• Opinion   Fri, Jul 1st, 2022   Barry S Wolfe

Bacon Scrapins are the little bits of meat left in the greasy fry pan. They’re tasty, but the nutrition needs searching for. This tale is a bacon scrapin.
Every two years, we host a garage sale in our “nine-stop-signs” sized community. Members volunteer to regulate traffic at the entry gate, guide the horse-and-wagon vehicles to a grazing spot along the pond road, and supervise the flow of cars and trucks to avoid congestion and frustration.
Due to COVID, this year’s sale had three years between events, and so we all had lots of time to accumulate items that we were willing to share with others. The large flow of potential buyers, attracted to the large number of sellers, increased the chances of supplying just the perfect customer for most nick-nacks and all our valued items. Of course, with garage sales, the trick is negotiating how much the customer is willing to pay to get an item, versus how much you want to keep it.
How do we eventually agree that we have value in common? Some sociologist suggested that every conversation is a negotiation. Interacting with a spouse or child or neighbour is attempting to communicate both ways with another, bargaining to find a common understanding.
At a garage sale, starting negotiations is mostly marketing placement. I put the eye-catching stuff – the oak chairs, the patio-umbrella-and-stand with a $5 price on it, the boxes of screw-drivers at 5¢ each, the box of 60’s L.P.s, the maple high chair – all at a focal point out front. Buyers’ eyes tend to widen when they latch onto “the-good-stuff”.
My strategy was to get their feet to follow their eyes. If I could attract the men up to the garage, then their women folks would feel more comfortable about cruising about the aisles of my wife’s valuables. If the husbands are impatiently anchored out in the stream of walkers on the street, then the wives won’t stay long enough for an ‘impulsive wish’ to convert to a ‘committed offer.’
She was looking closely at the maple high chair. He was testing how the food tray slid in-and-out, and how the safety strap clasped below. She fingered some of the wear along the arms and tray edges. I said, “My son, who is now 42, ate out of that chair. My daughter, who is now 40, once tried to fly by jumping out of it and dislocated her shoulder. My grandson, who is now only five but too big for it, slopped his apple sauce down those legs.”
“How much?” he asked. I told him. She looked at him in the way grandmothers have with their husbands sometimes. He gave up immediately and said, “OK!” He passed me the bills which he carefully extracted from his money envelope. I carried the chair for him to their small wagon at the street so they could pull it all the way back to where their horse-and-wagon was beside the lake.
It’s hard to give up something with so many memories attached to it. But it’s easier when you know that a new set of similar memories will be created by someone who places as much value on it as you do!