*Please enjoy a HILARIOUS guest post from the Father-in-Law.  Seriously, I think it may be his best post yet.  For his other works of genius, please check out the Man Cave page.*


I know, my spellcheck didn’t like the title either but this is about garage saleing, not boat sailing.  Besides, they now make motors for boats (and bikes too), so that wind and human powered stuff is old hat.  Speaking of old hats, I know just where you can get them.  Joanna has alluded to my penchant for a good garage (or tag, yard, porch) sale.  It’s true that I have been to my share, but only because people give me a list of items they want and it’s the retiree equivalent of a scavenger hunt.

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Let me share some knowledge I’ve gained over the years – and introduce you to some characters I’ve met along the way.  I’ve discovered that there are four types of garage sales.

1.  Hey, I’ve got a lot of stuff that I want to get rid of.  I’m going to sell it cheap just to get it out of here.  (These are the good sales).

2.  Hey, I’ve got a lot of stuff and I want to make a lot of money because I think everything I own is gold plated.  (Enough said).

Three and four have similar themes but slightly different approaches.

3.  Hey, we haven’t had any company for three years so let’s put an ad in the paper and visit with whomever shows up.  This sale has four items on a card table and eager senior citizens ready to interview you for three hours. (Do they have any idea of my busy schedule?)

4.  The entrapment.  As I pull up to the address I sit quietly in the car to see if I know the “hosts”.  Having taught at the local university for thirty-five years, I have former students who I always like to say hello to, but really need to move along after hearing about their daughter’s third piano recital.  Would my son Mike have a beautiful Three Amigos sombrero or an Aboriginal bullwhip if I lingered over one more breathtaking story about junior’s soccer game?  I think not!

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So now we come to the cast of characters, my peer group of bargain hunters.  Since I’ve been doing this a few years now, I have a nodding acquaintance with the regulars, all of whom I’ve taken the liberty to give nicknames.  They are:

Willie the Whiner – Willie is quick to the hunt, has a perpetual scowl on his face and as he’s leaving and I’m arriving at a sale says things like “What a bunch of over-priced crap.”  I’ve never seen Willie buy anything – ever – but he seems to enjoy his role as the Siskel and Ebert of sale reviewers.

The Prom Queen – This sixty-ish lady is very stylish with her prom “up-do” hairstyle, long clingy silk dresses, gaudy jewelry and occasionally even high heels!  I picture her as a modern day Miss Havisham who is still waiting for her 1965 date to appear with her pink nosegay.  I think about fixing her up with Willie.

Ample Annie –  Annie is to garage sale aisles as a lineman is to a ball carrier.  She controls all traffic flow through the sale and your passage through said sale is at her whim.

The Gypsies – A swarthy (I love that word) husband and wife team who examine each item as if it was the key to their retirement portfolio.  I’m pretty sure they’re real Gypsies because of a five o’clock shadow by noon.  Her husband is even swarthier.

Fitty Cent –  This guy is the ultimate bargain hunter.  “Hey, how much is that TV?  I’ll give you fifty cents.”  I’ve never seen him him score with his fifty cents but I guess it would only take one time for him to hit the jackpot.

The Announcer – This guy is the king of hit-and-run.  He’s in such a hurry that he starts yelling out what he’s looking for as he strides up the driveway.  “DO YOU HAVE ANY OLD PLAYBOYS, HUSTLERS, OLD EROTIC POSTCARDS, OR BLACK AND WHITE ADULT FILMS?”  This guy collects CLASSIC PORN!  When I see him get out of his car I get into a position to watch the church lady having the sale just to watch her expression.  Again, I’ve never seen him buy anything.  I dream of someday being at a sale and the eighty year-old woman responds, “Sure mister, come on in my bedroom – it’s under my mattress.”

Mom and Me – This mother/daughter duo drives a ’70’s Plymouth four-door crammed with treasures. They are fast to the search and I assume have divided their interests into individual assignments.  I stand back when I see them as their hygiene is usually left wanting.  I wouldn’t want to ride in their car.

So this is my world and these are my people.  Sometimes, just to have some fun I ride my red Yamaha scooter (hey, it’s a big scooter)  to the sales and bring home massive amounts of goodies on it.  Some of my rides include hauling a 27″ bicycle, a wheelbarrow, a gas grill, and a baby changing table. I enjoy that the homeowners somehow feel responsible for my safety when they see how I’m going to haul it away and try to reason with me.  They always fail in their attempts to protect me from myself.

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Joanna once asked me what nickname the others may have for me.  I don’t know but I once heard the Prom Queen mumble something to Annie like “here comes that Brad Pitt lookin’ guy”.  I assume they were talking about me. I didn’t know Brad Pitt even had a scooter!  Well, I have to go now – I hear Angelina calling me and I still have to go over to the Announcer’s house and look at some things.

Happy saleing!

– Father-in-Law




  1. Awesome. Once we left our son’s toy train table on our front curb with a “free” sign on it and we greatly enjoyed watching a guy ride away with it balanced on his bicycle cross-bar. You might know him. You really should write a murder mystery garage sale book about your “characters.”

    • Father-in-law

      Thanks for the comment Ann. I really could do a murder mystery about this stuff as the mother-in-law would be the prime suspect every time I haul this stuff home. Maybe I could party with the guy who rode away with your free item. As far as I know, Mike has yet to wear his sombrero to work for a casual Friday.

    • My favorite is when people leave things near the curb with no free sign and you have to decide if you’re stealing or not. Good times. Good times.

  2. I want to party with the classic porn dude.

  3. I have a new life ambition – I gotta see The Announcer in action. Anyone who yells obnoxiously and indiscriminately about vintage porn needs to be seen to be believed!

    Great post!


    • Father-in-law

      Thanks Becky, he’s a real charmer. Perhaps if you had a ride over to his place in a 70’s Plymouth…..

    • I’ve been thinking the next time we visit the in-laws I need to go a saleing with the F-I-L so I can see the master at work!!!

  4. This was fantastic. Thanks for making me laugh! Have you ever found the complete Felicity DVD series in your saleing?

    • Father-in-law

      Hey Kelly, I haven’t seen a whole set of Felicity DVDs but my son has the Announcer looking for Kerri Russell in “Naughty Cheerleader Tryouts”, one of her earlier works. “Hey Ben”. “Hey Noel”. “Hey Felicity”. How did the Emmys pass them by? Thanks for your comment!

    • We have the first three seasons!!!! It’s on Netflix so we have easy access whenever too.

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