Not Your Mother’s Yard Sale

where you can get everything you ever wanted

where you can get everything you ever wanted

Yard Sales in 2015- no more leaving the house, navigating narrow streets with lines of cars, trying to find who to pay, turning around because you missed a street, or holding up traffic trying to find an address.

Facebook has changed it all. Ballantyne Bargains, Upscale Yardsale in Charlotte, Fort Mill’s Do Drop in Buy & Sale, and Blakeney Bargain Sales. “Your town and bargains and sales” has changed it all.

If you haven’t seen these groups I will both explain and apologize to your loved ones upfront.

You find a group in your area. Every area has at least one or it could have 30. There are some that have a small following and there are some that have thousands of followers. Once you find one you ask to join. Then, you wait hours or days, who knows, until you are APPROVED to be a member. Once in the door, the sky is the limit. Hundreds of items are yours to view. Everything from salt shakers to purses to used shoes and couches and dressers. Some are in better shape than others and some are NEW IN BOX.

To start, you shop. And to shop you need to know a few phrases.
INTERESTED – you are the FIRST comment and you are asking to buy
NEXT – you are 2nd up to 130th in line if the people in front of you bail
BUMP – the seller wants to move it to the top of the feed because no one bids
PM – someone wants to give you information via private messaging

the card catalog that the Editor and Chief said is awesome

the card catalog that the Editor and Chief said is awesome

SO, you start to look at the hundreds of items at your fingertips. For me, it was a guitar with an amp and case that was $30. I was 5th in line and added my “NEXT” in the comments. I watched for the whole day. The next morning the post was deleted and I did NOT get the guitar. A few days later, I saw another guitar go up for $50. It was posted 15 minutes ago and I was the 9th “NEXT”. If only I had my A-game on and was paying attention. I lost that bid, too. I then had to look every 5 minutes. Next time, I will be the first and won’t let one slip past. So begins the 24 hour watch. As soon as you wake up, you look. If you wake up at 3 AM, you look. If you are at a stop light, you look. “NO ONE will beat me on the next guitar, I swear it!” I never got a guitar and the truth is…I don’t even need one. But, for $30, well….that’s the other side of this nightmare.

Women and this site are another story. Soon, there will be men at groups in church basements talking about these sites and how they cope. Like my guitar, a good woman cannot turn down a great deal. Hours are spent looking and measuring and showing their partners pictures. Hours are spent in bed, on the couch, or at a restaurant looking for that perfect deal. Unlike me, my girl is always the “INTERESTED” bidder and her phone is constantly binging with that “PM” giving details that include everything from measurements, stains, addresses, times, dates, renegotiations and agreements. My calendar has 20 updates a day for pickups. Now, I am a man of the 2000s and have issues with a woman meeting people at their home or parking lot to get a dresser or chair or plates. We all know that’s dangerous and if I am home, well, I should either go with her as a bouncer or just go it alone. So, I am now 1 guy and a truck all weekend and some weeknights.

The meetings are awkward. It feels like a drug deal or prisoner exchange (not that I would know first-hand, but you get the point). I expect Liam Neeson to be calling me and meeting me in an ally. I get told to meet at Panera Bread and that they will be in a blue Nissan or the ATM by Target, etc. I show up and they show up. We check the merchandise in their trunk or SUV and money is exchanged and we go our separate ways. One lady had 3 people meet her at one place; we all stood around until she showed up and gave us all our items. You can meet at a home, too. Some are waiting and others make you ring the bell and stand awkwardly waiting. Some items are in the garage and ready to load and others are piled with junk like you surprised them showing up when you agreed. Either way, there is some small talk and sometimes a back story, and everyone is happy and goes their separate ways.

What I know is this: For every site you join, you learn there are 9 others that things are CROSS POSTED on; meaning you and someone else can both be “INTERESTED” in the same item and have no idea. It may be $10 cheaper on another site. So, you have to join all the sites. Now, I literally have 150 NEW items added to my news feed every 10 minutes. No one can keep up with that.
There are also “ISO” people. These folks want something and just can’t find it so they are “In Search Of” said items. You can’t get any lazier than this. Most of the time the item they are “ISO” is no less than 10 items below their post. The term is wonderful for that rare item, but for a washer and dryer that’s posted no less than 3 different sellers a day…”GET OFF MY FEED, please!”

the $30 guitar

the $30 guitar

Be warned, there are strict rules on all of these sites that must be followed. Rule breakers do get banned. And just as we would tell our children, the rules are there to help us. For example, if you post more than one picture…comments could be all over the place thus creating more than one “line” of bidders. Also, be prepared to see ridiculous items listed (just this week someone was selling a lot of various styled condoms…really???) or outrageous prices that no one has time for. These inevitably are also the same posts that get “BUMPED” so often that you just want to buy the annoying thing just to get if off your feeds!

I have not parked my car in the garage in 3 weeks. I have 2 tables (the first one was perfect, but the other one came with chairs), 2 dressers, 6 chairs, one arm chair, a microfiber couch and a tiny desk. I am now buying items on the cheap and painting them with that chalk paint everyone raves over and selling them for more than what I got them for. I have a couch that once I got it home was in awful repair and needs to be burned. I have driven into every neighborhood within 30 miles and looked in countless trunks of cars.

I will say I have scored an amazing card catalog piece that cost me way less than it was worth, but weighed more than a piano when I picked it up. It also made our Editor and Chief extremely jealous (so I know it was an awesome purchase). I spend hours on the site myself and it is a family addiction. I do the lifting, repairing, driving and painting. Clearly, only the easy parts of the process are for me.

Processed with RookieThis cult is quietly creeping up on America. I can’t imagine what spring cleaning the garages and summer will add to this fetish. Maybe I should open a business to resell the things we fix and/or paint. I have met countless men who just shake their heads and say, “She keeps buying and selling things. I hope she gets tired of it soon. See you next time, man”. Then, they climb into their cars and go to the next meeting site.

Winning the bid is like being on The Price Is Rite. It feels great and is addicting. What will come of this new trend and how long will it last?

I am excited to see everyone who is learning about this today and can’t wait to meet your husbands or you in a parking lot at 7 pm somewhere at the Arboretum for this beautiful little dresser I painted that I just got 3 days ago and have loaded 4 times in and out of the car.

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BJ Witkopf

BJ Witkopf

Divorced dad of 2, live with my girlfriend with her 2 kids I am an active dad that is involved in everything the kids do. I make time where there isn't any and don't miss a thing. We play hockey and soccer and dance. I am trying to learn to be an artist and writer and dad and good employee all at the same time. it isn't always easy but in the end everyone is happy.