Over the weekend I was rusticating at my brother's lake house a couple counties downstate. He has a lovely vacation home in Amish Country, and the community there has a twice-yearly garage sale. He told me about it a little over a year ago and urged me to start gathering up things in my house to put in his sale. I go gather up my mother (St. Patsy) as well, jam everything in my car, and spend the weekend at the lake peddling my crap, visiting with St. Patsy and Bob, watching people and making a little wine money. Bonus: a blogpost.
Bob and I love to watch what people will buy, how they will try to bargain you down on a fifty-cent item, and try to figure out why, after over a year and three sales now, my brand new punch bowl will not sell, even at the low low price of only five dollars. (I've had it with that goddam thing--I mean it. Next sale, I'm marking that puppy up to ten bucks. Fuck 'em.)
We have a goodly amount of Amish customers--Mennonites, too, and here's what we've learned: 1. They will bargain, gently, on items of beauty or luxury, such as my strawberry crockery or faux depression glass; 2. They buy sporting equipment in the spring; 3. They do not generally buy plastic kitchen items; 4. They will buy dishes or silverware in vast quantities.
This year, a young Mennonite girl bought a pink plaid skirt from me after looking interestedly at--and touching--my black lace peignoir set. For a long time. Shortly after that, the following occurred:
Amish buggy pulls up. Inside are two twentysomething Amish women. One alights and begins browsing. She is either heavy or pregnant. After a time, she chooses one 12"X12" mirrored tile marked $2. She shows it to her companion in the buggy, who nods.
Amish shopper: (approaching our cashier table) Would you take less for this?
Bob: No. In Home Depot, a store, you would pay at least five dollars for that.
With that, she handed over the money and carried both the mirror and the can of Diet Pepsi back to the buggy and her companion as if both were precious treasures. Once inside, she stowed the mirror and opened the can. And as they urged their big brown horse to life, I had a glimpse of the Amish women tipping back that Diet Pepsi inside their buggy.