In a sea of garage sale items, there must be at least one item for everyone.

Before the sale began, I limited myself to $5 — $10 if I found anything else I just couldn’t live without. I’m a frugal person, so spending $5 is a big deal to me.

During my time sorting through items and dodging incoming customers, I realized that garage sales do weird things to people. I realized this when I was looking through boxes of vinyl records, when I don’t even have a record player. I could have spent $2 on that Alan Parsons’ Project record, but the desire was overshadowed by the lack of a need.

When I shop — which isn’t often — I look at the amount of time I will use the item and how much I will enjoy it. When you’re shopping, things sometimes look better than they are.

In the midst of eyeing a pack of playing cards or walking past a table full of die cast cars, I noticed there were many strange items that people were selling. There were items ranging from dog life jackets to a bathroom sink.

Unusual items mixed in with items you could find at any flea market didn’t help my search for the perfect items. It also didn’t help when people referred to their merchandise as “junk,” especially when I agreed.

And with the $5 ready to leap from my wallet, more or less for the ability to say I spent it, I moved on to more sales to face more tables.

One thing that can be said about the experience is that most of the people selling the items were nice and tried to be helpful. But how can you be helped if you don’t know what you’re looking for?

It wasn’t until I made it to a church garage sale that I finally found an item I was willing to dish out money for. I found a copy of Alex Haley’s “Roots,” which I had been planning to find and buy for a while to add to my constantly growing book collection.

The book, which cost 25 cents, did look a bit rustic, but I liked its well-traveled appearance. Once I purchased the book, I left that sale and moved on to the next.

I think I’m either too old because of the number of toys at each sale or too male for the amount of women’s clothes. Either way, I wasn’t finding what I needed or what I wanted.

Spending $5 is easy to do when you really can’t afford to. But using the money in your hunt for the perfect items at a garage sale sometimes isn’t possible.

One of my co-workers said his wife spent $50 at the sales on the first day. Despite the four hours I spent driving from sale to sale, I couldn’t find enough stuff to spend even a dollar on.

I guess it is possible that I’m too picky. But if nothing else, I at least have another book to read.

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