The Moving Sales

July 14, 2016

Dear Friend,

We have moved enough to realize there is always the moment after you have completed the move when THE QUESTION always comes up. “Why on earth did I move this?” This is joined with, “Where do I put this? What do I do with this now?” Then the conclusion, “I should have gotten rid of it.” This time we tried to avoid that whole scenario by having moving sales.

I still cringe when I think of the process of sorting, pricing, and laying it out in an organized fashion. That is followed by people coming by and offer pennies on something that was already marked half of the price it is currently worth. I was also nervous because last sale brought out the “odd ducks” and the uncontrolled children. But, we had the time and decided to do it. Gulp.

I braced myself. I opened the garage door to the fresh morning air and blue sky. Objects lined both sides and the middle of the driveway. Signs were out, background music playing softly, I sat down. Good start. Before long, people started arriving.

I realized there were a few garage sale buyer types. First there’s the “pro”. This is the person that is looking for something specific for their business and will quickly come and go. Perhaps it is antiques, bikes, or objects with small engines.

Second, I’ll call the “retired guy”. After working for so many years, this is the guy that finally tastes the freedom to reclaim his day with whatever he wants to do. He comes just because he can. So, he goes to the sale and lingers. He chats for 15 to 20 minutes and in the end buys something just to patronize you. These men are interesting to hear their stories and fun to pass the time away with when there is a lull.

Third is the “penny pincher”. These are ladies that are convinced they must carry nothing but change. They come in saying that they have so much junk and they need to have their own sale. Yet they’ll try to talk you down to their penny prices to buy more junk items.

The “kids in tow” is the fourth type. These are typically mothers, or grandparents with children of multiple ages with them. When these people came around, I called my youngest out. He would stand at the kid’s table and demonstrate the toys. He succeeded in selling virtually everything he had while ensuring a child won’t go rogue and trash the place. On the bright side, often the children were instrumental in persuading the parent to make a purchase. They were the secret weapon of sales.

The fifth people group is classified as the “neighbors”. These are the people in your neighborhood you never knew all these years. They introduce themselves and socialize to get the inside scoop concerning all the moving details. They see the sale as an open invitation to get to know you now even if it is a little late.

Finally, I can’t forget the “odd ducks”. These are the people who are stand-offish. They look like they are coming off of some sort of drug high and you’d never think they would purchase anything at the sale. They may make your hair stand on end as you send for back up, yet, they are the ones that find the one peculiar item that you’d think would never sell.

After a while, I was able to identify the personality types and know how to interact with them. It turned out well and enjoyable this time. Of course with every sale, there’s a few stories. Here’s one with a “kids in tow” family. This family came in with four children aging from 13 down to 3. They were doing well, except for the 3 year old girl. No one seemed to care about watching her. She started off fine playing at the kids’ table items. But she quickly picked up a little green gun and walked directly to the breakable section in the back corner. Oh no. She proceeded to grab a glass chicken ornament and pretended to shoot the chicken. Wanting to make sure nothing happened, I nicely walked up to her with a sticker in hand to distract her. As I approached, she noticed and clearly stated to me, “Don’t worry, I’m good with glass”. I was left speechless for a half second as I couldn’t help myself laughing inside. I had to admit that was pretty smart of the girl to anticipate why I was coming around. For a split second, I wondered, “Do I trust a three year old with glass just because she says she’s good with it?” Nope. She claimed she was good, but her behavior (swinging the ornament around jabbing it with the gun point) was proving her otherwise. After witnessing some other events with her, I felt relieved when the family left.

This little girl made me think of how my perspective has changed from when I was younger. Just like that girl, I was confident in my short line of successes and felt qualified to do anything I wanted. I saw where I wanted to go and what to do. I didn’t want to waste time jumping through political hoops that people mandated I go through and slow me down.

After all it is easy to grab onto what Paul from the Bible said as he mentored Timothy, a young pastor, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young…” (I Timothy 4:12) But what is often missed is the responsibility of the young person to “… set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” This included how to treat people with respect likened to what is found in a functional family (I Timothy 5:1) especially when teaching them. If the young person treated others right, when older people pulled the young person aside to discuss a concern, he should do as what Proverbs 4:1 says, “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.”

Through the years, I have learned that not plowing by people is a better route in the end. It is better to take the time and communicate well and listen to advisors. When you are younger, you don’t see the difference because you don’t know any better. However the older I become, I see the wisdom gained from the experience and weathering of time as well as the value of people’s input. One day I’m sure that little girl will learn how to treat fragile items. For now, she should not be hasty in her confident actions. Rather she must watch and learn from those who know.

Until we meet again,



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