Bargains, blunders on social media swap shops

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Sometimes, like a lot of you, I find myself perusing those Facebook yard sale groups in search of a good deal. I have found one or two things in the last few years including the car that I drive to this very day. It’s 13 years old and has more than 220,000 miles on the odometer, but it’s paid for. I don’t have anyone to impress, so the little car does well for my commute.

My wife and I got a quartet of dining room chairs from someone on the local yard sale page. They were too big, didn’t match our table and our cat likes to claw the cushions. They were, however, cheap and comfortable and we have had them for a couple of years.

Our local yard sale site has become something of a source of entertainment lately. Some of the items listed are ridiculous. Some of the listings themselves are silly. Of late, it has also become the local source of breaking “news” and local gossip. What should be a local marketplace has evolved into the neighborhood rumor mill and online therapy session.

Last week, someone had a rather curious ad. This particular person was seeking a newborn photographer. I realize she was looking for a shutterbug to shoot some snaps of her new arrival, but the ad was worded in a way that got me curious.

I suggested that she locate an adult photographer, because newborns have difficulty handling heavy photographic equipment, have awful communication skills and have to be fed every hour. Additionally, adult photographers can provide their own transportation, do not require diaper changes and rarely need a nap.

When I brought this up to the woman and recommended a reputable photographer who was not an infant, she called me a moron and told me someone had already recommended the same photographer.

There is another person on the site who often lists large lots of new toiletries and household items. There are toothpastes and toilet papers, deodorants and diapers. She seemingly has an unending supply of this stuff. She sells it for about a third of what it costs in stores and people seem to buy it.

When I was growing up in Baltimore many years ago, we had someone like that, but his name was Mickey and he sold the stuff out of the back of a truck in an empty parking lot. I can’t see Mickey listing this stuff on Facebook. Mickey never seemed to be the social type.

Occasionally, someone will pose a question to other members of the group. Sometimes, it’s something simple like a recommendation for a plumber. A few weeks ago, someone posted that he was looking for a girlfriend. I thought there were other websites for that and looking on a local yard sale site might not be the best avenue to take. If a young lady is advertising her wares on a Facebook yard sale site, it might just cost you more than a little time.

My wife and I have listed a few things on the site. We have gotten rid of more than a few things and made a couple of bucks. We have sold old picture frames, lawn and garden tools and once we sold something that was in the background of a picture of something else we had listed. The potential customer hated the vase we had pictured, but absolutely adored the pillow in the background. It was out of focus, but she still liked it so much she made an offer on it.

We told her she could buy it, but she had to take the hideous vase we got as a wedding present as well.

The best thing we got from the yard sale site was our cat, Cooper. We saw his picture and absolutely had to give him a home. Well, he was advertised as an eight-week-old girl. When we got him home, we realized that “she” was the Girl With Something Extra. We now had a boy.

We did a little digging and he was not the runt of the litter as we were told, but he was only four weeks old and separated from his mother. We had to teach him to be a cat and three years later, he thinks we are his real parents.

As entertaining as the sites can be and as many deals that can be had, you never know what you might find. Someone’s junk is someone’s treasure. You just might find a diamond in the rough. You just might find that vase the woman took with the two-dollar pillow was worth a million bucks.

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.