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The Anatomy of a London "Yard Sailor" - Just Not a Regular Person!
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By Rick Vandekieft

May was wet and May was cold. These factors delayed the start of the most important season for many in London: Yard Sale Season!

The true yard sale buyer, which we refer to as the “Yard Sailor” is not a regular person and yet they do have principals and high standards. For example...
  • They have the strongly held opinion that traffic laws do not apply to them: They park in No Parking Zones, or in front of fire hydrants or on someone's grass or blocking other cars from moving. They speed, they don’t stop at stop signs or for red lights, they leave their cars running when they get to a yard sale and often the just leave their car doors open. It’s bedlam and chaos so if you don’t need to go out on Saturday morning between 7:00 and noon, stay home - it's MUCH safer.
  • The more change a yard sailor carries, the higher the status. Rookies carry bills but a true yard sailor pays for everything with change. If you are planning to hold a yard sale, be prepared to sell that snow blower that you are asking $300 for around $175 and be prepared to accept that $175 with 46 toonies, 51 loonies, 93 quarters, 71 dimes and 33 nickels.
  • They look like they have slept in the clothes they are wearing. In many cases, this is indeed the case. The true yard sailor does not want to waste time with trivial things like combing hair, shaving or getting dressed, thus on Friday night most yard sailors will sleep in their yard sailor clothing.
  • A yard sale with items not priced is like fresh meat to a starving tiger! As a price sticker is usually a starting point that the yard sailor will offer half the sticker price, the offer for non-tagged items always starts at 50 cents. They don't get too many bikes or table saws for 50 cents but they will succeed in obtaining many useless things for less than a dollar.
  • Price is more important than the item being purchased. If a buyer can get something they absolutely don’t need for very cheap, that is far better than not getting something they do need for the price that seller stands by, even if that price is good!

Let's look inside a London Yard Sailor. What is his or her Friday - Saturday timeline look like?

8:00 AM - 3:00 PM Useless day at work. Yard Sale thinking more important. Weather Network Home Page critical. Check it hourly for changes. Saturday looking good. Check back 10 minutes later. Looking good.
3:00 Can't take it anymore. Decide to fake headache to leave early. Oh yeah, self-employed - headache fake not necessary. Leave work to prepare.
3:01 Drive around looking for yard sale signs. Lots! Should make list. Can't find any paper. Write addresses on arm.
4:00 It's hot. Getting sweaty. List no longer legible on arm.
4:05 Go to Tim Horton's drive thru - order 1 Timbit and 4 napkins to write on.
4:10 Drive around looking for yard sale signs. - lots! Make list - on napkins.
5:30 Better tank up.
5:35 Go home, back into driveway for quick start in morning
5:45 Recount all change. Put in piles beside bed by denomination. Nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies and toonies. Wish the toonie pile was bigger.
6:15 Go back out top up fuel tank. $1.73. Oh yeah, topped it earlier in the day. Paid with $10.00 bill. $8.27 in change! Coins only please. Yes, you're right. That WAS me earlier today.
6:30 Go home, back into driveway for quick start in morning
6:45 Check sofa for change. None. Need to invite more people over next week.
7:00 Nothing left to do. Go to bed. Need lots of rest anyway before early start
9:00 Can't sleep. Review napkins. Need to work on penmanship. Can't read most street names. Just numbers.
9:30 Fall asleep. Dream about buying a bread maker for a dollar. Great deal. Paid a lot more for the other ones bought two weeks ago.
10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00 and 2:00 Wake up hoping it's time to get going. It is not.
3:00 Get up. Check clock. Perhaps it's broken. It is not.
4:00 Hear clock alarm! Nope. Just dog knocked over change piles. Toonie pile still the same. Wish it was bigger.
5:00 Can't take it any longer. Get up and put on a pot of coffee. First sip - look at cup "YUK" Oops forgot to add coffee.
5:10 Watch minutes painfully, slowly tick by. Use time to make sure change pocket has no holes. It doesn’t. Pants are new. Still has the tags.
5:11 Remove tags from new pants.
5:18 Quick check under the sofa for possible loose change. Nope still nothing.
5:15 Decide to check the car to be sure the tank is full. Forgot to turn off house alarm. Woke up dog and rest of family. The lights go on at neighbour's. The alarm? OR maybe they are going yard sailing!! Better head out early.
5:20 Check the Weather Network for the forecast. Calls for a nice warm sunny day. Go outside to make sure. It’s still dark. Take the word of the Weather Network.
5:20 Check the mailbox. Nothing. Right, no mail delivery on Saturday.
5:21 Make toast with jam. Don't eat it. Too excited. Dog likes Saturday morning menu.
5:45 Getting light outside. Go outside. Looks like Weather Network is right. Dog chases rabbit Doesn’t catch it. Glad it wasn't a skunk.
6:00 Better get going before neighbour. First sale starts at 7:00. Maybe they are ready now.
6:05 Get to 7:00 sale. Not open. Realize still wearing slippers. Time to go home to change? Yes but decided against it. Slippers quite comfortable.
6:15 Still not open. Go knock on door? No. Didn't end well last time.
6:30 See activity further up the road. Putting stuff out on driveway! Race there to check it out. Family loading van to go camping. "Have a great trip". Strange looks from family. Very disappointing. Return to other house.
6:40 Decide to check driver's seat for change. A toonie!! Count all toonies! Same total as before. Realize it must have just fallen out of pocket.
6:45 Garage door opens! Man comes out with coffee cup in hand. Takes sip. Looks at cup and appears to say "YUK". Must have forgot to add coffee. What a fool.
6:46 Open window. Yell out; "open?" Nods head. Must mean yes.
6:47 See an 8 Track Cassette player! Don't have one. Price sticker marked $2. Offer 50 cents Agreement reached. $1.00. Also got huge bag of cat food for $1.00. Wonder if dog likes cat food.
6:48 Open trunk. Darn. Forgot to unload last week’s stuff. Offer man deal on bike in trunk. Not interested. Glad I have bungee cords. Leave. See others stopped at family loading van. Fools!
6:50 One down. Great start to the day.