Monday, April 25, 2011

insights from selling

I have to wonder sometimes. Does selling stuff sound like a fun hobby? Cuz, it's not.

It's actually pretty draining.

The great thing is, this Friday we will take our stuff downtown to sell for the last time (hopefully!). I took stuff out into our front yard to sell today... now I just need to load it all into the van so it is ready for our Friday sale (I know Friday sounds a ways off... but with Rey being gone the next couple of days, I won't be selling again--and he won't have much time between getting back and going to sell, so...).

It will feel good to get that huge pile of stuff out of my house forever!

The thing about selling, is it has a way of really revealing what people are like deep down inside. Often, I'd rather not know.

Like the young hip-looking lady who handed me a pile of clothing she wanted to purchase. Only problem is, she'd switched all the price tags. Shirts that had been marked as being $2-3, she had switched to $0.50--every single one of them. I just sighed and told her how sorry I was that someone had switched all the tags and proceeded to tell her the correct prices.

Or the lady that brought me up 2 pairs of shoes--each were marked around $3. "If I buy both of them, will you give them to me for $4?" she asked. "Sure," I said. I then saw her with one pair of shoes, telling Rey that I'd told her she could have it for $2. I told Rey the deal had been if she bought 2 pairs of shoes, and then the woman went into some rant trying to cover herself.

Or, the lady that was rapping on my gate this afternoon. I'd been out back hanging up laundry. Her daughters had been at the gate just a few moments before, wanting to see the puppies. I had showed them the puppies and chatted for about 15 minutes before saying farewell and trying to get the houeswork done. So, I'd heard noise at the gate, but thought it was still the girls looking at the puppies. When I came around front, the adult neighbor looked angrily at me. "With all this time you've left me here standing, I might as well just leave." Well, then.

There are tons of people who just plant themselves in front of me, huffing and puffing when I tell them we don't have the item/size they are looking for. As if staring angrily at me for a long enough period of time will change the facts.

Selling here in our neighborhood is worse, since here everyone knows each other and is trying to outdo the other.

There is one neighbor who had been rummaging through the things for about 30 minutes. Not buying. Just poking. I remembered that a friend of mine had asked me to look for some things in her size. Not having anything to do, I started looking through what we had. I pulled out a shirt and carried it into the house. "Oh!" shouted the neighbor, "I want that shirt!" I told her I was sorry, it wasn't for sale--but pointed out a very similar one still out. "No," she moaned, shaking her head, "The other one is much prettier." A few minutes later, I found a skirt in my friend's size, and carried it into the house. "Wait! I want that skirt!" she yelled. We repeated the above scenario, with her commenting, "You are taking away everything I want."

Seriously, lady? Seriously? There are still like over 1,000 pieces of clothing out there and your day is ruined because 2 items were subtracted? Sigh.

Same neighbor is still rummaging when her niece's mother-in-law & sister-in-law come walking by (yeah, try to picture the connection.). The MIL mentions that she likes the folding tables we were using for the clothing. Were they for sale? Rey said maybe. She pointed out a few other things she liked and walked on by.

I was trying to telepathy to Rey that we did NOT want to sell these table in this neighborhood, because I could just feel that they'd be the root of a lot of problems. Before Rey received the message, the first neighbor pounced on him. "Don't sell those tables to anyone but me. Here, here," she said, jamming $25 in his hand, "Now they are set aside for me!" Rey innocently said ok and kept smiling. I was not smiling.

Then, this lady's nephew's wife came by. She is very sweet, about my age, with an almost-2-year-old daughter. She almost always buys household stuff from me, which makes me think she is just trying to get her house set up.

She looked through our towels and blankets and then asked if we had any tableware. Rey said that later we would, right before we left. She said ok.

No sooner had she left than you-know-who sidled up and hissed in my ear, "You let me buy all the tableware stuff you have. Plates, cups, silverware. You tell me first."

My smile was more of a grimace, I'm sure, as I wordlessly moved away from her. (And don't worry--her niece is getting all the good stuff. That's just how I roll.)

What a woman.

Ok, to tell the next part of this drama, I have to back up a bit. Remember the MIL and her daughter that first mentioned the tables?? Ok, well the MIL is a bent over elderly woman that always is out and about with her daughter Elvira, who is probably around 30 and unmarried.

They are a pretty "special pair" themselves. When we sold off our furniture, we put a sign out on our fence saying what items were for sale and the prices. Elvira and her mama were about the first ones to come running.

They wanted to see everything that was for sale and would moan and rebuke me for whatever item was not for sale. "Why did you sell your bed to someone else?? You should have saved it for me. At least sell me your quilt!" They literally took themselves into every room and poked through everything--seeming only to want items that were already sold. In the end, they asked me to sell them 2 of our larger bookshelves, our microwave, our garden hose, our full-length mirror, and our quilt. I showed them 2 smaller bookshelves, but they said nothing. They left about $10 as a down payment and left.

The next day, some neighbors come and bought the small bookshelves, saying they would come back for them.

That night, Elvira and her mom came back, rapping on our gate.

When the conversation starts with, "We are about to have a fight with you," you know it's going to be good. They then commenced complaining, whining and accusing that they had wanted those smaller bookshelves and they had found out that someone else had bought them. Although I knew this to be untrue, I could not convince them--and they literally whined about it the next 3 times they came to make payments. "Ohhhh, I am still wishing for those small bookshelves.... Ohhhh, señora, how could you have done that to us???,.... Are they really gone??" My tongue was nearly bitten in half.

So, these special people are the ones who had asked about the tables. The night that the other neighbor had made her deal with Rey, Elvira and her mom come streaking back. "Hoooowwww could your husband do this to us?? We specifically said, 'Sell those to us. Those are ours. We want them' and he sold them to someone else." Since I'd been there, I knew that was a lie, but I just pointed out that they already had a pretty huge debt with us, and business-wise, it wouldn't work out to put more on their account. They calmed down pretty quick.

There you have it. Don't you just want to start selling stuff right now??

Speaking of selling stuff, we are pretty bare in these parts. Don't have a table to eat on, a couch to sit on, dressers to put our clothes in or chairs to sit down on. Our curtains are gone and we are down to about 3 cups and 5 plates. Our clothes are in boxes, and we are sitting on the floor or on buckets. Our computer is propped up on two boxes, books are in boxes. So, I feel like we are in a sort of limbo right now. Rey says he feels a lot more tired at night, because there is no where comfortable to sit! haha.

Yesterday, after church, we ended up having about 20 unexpected guests for lunch from one of the farming communities Rey goes to. So, they come to this uptown house--which I'm sure looked nice... and bare! We ate off of the folding tables and sat on plastic stools we use for ministry. Afterwards, I was chatting with one of the ladies--and tried not to laugh as she explained to me: "I am noticing you don't really have much furniture. And it's funny, because we rancheros are really into furniture, and I guess you all don't really like it that much..." It just cracked me up that she made it a "city"-"country" observation.

The most interesting thing to me though has been the item I have missed the most (and I'll bet the neighbors do too!): Mirrrors! We have one mirror that is about 6" wide in the bathroom. We used to have one of those rectangular mirrors next to our dresser which was a big help for getting dressed. I didn't realize how many times a day I'd unconsciously glance at it (and realize I had applesauce down my shirt or dirt smudged on my face). Now, when I get dressed, I then run out into the front yard to check the windows to see if the outfit matches. Haha. Poor neighbors.

Wow. That was a long ramble.

Now, I need to go load up the van with all this stuff. Yay for selling!! :)


  1. Wow. You are soooo lucky! : ) How many times have I said that so far?!
    Great stories!

  2. You always make me smile. I love your rambles and they are never too long for me!


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