Yard Sale Mom

By Matt Damon, in honor of Mother’s Day (not that Matt Damon)

I’ve always been a fan of yard sales and typically stop by any that have unstained furniture or mounds of decent books. I try to avoid those that look like someone just threw all their junk on a few fold-up card tables in the hopes of getting a few bucks for meth.

Humans love cheap crap!

This habit, like so many, was most likely passed on in the “yard sale gene” I inherited from my mother. She’s a yard-sale-obsessed post-menopausal phenom. Having grandchildren (my kids, for those keeping score) has turned her into an out-of-control monster each weekend from May to September. Is there such a thing as a possessed she-werewolf that comes out only on weekends for yard sales? I say “yes”, with great force and somewhat furious anger.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to receive package after package, shipped for $12 and filled with $2.50 worth of clothes for our two daughters. As my mom likes to say upon finding the Holy Grail of all yard sale kids’ clothing hauls: “It still has the tag on it!”

That, in my mind, means that:

1. The seller buys too much crap for their kids

2. The clothes are so weird that no kid would wear them, or

3. They’re stolen.

Regardless, without fail, I get a package each week along with a call detailing the history and a full description of how each item was obtained. My mother is particularly proud of anything that has a recognizable name brand such as Polo, Old Navy, Wrangler, or worst of all, The Children’s Store. Why would anyone pay a premium for such an unoriginal brand name?

After years of pulling in retread threads, I have a system. After opening the package with mock excitement, I pass the contents to my wife because it’s summer now and I’d just as soon let my kids run around naked, thus saving valuable dressing time. I then have her point out a few salvageable items, and I call my mom to tell her I thought they were cute as a button.

A typical conversation goes like this:

Me: “Thanks for the cute polka dot dress you got for Violet, mom.”

Mom: “Oh, you know…me and Judy went yard-saling (a real verb) this weekend and I saw that dress and thought it was just the cutest thing. And I walked up to it and the tag said 4T and I thought it would fit Violet and it’s summer time so it would be great because little girls wear dresses in the summer. And then I looked and it still had the tag on it!!! Can you believe it? It still had the tag on it! And it’s from The Gap. Talk about high end. I asked how much the lady wanted for it and she said a buck, but I asked if she’d take 50 cents and she said yes. Not too bad for your old mom, eh?”

Me: “…” (I’ve since put phone down and been checking my email)

Mom: “Matthew?”

Me: “Oh, sorry, I was just mesmerized by Violet in her new dress. She really likes it. Thanks so much.”

Mom: “Great! There’s another package on the way…”

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Comments

  1. Linda Damon (yard sale mom) says:

    Dear yard sale son,
    How fitting that your first outing at 10 days old was to a yard sale. I didn’t waste any time instilling the thrill of the hunt into you and if we’re lucky, Violet and Stella will have inherited it too.
    And what mother doesn’t dream of being memorialized on Mother’s Day with an ode to her yard saling prowess? It doesn’t get any better than that!
    P.S. There’s a package on the way–(just kidding)
    Lots of love always, Mom

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