There was a group of people who tried to host a garage sale this past weekend. While some in the northern states might argue about the lateness in the year, the South has variable weather and close to a year-round growing season. The weather was beautiful, kids had just gotten out of school, and presents are still being purchased for the holiday season. However, from their remaining goods, it appeared that very few customers were interested. Garage sales are a big part of middle class culture and how we live as a country, so their decline is more of an indicator of inequality than some might think.
For those who think of such a statement as alarmist, consider the usual customer for a garage sale. Yes, there are a lot of elderly folks looking for bargains, but recently,the true customers have been younger people who are outfitting apartments or–in the fantasy presented by the real estate industry–first homes. As homelessness has increased and rental rates have skyrocketed, people are unable to leave their parents’ homes, or live in communal settings, so they have no space for more belongings. More of the furniture that people try to rid themselves of to buy more is ending up in bulk trash because people have no need for old furniture if they lack even bedrooms.
One might think that people should be at least able to afford garage sale prices. However, what is happening as we speak? Ah yes, companies who feel entitled to infinite profits and infinite growth on a finite planet are price gouging. Those who used to consume as entertainment are being forced to choose between new clothes and groceries, which is a pretty easy choice for most. Also, since “affordable” housing is outside the job centers, people need to know they can get to work due to ever-fluctuating gas prices. The days of disposable incomes are coming to a close, so garage sales to make some quick money are losing their appeal.
Finally, so many people work multiple jobs and have no time to get to garage sales, let alone scour them for different items. People are rushing to pull overtime, reviewing reports over the weekend, or pedaling off to their second job. Some people are reviewing reports while they rideshare and deliver goods, so these people are completely lost customers. Time and leisure are now considered luxuries that elites claim as a right before denying them to their “servants.” Thus, unlucky garage sales will become more frequent as those with control and resources continue to play dangerous, delusional games with the proletariat while desperately trying to preserve the status quo.