Monday, March 17, 2008

10 November: It Snowed on our Sale!

We woke up to quite a shock out the window: blowing snow! Talk about raining on our parade. This is not the kind of weather that inspires people to go to a furniture sale on a Saturday afternoon. John walked Cody so I could do the last-minute tidying up, then I printed out the bid sheets and went around the house sticking them to all the furniture. I was just heading down to the front gate to put a sign up when our first visitors arrived – John’s colleague Uwe with his son and a couple of friends. Uwe’s son is moving into an empty apartment so he needs a lot of stuff – just my kind of customer! They ended up bidding on quite a few big items, including the TV and stereo, the china cabinet, and the small sofa in the office, so we were off to a pretty good start. Then a woman named Axelle arrived – a new IWC member – and she bid on a ton of stuff too. She wanted a bunch of things we were giving away for free, including the barbeque, and she left with our Christmas tree and ornaments. Next came the Holzapfels, the couple that is buying our winter tires. They gave us 300 Euro in cash for the tires, which we decided was fine – we just wanted to see them gone! They wanted to look around at our stuff too and ended up bidding on a couple of smaller items. Evelyne and Oda came by a little later and Evelyne expressed some interest in the red rug for Birk’s room; Oda left with a small side table from the office. Finally Jürgen and his friend Sonja arrived, and they pretty much saved the day – Jürgen bid on most of our glasses, both coffee makers, my black & white photos of Delicate Arch, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon (this was very sweet, because he took a trip to the Southwest with his dad and recognized the locations), a couple of rugs, and some tables. Sonja bid on the big red sofa in the living room, the desk chair, and some other things and she left with a bunch of smaller items, including two of the paper lamps, which we were giving away for free because they are damaged, the towel rack from the bathroom, one of the standing metal lamps, and most of my candles and table decorations.

In the end we didn’t do too badly, with the exception of the bedroom – we only sold the bedside tables and lamps. No one bid on the three big dressers, bed, or closet, so we are still stuck with trying to get rid of those. On the bright side, we sold the big-ticket items like the electronics. It was frustrating to put all that effort into getting the house ready and then only have a few people come through, but we did well enough, especially given the weather. It just doesn’t seem like Germans are very keen on buying used stuff. They have no concept of that classic American tradition, the garage sale. I think it’s a cultural thing – they buy their stuff new, and then expect it to last forever.

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