Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stoop Sale

For about six years, Anna has lived in the basement apartment of the rowhouse five down from us. We'd see her on occasion on the steps, reading and/or having a cigarette. Or coming into or out of the house with her son. About a year ago, however, she started dating Tom, and before long Tom had moved in. And from the time he moved in, it seems that he's been out on the steps, greeting whoever passes by. And somehow, over a period of time, that got my introverted wife to start talking with Anna and Tom. From there, we've quickly become friends with them, and these days we frequently find ourselves all hanging out on their steps drinking beers or wine (or in Kathy's case, water) into the evening.

But as I said, Tom moved in recently, and as a result, they have a lot of stuff crammed into the apartment. So they decided they would have a garage sale this past Saturday, only they don't have a garage (or a yard for a yard sale), so I guess you can call it a sidewalk or stoop sale. They let all the neighbors on the block know in the hope that a bunch would all have a yard sale going at the same time, to attract lots of folk. Their efforts at handing out flyers to everyone on the block resulted in one other couple joining in the sale, but at least they were next door, allowing us to hang out all the more.

We had plenty of stuff to get rid of. There were a few kinckknacks, some lighting fixtures that were removed as part of the renovation, a couple of pieces of furniture, some movies that kathy doesn't watch any longer (or which she's bought on DVD so has no use for the VHS version), and some wedding gifts that never have been used. And there were clothes, lots of them, bags and bags worth, all being Kathy's. We basically did no preparations, so we only grabbed whatever we thought of right then and there, instead of what we might have put outside if we had done any planning.

Speaking of no planning, none of us actually put up any signs until the morning of the event, and even then our efforts were slightly haphazard. For example, as Tom and I drove around with the signs he made, I decided it would be a good idea to write in the date and time on them.

Fortunately, it was a bright sunshiney day. Unfortunately, it was very bright and very sunshiney, and it climbed to around 90 degrees on the day. Fortunately Kathy's only in her fifth month of pregnancy, because if she were in month eight while sitting outside in that lovely weather, and getting a sunburn on her neck (where the rays snuck in under her hat), she might have really been miserable rather than simply exhausted enough to fall asleep at 8:30 that evening.

Somehow or another, Kathy and I ended up splitting the "how much to charge" decisions, as one of us was always unavailable while the other was being asked by the friend with the stickers how much? So it was to my surprise when, for example, someone decided to buy an unused ceiling fan, still in box (though the box had been opened), for $2. That being said, the price on the label doesn't mean much when the person wants to negotiate downward. And while I'm ok with that, especially when it's late in the day, I wouldn't have minded if Kathy actually threw out a counteroffer rather than accept whatever price was offered. Then again, if I had been out there at the time, rather than having gone inside to watch the US-Italy match, maybe I'd have a legitimate right to complain.

We ended up selling about $130 worth of stuff. Subtract out the $15 for the rack rental (to display Kathy's clothes), $15 for our share of the lunch, $20 for the infant car seat we bought, $2 for the books I bought, and $15 for the table Kathy bought (countertop high, she want to use as a changing table), and we made $63 on the day. That being said, saying you've made money on selling items for $2 that you bought for $20 is a peculiar way to interpret the phrase "made money."