The garage sale
Further to my sartorial use-it-or-lose-it campaign, I held a garage sale at the weekend. Gerlie – a self-proclaimed expert on the subject – took on the role of campaign manager, advising me on marketing, pricing, sales strategy and product placement.
As sale day approached, and as the pile of discarded items stacked in the living room grew ever more Kilimanjaro-esque, she could barely hide her excitement.
“Madam, I ask you something?” she said three days before the sale. “I can reserve things for my friends? Some children’s toys, some clothes, handbags, necklace?”
I agreed, and then the activity stepped up another six notches. As I hung the clothes on the sale rail, Gerlie circled, checking out each and every item as she pretended to swish the mop around the floor. At lunchtimes and after work, her room echoed with the sound of frantic, staccato Tagalog – I could only guess she was doing deals with her friends over who should have which items at which price.
“Madam, I can choose things for myself, too?” she asked. Now, before you think I’m mean, I have to tell you that Gerlie gets so much stuff from me that the walls of her room are actually surplus to requirement – if they crumbled in the night, the roof would stay supported by the compressed piles of Banana Republic, DKNY and GAP she’s inherited.
“Yes, of course,” I said and, the night before the sale, six neat bags of stuff were lined up in the living room. “Three for me and three for my friends who work on Fridays,” she said, rushing off to bed ready for the Grand Opening at 8.30am the next day.
By 7.30 in the morning, I could hear the crowd outside. I felt like Michael Jackson about to play Wembley as I pottered about indoors with my coffee, psyching myself up for the onslaught. At 8.30am prompt (I am British, after all), I clicked the garage door open and, I kid you not, about 40 people ran – yes ran – into my garage, squealing with excitement.
The activity was frantic, but Gerlie came into her own, totting up people’s bills, upselling items as fast as I discounted them, packing stuff in bags and sorting out fights in Tagalog. After one hour, 90 per cent of the stuff had gone, and I had Dhs 2,200 in my pocket – even after paying Gerlie for her time.
“What a success!” I said to DH as I flopped exhausted onto the sofa.
“You should do it full-time,” he said, deadpan. “It pays more than your job.”