This is one of those weeks when the topic is (yawn) one I have tossed out to you and my six regular readers several times in the past. It is time for the dreaded discussion about participating in the Peabody Communitywide Garage Sale. This is the opinion column where I tell you just how this little event is supposed to work.
And before I begin, let me say something to that guy who frequently calls or writes and says, “But you don’t realize that some people cannot afford the fee you want them to pay to be on the map — they should get to participate at no charge.” I am tired of hearing from you, but I will offer a compromise on your statement. Yes, I know we have people who are just hoping to sell enough to make $12.50 and I know they will never pay the fee to be on the map. And I am okay with that. Even without you telling me that part, I know it is an issue. If those people pull some items to curb and try to make a buck without being on the map, I don’t care. You can quit preaching.
However, the folks who are making a good living and seem to be generally successful should follow the rules and get on the map, which includes paying the nominal fee of $12.50.
I am not sure how the newspaper got to be in charge of this event, but we have been doing it since I came on board 13 years ago. This is something community members seem to want. They tell me they do and they tell Peabody City Clerk Stephanie Ax as well. However, no one is going to play host to this event without charging enough to cover the cost of advertising it.
So we are now at the part that matters. If seven people sign up and pay to be on the map, we can advertise a community-wide garage sale of seven sellers. Would you drive anywhere to shop with seven sellers? No, I bet you would not. However, if we can advertise 20 or 40 or 80 sellers, the Peabody Communitywide Garage Sale would likely be the first town you and the rest of the garage sale enthusiasts would hit early on the morning of May 3.
And yes, all of the rest of you who do NOT sign up and pay your money still would reap the benefits of those who pay for the advertising. If you truly cannot afford it, I say go ahead, set up your sale, and good luck. If you are just a free-loader, well able to afford $12.50 to participate, but skimping out just because you think you can, then shame on you!
So here is the deal — be a player. Be part of the community event, pay your fee, and let us include you in our ads in other papers. If we all are playing by the rules we get more out-of-town buyers to shop in Peabody that day.
— SUSAN MARSHALL