Monday, August 23, 2010

How Much Will You Take For The Unused Lithium?

The Headmaster has always maintained that yardsales are a perfect venue for witnessing the absolute worst in human behavior. They make even homeschooling listservs look like models of order and decency by comparison. This is why he avoids them like the plague. That is, until this weekend when the Academy joined an alliance of regional schools to conduct a yardsale to benefit school children in Haiti. Now if you think yardsale rats will run you down looking for the bargain of the century, wait 'til you tell them that all proceeds will benefit a third-world country struggling to recover from the disaster of the century. Oh yeah baby, it's on. It is so totally and completely on.

You might not normally connect Juicy Couture dresses for toddlers with questionable judgment, but when, in the context of helping impoverished kids obtain badly-needed school supplies, a discriminating shopper offers $1 for a $90 dress worn only once for the opening of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince at Regal Snowden Square 14 Theaters - well, one must draw a line somewhere.

The worst of the worst are the "early birds", which is a euphemism for (kids, if you're reading this, cover your ears) "professional asshole". These are yardsale rats who seem to find joy in haggling with you over a nickel. See, they're gonna need that nickel to defer the cost of listing fees when they resell your gently-used possessions through Craigslist at 2000% markup.

It's 6am. You stand in your driveway before a pile of "stuff-that-was-destined-for-this-yardsale-the-moment-you-impulsively-bought-it", sipping coffee and contemplating your setup strategy. It's the quiet before the storm. Suddenly you see them drive by and hit the brakes, followed by the urgent whining of the transmission as they back their utility van over your carefully placed orange parking cones. They pause to size you up. Slowly they emerge and walk up as if skulking into an adult bookstore. You can see it in their hollow eyes - lost souls with no conscience to speak of. "Hey, mind if I look around?" they say without looking up. "Sure. Hey, mind if I poke you in that hollow eye with this distinctive, hand-forged fireplace poker from Woodland Direct in lovely vintage finish that is sure to complement any decor?"

Ah well, it's just "stuff". If you go into it with the expectation that you are going to get rid of a lot of unwanted merchandise and maybe make a dollar or two, you won't be disappointed. Alternatively, you could just take a heavy dose of lithium two hours prior. Then, afterward, take all your proceeds and go buy some more silly-bands.