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GGGS: Breaking Scrimshaw's rules

Note: I wrote this post in 2009, but decided it would be more useful to readers if I were to publish it before the Great Glebe Garage Sale (GGGS), rather than after. Last year I forgot. The GGGS is on Saturday May 28th this year.

Before heading off to the Great Glebe Garage Sale at the crack of dawn this morning, GC and I reviewed David Scrimshaw’s GGGS rules. We then proceeded to break most of them.

1. Don’t make big plans for the late afternoon and evening. You will need a nap when you get home and you won’t have energy for much more than a movie or video after supper.

I didn’t make plans for the late afternoon and evening, it’s true, but I did make post-GGGS plans to meet up with XUP. I was fading by the time we got together, but managed to rally.

2. Wake up when you wake up, eat breakfast, have coffee. No matter when you get to the Glebe, someone will get there sooner and will get something you would have wanted.

This goes completely against my garage sale ethic. My fundamental rule is to get there early, in order to get first crack at as many sales as possible. The GGGS officially starts at 8:00 – we arrived at 6:45. (We did eat breakfast, drink coffee and walk the dog first.)

3. Do not arrange to meet someone in the Glebe unless one of you will be hanging out at a particular spot for several hours and will be easygoing about when the other arrives.

I did arrange to meet someone in the Glebe. We’re both a bit OCD about being on time, so we were both on time.

4. Go with a friend (or two friends, but no more!), in choosing a sale companion, you should:

1. Have enough in common that you will spend a similar amount of time at various locations, but:
2. Have enough differences that you don’t fight over who gets which item.

I endorse this rule wholeheartedly. You don’t want to get into competitive shopping with your companion. And, if you have too many companions, you’ll always be waiting for each other.

5. Dress cool and comfy.


6. Wear a wide-brimmed hat.

Hats make my hair sweat and compromise my peripheral vision.

7. Walk into the Glebe. Do not even think of taking a car into the Glebe until after 3pm.

We drove. If you get there early enough (see #2), there will be parking available. Also, it’s nice to have a car that you can return to and stash your stuff in while you continue shopping.

8. Stay in the shade. Don’t cross the street to go to an unshaded sale if you can’t see something that catches your interest from a distance.

I cross the street constantly.

9. Don’t even think of covering every street and seeing every sale. In fact, don’t bother with the blocks east of Bank. Lower sales’ density, fewer churches.

I concentrate on the streets east of Bank, because there’s a lower density of shoppers. You can still get good stuff after 9:00 east of Bank, while west of Bank is pretty much picked over by then.

10. Churches have cool basements, good prices, and public washrooms. They also tend to be pretty well organized at food sales.

I skip the churches. Too rummage-saley.

11. You can rinse your coffee cup in a church restroom so that it will be available for lemonade or limeade.

Coffee cup? What coffee cup? You need to save all your hands for finding and carrying treasures.

12. Do not buy anything that is at store prices.


Cookie Vender

Cookie Vender

13. Buy lemonade from kids as often as your internal organs permit.

No! Do not buy lemonade from kids! The more lemonade you buy, the more you will have to pee, and the more you have to pee, the more time you will spend in lineups instead of finding treasures. If you MUST buy things from kids, buy cookies.

Zoom’s Great Glebe Garage Sale Rules:

1. Get there early.
2. Wear a knapsack.
3. Dress for comfort, especially the shoes.
4. Bring a camera.
5. Bring lots of cash in a wide assortment of denominations, including change.
6. If you have friends in the Glebe, arrange to stash your treasures there while you continue shopping. Always use your friends’ bathrooms, even if you don’t need to go.
7. Don’t buy heavy things like bricks and weights.
8. Don’t buy large awkward things like mannequins and bunkbeds unless you really really really want them.
9. You need to cover lots of territory early in the day to find the best one-of-a-kind treasures. Leave book sales until later.
10. When scanning a sale, scan vertically as well as horizontally. You’ll find treasures that others have overlooked.
11. Negotiate, but don’t be a prick about it. Offering $8 for something marked $10 is okay. Offering $2 isn’t, especially early in the day. (By afternoon they’ll be eager to get rid of stuff, so you can lowball your offers then.)
12. Keep a little energy in reserve for the marathon on Sunday.

5 comments to GGGS: Breaking Scrimshaw’s Rules

  • grace

    This Scrimshaw guy sounds really old 😉

  • I didn’t know you and GC were doing the half-marathon. I hope to see you both there! And happy garage-saling…we are usually trying to get rid of things now so we stay far away, but those are excellent tips for sure.

  • The knapsack is a really good idea. All excellent tips. . I would also add bring a wagon and try to hold off purchasing cement statues of Greek gods or giant lions…they have to be really spectacular to lug that around all day. :)

  • The GGGS officially starts at 9am.

    I’m going to side with Scrimshaw and say there is no point in getting there before everything is set up and people haven’t had their first coffee yet and are therefore not willing to negotiate.

  • How I wish I could have gone