I talk a lot about the bargains and great treasures I find at yard/garage/church sales.
They’re so much fun and where else would someone on my modest income and surrounded by big box stores score vintage tupperware meal trays or a 1920s Winnie the Pooh book or a belt made from a car seat belt?
But I have a teeny, tiny confession to make.
I’m a terrible haggler.
I know, I know. I’ve probably just lost my membership in the vintage/garage sale club.
Haggling is supposed to be part of the experience but I get a terrible pain in my stomach (and the worry wrinkle between my eyebrows gets ever more in need of one of those creams that Ellen/Diane/The Other Diane/Andie recommend) every time I contemplate the scary part of garage sales. Yes, the scary part where I have to waltz up to the owner of the vintage Tupperware meal trays or the 1920s Winnie the Pooh book or the belt made from a car seat belt and look them in the eye and actually negotiate the deal.
- I have to act as if I don’t really care about the vintage Tupperware meal trays (when, in reality, I’ve already thought of ten reasons that could convince a jury of my peers why I absolutely. must. have. them.)
- I have to conjure up a face that belies the fact that I have already silently sighed over the completely intact spine and gorgeous drawings in the 1920s Winnie the Pooh book.
- I have to pretend that I just accidentally sort of stumbled across the belt made from a car seat belt amongst their boxes and that really, they’ll have to talk me into taking it because it kind of looks like junk.
- And, plus, there’s a very de-valuing dent in the side of the buckle. Uh huh. Very de-valuing.
But, I can’t do that. I have the biggest non-poker face in the world. Chris Hadfield actually tweeted a few weeks ago from space that he could plainly see what a pushover I was for the vintage melamine cups I held–I thought, nonchalantly in my hand–all the way from the International Space Station.
I blush. I stammer. I can’t think straight or maintain eye contact what with the visions running through my head of me wearing a voopy dress, drinking lemonade from my vintage cups while hanging out with my handsome, Practical Man in our Boler.
I mean, let’s face it, I would just pay whatever price they’re asking for. And often, try to to convince them to charge me more. But, it’s not all my fault that I would pay through the nose. They’re partly to blame. After all,
- their baby probably played with this Fisher Price car
- and, they probably had their first kiss wearing this 1940s brooch.
Oh, who am I kidding? If I had my way, they’d re-consider the whole thing and run back into the house, crying, object clutched to their grateful chest, never ever to be sold to some feckless bargain hunter like moi.
But Practical Man has no such fear. In addition to having really great forearms, he’s a haggler extraordinaire.
He spots my blushing and stammering quickly and moves to block me from the garage sale proprietor’s (and Chris Hadfield’s) view. Then, we have an eyebrow conversation which roughly translates like this:
Practical man: “So, you want this?”
Me, trying in vain to raise either one of my eyebrows enthusiastically (I am eyebrow impaired).
Practical man: “So, that grimace means that you’re interested?” (He can raise one eyebrow sardonically in a way I much admire).
I squeeze his large, haggler-heroic hand and he notices that I have an attractive sheen of hyper-ventilation and look as if I might need a higher dose of my anti-fainting medication. I’m pretty sure that I look rather fetching and also, nauseous.
This is the official go-ahead signal.
I then turn and head in the opposite direction, trying to look casually-dawdly and extremely interested in the moldy golf shoes that are lying on one of the sales tables, while simultaneously avoiding all eye contact with anyone who might have owned or loved the object(s) of my desire.
In other words, I skulk and feel even more nauseous.
Meanwhile, Practical Man (who is not just practical but also very charming) chats up the former owner of my treasure. His normally mono-syllabic conversation style (very practical) suddenly blossoms into full-blown hey-isn’t-this-weather-crazy-and-how-long-have-you-lived-around-here-anyway-by-the-way-I-love-what-you’ve-done-with-your-shingles kind of garage sale unisex flirting.
I ask you: why, oh why, would I ever shop at a big box store?