Garage sales going to the dogs

I am happy to report that the entrepreneur spirit of small business is alive and well. I just witnessed it at our neighborhood garage sale where we hosted a gaggle of grands who are aspiring vendors.

Several may do well in business, and several may do community service time.

The circus barker tried selling his personally-carved walking sticks, calling out “Walking stick? Walking stick?” whenever someone approached. Most people looked straight ahead and acted like they didn’t hear him. His technique didn’t work well at a garage sale, but the kid could have a future as a carnival worker.

The testimonial sales pitch proved highly effective. A 12-year-old baker positioned a round-faced 5-year-old cousin in a chair by her table and kept feeding her chocolate chip cookies. By mid-afternoon, the cookie monster was in a carb stupor, but still smiling with melted chocolate coating her sweet round cheeks.

The demo sales technique not only works for the “As Seen on TV” merchandise but for garage sales as well.

A 14-year-old turned more than $100 in sales of cake pops, vegan cookies and homemade dog treats. Dog treat sales spiked as she and her brother demonstrated the small dog-bone shaped goodies were also edible for humans, popping them into their mouths. Talk about a sure-fire winner. You can feed the dog  and the kids and never again ask yourself, “Wattsfirdinner?”

There was an attempted hostile takeover that transpired as well. One of the quieter vendors was selling her homemade soy candles in small Ball jars, beautifully packaged and reasonably priced.

A cousin on the opposite side of the driveway was selling vintage Mountain Dew bottles he had unearthed from old trash piles in his grandpa’s woods. Noting the larger crowds at his cousin’s candle table, he sauntered over and bought two candles for $3 each.

He then returned to his table and repriced both candles at $5. He would recoup his initial investment and pocket a 66% profit.

His cousin was stunned. We all were. And then Warren Buffett called.

Just kidding.

Then there was the low-key but hard-driving lemonade vendor. A man handed him a ten-dollar bill for a 50-cent lemonade. He paused, looked at the ten, looked at the man, and asked, “Do you want change?”

“The Art of the Deal” was morphing into “The Art of the Steal” before our eyes.

The sting of “know your market” was felt by a jewelry maker in the group selling high-end beautiful handmade earrings. She sold a few but nothing like the volume her sister did in more affordable hair scrunchies and colorful dog bandanas she’d whipped up on her sewing machine.

Years ago, in “The Graduate” a middle-aged businessman told Dustin Hoffman the future was in plastics. Based on our sales tallies, the future is in dog treats and dog bandanas.

You heard it here first: Sales have gone to the dogs.

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