One man’s trash…

August 5th, 2009 by Aaron

…is a Wo’MHer’s treasure!

Armed with only large bills (rookie mistake) and a list of garage sales, we set off on our mission.

Aaron: For the most part I’m an outgoing and sociable person. I’ve worked in retail for years and years, and this has further developed my small-talk skills and tolerance for brief, meaningless conversation. However, I hate haggling or even mildly arguing with someone I don’t know (I’m not sure I enjoy it that much with people I do know). Because our mission was to garage sale as seasoned Winnipeg garage salers might, I knew I’d have to negotiate a deal at some point. Following our visits to two lame sales and one mystery address that didn’t seem to exist, we headed over Chief Peguis trail to the Winnipeg garage sale mecca: Inkster Boulevard!

aaron-barter

The fruits of Aaron's haggling skills.

With just one address to guide us (collected and mapped by Emma the night before; further navigated by Laurel and her iPhone), we were shocked to discover the surplus of garage sale signs planted in the the grass along Inkster boulevard. Particularly impressive are the intersections where the signs tend to converge and multiply. Zipping along Inkster to our next address we stopped abruptly due to suspicion of a closer target. The single yellow balloon tied to a gate always belies a garage sale in the backyard. Once inside we spotted a garage sale and thrift store staple item: UNICORN paraphernalia. Foregoing the temptation, I found two items totalling $2.25, and Emma found herself a Tupperware item priced at $5.00. I had a feeling this would be my only opportunity to haggle like a Winnipegger, so I approached the lady in charge and upon displaying the three items in my hands, I asked would she accept $5.00 for the lot? After a couple of seconds delay (“YES! She wants to barter!”) she accepted my offer and it was all over. I didn’t get to haggle after all, but I did make her an offer she couldn’t refuse…Winnipeg style!

Emma: Garage sales are crazy. When I was growing up, my family would have one every couple years – sometimes with neighbours, sometimes on our own, but I never put too much thought into them one way or another. It was much more fun to go to other people’s sales, and I often would troll around the neighbourhood looking for purchasable-with-allowance treasures… Ziggy mugs, cat posters, that sort of awesome thing.  Now that I’m an adult and have learned that time equals money, it blows my mind the amount of work that people are willing to put into a garage sale that might make them one or two hundred bucks, best case scenario.

Twenty cents worth of glassware.

Twenty cents worth of glassware.

There are definitely a few sorts of garage sale hosts. One, the kind who, despite having advertised the starting time as 8am, at 8:15 seem to have just rolled out of bed and are now dragging boxes onto the lawn. At this kind of sale, there are no price tags in sight, and the hosts are sitting on the front steps drinking coffee, bleary-eyed and zoned out. Another kind is ultra-organized: every item has its price and place on the table, and the host keeps track of each sale in a little notebook. There’s obviously a lot of planning that’s gone into the affair, and the sellers probably know from experience how to run things properly. But my bet is that it’s anyone’s guess which type of sale makes more money.

I, for one, must not be a true Winnipegger yet, because I feel uncomfortable when there are no prices, and also when it’s not clear what’s for sale and what’s just random stuff in close proximity to the merchandise (we noticed this was common when the sale was actually held in the garage). Who knows, maybe it’s all for sale — for a price!

Emma's Rudolph cookie cutter set.

Emma's Rudolph cookie cutter set.

Annnnyywayyy, my great finds were the much-coveted, ever-useful and exceedingly versatile Tupperware Serving Center (big props to Aaron for getting a deal on this – buying it new would cost $42.00!) and a Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer stand-up cookie cutter set (so reasonably-priced that I didn’t bother disputing it). Score!

Our Tweets from the exciting morning:
(Aaron): Off to hit up some Garage Sales…finished my oatmeal, now it’s time to shop! Haha!
(Emma): Just got some cash to haggle with… Let the garage saleing begin! (but first, coffee!)
(Laurel): Just got picked up by @emmaewood @directedreading for garage sale-ing!
(Aaron): The thrill of the hunt!
(Laurel): First garage sale down. Some lady positioned self in front of books, blocking all browsing. We were not ruthless enough to shove aside.
(Emma): Aaron is my hero! What a deal!
(Aaron): Drive 20 feet. Stop again. Another garage sale!
(Emma): Inkster is a hotbed of garage sales! Jackpot!
(Emma): Well, the early birds (us) caught the worm… The tupperware worm, that is!

4 Responses to “One man’s trash…”

  1. Congrats on your bargaining baptism! Most sellers are happy to take whatever you offer, and if they get huffy you either pay their price or leave the item and walk away. You’ll likely never see them again, and trust me–you’ll find that item at another sale, and probably at a better price!

  2. mrchristian says:

    Lol. Sounds like a fun afternoon !

    The few times I am up driving around early on a Saturday morning I say to myself ‘I really should get up early next week and go garage sale-ing’. I’ve been saying that since 1996 or so !

    A full reindeer set of cookie cutter set ?! Someone’s gonna be the belle of the ball this Christmas party season 😉

  3. Rosanna says:

    That Rudolph cookie cutter looks an awful lot like Santa. I don’t get it.

  4. My pet peeve: When people say “barter” when they mean “dicker” (or “bargain”, “negotiate”, etc.) Bartering would be if you offered goods or services instead of money.

    I’m curious about the Rudolph cookie cutter set… does it include 9 unique reindeer patterns, or just 1 or 2? I hope you will try it out and take pictures sometime before Christmas – how does the stand-up part work? What other pieces are in that box? Looks like Santa’s feet are designed to interlock with some kind of stand. Is that included in the set, or do you bake it?

    @Rosanna: You don’t get the connection between Santa and Rudolph? 😉 Do realize the box says Rudolph cookie cutter *set*! One would expect a Santa in a Rudolph Set, but not necessarily expect a Rudolph in a Santa set! (Why I am defending Avon’s labeling practices LOL!) I suppose non-Christians could use that set to make a nature set by omitting Santa 😉

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