Wednesday, March 04, 2015

‘I’m back’ - wheeling and dealing on the Internet



Our development had a community garage sale this past fall. For the first time in the seven-plus years we’ve lived here, my wife and I finally decided to participate. It did not go well.

We sold a step stool and some kids DVDs, and we realized a few weeks later we could have used the step stool. That was it. Near the end of the allotted garage sale time, it was a cool, very fall-like 99 degrees, and I sweat as I lugged everything back inside, the loose change I had received for “Veggie Tales: Lord of the Beans” jingling in my pocket.

We had stored everything in our guest bedroom, but with a slew of guests on the horizon, my wife thought I should try to sell some of the items individually on our community garage sale Facebook page. I was already very upset at our community for not buying our very nice items in person, but I had few other options. Spite does not lead to sales, as they say. Probably.

You may or may not recall that I successfully sold a workout power tower on this community FB page not long ago. Rather than give me the confidence to sell again, I was more inspired to retire, to go out on top like Michael Jordan when he retired the first time after, metaphorically, selling a power tower of basketball feats. But now I was called back into action and, not unlike Michael Jordan when he unretired a second time, my first order of business was to sell some Asian-inspired lamps.

Nobody wanted our lamps. Not even a “like” on my picture. (Not that I ever understood that. Oh, you “like” that blender. Then why don’t you BUY IT, FREAK?) Acknowledging the lack of diversity in our development, my wife lamented that I described them as “Asian-inspired” even though that was the truth, and wondered if I would have been better off listing them as “American lamps” or “freedom lights.” Basically what I’m saying is that I couldn’t sell my lamps because everyone else is racist.

Weeks went by, and my lamps post languished, falling deeper and deeper into obscurity. Making matters more frustrating was the frequency and alarming popularity of posts that surfaced that had nothing to do with selling anything. “ISO a hairstylist who ain’t too $$$” received 11 likes and eight comments. “Does anyone know what happened at Safeway??? Saw two cop cars there” received three likes and 28 comments. And, of course, “Would anyone be interested if I was making and selling lactation cookies?” received two likes and three comments. And hey, I like a good lactation cookie as much as the next guy, but WHAT ABOUT MY LAMPS?

Amazingly, just when I thought all hope was lost, someone did want our Asian-inspired lamps, like two months after I posted it, because they remembered them from the actual garage sale. It was a weird Facebook page MIRACLE. Never have I been so thrilled to accept a mere fraction of the original cost of an item due to my wife’s stylistic whims! 

Yes, we are currently going for a rustic beach suburb chic, Pottery Barn meets Country Living aesthetic. And while I totally made that up, one thing that decor obviously doesn’t call for is Asian-style lamps. Or a faux leather ottoman, which is something else I sold on the FB page. One like and 15 comments on that baby. Fifteen. People were calling “next” even after it was sold, and I wondered where all these Johnny-come-latelys were when that dang ottoman was sitting in a hot driveway for four hours. NO MATTER.

Point is, I am wheeling and dealing this family back into a usable guest bedroom. And this might be the lactation cookies talking, but I feel like I could sell the guest room itself if it wasn’t nailed to the floor. Wait, is it? I am going to check.

Note: This column appears in the 3/5 issue of The Glendale Star and the 3/6 issue of the Peoria Times.

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