On paper the idea of having a giant 70-mile long yard sale through the hills and valleys of Southern Kings County is laudable: you get a whole bunch of people out and about on a nice fall day, spending a little bit of money, eating in restaurants, buying gasoline and generally giving a boot to the local economy now that the tourists, by and large, have gone home.
The only problem is that the entire operation is based on the collected unwanted mechandise of the residents of Southern Kings County. And that, friends, is not a pretty picture.
Our informal survey of the sale route, starting just outside of Hazelbrook and driving although through Wood Islands, Murray Harbour, Murray River, and then looping up through Caledonia did, however reveal a lot about what’s not hot in consumer products this year.
Hot air popcorn makers. Fondue sets. Small microwave ovens. Kitchen sinks. Stuffed Disney toys. Typewriters. Clock radios. Bread makers. VHS videotapes. Music from the 1980s on CD. And copies of everything Danielle Steel has ever had published.
There was oodles and oodles of all that.
Along with endless, endless piles of clothes, chairs without seats, dead-looking plants. And even remnants of the Phentex revolution (wherein science found a wool that was cheaper, synthetic, and felt like cardboard and entranced knitting aunts from coast to coast).
The successful yard sale is based on the “your else’s junk is someone else’s treasure” principle. And when the 70-mile yard sale started seven years ago, there may indeed have been some treasure to be found on the tables. But what was on offer today wasn’t just “the stuff that people didn’t want any more” but also “the stuff that people didn’t want any more after they spent 6 years selling the good stuff they didn’t want any more.”
There were little bits of treasure here and there — our friend G. found some resaleable old books and a couple of good door handles in Vernon Bridge; Oliver and I found a box filled with Lego, toy trucks and a headless Barbie for $3 in Wood Islands. And the sausages and perogies at Phil’s Organic Garlic were second to none. Oliver, of course, is a mostly uncritical consumer at age four: anything that’s bright and colourful and/or branded by Disney or Henson meets his approval; he had lots of fun, punctuated by a brief tantrum as it came time to leave each waystation to prepare for the next.
And the day was beautiful. The people were nice. And Southern Kings is Prince Edward Island’s undiscovered jewel (the view from Phil’s place was worth the entire trip). And maybe that’s the secret of the event: it’s not really about the stuff at all, it’s simply a good excuse to go out for a Saturday drive in one of the most beautiful places on earth, see some people you know, and scarf down a pungent sausage or two.