Rambling over coffee: I hate garage sales. And apparently I stopped a woman from stealing about $200 of name brand childrens clothes from mine.

Sipping my coffee this morning, I clicked on a site that lets retail workers tell their tales of customers that were funny, crazy, stupid or difficult.  As I'm reading through them there is one about a woman who was buying a couple food items; paid her money minus one quarter, but grabbed her food and started to walk out.  When the cashier said "Excuse me, but you still owe me another quarter" the woman said "I know! I'm getting it."  But the cashier obviously said, "Well you can't take the product out the door until it's paid for."  So the woman came back, tossed the food down and asked for her $4 back she had already paid and in a small tirade, refused to buy anything and left.

Now, although she MIGHT have been intending to take her food, leave the restaurant, go out to her car, get a quarter and come back in...  most normal people that would have to do that would leave the food and actually SAY something to the effect of "Oh! I'm short a quarter.  There is one in the car, I'll be right back!"  And obviously, they wouldn't take their food yet; as it's not paid for.

So when reading this, I immediately said to myself, "Yeah... she wasn't going out to get a quarter.  She gave the cashier $4 in quarters, took her food and was leaving. She had no intention of fully paying for it."

And that is where this post come from... because it triggered a memory for me.


I absolutely hate garage sales and everything to do with them.  I don't hold them.  I don't go to them.  But I have held couple in the past, although it was many years ago.

One of my friends lived in a town about 30 minutes away from me.  She wanted to hold a garage sale and begged me to take part so she would have more things to sell and display.  I agreed, and brought over many items, including children's clothing, as I had two kids at the time.

The sale was held in her fenced back yard.  We had signs out front, and the backyard gate was propped open for people to walk through and shop but we couldn't see out front to the street without walking through the gate and standing on the side or front of the house.

Here is just a smattering of some of the irritating things that morning that make me hate garage sales ...

  • "Will you take a quarter for this?"  "No, I'm sorry, it retails for about $65 and I have it marked just $2.  Prices are as marked."  "So you won't take a quarter?"  "No."
  • And a woman asking to go into the house to 'try this on' (and then upset when my friend had me accompany her and wait, who apparently was so angry that we didn't allow her to go into the house and stay in the house ALONE?) threw a fit and tossed the clothing aside and marched off.  (Who let's a perfect garage sale stranger into their family home all alone to possibly steal things? Why would she care if I waited in the kitchen for her while she supposedly just wanted to use the bathroom to try something on?)
  • The woman who bypassed the display tables, going behind them to where our chairs were, lifted up the table cloth we had draped over the table to hide our personal items on the ground, like water bottles and snacks, empty boxes, and boxes of things not being sold,  - digging underneath and started to pull out some of the items I had left in the box [which I had also scribbed on with a black marker that said NOT FOR SALE] as they were... not for sale.  She pulled out an item, and when I saw her going through our personal things I hurried over to let her know those personal items weren't for sale!  She launched into a tirade against me.  I had to point out that is why they were in the bottom of box, with our personal lunch and snacks, under a table, covered with a tablecloth and next to our chairs.
Anyway!  So a young woman comes walking in and was carefully going through the kids clothing.  She kept glancing our way, then towards the gate leading to the street, then would walk another step, touching more items and looking around again.

Finally, she had her arms full of very nice kids clothes that included a boys almost brand new winter coat, name brand jeans, snowpants, and a few other very nice clothing items - all 'big' brand names.  She approached me and instead of getting ready to purchase her items, she told me she was looking for items for her sister's child and although she liked them, she needed to show them to her sister 'first' before buying them.

I smiled and figured either her sister was on her way, was one of the women already walking around, or that she wanted me to 'hold' them for her for a bit while she went to get her???


The young woman told me her sister was "in the car out front" and she was going to take all the items out with her to show them to her sister and then would come back to pay for them.

I wanted to be polite and understanding so I said, "Oh sure!  Ok."  And as she started to walk out of the yard with the items, I quickly fell into step next to her, to accompany her (and all my items!) to the front, where her sister was 'parked' and waiting.

She was surprised I was coming with her and immediately started telling me I didn't have to do that.
"That's ok!"  I smiled and kept walking with her.
She sped up.  Talking quickly and repeating herself that she was JUST going to show her sister, and I didn't need to follow her.  That she would be right back!

As we got to the front yard, a red car that was *not* parked in front of the house, but was idling in the street about 1/2 a block down, started to slowly creep forward as she emerged from the back of the house with her arms full of children's clothing.  The car, with two adult women in it, slowly crept forward, while the woman with me kept looking behind her, at me, watching me.

The car pulled up and the two women inside were staring at me, glancing at the young woman and then back at me. The young lady with all my children's clothing in her arms bent over at the passenger side window, said something to them and then all three looked back at me again.

Suddenly the woman turned, came storming back towards me and tossed all the clothing on the ground at my feet.  She announced angrily that she didn't want to buy any of the clothing after all as I "didn't trust her" and had "followed her out to the car!"

She turned and RAN back to their little red car, jumped in and the car squealed its tires as it sped away down the street.

From the looks of it, I had interrupted their plan to steal all the name brand kids clothing she had carefully chosen and left the sale yard with to  'ask her sister' about.