Last weekend I did something I’ve never done before – held a garage sale. We are renovating next year, so decided to clear out our home and office, as I now work virtually and no longer need the 6 staplers and 3 hole-punches that I’ve kept in storage since we closed the office.
My bride is a big fan of Lee Mathews clothes – so much so, I want to meet Lee’s kids as I’m sure we’ve put them through private school. My bride decided to have her own clearance of said clothing range as part of the sale. We live on the northern beaches of Sydney and Lee is a well known local designer.
To promote the sales event (to quote current automotive jargon – it’s now a sales event, not just a sale) I used a combination of letterbox drop, classified ads in the local paper, email to contacts and street posters nailed to telegraph poles at 5am on the day.
We started our day at 4.15am thanks to a damn exotic screaming bird in the neighbour’s tree opposite. Though it was a blessing in disguise as we had so much stuff to organise. The professional garage sale trawlers started arriving at 6.45am. Apparently tradie’s tools are in hot demand, as they get stolen so much.
My street posters used a number of headlines – two included Lee Mathews as the first words. I put a number up in both directions on the main road leading to our home. Being the good marketer I asked people if they had seen our ad in the local paper or the street posters.
Most hadn’t seen the ad, but they had seen our street posters and of course our neighbours saw the letterbox leaflet, because they told us so. A number of women turned up for the Lee Mathews clothes and then rang girlfriends to let them know – nothing like a bit of real-time social media.
It turned into a community event, as some of the local kids set up a fresh lemonade and muffin stand out front. Neighbours dropped in for a chat and there was lots of negotiating as everything from kids games to surfboards, fridges, clothes, books and other stuff changed hands. Though I still have all the office furniture.
The day was long though, particularly as for some strange reason we invited friends to come for dinner that evening. So we had to close down the sales event, pack up the leftovers, remove the posters and then go shopping for dinner. I offered our guests a free stapler but they weren’t interested.
Early Sunday morning, in much pain from all the lifting and carrying the previous day, not to mention the wine over dinner, I was making breakfast. I heard some noise out the front and went to investigate. To my surprise there was a half-naked granny on the balcony trying on the remaining Lee Mathews dresses.
I apologised for spying her in her bra and she apologised back for interrupting our morning. Apparently she only just read the classified ad and was worried she’d missed the sales event! The long tail of classified advertising had prevailed.
So I made her coffee while she used our front window as a mirror, completely oblivious to the rest of the world. Barb’s her name and she is quite the character, as well as a grandmother of 10. I’m suspecting she was possibly a hippie in her day. She was in great physical shape and that’s all I’ll say on that.
My bride helped her try on clothes and after almost an hour she walked away with a bargain, as these were the clothes that didn’t sell, so were going to charity.
As a single bloke I probably dreamed of waking up and finding strange half-clad women on my balcony. I never thought it would be a cool grandmother on her way to Sunday church.
Maybe we shouldn’t donate those clothes just yet? Where are those street posters?