This being South Africa, I didn’t think I needed to be at the sale right at 9:00 when it started – no one gets anywhere on time here! Apparently the rules are different when it comes to garage sales, because when I got to the church, the parking lot was full. So was the hall inside. And there were no prices on anything; I was told they’d let me know how much when I was done shopping.
So I opened my reusable shopping bag and began poking at the stuff on the tables. Turns out people at garage sales are the same world over, because if someone sees you gazing at something with a thoughtful face, they grab it! That’s what happened with the yoga mat I was considering, but not seriously, because it came with weights (which I have) and cords (which I have) and VHS tapes (which I haven’t used for quite a long time).
I did find a couple serving dishes, which could come in handy. Then I eavesdropped on a conversation between two young men – “What do you think this is, bru?” “It’s a steamer, man. My gran’s got one.” “I never would have guessed,” the first guy said. Smiling, I grabbed the Tupperware egg separator just because. There was a pair of earrings I’m sure my friend will like. Into the bag went a planter for herbs… I thought I was leaving, so I showed a man what I had collected and he said “How about a hundred rand for everything?”
I thought I was done, but I had to walk past the book tables on my way to the car – uh oh! Only R10 per! The first book I picked up was full of quotes from Nelson Mandela. Then I found a novel that looked like a light read. Next, a guidebook on the animals at Kruger. Then I saw The Royal Hostess – South Africa’s own Cook Book. My head knows that I can’t begin collecting cookbooks here; they’re too heavy to bring back home. But my heart said “It’s a cookbook!” So I bought it.
Then I saw the piles of clothes on the floor beside a table with a tub and scale. Purchases from the clothing and linen sections had to be weighed! R10 per kilogram. Unusual and clever! Similar idea to the one bag for $2 sale on the second day at the Fishkill UMC rummage sales. Remembering that we usually give away blankets on our mission trips, I went over to the linen section to see what I could see. Two crocheted granny square afghans that would cover a full-sized bed -- with no unintentional holes. Score! Two afghans and a doily bring another hundred rand to the church.
As I was paying for my afghans, I spied a camp cot. Hmmmm. I remembered the tragic end of my air mattress on the mission trip in Swaziland, when my husband set up our tent under the thorn tree. It looked like a sturdy cot. The man that collected my first R100 scurried over to tell me he had just priced these cots at Camperworld and they were only asking one-third the price of a new cot. He assured me it was a good one, and it came with its own carrying case.
It’s for charity, right? Now my bag and my arms are full – the young man who didn't know what a steamer was is a volunteer and he comes to my rescue and carries the cot to the car. I can smell the boerwoers on the braai as I’m walking to the car, but I resist. Now I can tell Steven there was something I wanted that I didn’t buy!