Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Because The Moth Wanted To Know



I was with some big city folk last week, who were here in Milwaukee for TheMoth On The Road, a national live story telling series based out of NYC. As we sat passing the time before the show, conversation turned to asking what my plans would be for the coming weekend.

I let them know, "same as any other person's in Wisconsin."

City Mice:  "So, what will you do then?"

Country Mouse:  *repeating question back, in true Wisconsin style* "Me? What will I do this weekend? I'll be doing what everyone else in Wisconsin will be doing on a late May weekend: restocking the fridge with cheddar and having my rummage sale."

City Mice:  "Is that like a yard sale?"

Is it like a yard sale -- how do I even be-GIN to answer that. It is so much more than like a yard sale, garage sale, tag sale, odd-n-ends sale, estate sale, flea market, swap meet.

A rummage sale is, in its most beautiful form: sociological entertainment. Call your bestie, pour the coffee, pull up two lawn chairs, and have at it with the people-watching and whispering as you identify the rummage sale types.

City Mice:  "So, do you make any money?"

Country Mouse:  "Do I make any money? I just shove it in an envelope. With three kids, I just want to clear my house out and once it's out of the house it's not going back in -- what I don't sell, I pack up and drive to a Goodwill donation center. No, the money is just a fringe benefit. I do it for the people that come."

How does someone explain that it's the past time of sitting in your driveway and being an expert in the art of rummageology that you look forward to.

To sit and identify the Early Bird, the Cut Throat, the Price Tag Switcher, the Hoarder, the Snubber, the Yard Sale Addict, the Cheap Mom, the Yapper, the ReSeller, the Swap Meet of His Own Coming Up, the Professional, the Casual, the Haggler, the Negotiator, the Distracter, the Nosy Neighbor, the Lean Out The Car Window Scoper, the Scout, the Nothing Smaller Than a Hundred, the Appraiser, the Trained Eye, the Five Finger Discounter, the Antiques Roadshow Hopeful; that's where the fun is.

It's all of that. And at the end of the day, being able to take everyone out for pizza with the dollars you've made after your closets have been filtered down, to talk about the woman in the black wool coat and even blacker head scarf on a 90 degree day who went crazy over your gallon size plastic bag full of baby socks, $5 for the whole bunch: priceless.

And that's how we do it, in Wisconsin. Pass the cheddar and don't look now but I think I see a Yapper coming.

"Yah, hey...I said 25 cents EACH not 25 cents ALL...cripes."
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**To learn more about the amazing interesting live story telling of The Moth, click here.

45 comments:

  1. Can I go visit you during one of these rummage sales? Nothing I love better than to people watch.

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    Replies
    1. I know we'd have a great time. I just know...

      BRING THAT WONDERFUL BABY. I'll bring the spoon (only half kidding)

      Delete
  2. I wish I had the stamina for any kind of sale. I just have to do my people watching when we go out to eat, or shopping.

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  3. I love a good garage sale. Love this.

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    Replies
    1. SO DO I.

      But the people, OH the people that a good rummage brings out.

      There will never be a shortage of tales...

      Delete
  4. lol My dear, you nailed this! And as the neighbors on either side of us have already advertised at a gabillion places, it looks like I'm having a sale this weekend whether I like it or not.

    The Yapper.....hahahaha....

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    Replies
    1. I am always so happy to see you, Chantel. On my way to catch up...love the substance of your posts

      Thanks for writing what needs to be written. xo

      Delete
  5. Oh, this cracks me up, because one of my good friends is from Wisconsin, and EVERY weekend she hit the rummage sales (or garage sales as we call them down here even thought they are technically yard sales). Too funny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We need to talk. I have so many unprintable rummageorama stories.

      Will send you shrieking...

      Delete
  6. Love. And I've scored some amazing stuff at garage sales (that's what we call 'em down here). I don't have the energy for one now, but I'm thinking next summer. That gives me lots of time to prepare.

    ;-)

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  7. We call them yard sales b/c very few people here have garages but then you have to wonder are you selling the yard? It's a yard sale. Which yard is for sale. A garage sale. Are you selling the garage? Why not have them be "in a yard/garage sale"? Or even better, a "stuff I don't want anymore that I've put in my yard for you to go through that if you don't buy I'll give away anyway so you could totally haggle with me on the price of the Staples Easy Button."

    (And I go to ones when I have no intent to buy (let alone any money to spend) just to watch/listen to the yappers, um, people).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always buy something. SOmething about that cents sign that wears me down, and calls my name.

      Delete
  8. You have briliantly captrued the personality types that come out!

    We had one a few weeks ago, and it was such a BLESSING to get rid of so much junk! We're going to need to do a few more, though, I thnk.

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  9. I must confess - I am not a fan. I get so cranky with people that that much interaction would put me over the edge.

    I would totally hang out with you anytime though.

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  10. I never have the patience to organize it all in my garage. I forego the rummage sale, and just start driving immediately to the Salvation Army. I will however always remember the large van that drove up with upteen Hutterites at the one and only garage sale I ever had. I had a good haggle session with one of the ladies and I think the Hutterite boss was very impressed with me.
    Dana

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  11. haha it is fun to watch people and listen to them as well...when they start talking about how old and ratty something is you can tell they want it...smiles...

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  12. My sister and I used to do tons of garage sales and the same people were at ours as at yours. We didn't have such nice names for some of them, like the ones who, when given the price of something as a quarter would say, will you take a dime for it? That's not a haggler, or a cheapie, but a name I can't print because I will enrage Iranians everywhere.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Suzy. I don't kind when I say yo'd last oh, about 12 minutes in this town.

      In a very good way.

      xo

      Delete
  13. First of all....you are very brave to admit you are from Wisconsin. Second of all...i have been to sales in Wisconsin and noticed the prices. Technically items should be sould for 10 cents on the dollar. Instead you have a dog bed that you've had and used for three year, bought it for $10 and are now selling it for $8. But I too love sitting and taking money and people watching once all the work of setting up is done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I LOVE WISCONSIN. IT's the weather and the small clans type tendency that's a little hard for me.

      And my stuff is so wonderfully priced: 25c clothes and nothing over 3 bucks.

      Nothing.

      I price to move it out b/c I'll be donating it anyway. xo THANKS FOR COMING BY!

      Delete
  14. Love the term "rummagology" an am now stealing it! Good luck with the Yappers :)

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  15. I am well familiar with the Early Bird and the Cheap Mom.

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    Replies
    1. Those seem to be the most popular birds: the Cut Throat comes in closely, but The Early Bird and Cheap Mom. Who wants to pay you 50 cents for brand new GAP winter coats.

      Delete
  16. I would PAY to hang out a people watch with you in the front yard during a rummage sale.

    Especially if there's cheese.

    And a Yapper? Pretty sure I can take her.
    (I've been known to talk a bit myself...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, given the right type, I'm all blabablababla. But only if I feel safe.

      xo

      Delete
  17. I scored our best toy for $0.25 from my next door neighbor's rummage sale - Care Bears castle. I am still passing clothes back and forth to my sister. Once we're finally past that, I'll be ready to attempt the rummage sale.

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  18. you described the usual suspects to a T! m and i have a yard sale every year. she wants to do it again this year... we'll see! love it when people haggle over a .25 item and then pay w/ a 100. sheesh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, "Will you take 50c" Sure.

      Here's a 50...

      I think they hope I'll say "just take it."

      Not on your life. SO GOOD TO SEE YOU, Anna. How was LTYM??

      Delete
  19. I am getting ready for my yard sale. I haven't had one in more than a decade. The last one sent me screaming.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wanna know why I can't have a yard sale?
    It's because my neighbor across the street is like Mrs. Kratchet (sp) from Bewitched...the nosey neighbor. I don't want her all up in my junk...literally.
    She watches me through the blinds in her windows. Very odd that woman. Very odd. I should give her my old underwear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have one. Weirdy.

      Yah, I said it.

      Delete
  21. a shoplifter at a rummage sale? that's beyond pathetic. my mother let me sell my ENTIRE nancy drew collection (including all the first editions I'd found at other rummage sales) at the HUGE please-take-our-stuff-we're-moving rummage sale, when I was in about 6th grade. To this day I'm still bitter.
    And just to give you something other to do than people watch at this weekend's rummage sale: wherefore the word "rummage?" It's a great word, but what on earth does it MEAN?

    ReplyDelete
  22. You make me laugh out loud. And now I want to hit the rummage sales this weekend!

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    Replies
    1. Love that the lady that made me cry such proud tears of being what this world needs at her blogher keynote, can come here and laugh.

      Happy to know you.

      Delete
  23. Funny- my husband tries to forbid me to go to yard/rummage/garage sales anymore. (Might have to do with our tiny house filled w/enough crap to have 50 yard sales of our own, or something. Whatever.) But I LOVE them, mostly bc of the people! Too lazy to host my own though.
    Am currently interviewing babysitters-now there's another weird/alarming array of characters!

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  24. Dangit, Wisconsin sounds fun!

    (I would totally buy your used crap just so we could hang out and chat...)

    XOXO

    A.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You, me, Appalachian stories, Wisconsin rummage o rama stories = priceless.

      I'm in. Both feet.

      Delete
  25. That sounds pretty wonderful to a city mouse like me :) We have stoop sales which are simliar but I don't know that we have the eclectic visitors that stop by your rummage sale. XOXO

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  26. Oh, how I enjoyed this. Our neighborhood sale was last weekend. Yeah - You can only have a sale on ONE designated weekend of the year in our 'hood. Anyway, I live for that weekend. Not lucrative. But oh-so-fun-and-satisfying-to-get-all-of-that-crap-out-of-my-house.

    ps - You do know that I'm the formerly Desperate Housemommy, yes? Just in case you didn't. :)

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  27. I've never had a rummage sale but I want to! Are they a lot of work? That's where I always get discouraged. The sorting and the pricing and the displaying. But I do like people watching and I do like money.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love the people types you listed. Of course, I am having my first yard sale next week, and am nervous...

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  29. I'm a big fan of the stoop sale (to shop at, not sell; I'd rather round it up and donate than deal with all the folks), but I LOVE a good garage sale and flea markets are even better. I think the size appeals to me, being from NY and all. A stoop is just too small. So I'd stop by yours, especially if there was cheese. Maybe I could pick up a Baby E original artwork.

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  30. How I would cherish getting to sit next to you and listen to your running commentary. Oh wait! I'm going to get to!

    ReplyDelete

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