The 4 People You See At Every Garage Sale

by 4 years ago

shutterstock_55768435It’s a happy Saturday in the neighborhood. Maybe someone died or maybe someone’s just cleaning, but there’s a garage sale down the block and it’s a golden opportunity to rifle through people’s stuff, sharpen my negotiation tactics through petty arguments, and, most importantly, people watch.

Much like British comedy, the laughs at garage sales often results from uncomfortable moments. In preparation I warm up my cringing muscles by chewing an entire six feet of Bubble Tape while watching a home movie of an eight-grade talent show I was in. None of it is easy to stomach.

With my facial muscles effectively stretched, it become imperative to get to the garage sale soon before the talent-show-related self-loathing festers into a debilitating sad nap. I head over quickly, strategically leaving my wallet at home.

Immediately, I notice two bowler-hatted girls browsing through a clothing rack placed directly next to the street. The haphazard positioning indicates these clothes are never going back inside. Whether they’re sold, stolen, run over, burned in effigy, or just thrown in the trash at five o’clock, these clothes, despite residing here for likely seven or eight presidential administrations, will be gone after today.

The hipsters (1) chat incessantly over Zooey Deschanel and bands that no one should care about, ever vigilant to maintain their pretentiously cultured demeanor. Regardless, they’re all too happy to fork over their money for these old-smelling garbage garments.

I’m rifling through a box of cassettes, silently judging the hosts for how many Lover Boy tapes they own. At the other end of the table a retired couple (2) inspects a Garfield mug. With sullen faces devoid of excitement, I can tell they’re here just killing time between reruns of The Rockford Files and waiting for their children to not call. Irritable in the heat, the man gets the attention of the homeowner and digresses into a longwinded ramble about the price of mugs today and everything that’s wrong with people under seventy-five.

This is perfect theater. The decrepit man won’t stop his badgering. His house is, presumably, is filled with useless items already, yet he won’t stand for the mug being priced at $1.50, even though he has no intention of buying it. Two children suddenly dart through their argument followed quickly by their single mother (3). She’s exhausted, seemingly from chasing and constantly apologizing for her children. The whole scene is hilariously tragic; it’s like an ad for birth control has come to life.

Eventually the mom is able to corral the two kids into her minivan before they ruin anything else. Fortunately for my entertainment’s sake, a husband and overbearing wife (4) arrive. Every word out of her dolled-up, bitchy mouth is an order or criticism directed at the hapless husband. Visiting this garage sale was in no way his idea; but, emasculated and silent, he obediently tags along while his anger stews. I can tell his mind’s racing as his fingers tighten around the worthless trinkets his wife has selected. “Oh, of course,” I think, gaining clarity, “I’m watching the prequel to a murder.”

Justin Gawel is an adult baby from Michigan whose articles appear on most weeks. Look for more of his writing, his BroBible archive, and his updates at or follow him @justingawel on Twitter.

[Image via ShutterStock]


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