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Garage sales still hot in eBay age

Stored under In the News on May 31, 2007 at 9:55 AM
Shelly Bruette was setting up the inventory at her first-ever rummage sale when a customer found his mark.

"I had an old sewing machine with the folding table," said Bruette, 33, of Appleton. "I had it priced at $10. He offered five; I sold it for seven."

So even rummaging -- that time-honored pastime of the bargain-hunting faithful -- has become a competitive sport in the age of eBay.

The tires on the bike owned by Chris Hoffman for the past five years show no signs of wear. "Make an offer!" its price tag begged.

"I'm looking for one with the bigger (off-road) tires, said Hoffman, 40, of Grand Chute. Hoffman is a veteran of the rough-and-tumble world of the garage sale, that means to riches or key to unloading unwanted junk.

Hoffman said the vultures begin circling each morning 30 to 45 minutes before the rummage sales begin. To them, the pursuit of the deal overwhelms the innocence of this most casual exchange of greetings and goods.

"If something's two bucks and you sell it for a quarter, then they'll turn around and sell it in their own sale," Hoffman said Friday. "That's just the nature of the beast."

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