There's a certain satisfaction I find with yard sale purchases. Not only do I get the feeling that I'm getting something useful at an amazingly low price, but it also feels like I'm fulfilling some sort of civic duty by turning one person's "trash" into something I'll treasure. It's a good, tax-free way to make sure resources are put to good use while helping others to recover some value on their used merchandise.
Whether or not I find something to buy, browsing a garage or yard sale is almost always a pleasant experience. However, there can be some frustrating aspects to my bargain-hunting endeavors.
The biggest problem is rampant false advertising. Granted, it's usually due to negligence rather than a willful intent to deceive, but it annoys me nonetheless. You see, when yard sale proprietors decide to close shop for the weekend, they tend not to put as much effort into taking down their roadside signs as they did putting them up. When I come driving along late in the afternoon, I take the bait, like any relentless yard sale junkie would, only to find that all the items for sale have long been packed up with no domestic salespeople in sight; this after I've gone as much as two miles out of my way just to find this house to which the defunct signs were pointing.
Of course, this scheme has other variations. Some of the more tech-saavy merchants take advantage of, ahem, a certain internet site as a form of advertising. This is all well and good as it makes the sale-hunting process a whole lot easier, just as posting your sale in the good ole' Valley News does. Still, imagine my dissapointment when I show up an hour before the sale is advertised to end and there is no sign of it ever having been there in the first place. Let's just say I didn't bother going back when the sale was advertised again the following weekend.
Ok, maybe I did... and it still wasn't there. Yes, I had the right house.
There are other issues people should be aware of with their yard sale signs besides taking them down promptly. For instance, if your house is in a 55-mph zone, one of those little 8x10 black and red signs hung on your mailbox is not going to catch my eye in time to slow down and stop. Maybe I'll look for it again on my way back through, but by then you may be closed.
But hey, at least taking down that one little sign wasn't too much trouble, right?
Matt Bosley is the editor for the Valley News and Tri-Lakes Today newspapers. He can be reached at 873-6368 x216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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