Will you take a dollar?

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm a self proclaimed, penny pinching frugal shopper. And I love to find creative ways to make a little extra cash, too, as long it's not illegal. Well, as long as it doesn’t hold any higher of a charge than misdemeanor.

I guess part of this attitude has sprung from necessity and part from the sheer thrill of a bargain. When I was out of work a few years back, I turned to eBay to supplement my income. I would buy items from discount stores or clearance racks and turn around and sell them for a nice profit. It actually paid my mortgage for 6 months.

I probably developed this penny-wise mentality from my mother. She always loved a good deal, whether it was at the grocery store or JCPenney's. If she found something with a flaw, she would ask for an additional discount. If she didn’t get it, she would smile and say, in Armenian, with a big smile on her face, “Shove it up your ass.”

The clerks had no idea what she was saying and probably thought it was, “Have a nice day.” Most of what I can say in Armenian involves some level of insults or cursing. Oh, and the Lord’s Prayer.

My mother thought it was hysterical. My sister decided to show off her language skills when she was 7 years old and our church priest was coming for dinner. He was having a lively discussion with my father and grandparents in the living room when my sister came running in to proudly boast, in Armenian, to Father Diran (pronounced Dee-Dahn) that we were having roast beef.

Only she didn’t tell him we were having roast beef. She told him that a hooker was coming to dinner. Now in her defense, "hooker" in Armenian and "roast beef" in English sound very similar. We learned the word “hooker” when my mother’s brother remarried.

Sorry, I got off the subject there.

So I’ve been sitting on a lot of this eBay surplus that I didn’t sell and I decided to sign up for a Community Garage Sale this past Saturday so that I could hawk my wares. This was my chance to not only clear out all this stuff that I’ve been sitting on but to make some extra cash, too.

I tried having a garage sale last year but lucky me, I picked the HOTTEST day of the year. I HATE hot weather. But I thought, okay, I live on a street with pretty high traffic so it should be a blow out. Nope. Apparently, that busy street thing works against you when you don’t have street parking.

People would slllllooowww down in front of the house until the guy behind them WHALED on their horn and then they would drive away. The few people I did get were looking for very specific things.

“Do you have any knives?”

“Nope, sorry.”

“Do you have any electronic devices?”

“Nope, sorry.”

"Do you have any chicken wire?"

"No. And get the hell off my lawn."

It was pretty easy to prepare for this sale since everything from last July was still boxed and sitting in my garage. I arrived there 30 minutes early and set out my treasures. When I was done, I wandered around the community center to see what other people were selling and came back confident that my table would do the best. I was wrong.

"Do you have any mice on a string?"

"Excuse me?"

"Mice on a string. You know, for cats to play with?"

"Um. No, sorry."

"Do you have any bottle openers?"


But I did have designer sheet sets, new pillows, dog collars, pictures and a ficus tree. Apparently, no one was looking for any of those things. I had one foreign man who picked up and examined a 50 cent, 50 CENT, soap dish. He stood there and called someone who gave him permission to buy it.

I wanted to say, "Are you fucking kidding me? It's 50 cents, asshole." But all I said was, "Thank you, have a nice day." and then I muttered "Shove it up your ass" in Armenian.

As I started packing up early (I got in trouble for this, by the way) another seller stopped me.

"I didn't see that tree. How much do you want for it?"

Desperate to get rid of this 6 foot tree, I blurted out, "Ten dollars."

"Will you take 5?"

"Sold!" I happily handed her the tree and went about hauling things out the back door next to her table. I stopped on my way back in so she could pay me and she handed it back to me.

"I just realized I have no way to get this home. It won't fit in my car."

"Where do you live? I'll drop it off!" I did NOT want to take it home again and I excitedly leaned in toward her.

A look of fear came over her and she backed up a few steps, shaking her head. "No, th-that's okay. Thanks, anyway."

C'mon...you know what I said..with a big smile on my face....."Shove it up your ass."


  1. Ok...I just want you to know that I first read this post on my google reader when I noticed that you had posted and HOWLED!!!

    Honestly Chrissy...you write FAAAABULOUSLY!

    First of all, I couldn't stop laughing at your response to the guy asking about the 50 cent soap dish. And that's because this is the kind of CRAP I have to put up with every single day with customers at my job.

    And secondly, I HATE hot weather too! I'm DREADING summer. When you live in a city, the summer heat is just horrendous. Give me below zero temperatures anytime, but I can't tolorate anything above 70 degrees.

    Hey, that's so cool you were able to make money from Ebay! Way to go!

    oooh..and one of these days you'll have to email me the Armenian words for "Shove it up your ass" because I'll start using that at work!

  2. You still have the tree? I'll give you $15....

  3. I'm thinking that maybe E-bay is still your preferred modus operandi because I could really use those pillows and a ficus. Where do you live? I could come pick it up!

    Gotta go. I'm getting laugher tears in my coffee.

  4. BTW, word verification rocks when you get words like "suckb" What's that in Aremenian?

  5. I'm consumed with curiosity. What sort of tree? How big IS your garage?

    Enquiring minds require answers...

  6. Hey Ron!

    Aw shucks, you're so good for me ego. Thanks!

    Of course you hate the heat. We WERE separated at birth.

    Glad I could provide some giggles for a Monday!

  7. Wow, it looks like we could have a bidding war on our hands over the tree.

    Okay, Sarah, I will put it on eBay as you suggested. Nancy, I'll start the bidding at one MILLION dollars.

    BIG garage, George, REALLY big. When an Amber Alert is issue, the first thing they do it check my garage.

  8. True story: A former colleague's parents live in the same New Jersey neighborhood as Jon Bon Jovi's mother. At one of their garage sales (probably 10 years ago), Jon Bon's mother was haggling over the price of a waffle iron.

    Lesson: That old guy with the soap dish probably has 10 million in the bank (or in his sock drawer).

  9. That's so funny about Bon Jovi's mother but you're right, those are the people with all the money!

  10. Excellent title for a blog. So should I!

  11. I've just noticed you like Edward Hopper too. OMG - a match made in heaven.

  12. Hi Ian!

    We could start our own members only strip club.

    Yes, I love Edward Hopper. We only have one of his paintings here at the Cleveland Museum: Hills, South Truro. Not my favorite.

    Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you again soon~


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