A Matter of Principle

The alarm went off at 6:30 am, she sprang out of bed and up to her feet almost immediately. Checked herself out in the mirror, tied her stringy hair into a pony tail and rushed downstairs.

On her living room floor was a collection of old clothes, a tape deck, some books, some wicker baskets, a variety of exercise equipment, 3 table lamps, an electric tooth brush (still in the box), several stuffed animals, ceramic dishes, porcelain figurines, a ghetto blaster, old draperies, and some CD’s. She began the daunting process of carting it all out onto her driveway and arranging it in an appealing manner… After all, one persons trash is another’s treasure right?!

Once everything was arranged somewhat neatly, she sat in her lawn chair with her gigantic mug of instant coffee smoking a cigarette and listening to classic rock on the ghetto blaster that she was selling for $20.

Finally at 7:30, her first customer arrived. A little White haired lady with a hand knit sweater, polyester pants, and a pair of orthopedic shoes.

“How much for this tooth brush dear?”


“I’ll give you $0.50”

She took a long drag of her cigarette; “It’s $2.00… It’s never been used.”

The little lady obviously not liking her unwillingness to bargain shook her head in disgust and (very slowly) walked away with a frown that would make the AARP proud.

She lit another cigarette from the one she had just smoked and turned up the Led Zeppelin song that was playing out of the dusty old ghetto blaster.

Her next customers were Asian, a couple… They smiled grandly at her, she gave a cold nod while blowing smoke out of her mouth. It didn’t seem to phase them.

“How much fo yo tleadmir”



“the treadmill?”


“it’s $100”

“too much” the man quickly objected; “you take $50”

“umm no, I paid $500 for that”

The man stroked his chin as he looked at it some more and said “okay okay… $75”

“Yeah, i’m not gonna be able to do that… I can do $85 though”

The man looked at his beautiful and silent wife who gave an approving nod and reached into his pocket to take out his wallet.

Next came a couple of kids, a boy and a girl. The boy was around 9 and the girl around 7. Good looking kids. Naturally, they headed straight towards the stuffed animals.

The little girl smiled excitedly as she held up a fluffy white bunny and said “excuse me, how much for the bunny?”


The little girl looked down at the coins in her hand and then at her friend who shook his head. She sadly placed the bunny back among the other animals and stood there looking down at the ground with a face that would make you think her puppy just died.

Finally in a stroke of rare empathy she felt bad for the little girl who seemed so defeated and said “hey kid – if you really want it i’ll give it to you for $4.00.”

The next day she packed up all of her garage sale stuff and put it by the curb for the Salvation Army to pick up and take away.


11 thoughts on “A Matter of Principle

  1. The irony of the yardsale. We travel to someone’s home that we would never visit, to scour their junk, and inevitably take some home as a keepsake of sorts.

  2. I also love yard sales. Most of my backyard toys have come from them. Love the way you wrote this story.

  3. I thought the point of a yard sale was to get as much money as you could for your junk. I would have gave the tooth brush up for the 50 cents, and the treadmill for 50 bucks in hopes they would buy other stuff being that thay think their getting the deal, right. And for the little girl that wanted the bunny, I would have just gave it to her. Especially if I was just gonna junk everything the next day. That women is deffintly a Bitch.

  4. i wonder what makes people think we want to pay high prices for their useless crap? is there some kind of jewish force that is an underlying tone to every garage sale that states “mark up your stuff, that way you can haggle with everyone you meet today”?

    or are people realy cheap?

  5. Garage sales can be great but you just have to be motivated… the aggressiveness of the people that show up always puts me off!

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