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A Community-Wide Yard Sale


   My community held its annual community-wide yard sale this weekend. Sellers paid $25.00 for a booth and buyers paid a dollar to get in for a chance to shop. Vendors of all descriptions came in the day before and set up their micro-stores. Some people used old shopping carts to haul their products into the vacant old store that served as the marketplace.

   Observing both sellers and buyers for two days reminded me of how these events tell us a lot about ourselves, our neighbors and our community. People came and participated for different reasons. Some came to dispose of the clutter from closets and garages. Some parted with special possessions of value in order to earn some needed funds for their family. Most shoppers were just curious, looking for that ‘diamond-in-the-rough’ or unsuspecting treasure – turning a five dollar investment into a Sotheby auction collectible.

   Many sellers wound up purchasing more than they sold, not a solid business model. Most people just loved to see the unique stuff that people have and are willing to part with for a price. Some folks were there because they were lonely and wanted to interact with others. New friendships are made at yard sales because there is something intimate about buying the personal possession of a complete stranger.

   Yard sales are real life. We can only sell what we have obtained. We all need neighbors to buy from us and sell to us. We never get what we want, but usually what we need. We always have to give something up in order to obtain what we want. And one person’s junk becomes another person’s treasure. And while some have more to sell than others; just a few dollars earned from selling a personal stock will bring great joy.

   Yard sales also tell us a little about mortality and forever. We won’t take any of the stuff we sell or buy with us when we die; and the things we did not think we could live without a few years ago, we are willing to sell today for a dollar, and to a perfect stranger.

   Yard sales take us back to memory lane as we see old items that remind us of a fond childhood experience or the foolishness of a fad. We learn about the history behind the junk or the sacrifice someone made to obtain it.

   Yard sales really tell us that we need each other more than the stuff we are buying or selling. It tells us that life is fleeting; and that all the shoes, furniture, clothes or toys in the world won’t really make us happy. It also reminds us that parting with a beloved old possession is not nearly  as painful as the loss of someone we love.

   You know your life is full when you can go to a big event like a community yard sale and not feel the need to sell or buy anything; but you do, because you see the need or longing in the eyes of the seller to make a sale or the excitement in the eyes of the buyer to get a treasure for bargain.

   Life is really about having just what we need and sharing it with those we love.


Joe Turnham has gained a national reputation both as a political figure and tier-one consultant to a myriad of clients. Joe’s services are in demand nationally as a consultant, speaker, political advisor and commentator. Click here to learn more about Joe.

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