Photo courtesy of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Originally posted February 25, 2013
Had a wonderful experience at our garage sale this past weekend. In addition to providing a way to remove unused items from the house, the annual garage sale is a way to give back to folks who find these items useful. We like to recycle.
I cleaned out my closet of old dress shirts, jackets and suits and put out some really old suits from one of my wife’s uncles who died last year. His wife dry-cleaned the suits and we put them on the racks for $5 each. We’re talking Vintage suits from Lavin, Hickey Freeman, Sakowitz and a number of bespoke suits from Hong Kong.
We advertised we had some clothing for sale but much of the vintage items didn’t go until later in the morning. Semi-hipsters, DIYers and makers descended upon the vintage racks and bought pretty much everything, sometimes without even looking at it and none of them tried anything on.
After the crush, a Latin American family came by and the father and son, a boy of about 12 or 13, looked at a rack of mostly hangers and a few shirts. The young man said he was looking for a suit and before I could say we were sold out, I remembered a single black suit from my wife’s uncle that I had put aside to look more closely at the seams – I noticed how well-made the suit was and I wanted to compare it to what I wear today. I went into the house and brought it out.
His eyes lit up as he explained he was looking for a black suit, his first one, he told me confidently. He immediately tried on the jacket and it fit, real well actually. And I opened up the jacket as he was wearing it and there was no branding on the inside other than a generic stitched patch indicating it was a custom tailoring job from Hong Kong, probably from the early 1960s. Not a stitch was out of place and wool fabric was still stunning 50 years later.
The father held the pants up to his son and his mother came over and whispered they’d need alterations. But this kid was beaming ear to ear. He whispered something back to his parents then turned to me and said, “I’ll take this one” and shook my hand vigorously. I told him five dollars and he couldn’t hand over a fistful of ones fast enough.
It felt great seeing him walk away, proudly, with his first suit that he bought with his own money. And he was getting an impeccably tailored suit that he wouldn’t find anywhere else. He was partly skipping down the street as he headed back into his family’s pick-up truck. I wish I could bottle up his feeling of pride, confidence and excitement at the possibilities his purchase will provide. I didn’t go into the garage sale looking to make anyone’s day, but now that it happened, I want to do it again (and again and again). I want this excitement to propel me into a new week, new month and open up new possibilities to help others. I want to spread the joy. Life’s too short not to help.