They may be serving you coffee at your favorite coffee shop or working in the cubicle next to you.
They might be the police officer writing you the speeding ticket or the little old lady who accepts your money at the courthouse where you pay said ticket.
They are truck drivers, postal workers, beauticians and everyday people each with one thing in common. Each one has the desire and the expertise to bargain hunt.
Who are these finders of the all mighty “good deal”? They are the men and women of these United States who spend countless hours every weekend sifting, rummaging and pushing their way through hundreds of thousands of garage sales looking for what in their mind is greatest find since penicillin… or at least the greatest find since the double stacked shoe rack they found the last week.
Each weekend sees hundreds of garage sales throughout our local communities.
These tiny outposts of second chances have become a gathering place for the masses looking to replace a long-lost toaster oven, coaster set or outdoor thermometer.
Dozens of women who delve into the mysterious world of Bunko come looking for the motherload of all motherloads. They search earnestly for that one special item that will earn them lifelong respect and recognition as being the gal who had the greatest Bunko Prize ever.
Newlyweds frequent the garage sale in hopes of finding that perfect spice cabinet on which to display the rooster and hen salt and pepper shakers and the Elvis Presley decanter given to them by loving family members as wedding gifts.
These mini markets of merry mercantile have become recognized as family destinations too.
Children, who normally complain about getting up too early for school, can be seen in the wee hours of a brisk Saturday morning begging their parents for 3 wheeled race cars, headless dolls, stained plush Scooby Doos and the ever popular naked Barbie.
Teenagers can find a plethora of cassette tapes that contain the greatest doo wop legends, country warblers and 80’s hair bands that every existed. These very cassette tapes can be purchased for as little as twenty-five cents each.
Teens can also purchase an AM/FM/Cassette car stereo (also twenty-five cents) which can be installed in a matter of hours and allow them to listen to the aforementioned plethora of tapes.
College students and their parents frequent the garage sale in an effort to furnish dorms and apartments with the best quality, lowest priced items possible.
Form dented mini refrigerators to slightly soiled multi colored rugs, parents can find the amenities needed to make any college freshman the talk of campus.
Lately, garage sales have become instrumental in helping America stay fit.
Any given weekend one can find the very best in weight loss instruction from the world’s most famous exercise experts. From “Sweat’n To The Oldies” to “Yoga Booty Ballet”, people young and old are sure to find a workout regimen that is right for them.
One can also find workout equipment that far exceeds most modern high-tech machines of today and for a fraction of the cost. Whether it is the cutting edge technology of a Thigh Master or the gut busting (and literally I mean gut busting) Ab Wheel, the very best in fitness equipment can be found at garage sales.
Treasure hunters can spend weeks in search of priceless (or at least in their minds priceless) artifacts that will bring them praise and fame in the eyes of their family and friends. They go the extra mile in an effort to make sure 8 track tapes and Deal A Meal cards never see the inside of a landfill.
Let us take the time to salute and applaud these men and women for thinking outside the box when it comes to getting the best anniversary gift $1.50 can buy and for bringing home the plaid sofa which looks great in the living room even though it smells funny.
Keep up the good work and perhaps I will see you out and about this weekend. I’ll be the treasure hunter searching diligently for the Bevis and Butthead wall clock.
*Excerpt from Mitch Fairchild’s Womperjawed (2008)*