Buy, buy, says the sign in the shop window; Why, why, says the junk in the yard.
-Lyrics by Paul McCartney
“Don’t touch my junk!” was a popular phrase in late 2010 as the result of an audio tape released by airline passenger John Tyner of Oceanside, Calif. during a pat-down. He famously told TSA agents, “If you touch my junk, I’m going to have you arrested.” Needless to say, at yard sales you are more likely to encourage shoppers to touch your junk … and better yet, to buy it!
But then, “one man’s junk is another’s treasure” as the saying goes … not necessarily referring to the family jewels.
Recently, the Town of Big Pine hosted a community-wide yard sale with more than 40 homes participating. The turnout was spectacular. Someone once noted that only in America do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage. “Junk versus treasure” best describes Big Pine’s Community Yard Sale. Everything from boats costing several thousand dollars, motorcycles, bicycles, furniture, hardware tools, household appliances to clothing, exercise and sports equipment were on sale … and walking away in the hands of eager buyers. Who doesn’t need another exercise ball, bicycle, treadmill or trampoline to replace the one that you sold at your last yard sale?
Local Big Pine resident and realtor Andrea Kramer of RealEstate395.yolasite.com organized this year’s community-wide yard sale in Big Pine, her second. By visiting every house in town from Night Manor and Rolling Green to central Big Pine and the Big Pine Paiute Tribe Reservation, she increased participation from 28 homes last year to the 40 this year. One yard sale held at the soon-to-be reopened Big Pine Resort Cottages on Main Street was exceptionally well-organized, but at the same time, even the most disorganized yard sale did well on this day!
The Big Pine Public Library was involved as part of its local fundraising efforts, and several enterprising yard sale participants offered food and drinks. Local resident and Fourth District Inyo County Supervisor Mark Tillemans was out helping his son, Tobee, operate a refreshment stand along School Street, just outside their home in Big Pine while his wife, Jana, and younger son, Jayden, were checking out the local yard sales and exploring the other end of the retail market. It was that kind of a community event with many of the “shoppers” meeting and greeting neighbors and friends, while meeting new people and having great fun doing so.
This was a very well-organized event. At her own expense, Kramer posted red, white and blue signs on streets throughout the community pointing to the houses having yard sales and created a Facebook page and a regular website to provide information on streets that were hosting yard sales. Not one to do anything halfway, she also took out ads in the local newspapers and on local radio leading up to the community event. The efforts paid off as there were many people from other towns perusing the goods and getting a tour of Big Pine in the process.
“Big Pine is a great community to live in!” said Kramer.
One Internet website said that you can’t go wrong with a yard sale to rid yourself of all the stuff needlessly cluttering your life … or garage. It suggested several strategies for success such as deliberately putting misspelled signs outside such as “Yard Sail” on the theory that, if the seller can’t spell, he or she probably can’t count either! Another strategy is to find a sign that has already been used for something else. The front can have “Yard Sail” on it with something like “Free Kittens” or “Puppies” crossed out on the back … the equivalent of what is known as “recycling” here in Inyo County.
Another suggestion was to not cut the grass when hosting a yard sale so that shoppers might find a few surprises? such as a snake … or a Trans Am. And if you don’t get rid of everything that you are selling, just leave it outside in the yard next to the road for a few days …someone will always come along to take it off your hands.
Just put a sign alongside the stuff with the message: “Please don’t just touch my junk; please just take it!”