Sunday, October 5, 2008
World's Largest Garage Sale
A few weeks ago I blogged about holding a garage sale. This weekend I experienced the flip side. Every year when the leaves begin to turn and the air grows crisp, Warrensburg New York hosts "The World's Largest Garage Sale." I can't speak for anything beyond my little corner of the world, but in my experience, it really is "the world's largest." We browsed for treasures all day Friday and Saturday, and honestly we only brushed the surface of the sales. In addition to private sales at homes dotting every side street, the main street is lined with vendors for miles and miles. Bundled up in layers of fleece and hoodies, Mike and I enjoyed strolling the streets and hunting for bargains. Mike's biggest bargain was a bag of 15 unopened cartons of printer ink--all a little past their expiration date, but presumably (hopefully!) should still work, for one dollar. I got an immersion blender for a dollar. It works! I had to pass up a great pair of black Manolo Blahnik heels (also $1!) because they squished my toes, but I did find a few other great deals on shoes, books, sweaters, desk accessories a really cool cat toy for my new "grand-cat" which just joined the family of my daughter and son-in-law (shhh it's a surprise!).
At the vendors, we found brand new socks (3 pairs for $5) and new cashmere scarves in a multitude of colors and patterns ($8 each). They also have wrapping paper, dvds, framed prints, handmade crafts, candles, carved wood, tons of food items, and so much more.
The knock-off Coach handbag vendors always amaze me. These booths sell these fake designer pocketbooks for $35 to $40. Well, guess what happened today? A neighbor was standing in line to purchase one of these bags when the police busted into the tent and arrested the proprietor for selling the rip-offs. But, the story goes on! The vendor who was being arrested tried to accuse our neighbor of stealing the pocketbook! It was quite a mess, but fortunately our neighbor was able to convince the police that she was waiting in line to pay. And the booth was closed down.
Although there was this kind of dishonesty and hustling for deals, there were also many lovely moments during the day of friendly people, kindness and honesty. At one sale at a private home, a woman was browsing through a plastic box of teen jewelry and nick naks, when she spotted some gift cards and loose change, obviously overlooked. She told the owner of the home so that he could retrieve the items. That made me feel good. At another sale, I saw a velvet covered stand used to display necklaces. The woman had several of these stands, and many lovely necklaces she was selling for $3 to $5 each, which seemed a very good deal for the nice quality necklaces. Since I started beading and making necklaces, I have acquired more necklaces than could be held in my little jewelry box. So I asked her where could I find a stand like she was using to display her necklaces. She told me that she had several, and she'd sell me one for $2. When I went to check out with the stand and a few other small items, she changed her mind and said she'd give me the stand for free, since it had cost her nothing when she acquired the stands originally. I was all ready to pay without hesitation, so I thought that was very sweet of her and I walked away smiling and feeling good.
Before I close, I have to tell you about the food. Here is what we usually get at the World's Largest Garage Sale: we'd usually have a big, greasy sausage and peppers sandwich for lunch. On occasion we've shared a Bloomin' Onion. Even we couldn't finish that! Later, I'd have to have a Columbo frozen yogurt AND a maple cotton candy. Mike would usually get Kettle corn or warm, cinnamon and sugar coated cashews. But since we've been eating healthy, all that was out. But, believe it or not, we still found relatively healthy options. One woman had a beautiful set up in her driveway with a little "kitchen" and some tables and chairs, and she was selling her homemade hamburger vegetable soup. It was delicious. And the word was out, because she had a long line waiting to buy her soup. Friday we had steaming bowls of chili. Other fairly healthy options from vendors were chicken or steak shish kabobs and roasted corn.
When we finished our hamburger veggie soup, we ducked by the kitchen area and told the woman how much we'd enjoyed her cooking. Her face lit up. I hope it helped her to feel a little brighter, since it had to be a long day standing on her feet all day in the cold, serving soup for hours.
You'll meet all types...and although the dishonest and unkind exist, expect and celebrate the honest and the kind.