Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Great and Powerful Consignment Auction

As the last Sunday of each April and September approaches, I ask myself the same question: Why the fuck am I doing this to myself?

There's a certain local supper club (with high prices by most rural standards) that hosts a mammoth outdoor consignment auction on these two days. Every year. It's a local tradition. The place is surrounded on all sides by fields, one of which is usually full of drying, rattling corn . . . and kind of creepy, since it butts right up against the auction site and is a little too reminiscent of a Stephen King story that happened to be on TV last night.

The auction is held in the grassy, weedy meadow behind the supper club. If the weather promises to be nice, people from all around haul in crap by the trailer- and truckload. Literally. There are rows upon rows of things people are hoping to unload -- from Chinese-made merde to farm implements, antiques and collectibles to common household items and large appliances. And hunting rifles. Of course, hunting rifles. Three auctioneers drive their yodel-wagons up and down the rows, trying to peddle the various wares . . . with varying degrees of success.

I take my "unwanteds" there whenever I can. If the weather promises to be nice (which it didn't last April, so I had a bumper crop of castoffs this weekend). Preparing for this event eats up the better portion of a week for me, and I pretty much get nowhere near my computer. Why? Because I try to sensibly group things into boxes and flats. I try to make sure it's all reasonably clean. I don't take folding tables to the auction, since they can be and have been boosted, so I scrounge up banana boxes from a local bent-and-dent grocery and set my items on top of these. (Why I have so much junk to get rid of is a story in and of itself. I'm not a hoarder, though, in case you're wondering.)

Then begins the packing of my car and the driving -- a three-day ordeal. On the first day, I stake my spot and set out my "table" boxes, which must be tarped lest they get wet or blown away. On the second day, I haul whatever I can cram into my Ford Escort wagon, untarp the boxes, set out my sale items, and retarp. On the third day, the day of the auction, I get up very early to get to the site before the auction begins, so I can untarp my spot and neaten it. If I have money to spend, I'll hang out and bid on a few things, chat with acquaintances, and maybe venture into the bar to catch the Packers game on TV.

Today, no. I just left. I'd had it. I was broke, my back ached, my knees ached, and I was in a generally pissy mood.

My ultimate goal? To divest my life of the ball-and-chain called clutter, move somewhere else, and live simply and happily. One of the many lessons I've learned over the years is that STUFF can really weigh you down. So take heed.


Tam said...

I'm with you. I went through my kitchen this weekend and ended up with more than two of those photocopy paper boxes full of STUFF. Some of it has been in my cupboard since I moved here 10 years ago and never used, some I just keep buying more. Everytime my daughter needs a water bottle for something we buy a new one, now I must have 6 half-assed ones, well, not anymore.

I could have a kick-ass garage sale, but its sooooo much work and not really a big thing in my neighborhood so I will hopefully just haul this shit, I mean valuable merchandise, down to the charity shop or have them come and fetch it.

We also have something here called freecyle, I know not every small community does though. You list on-line that you have free stuff to give away (I have a book case) and then people come and pick it up and give it a new home. You can choose who gets it so you can try and give it to truly needy people rather than someone you know will resell it for a profit.

Anyway, I'm with ya and if you feel so inclined to come and help me sort throught the rest of my crap I'd be forever grateful. :-)

K. Z. Snow said...

Isn't it a pain, Tam?

I always feel good when I manage to get rid of STUFF, but now I'm paying for my efforts. I obviously did something to my lower back while I was bending and lifting and toting, and today I'm really suffering -- can barely walk or even sit comfortably.

Gawd, it's been a hellish week.

Tam said...

Ouch, drugs and a mssage. Hope you feel better soon.

Jeanne said...

Hey, KZ this is too weird. We're both in pain at the same time...of course, my pain was d/t some idiot woman driving a bit too fast, but hey....

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