This past weekend I was visiting my parents’ house for Birthdayfest—that traditional time of year when all the summer babies in my family gather together, and mourn the fact that we were all born so close to each other and therefore don’t get our own special celebrations. It’s a somber, subdued event where we play games like “Pin the Tear on Your Own Cheek,” and  (later) “Ow, My Cheek!” I look forward to it every year.

Now, I’m not the only one in my family who enjoys going to yardsales—as I stated in my very first post here, I’ve been going to them ever since I was a little kid with my mom, and I was cute enough to get free things with just a sad pout and a “my mommy said it’s too expensive…” Practically any weekend we’re together at the ol’ homestead, the whole family (or at least, anyone who can wake up early enough) piles into Mom’s minivan for a fun-filled morning of stimulating the American economy, one quarter at a time.

…Even if it’s pouring rain. Which, as it turns out, it was this weekend. Most of the sales this past Saturday that weren’t outright canceled looked like a post-apocalyptic version of Hoarderswith junk hastily packed shoulder-deep into garages, scattered contents spilling onto the tables outside—tables that were circled over again and again by we intrepid yardsalers, in hopes that something worthwhile would finally reveal itself, if only we stared hard enough.

Sad bedpan.

After about an hour of this, that orphaned plastic lid was looking mighty tempting.

But I did discover one benefit to rainy-day yardsales that I hadn’t previously realized: There’s almost no competition for the quality goods. Most of the regular salers stay home, because they assume that all the sales will just be canceled. And true—many of them were. But many of them weren’t, and we were able to find a lot of choice (and not-so-choice) merchandise. First off—leaning more toward the not-so-choice–

Another goddamn bed pan. Does this have something to do with “universal healthcare”? Are we literally pissing away American tax dollars on superfluous bed pans?! Thanks a LOT, Obama! From the same sale:

The Backhand - Master a powerful winning backhand! This was my thought process when I first saw this video:

1) Hey, cool motion blur!
3) It costs eight dollars.
4) They’re charging eight dollars for a VHS tape in 2012.
5) They’re really doing that.

Notice how the price sticker says it “sells for $39.95”? The best part is—they ain’t lying. (Actual product description from Amazon: “People come from around the world to get Vic’s backhand lesson. You can get it in your own living room.”) I like how, for the price of one VHS tape, you could probably buy like 15 actual VHS players.

Later, I saw: the worst version of that “Hang in there!” motivational poster I’ve ever seen:

And an awesome record cover, suitable for farming:

But on this rainy Saturday morn’, there was one highlight above all else. This guy:

That is a life-size, animatronic, disturbing as f*** Santa Claus. We found him at the very first yardsale of the day, and we spent the rest of the adventure talking about him. “How much did it cost?” “Do you think it’s still there?” “Is it too late to go back for it?” “Why is he so much better at dancing than us?” Because—oh yes. He dances. Sings, too. I took a sneaky-cam video with my iPhone while the seller was demonstrating it. Check it out:


No buys for me this week, although I did pick up something from a free pile. Something I’m saving for a later post. Possibly for a rainy day, although if this weekend proved anything, it’s that even rainy days have a bit of sunshine poking out from underneath those wet tarps and within those cluttered garages. Here’s a sneak peek: Total spent: $0.00


  1. The hell? A VHS tape that\’s actually sold by and not a marketplace vendor? Weird.
    You should have gotten the robo-santa. Just take off the beard and de-santaize it and it can just be a dancing guy for any day of the year. You could play multiplayer Dance Central and probably win every time. Probably.

    • Better yet–paint him blue, and I have a cosplay partner for my live-action Smurfs Dance Party skit at next year’s Comicon. Too bad.

  2. Lindsay says:

    Ok Paul..I haven’t read all of your blog yet. But the question that inquiring minds need to know: are yard sales better in New Jersey or Connecticut?? If you’ve addressed this in another post, I’ll find it soon enough. If you haven’t, I think you need some sort of chart or graph comparing the two. The end! Also I want that Santa.

    • Excellent question! I might be a little biased because I was weaned on SoJo sales, but I think I’m going to have to go with Jersey. The quality of goods is about the same, but NJ items seem to, in general, be priced more reasonably–not to mention that they more often HAVE prices, in general, rather than expecting you to “oh, just make me an offer!”.

      Also in Connecticut they call them “tag sales,” and that keeps throwing me off when I’m searching for them on craigslist.

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