale decades ago at a thrift shop. For the price of five cents it becomes a birthday present for a child. She adores it even though it has a tiny chip on the back side. Since it’ll be on a shelf, the chip can’t be seen. She keeps adoring it for decades, then decides to give it to her great-granddaughter who has always admired it.

The great-granddaughter keeps it forever until it becomes part of her estate sale. A young woman comes in to the sale and sees it. “That looks like one my grandmother had,” she says. “Those are worth a lot of money now.”

She offers a few dollars for the treasure since it has a small chip on the back. After a while, she decides that she has way too many knick-knacks and sells it for a lot of money since it is, even with the chip, an antique. The buyer puts it in an auction. There is a chip he didn’t see when he bought it so it ends up in a box of things that are considered unsellable. Someone buys the box cheap and tries to sell it at a yard sale since, after all, it is an antique.

It doesn’t sell because of the chip so it goes back to the thrift store. Etcetera, etcetera. The cycle. It could happen.

I’m sure I’ve been in the middle of this cycle many times. A good thing about this weekend’s yard sale is that I was able to extract myself from the life-cycle of a lot of inanimate objects.

I did make some money during the yard sale weekend. Maybe I’ll go to a thrift ​shop and start it all over again.



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