Tuesday, July 13, 2010

the amazing cheapness of stuff. confessions of a garage sale junkie. we seem to have achieved some critical mass of stuff in america. a point where things are so abundant that they are replaced before they break, are discarded for a new color, or upgraded model, or just to make room for more stuff. stuff is bulging from our houses. garage sales are like little purge vomits once in a while just to make room for the consumption of more stuff. new stuff is cheep. used stuff is almost given away, often it is given away. did you ever want to play a banjo? how bout 20 bucks. want a mountain bike? 15 bucks, need a TV? 5 bucks, a guitar? 10 bucks, a tee shirt, 25 cents, shoes, a dollar, lights, lamps, towels, jewelry, gadgets, widgets, thing-a-ma-gigs, tools.... need a putter, or a tennis racket, or an iron, or bedding, or a crock pot? take it away. I have an idea that I am almost actualizing. it is that a person could furnish just about everything they need from garage sales. i think a good reality show would be to give people money and an unfurnished house and see who could do the most tasteful and adequate job of filling it with all the amenities of living from garage sales. i am pretty sure there is enough excess stuff in america to justify a production holiday. a moratorium on making or buying anything new for a while and letting every one swap junk for a while. In my (former) neighborhood there was a big neighborhood wide garage sale day and i am pretty sure a lot of stuff that is for sale one year was bought from a neighbor the year before. maybe we need a big commons where we bring stuff we don't want and swap it for stuff we won't want next year, or next month, or in a few moments. i would much rather get a pair of shoes, or a tee shirt that has been discarded than buy it new. it's kind of like saving a new tree from getting cut by using a perfectly good 2x4 that is not needed any more. it is not that i am not fascinated, as we all seem to be, with how big a mountain of trash we can build at the dump, or how fast we can burn through the latest resource, i am an american consumer after all, but some part of me feels good about getting stuff that is perfectly good second hand.

1 comment:

John J. Franks IV said...

Great Post and Points,

I have furnished my entire home with auctions, flea markets, and garage sales.

As You know I grew up working at flea markets. Even to this day, I go out now and then, to garage sales and then take the booty to the Flea market and make a profit on the items.

I have made a living and supported my family on this business model for decades. Or at least have supplemented our income this way.

Other than my computers (and not all the pieces were new) I can not remember the last major purchase I have made at any retail shop. Oh & Car Parts/Tires sorry about that( but i do buy parts when feasible at the salvage yards).

I have bought out bankrupt businesses, (all my desks and chairs came from them) I have bought out movie theatres (solid maple benches from those).

My life has always been a thrift store/garage sale/craigslist/ebay/flea market/auction style life.

I am even remodeling my home with reclaimed building materials. Whenever possible. Right now I am Looking to buy demolished or about to be buildings for the materials.
Even offering my labor for the materials.

So by my own nature, I have always recycled and reused what would otherwise be fodder for landfills.

Btw: you can bargain usually you will spend even less than the asking prices.