Fairly Spiritual: Pitching good garage sale etiquette

I have been known to frequent the occasional garage sale.

As I travel between the planned destinations of my life, there have been times when a persuasively written sign has lured me down an unfamiliar street toward the prospect of affordably priced, used bounty. For the most part, these unplanned detours have produced disappointing results. With this in mind, I propose the United Nations immediately formulate and adopt a universally accepted garage sale protocol. It is crucial the world act swiftly in this matter; the well being of my future summers hangs in the balance.

The following are some troubling trends that must be addressed in the UN Garage Sale Protocol.

Huge Garage Sale! Whenever a garage sale sign uses the word “huge” it is often touting the signage lettering, not the contents of the actual event. As a general junk resale rule, the word “huge” should not be used when the surface area of your signage is greater than the surface area of your items for sale. Logic would dictate there should be at least two items for sale for every directional sign leading people to those items.

Multifamily Garage Sale! It seems “multifamily” is used when two or more families have a sudden desire to unload all of their surplus wicker baskets, broken Christmas decorations and stained stuffed animals. Unable or too embarrassed to sustain their own sale, families join their junk together to overwhelm perusers with the shear spectacle of volume.

Would be purchasers often approach these communal yard sales with the faulty logic that quantity improves quality. “Look at all that stuff … there’s got to be something I can buy.” Unfortunately, would be buyers are soon reminded that landfills fill up for a reason. Multifamily usually refers to the number of families who will leave the yard sale disappointed and empty handed.

Garage Sale Pricing. This is a controversial issue, but it needs to be addressed. Too often individuals price their yard sale trinkets based on their original purchase price, not on their present day value. Although it might be true that when it was new you paid $100 for that stereo, it does not follow that its eight-track capability merits only a five dollar depreciation in value.

Yes, I believe you did make at least four payments of $29.99 for the pleasure of acquiring that exercise contraption. However, the supply of your Nordic Ab Cruncher seems to currently outweigh the demand. In fact, it seems to be state law that every yard sale must have at least one overpriced, “like new” fitness apparatus. Unfortunately, when it comes to exercise equipment, “mint condition” is not a good selling point. It would appear if that item still had a tremendous value, it currently would be sitting somewhere other than your front lawn. It is amazing how valuable our junk becomes once we are willing to sell it.

Actually, I love the allure of a garage sale. For the bargain hunters among us, a garage sale means possibility. Maybe we will find a hidden treasure or stumble upon an item we have always wanted but could never justify purchasing. For those struggling to make ends meet, a yard sale can become an answered prayer or at least a basic need met. Jeans for the kids, a toy for the baby, a decent lamp for the bed stand.

Garage sales keep the proverb alive that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. So we keep dreaming, “Maybe this time, I’ll find something of value.”

I realize what I value most in life is considered worthless to many. My heart’s desire is to let God lead me in all that I am. I believe God loves me and he loves you. Therefore, it is my life’s goal to let God’s love flow through me. This is why I pastor Evergreen Foursquare Church and why I write this column. For some, my work is just a bunch of spiritual junk. For me, it is treasure to be shared.

Too often the church seems like just another sign along the road, promising “huge” benefits only to provide “huge” disappointment. Even so, my sincere hope is that my best work might possibly stir within you a renewed understanding of your tremendous value to God. The value of your life does not depreciate in the eyes of God.

Doug Bursch is the pastor of Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets Sundays at 10 a.m. at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.yesevergreen.org or evergreenlife@mac.com.