An Embarrassing Moment by Freeda Baker Nichols

Yard Sale Northern California May 2005. This i...

Yard Sale Northern California May 2005. This image is in the public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My neighbor and I decided to have a three-day yard sale.  So we set up our tables and got out our stuff.  Some of my stuff, I had had for years, but much of it was in good condition, so I marked prices people couldn’t resist, or so I thought.  That way I could reach my objective of cleaning out my house and others might benefit by buying useful items at a reasonable cost.

My neighbor didn’t bother marking her items.  She pulled out boxes full of dishes and cookware and set other items on tables.  When customers found something they wanted, they asked her a price and she would say, 25 cents or 50 cents, etc.

My most embarrassing moment came when several customers were looking and browsing.  As they gathered things they wanted to buy, I sat on the porch deeply engrossed in conversation with my neighbor.  Then my husband called to me to tell me that a customer was ready to check out.  I went to the check-out table and quickly totaled up the items placed there by a very nice man.  I picked up a pair of sunglasses and said, “I think these are 25 cents.”  The man reached for them and said,  “They’re already mine.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” I said.

Talk about putting someone in a thimble, I would have fit quite comfortably.  I assured the man that I didn’t mean to do that.  He was good-natured and laughed along with everyone else.

Looking back at the incident, I’m sure I should have given him the items “on the house.”

Some people tried to get us to lower the prices. Some said we were selling too low after they had already bought things.

Some said our yard-sale signs were good and easy to follow.  Others said they were difficult to read.  After the long three days were over, my husband went to pick up the signs.  One sign was missing and presumably stolen.  Close by where it had been was a sign pointing to another yard sale in the opposite direction.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

Lost “Yard” Sales

They arrived at six
so they wouldn’t be late
though the sign plainly said
“We Open at Eight.”

A man with arms full
came over to pay.
He happily said,
“It’s a wonderful day.”

I reduced prices
on tires without tread.
“For the sunglasses,
a dollar,” I said.

“They’re already mine,”
he said with a shout.
My face felt bright red
as he whirled about.

He jumped in his Blazer,
sped off in a huff
and left me standing
with all of his stuff.

© Freeda Baker Nichols

17 comments on “An Embarrassing Moment by Freeda Baker Nichols

  1. A funny story, Freeda–and great that you were able to get a poem out of it too! I have never done a rummage sale but have thought about it.


  2. I used to take my grandson on garage sale hops. We had a blast. I didn’t enjoy having them so much though, so I just donate my stuff now. I’m still tempted by the signs. Sometimes I find a treasure, but not so much anymore. I love the story and poem.


  3. Dot Hatfield says:

    Cute story and poem. I don’t have luck with yard sales. I hate to give them but love to go.


  4. Yard Sale…I’m getting ready to have one this weekend…since we had rain this past one…I say, “NEVER AGAIN” each time…but, must enjoy it…because here I am doing it again with my neighbors…so many funny incidents…and talking to all of the customers is a treat!


  5. Catherine Johnson says:

    Oh Freeda that is a fun a story and a wonderful poem. Don’t be embarrassed at all, these things happen. I’m sure I overpay when my neighbours have one because I only live next door I don’t want them thinking we are tight. By the way would you like to do Mortimer’s Minute? Have you seen it around?


  6. I’ve always wanted to do a yard sale, but end up bagging it all and taking it to the donation box. I can see myself doing the sunglasses thing. I tend to get flustered in those kinds of situations. I’d probably try to get the guy to pay for the shoes on his feet. Ha ha.
    I like your poem, Freeda!


    • Thank you, Coleen. Yard sales are an experience in many ways. I recall the first one I ever had. We lived in San Antonio. Two of my neighbors/friends came, and they were buying things, then they saw me sell one of the display tables. Both friends were shocked. One said, “I didn’t know that was for sale or I’d have bought it!” 🙂


  7. Ginger Kemp Pruett says:

    Well win some, lose some. Yard sales are fun at times, I no longer go to them, I get caught up in the cheap prices, buy things I don’t need and end up putting them in the donate box, or give them to a friend to put in her yard sale. 🙂


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