It's that time of year again; the one where I (along with a veritable army of volunteers) spend the next five days setting up, and working at, the world's biggest garage/jumble/rummage sale. We've been collecting every Tuesday since the beginning of the school year, will fill two gyms and a cafeteria full of decent and brand new stuff, spend three days putting it all out then the entire weekend selling it. All the profits go to our school's scholarship program; last year we made $65,000. Yes, -you read that correctly!
This is the "big gym" where we sell, well, anything and everything but mainly clothes. In the smaller gym we sell furniture, electronics, sports equipment, bikes, strollers and other large items. In the cafeteria we have designer clothing and brand new items. And when I say designer clothing, I'm talking Prada, Gucci, Jimmy Choos, - you name it. Unbelievable what some people throw out.
Along the way we have the usual "incidents". Like the fight I got into two years ago with an older lady who took the biggest pile of clothes into the changing room on the Sunday morning and sat in a corner for six hours with it. See - she comes every year and, not content with the fact that everything is 50% off on the Sunday, she waits to see if we'll put it up to 75% off in the final hour. How mean is that? And she knows that we know what she's doing. So I went up and asked if I could ring it all up for her, and she seemed delighted with the offer. I had a volunteer ring it up and I took a piece of paper with the amount on it, and said she could pay at her convenience. OMG - she went ballistic. How could I do such a thing? What was I accusing her of? Why was I making her pay right there and then.
So I let her have it - as quietly as possible of course. Don't want to make a scene. I pointed out that she was not cheating me, but the kids who receive scholarship assistance. I then threatened that if she didn't pay for it, I was going to hang it all out again. She didn't, so I did. And she followed me round asking how I could do such a thing as I hung everything back up. But because she'd held on to everything for so long, no one else really got the chance to see it and buy it - so (and this is going to kill you) it was all still hanging there when we put the discount up to 75% - and didn't she just pick it all up again and got what she wanted in the end. Grrrr...
And then there are the people who come in wearing the skankiest shoes you've ever seen, "try on" a pair of our beautiful designer shoes, and then walk out wearing them. I'm on to that one though - we have at least two volunteers standing by the shoes, and the really expensive ones, we only put one out and they have to ask for the other one. One year we even had a woman walk out wearing a Chanel jacket - and we stupidly couldn't prove that she hadn't paid for it because she'd actually bought a lot of stuff. Again, she knew that we knew what she was doing but we couldn't prove it.
Anyway, I'm off to do my thang again. Will report back on this year's oddballs a.s.a.p.