Our Family’s Yard Sale

stuffed animals

It’s been a busy Sunday. We had our first-ever family yard sale. I ran into a lot of people with whom I almost never come in contact. It was great for our children. Let me explain.

Over the years, we’ve accumulated a lot of things, including hundreds of children’s books and stuffed animals (see photo up top). So, with the help of neighborhood signs and Craigslist, we had a good crowd today.

My wife did all of the planning, and we all chipped in with the prep, hauling, and monitoring. I have to say this: our children worked very, very hard today and were a great team. They displayed awesome customer-service skills.

We priced everything to move quickly; for example, really good kids’ books were priced at 20 books for $2, and I think people really liked the value they were getting. Stuffed animals were free.

Frankly, it was a bit weird to handle again books, toys and stuffed animals that meant so much to our children during their younger years. Lots of memories came flooding back. Still, I was happy that other children can enjoy those items now, which were sitting idle in people’s bedrooms and in our basement.

The people who came today represented an interesting mix of folks:

– 20% retired folks looking for “deals” for grandchildren

– 20% young couples with very young children

– 60% folks in need of good and cheap stuff

Regarding the last group, I chatted for a bit with a taxi driver. There also were many recent immigrants. They were really pumped when we gave them massive discounts and free stuffed animals for their children. It made me feel great.

I think the most difficult situation I witnessed involved an elderly woman, with two very young boys in tow. She said that their father had died, and she was looking for a way to cheaply furnish a new apartment she was setting up.

All this reminded me of how my milieu of colleagues and friends is pretty specific. As I’ve written in the past, as a VC or tech entrepreneur, you really can live in a Bubble. People went mostly to the same 30 colleges (and, they actually went to college), we live in the same areas, we carry smartphones with the latest cool apps, we drive nice cars or ride Uber without a second thought, and we don’t think about whether we have enough to eat.

Our children run in select circles and attend amazing public schools in leafy towns or selective private schools. Their friends’ parents are super-accomplished. And, when they get a driver’s license, their parents buy them a car, I suspect. They vacation at great locales. They don’t have to work to pay for living expenses.

It was a good Sunday today. It was good for our children to interact with people who need a helping hand on occasion.

A new dose of reality. A new mindfulness.

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