Ellie said, 'Why are no customers coming?'
It was almost eerie: We had just been making initial plans for having a garage sale, and then, on Saturday morning, I saw that I was surrounded. Both of my neighbors, one to the left and one to the right, were having garage sales at the same time.
I pointed out the irony of this to one of the neighbors, saying that I was also planning to have a garage sale in a few weeks, and she told me, “Why don’t you pull your stuff out into your driveway and see what happens? People are walking by anyway. Why not?”
My wife, Hailey, was out for the morning, and when I called her to propose this idea, she counseled me against it. “It’ll probably be a waste of time,” she said. “But if you want to try … ”
I imagined the cash flowing. I imagined people buying everything we set out, forcing me to run through the house in search of more inventory. I imagined Hailey returning home to see a decluttered house and a pile of cash on the counter.
“Let’s do it!” I told my kids.
So I started barking orders. “Jackson! Grant! Bring that coffee table out to the driveway!” My sons, 12 and 10 years old, hopped to it, knowing they would get a cut of the bounty if we made any money.
I hauled out some baby items: musical mats and a fluffy basinet-type thing.
Then we waited. A couple of cars stopped and glanced at our offerings, which amounted to about seven things. I plucked a weed from a crack in the driveway.
Ellie, 6, still in her pajamas, said, “I’m bored.”
Kennedy, who will be 2 years old in a couple of months, saw the two-person stroller and tried to climb into it. We hadn’t used it in several months, and so Kennedy probably had no memory of it, but now, of course, she wanted it. When I tried to take her out of the stroller, she started crying.
“No one’s going to buy this if you’re sitting in it,” I said.
Ellie said, “Why are no customers coming?”
Jackson, the wise older brother, looked at our neighbors’ driveways, which were full of tables, clothing racks, furniture. He said, “Because other people’s garage sales actually look amazing.”
We waited for a while longer, the four kids and I. It was getting hot outside. It appeared that we were not going to be successful in our venture. We started cleaning it up and bring everything back in. Didn’t take long.
“Well, that was a bust,” Jackson said.
Hailey got home at around lunchtime, and Kennedy was hungry. “Why didn’t you feed her yet?” she asked.
“We were having a garage sale!” I said.
Hailey cocked her head to one side in an expression that seemed to be a mixture of, “I wouldn’t exactly call that a garage sale,” and “Told you so.”
So, it’s true. My impromptu garage sale was indeed a bust. But there is a silver lining: We filled in a few more empty spaces in our house by buying three pieces of furniture and some wall hangings from our neighbor’s garage sale.
SIDEBAR: How to register your garage sale
In the city of Palm Coast, you are only allowed to have two garage sales in a calendar year. To see the rules, to register your sale, or to see upcoming sales in the city, visit www.palmcoastgov.com/garage-sales.