Every Saturday morning in our part of the world – except in winter – many people drive around the city looking for yard sales. Yard sales, or garage sales, often take place in the driveway of someone’s home, or perhaps on the front lawn. The homeowners take out all the stuff they don’t want and arrange it in front of their house. Usually, they put a price tag on items. People driving by will stop to see if there is anything they want.
Many people spend every Saturday morning shopping at yard sales. If they find that they have bought too many things, then they have a yard sale of their own.
Some of the shoppers are dealers who buy things for resale. Sometimes they resell them at their own yard sales. But some dealers are professionals who run antique stores, used bookshops, flea markets or used furniture and appliance stores. Usually the dealers will try to get to the yard sale before anyone else. That way they have the best selection. Often they will try to buy items for less than the price tag says. The cheaper they can buy the item, the more profit they can make when they resell it. Their motto is, “Buy low. Sell high.” Sometimes a merchant will boast that he paid one dollar for a glass or china cup at a yard sale, and sold it for $100 at his store, or on the Internet. By having catalogues that show the value of “collectibles,” dealers can sometimes make large profits. Now, however, many of the people having yard sales will try to check the value of the things they are selling first. So it is getting harder to get a real bargain.
One reason for yard sales is that North Americans often live in big houses, which fill up with things. People may use the basement, the attic, the spare room and the garage to store things that they are not using. If they store things in their garage, all they have to do is open the garage door to have a garage sale. When children grow up and move away, the parents will often sell the children’s old clothes, toys and furniture.
Another reason for yard sales is that there are a lot of things that people might like, but don’t want to pay full price for. For example, if someone likes to read novels, they may be happy to pay one dollar for a book at a yard sale, rather than 20 or 30 dollars at a retail store.
What sorts of things are sold at yard sales? Just about anything that you might find in a house or a yard. There are ornaments, china, home decorations, sports equipment, bicycles, games, dolls, toys, tables and chairs, lamps, appliances, books, records, paintings, clothes, record players, and much more. Some items are things that were popular a few years ago but have now gone out of fashion. This might include many toys, books and games that relate to an old television show that is no longer being shown.
While a lot of older people go to yard sales, so do a lot of students. Students and young people may need cheap furniture for their apartment or a bicycle to get to school or work. They may not be able to pay full price. If you are lucky, you can find almost anything at a yard sale. The trick is to get there early. Most yard sales are advertised to start at 9:00 am, but dealers may arrive as early as 7:30 am. By 10:00 am the busiest part is already over, although most yard sales go on into the afternoon. Yard sales tend to prove the common saying that “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”