The New Year Has Begun…

Today I found myself being very lazy. I actually took a nap this afternoon and slept.

Russ and I had gotten up at the crack of dawn to go yardsaling.  Why isn’t that a proper word?

Why do we yard sale? Two reasons. To find bargains and to make a living.  However, around here, it appears everyone buys to resell. The competition is horrendous. I mean people tag team!!

You see about 25 years ago I had an affair which resulted in this awesome guy I’d had the affair with, to get in bad graces with his boss (my now ex-husband) in this business we all had together.  It was a weird crazy phase I was going through and I’ve come to regret it on numerous occasions, but appreciated it on many more. Hard to explain.

We continued working together in the business for a few years after the affair and my ex remarried this chiropractor and we all got along fine.

My ex father-in-law in the meantime had virtually turned the business over to my son-in-law who is now my ex brother-in-law (another goofy situation) Okay, I suppose I should explain so you don’t think we’re a bunch of perv’s.

What happened is that my first husband and I had divorced. My girls were 12 and 9 years of age.  I eventually married a guy considerably younger and he had an even younger brother who would later fall in love with my older daughter and marry her.

By the time I left his brother, the two brothers had pretty much taken over the business.  Their dad had retired to Las Vegas and left them to manage and run the business.  Prior to that we were all living in California planning a move to Colorado, where my  daughter and her hubby could plan a family away from the hubbub of the big city.  By now they’d been married about 5-6 years, maybe more.

Her husband, I’ll refer to him as “R”, got this great idea that we liquidate the majority of our product. He calculated that we were making 80% of our profit on 20% of our product. Do you see where this is going?  We had an import business and distributed to shops in addition to having our own catalog that those shops could order from. We were very popular because we had it all.

So an executive decision was made and we dropped 80% of our merchandise.  That in of itself didn’t kill us. The chain of events that followed were that in the move, I was sent on ahead to set the business up along with our warehouse manager.  We were alone a good while before the others came along living out of a hotel until our house closed.  But really, that had nothing to do with the business declining.

In the year that followed I shared an office with the warehouse manager and we would talk. A lot. Mostly about religion and sports. Yes, sports.

He was a total opposite of my husband. He was always doing things. Camping, hiking, skiing and just having outdoor fun. I envied his life. I married into a family that hated camping and any outdoor activity.  I never knew that and then guess what? We had boys. WE had TWO boys.  One turned out to be like his dad, somewhat of  a geek, but the other was like his mom, wanting to do things.  My feelings were that a father ought to do and teach his boys things. It didn’t happen. (BTW, my geek, loves to hike and thanked me for dragging him up his first peak. In fact, his comment? “oh mom, it’s beautiful up here)

I talked D (the father and my ex) into taking us camping one time and he insisted we sleep in the van instead of the tent on a hot summer night, because he just knew someone would come along and slit our throats in the night.  ( I know. He has some serious issues here) I told him we needed to leave the door or windows open, so he relented but by morning I awoke to find him sitting there wide eyed with a deathlike grip on a baseball bat staring at the now closed door.

I was angry.  He insisted there was someone out there all night. I argues that it was probably bears, a deer or some other critter. He insisted he saw someone!! We packed up immediately and left. We never camped again.

Next, I wanted to learn to rock climb. Here we were in the fantastic state of Colorado and I couldn’t do anything. He said,  “No, you’re a mother! You have two boys, you can’t be taking risks like that!”  He vetoed everything, except riding my bike. How could he veto that, that was our business?!

Long story short, I ran off with the manager.  Like I said, it was okay at first. Then D ended up divorced from his chiropractor wife and eventually remarried a Filipina he mail ordered and who couldn’t stand the sight of me or the idea of “getting along” with the ex wife.

But back up again, the business was not doing well. I could have told them that but then I wasn’t allowed any input. People like one stop shopping. Heck, Walmart thrives on it!!

Our biggest seller was still doing us good, but then mistake number two.  R decided he would help them establish a manufacturing plant here, so our business sponsored them to come to America and then they dropped us!  The Swiss screwed us over.

So now, our 20% is less than and we had already dropped the 80%, so what do we have to offer? We still had some of their product, but they were now competing against us and our loyal customers were going to companies they could buy more stuff from all in one place, including some of the people were sold to. Eventually, it declined to the point that they had to sell the business.

The new owners bought out other failing competitors and manufacturers and are now doing a thriving business.  My ex stayed on as an employee, while my now husband and I had to find something else to do.

At first Russ supplemented our income with reselling whatever he could find however he could find it in places he could find to sell them in until someone told him about eBay.  (Yikes! That was a mouthful.) Yes, eBay!

So yard sales has done us good for a very long time, in addition to buying closeouts at trade shows and working auctions.  At first, it was far more profitable than it is now.  What was in demand and sold for big bucks 15 years ago, has become commonplace now and as more people get into doing it, the competition keeps taking it’s toll. He is still an eBay top seller, but also does Amazon Prime now.

Today was a good day, but he’s a one man show so, no work, no money.

Me?  Up until we moved, I worked a normal day job. I hated it, but it paid the bills and gave us insurance. Like I said before, Alabama doesn’t have much to offer employment wise, but the job I did get, paid well enough.

Oh yes!  The second reason I like yard sales? I love the hunt for the bargain. I love refinishing furniture, so turning a plain piece into something unique and interesting is enjoyable. I may or may not sell it in the future. Sometimes it sits in our house until another piece comes along and takes it’s place. My style is eclectic and many people admire my distinctive renovations.

I used to also find some amazing jewelry and I don’t buy junk either, even though I will say, I have not found the selection here in Cali that I found in the south. Southern women are inclined to wear more jewelry and less reluctant to part with the their gems, either that or California women are more inclined to go to gold brokers rather that dickering with someone at a yard sale, who wants something for nothing. Can you blame them?

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