Every year, on the first Saturday in May, our neighborhood association sponsors an area-wide garage sale by placing an ad for it in all local publications and distributing flyers about it to all homes. All a household has to do is collect saleable items and bring them outside to sell. Last year, it was a big success: about every third house on our street and the next street over had a garage sale on, and there was a constant stream of browsers looking for bargains. It was a successful garage sale for us, and we had a good time hanging out with our neighbors. This year, we didn’t have much to sell: just a few DVDs and some outgrown children’s items, but we figured we’d take the opportunity to sell them off on this day.
By 8 am, we had a table of our stuff out by the curb, and put out garage sale signs at the end of our street. Even though the sale had been advertised at beginning at 7 am, no one else was doing a garage sale. Even worse, there were absolutely no customers driving past. In fact, the street was oddly quiet altogether: people weren’t even walking around, as they usually do. Our next door neighbor came out to spray some weeds, and a neighbor from across the street came over to say hi and talk about the roses, but the bargain hunters of yesteryear were simply nonexistent. We checked local publications and confirmed our neighborhood association had indeed placed an ad, and that it was on for today.
We could only speculate why this neighborhood wide garage sale had been such a bust. Had our neighbors successfully sold off their extraneous possessions last year? Are garage sale mavens not as willing to drive around, given the record high prices of gasoline right now? Could Cinco de Mayo celebrations be impinging, even though San Jose’s big downtown celebration will be held tomorrow, not today, and most Cinco de Mayo parties, including the one we’re going to, don’t start until mid-afternoon at the earliest? Are garage sales suddenly passé, and we too uncool to have gotten the memo? We wish we knew, but in any case, after seeing nary a prospective customer (which has never been the case, even for unadvertised garage sales we’ve had), we took everything and put it in my car trunk for delivery to a thrift store.