Then, there are the breed of ladies, aged 50-70 or so, who come in packs. This sisterhood arrives late morning, looking for nothing in particular, but squealing in delight when they spot a used onesie for the new grandbaby. They want for nothing, but take pleasure in the kill when they snatch up an old ice bucket or woven rug. They buy linens, old lamps, dishes, anything that smacks of domesticity, and pay for their purchases with crumpled bills and loose change pulled out of clasp change purses.
The kids are a different breed altogether. They ponder over discarded toys, unloved books and the occasional ratty stuffed animal. Begging their parents for a dollar, they clutch their purchases in sweaty hands and scan every "free" box available for more loot.
Then, there is the lady (man?) who comes late in the afternoon, alone, looking disheveled and grizzled. She paws over each and every item, with nary a nod or hello, then leaves with a grunt.
Men are funny. They are looking for one thing and one thing only - GUY STUFF! This constitutes tools, trailer hitches, bent and rusty car ramps, and the occasional rake. Like the hunters they are, they move in quickly for the kill. If there's no prey about, no motorcycle parts, no old generators, they move on. No browsing.
There are the ones for whom English is not their first language. They always look surprised and delighted when I ask "Quieres una bolsa para sus cosas?" And they always leave with a "Gracias, mi amiga!"
This particular garage sale was no exception. We had the requisite "bake sale". The younger kids always want to sell goods so I found myself late the night before the sale baking cinnamon streusel coffee cake, raspberry scones, peanut butter/chocolate bars and vanilla brownies. I mixed up two batches of lemonade (no, I did not squeeze the lemons!) and the young entrepeneurs went to work. They lasted, wilting in the sun, until mid-day when they left for birthday parties and baseball games. The scones sweated in their plastic wrap and the lemonade warmed to a steamy temperature. Total take: $28.75.
The garage sale was a different story. We netted $153.00. Which is about half of what we usually make. Which left us asking, again, WHY do we do this? Maybe it's not about the money. Maybe, in the end, it's more about the people watching.