All Sales Final on Vinyl by
50
(93 Stories)

Prompted By Yard Sales

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I’ve never been one to make yard sales a destination, but I did have one, once.  On a June day in the late 1990s, my neighbors Courtney, Kathy, and Candace came up with the idea of having a joint sale. We lived on a quiet street in Menlo Park, California, where the yards were unusually big. My yard was almost 1/3 acre, huge by California standards, and a large portion of it extended to the street from my set-back house, so this made the perfect area for us to set up the yard sale, which we scheduled for two weeks out.

The little girl stared and asked, "Daddy, what are those?" "These are records," he replied, "they play music."

Now, what to sell? This was during my “broke” era, and I didn’t have a lot of possessions, although there were many small items I considered junk that people would like. Mostly I had clothing that needed to go. Then I looked in my living room and noticed my LP collection. The records were all relatively old and very much played, with the expected pops and scratches. My turntable hadn’t worked for a number of years. It was time to sell my vinyl.

In the few days before the Saturday sale, our little group priced our items. Mine had yellow Avery circles with numbers. For my records, I asked 25 cents each or five for a dollar. At 7 AM the day of the sale, we carted out all our stuff to my yard. Kathy and Candace brought pastries and coffee to keep up our energy. Even before 8, the serious “yardies” started arriving, and the next few hours were mostly a blur as we haggled, took cash, and made change.

About mid-morning a quiet man came by with a little girl. He began looking through my collection of records very seriously and picking up one, then a second, then a third, and so on. The little girl stared and asked, “Daddy, what are those?” “These are records,” he replied, “they play music.”

For a few moments I wondered if I should be selling the vinyl and if any of the records the man selected were really valuable, but I let out my breath and decided, even if I had some unknown treasures, the era of vinyl for the masses was over, and the records would get another home.

By 2 PM I had made about $200, which was nice money for me then. I still had some clothing left, but the visitors were gone, so I would have bags for Goodwill. There wasn’t a single record left, though. However, I did keep one record behind, which I still have. It’s a very early Beatles album that was only released in the U.K. My uncle brought it back when he was on a business trip.

I’m glad to have it as my vinyl reminder, and if needed, to show children what a record looked like. I have to smile now, thinking how vinyl has evolved into an elite product for audiophiles. Bottom line, though, I don’t regret having given up my record collection.

Profile photo of Marian Marian
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.


Characterizations: funny, well written

Comments

  1. Wonderful story, Mare! I’d really like to have a yard sale with our neighbors but just can’t get myself motivated because there’s so much work involved that it’s not really worth it, and it’s just easier to load up the car and take things to the Goodwill. Or at least it used to be pre-Covid.

    I keep trying to get rid of my vinyl but can’t bring myself to do it, especially since I still have a record player or two in the garage. But I do love the idea of keeping just one as a reminder…a much played recording of the sound track to the movie Performance with Mick Jagger that I could never part with. And I love those pops and scratches you mentioned!

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    Glad you made a tidy sum off your yard sale. I love that the little girl asked her father what a record was. I not only kept all of ours, we still have a working turn table, and from time to time, I enjoy going back and listening to the best of the old ones. But not very often. And isn’t it amazing that they are back in vogue? Who knew?

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    Marian, my husband thought his vinyl collection would be worth a lot a few years ago. He took what he could stand to part with to a local store and they only “accepted” a handful of records at a poor price. He saved his treasures, but when we moved, he had to let them go. One of the junk removers was so excited by his collection and asked if he could personally keep them. That made us feel pretty good because now they have a good home.

    • Marian says:

      Glad that Fred ended up feeling good about the fate of his vinyl collection. When that guy started cherry picking through my records, there didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to his selections. I couldn’t figure out why some would be valuable and others not. I feel fine about my one remaining album.

  4. Suzy says:

    Glad your sale was a success, and I love your rhyming title. My husband and I have a floor-to-ceiling bookcase that he built when we moved in, with shelves exactly the right size for records. There are two shelves of my records, two shelves of his, and one with the big boxed sets, like Beethoven’s Nine Symphonies, Nine Masterpieces by Stravinsky, and Tommy by The Who. When our turntable broke many years ago, we did buy another one, although it was hard to find a store that sold them. We don’t play them that often, but I guess our kids will have to get rid of them after we are gone.

    • Marian says:

      I enjoyed the boxed sets people had back in the day, Suzy. It’s fun to have his and her records. Your kids will either pitch them without a thought or treasure them. There’s no predicting what the next generation will value!

  5. Marian, I’m glad you unburdened yourself of your vinyl without regrets.

    Altho some of the records might have gleaned more if you held on to them, you needed extra cash at the time.

    Anyway everything’s on YouTube now!

  6. Risa Nye says:

    Marian, my littlest grandson (almost 3) is fascinated with turntables and records! When he’s at our house, we know to pull some hot stax of wax to play for him. Luckily, my husband has replaced and expanded his pre-fire record collection. Last year for the holidays I went to a well-known used and new record store in the East Bay and made some random selections for the little guy: everything from the Mamas and Papas to klezmer! This was a fun read, thanks for sharing your story!

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