The Fountain Pen, Guelph's On-Line News

Garage Sale Season is Here

Web posted on March 16, 2016

A Curmudgeon's View

For me, the first outdoor garage sale marks the fist official day of spring. With all the nice weather it was no surprise that there would be an early start to the garage sale season. There were several sales last Saturday, and I went to a couple that looked interesting. Even though it was a cold start to the day, it was great to be out on the hunt again.

There are a fair number of indoor events at churches early in the season, and they are always worth attending. The first of these is always held at Harcourt Memorial. I look forward to being there on Saturday, and if the weather turns out to be nice, I am sure there will be a few sales posted before the end of the week.

This is also March Break, so be careful of the little ones out there. We also have St. Paddy's Day which has become a major celebration for the university crowd these days. If you must enjoy the green libation of your choice, do so responsibly and don't drive.

I have been going to garage sales for many years and have been frustrated by both buyers and sellers. I am about to weigh in with some thoughts, suggestions, and frustrations. I hope that they might help make it a more pleasant experience for everyone.

Let's start with the people having garage sales. When I am looking at garage sale ads, the first thing I want to see is your address. After I know where you are, I want to know what your hours are. I also want to know if you are going rain or shine. This is very important. I really hate it when I show up, and there is no sale. If there is a rain event of Biblical Proportions, I won't be out. On the other hand if there is light or intermittent rain, I will be out. If you do wimp out, don`t expect me to come back. Yes, I do keep records, yes I profile every ad, and yes I look you up on street view. I have found that some neighbourhoods seem to have more of the stuff I am looking for than others. Then I want to know some specific items. The more information you give the easier it is for everyone. People looking for baby stuff won't be interested in stuff left over from your renovation.

Here are some don'ts. The minute I see "something for everyone," it tells me from experience that you are either too lazy to list what you have for sale, or you have a lot of junk. Don't put a whole bunch of ads in Kijiji. One ad is just fine thank you very much. If you are having a neighbourhood garage sale, have one person to post the ad and list all the participating homes. It is seriously irritating to see multiple ads for the same sale. Do not place a teaser ad early in the week with no address. This will guarantee that I will not be attending your sale. STOP WASTING EVERYONE'S TIME. I also check the Tribune for ads. If I don't see an ad, your sale is invisible to me while I am driving around. I spend time on Friday nights carefully planning out my route. I am not a big fan of advertising well in advance of your event unless it is something out of the ordinary or special. Putting your ad up on the Monday before your sale is just fine.

So, there are I am on Saturday morning, driving along and see one of those bright red Garage Sale signs. There in that little white space are what look like detailed driving directions to the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine in Arizona. Do you really expect someone driving by to be able to read any type of directions? I have seen larger fine print on coupons. I think that Superman would have trouble reading some of these signs. All you need to do is have an arrow pointing in the appropriate direction. Also, put the signs well before the turn, at least three hydro poles. What's the point of putting up a sign when there is no possibility of a driver being able to make the turn without causing an accident.? Think of your signs as bread crumbs leading people to your sale. The more signs, the better. Don't be cheap, and keep it simple. If you do use the brightly coloured Bristol board, address and arrow only. While on the subject of signs, take down the "effing" sign before sunset. If you have the time to put the sign up, you have time to take it down. I don't like driving around in the dead of winter seeing your sign from last June still up. There are probably signs out there that are several years old. Even though I do have a laminated map with my route marked, the signs do help.

It would be nice if the speed limit were reduced to 30 kph on all residential streets from the first week in April, to Thanksgiving weekend between 8 AM and Noon. Starting at 8 in the morning is nice and civilized. While I am up with the sun, it takes me a while to get going in the mornings. Trust me, I am not one of your early birds.

To be continued....

By Les Enekes

Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.

Other Stories of Interest

Our Curmudgeon Will Be Missed
( July 07, 2017 )

The Ultimate Conspiracy Theory
( June 22, 2017 )

Our Bundled Universe
( June 15, 2017 )

Naming Rights, Sponsorship and Sports
( June 08, 2017 )

June Daze Political Daze and Some News
( June 05, 2017 )