Saturday, June 25, 2011

Subcultures of America

Lizard Eating a Wasp

Did you know there are a number of subcultures in America today. These subcultures are making ends meet in creative ways. Some have garage sales and sell what they can to help pay for food, utilities and other necessities of life. They sell items from their home which they once used, but no longer need. Some peruse trash set out in their neighborhoods to see if they might find something for free to sell. Others read free ads to see what they might acquire to fix up and sell.

Baby Preying Mantis

There's also folks picking up items which can be sold at recycle centers for a small profit; they'll come and haul items for free such as old or non running cars, appliances, steel, aluminum, paper, glass and more. Then there are folks who regularly purchase items at garage sales for their own use, they do their shopping at garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores rather than purchasing something new from a retail store. There are others who purchase items and take them back to their own residence, perhaps fix them, or refurbish them, and resell them. Then there are folks who purchase items and take them to flea markets and sell them. There are still other folks who are dealers who frequent garage sales and flea markets and low ball the price of items so they can take those items back to their shops and make a profit.

Tortoise Crossing Our Street

At our garage sale a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet many folks in these subcultures and to learn the lay of the land so to speak. The folks who purchase items for themselves try to get the price lower but will purchase at your price if they really need it. Those purchasing items to sell at flea markets are looking for the high end merchandise such as guns, fishing gear, tools, antiques, jewelry, etc. and quickly leave if they don't find anything they can resell. Then there are the dealers who have a store front where they hope to sell your $10 diamond ring for $100. The dealers make no bones about trying to get you to sell something for practically nothing.

From what I experienced first hand too many times, the dealers offer the least for an item and they are the rudest of all the buyers. I really hate to stereotype but it has held true in most instances. Sad to say the rudest folks either don't care or don't know they are rude. Gary was selling a flashing traffic light for $70 and a woman offered $40. Gary said no, it was $70 firm. The woman kept saying $40 every few minutes not even looking at Gary as she and her friend chatted. She didn't say "will you take $40, just $40 with a sneer. Finally Gary said he wasn't selling it at all, that he liked it and was keeping it. She still kept calling out $40 to him walking out the driveway as she talked to her friend. Why haven't I made any ceramic hand sculptures with the middle finger extended? I could have given them wrapped up as a free gift to a chosen few.

The second day of our garage sale we decided to sell a few items which were left (except more valuable items we squirreled away in the garage) for a dollar. There were still folks who tried to get items for less; there were folks who had to think about spending even a dollar on an item and folks who were incredulous at something seemingly so valuable being sold for a dollar. Thank goodness for garage sale shoppers and for the incredulous folks in the subcultures of America. Thanks for all your comments.


  1. People continue to amaze me. I'm glad Gary took the light off the market in front of her. They are the ones who can afford to pay the offered price, but choose to finagle. Cheapskates, my dad used to call them, when he was feeling magnanimous. Buying from one rummage sale to stock your own feels a little odd. The picture of this country is so glum.

    I hope your weekend is off to a good start, Linda. Your street looks nice, peaceful.

  2. "Gift" sculpture with middle finger extended. *snicker. Funny.

    Everytime I think about having a yard sale, I remember this sort of thing and how last time I said, "Never again!".

  3. They say it takes all kinds. They're wrong.

  4. After my garage sale, last summer, I vowed to never, ever, ever have another one! I never saw such rude people in all my life. I had recently planted new flowers and installed a small water feature and when I asked one lady to get her child out of it, she got VerY angry and left...I say good riddance

  5. At least you came through the experience with your sense of humor intact. I keep thinking about mass marketing the finger. You'd be rich in not time at all :-). Have a great weekend.Blessings...Mary

  6. Hey Linda... you forgot to mention the brazen ones who totally steal from you... I've had many of those. Yeah not very nice to do that. I've had several sales in the past and could have another one soon, but I think about that and get discouraged. I'd like to donate the $$ to an animal rescue if I do.

    What is that little flower of our post? Lovely, it reminds me of my late Mother. She had something similar in pink, Mexican Primrose. Wondering of it's the same but in lavender/lilac.

  7. Hi Teresa, thanks, I really hate to pre-judge people, but you are correct, the ones who have their nails done, their hair coifed to perfection, are wearing designer clothes, and expensive shoes are the ones who offer the least and are the rudest in almost every instance. We do have a great neighborhood here. That tortoise walked so far I was amazed at what distances they must cover to get the food they need; like many humans nowadays.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, I say the same thing, but we could use the money and have accummulated much too much over the years we need to dispose of.

    Hi Dennis, thanks, yes a few we could do without close company, Ha.

    Hi Turquoisemoon, thanks, most folks were pretty respectful of our property and there really weren't any children so we didn't have to worry about that. We did block off our driveway so they had to park on the street as we imagined some would have driven on the grass or have done burnouts on the concrete.

    Hi Mary, thanks, you know you may have something there. I just might make a prototype and see where it goes, being art, I might not be arrested for displaying it. Ha.

    Hi Yolanda, thanks, we didn't have anyone actually steal anything here, but a couple of people say they wanted something and conveniently start to walk away without paying till we reminded them. Ha.

    That little flower was very tiny growing below the level of the grass, it may be a native Florida wild petunia. I believe there is also a Mexican wild petunia as well. The primrose has a similar flower and does come in pink. Glad the flower reminded you of your mom.

  8. I once lived in an apt complex in oregon where my kitchen window had a view of the trash dumpster. If people were throwing away something "good," they set it outside rather than in the dumpster. I scored a mini vacuum cleaner, crock pot & some good books that way. I did have the idea to collect items & then sell at a garage sale to make money... but I never followed thru. The last garage sale I had though, I made 300 bucks, even though I sold every thing way cheap! (though I wish i'd have kept that extra pair of snowshoes I sold for 5 bucks! i was going to school & desperate for cash!)
    your "flip off" ceramic sculpture idea made me chuckle!

  9. Hi Becky, thanks, we made almost $300 at our last sale and lots of it was very inexpensively sold, so that means we did have a lot of customers and other folks with little money got some good bargains too, which helps them out. Sometimes we regret selling somethings, but a bird in the hand so to speak. Ha. I might just have to make that sculpture.

    Once when we were first married we donated a couch and chair outside a drop off bin on a Sunday and a young couple drove up and asked if they could have the items, we said yes, they had just gotten married and didn't have a lick of furniture and were tickled pink.

    Here folks post on craigslist and call it curb alert, they set what they don't want out at the curb and folks drive by and choose items they want.

  10. There are always going to be people who you'd like to give that "finger" to and not just at yard sales. Glad that Gary didn't give in to that obnoxious woman. :)

  11. Hi Marguerite, thanks, yeah the finger, I think I read where someone was arrested for giving the finger to a police officer, but later it was overturned in court as it was supposed to be a form of freedom of speech, Ha.

  12. jeff and i were just talking about yard sales today... we really need to have one but on the other hand hate the thought of doing it... and what is with these yard sale shoppers starting so early in the morning? we are night owls and the thought of being out there selling our stuff at 8 am is enough for us to keep putting it off!

  13. Hi Michele, thanks, the earlier the better for us, before the day heats up. Around here Fridays are the better day, even at the flea markets. No matter what time you tell folks those real bargain hunters show up earlier, you can't blame them for that. There are some real characters out there, you just have to have a thick skin for those not so nice people, but there are some really nice folks too.

  14. Oh you should be selling those middle fingers......I'll give you a dollar for one! :)!HEHE...

  15. Oh boy, I did get a chuckle out of your post and all the comments. So true! I stopped participating in our two neighborhood garages sales per year. Just got tired of that aggravation. You're so right about those dealers, the rudest.


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