Summer is a popular time for shopping, and I more than anyone can appreciate the air conditioned luxury of your neighborhood mall, especially when it’s 98 degrees, 90% humidity, and thundering outside (ie, Boston). Throughout my teenage shopping years when I got my first debit card, there was always a small mall within driving distance, and the farthest I’ve ever driven for brand name heaven and crazy deals was an hour max.
That was before I knew that there was such a thing as the World’s Longest Yard Sale, or 675 miles of stuff, all available for purchase. When I first heard about this four day long extravaganza, all I could think was how miserable that must be, how do they get anyone to come? How wrong was I, since people are actually known to rent trailers for the occasion so they can haul back all their loot. (By the way, this picture was taken from their official Facebook page…I’m not sure they realize how scary it really is…buy something or else we’ll cut off your hands!).
62 days from now, diehards will be trucking from Hudson, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama in the heat of summer, where anyone along the side of the road can put out a bunch of junk, as long as they print out the “official” yard sale sign to show passersby they’re legit. I almost think it would be a good idea and even possibly a fun road trip, but the largeness and excess of the whole thing just makes me cringe. Sure, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and I agree with recycling, but do you really need a trailer?
Like most things all-American, it’s not done well until it’s done bigger. Bigger is better after all, and size DOES matter. Isn’t that what we’ve been told every time we go to the movie theater and the only popcorn sizes are large, x-large, and jumbo? Not to mention that at McDonald’s all drink sizes are the same price, and at most other chains, larger sizes decrease in price per unit, encouraging the consumer to consume more.
We need a new mantra, one that celebrates the human condition, not the stuff we buy and sell.