Thursday, June 27, 2024


            As you know, Kim and I enjoy having garage sales – especially now that we are downsizing sometime within the next few months. We enjoy finding new homes for our stuff, and we enjoy making a little money (not much in a garage sale), and we enjoy meeting people, especially after a winter of relative isolation. We enjoy conversation.


            I recently noticed, because Kim pointed it out to me, that I frequently repeat myself in talking to potential customers. My go-to opener is to ask where they are from, which frequently gets two answers, summer and winter. Then I find a way to ask them what they do for a living, or, perhaps, what they did before they retired. This allows me to say that I taught high school for thirty-some years – something they never ask about because they are remarkably uncurious about my life. Kim has heard most of my jokes and stories several times. It’s become my schtick. This is something old people do.


            Sometimes clothing suggests an opening. When I worked at Starbucks we were told to try to connect with our guests (a.k.a. customers), so if someone were wearing an Ohio State hat or a shirt with a clever remark on it, I had my way in. Likewise, if they were carrying a book or magazine – or anything at all. This talent transferred to our garage sales. Often the shirts reflected where the customer guest worked, making the conversation easy to open.


            I occasionally walk around with the guests, partly to prevent shoplifting, which is a frequent occurrence. In doing that I would comment on some of the items we were selling. The carton for Two Dogs beer would lead to my retelling of the Two Dogs joke. (“Why do you ask?”) Or I’d go to the framed print that asks us to detect how many things are wrong in the picture, such as the dog with a beaver tale. I’d point out that my wife is the artist who did much of the work they see – the photographs, collages, bird nests, etc. I’d also point out that there are no prices on anything, that my wife knows the prices, and if they have any questions, just ask me and I’ll ask her (ha-ha).


            Most of our guests notice our birdhouse, located right outside of the garage, and I point out that it is a replica of our house, including the bark siding. This often gets them curious, and I have a convenient piece of the siding to show them, which sometimes leads to a walk up to the house. If Kim is with them and connects with them, and if they are curious, they may get a brief peek into the house. We’ve done this a bit more often now that the house will be going up for sale.


            “Up for sale! How can you sell this place right here on Torch Lake?!” We’ve asked ourselves the same question, but we are dealing with our age and the workload our home requires, so we are moving to Ann Arbor. Many seem puzzled about why we would leave paradise to move to a city. I explain about the eight months of isolation, and I tell my usual joke that when we feel isolated, we order something from Amazon so the UPS guy will come to our house (ha-ha). We are looking forward to having more conversations, hopefully less rehearsed than my garage sale ventures, with folks in our new Ann Arbor community.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, David, I'll talk to you when you get here! Maybe even have a coffee with you (not a beer; I'm too old for that!)