Every year, in the spring, communities set a date and have a community-wide yard sale in Voorhees, NJ. Usually, every week or every other week, a different community will have a yard sale. Last weekend’s yard sale was at a community known as Alluvium Woods. The neighborhood, itself, is fairly large and there were many homes that were participating. The way it works is like this: each home has a choice to pay a certain amount of money that goes towards the community, to be on the “map” for the yard sale. If you pay, the coordinator will set you up with a orange balloon and print outs of the “map” of the community, which lists all the houses that are participating in the sale and on what street they are on. You provide maps to people who are coming into the community for the yard sales and hopefully they’ll continue to go around the community and enjoy the day. I was fortunate to be a part of this fantastic community event, even though I do not live in that community. So I spent my day going around, doing a little window shopping here and there and taking photos of what turned out to be a really fun day.
One of the first homes I visited had a huge, white stuffed teddy bear sitting out in the front driveway. I was curious as to how and why they had this giant teddy bear, and even more curious to know why they were selling it. After talking to the owner of the home, Mr. Thomas Simpson, who was in his late 50’s, I heard the full details. ” My daughter has moved out of the house now and she is long out of college. We were hoping to get rid of it so we can make some space and use her old room as an office.” As bad as that sounds, I can see where they are coming from being a college student myself. Garage sales are a perfect time to get rid of useless items and replace them with monetary value and can assist in creating a new office for your home. I just hope the daughter is okay with them selling the teddy bear! I might not be too happy about that.
Throughout the day, I came to many houses that had a lot of books that they were selling. Most of them were pretty old, but people were also selling their “Twilight” saga books. I saw plenty of books that I had read during my middle school and elementary school years, which bought back fond memories. The books pictured above were just one example of people’s collections that they were trying to get rid of. The owner of these books, was an older lady, Dr. Martha Stratford, who worked as a nurse for 17 years and now is a concierge at a local hospital. The main reason she wanted to get rid of the books she said, ” My daughter and her husband chipped-in for Christmas last year and bought me a Kindle Fire. I do most of my reading on there now and these books were just taking up space now.” Technology is really advancing and its true that a lot of people now do most their reading electronically. Still, I prefer paper books a lot more than I like reading off a flat computer screen. She tried to get me to buy a couple, but I said “no thanks,” and continued my day trip.
The next house I visited was probably one of the more jammed packed houses of the day. The owners looked very eager to be getting rid of many items including paintings, clothes, jewelry, plates and even soccer equipment. Every box held something different inside and it was really fantastic to look through and see what they had. The man that was running this yard sale was Mr. Mike Slovoski and his wife Joy, and they had lived in this house for over 15 years. They also had kids that were out of college now and were trying to get rid of some unnecessary items . He wanted to show me his personal baseball card collection, but he was interrupted by a potential buyer for his paintings. He pretty much forgot about me after that and he was very busy helping out everyone and bartering with different people, so I left him alone while I continued to explore.
For some people, yard sales are a great way to sell their “junk” and make some money as an added bonus. For others, like Mrs. Janna Whiscott, she purely enjoyed being outside on a bright and sunny Saturday. She did not have a lot to sell and barely anybody came to her house while I was there. She was enjoying a book while waiting for customers, and I did not want to disturb for too long. I looked through what she had, but it was not a lot, and I conversed with her for a little while. We exchanged pleasantries and I told her that I was working on school project and she was happy to hear that she would be featured in my article. She asked me what school I went to and what the project was for. I explained to her that it was for my Influence of Mass Media class, and I was doing a photojournalism project. I tried to keep the details a secret, but she was very interested in the details. We talked for a little bit more, before I noticed the time and realized I still needed to take more photos! We exchanged good-byes and I continued my journey.
At the end of day, garage sales are about much more than just simply selling old things and getting money for them. This community event brought so many people together on a fantastic day to pass on treasures to someone who can make better use of it than they can. There might be some serious bargaining here and there, however, everyone enjoyed themselves, without a doubt. I certainly enjoyed taking photos throughout the day while shopping for various knick-knacks. It was also very interesting just to see what people were selling and their interactions with other potential buyers. I found some conversations to be comical between the “customers” and the owners of the product and enjoyed the negotiations that were taking place that day. I hope that I can go to another one of these community sales soon, and I think it would be great if more people participated in lighthearted, well-run community events such as this one.