building blocks and sweat deals

As a younger man, I used to enjoy browsing flea markets and yard sales on the weekend. Now, I am generally looking only to part with things. While I could cart things off to the dump or Goodwill – a semi-annual pilgrimage, I would like to find someone who can really make do with something that still has value and is not ultimately adding to landfill. For the last fifteen years, we have had brick pavers that I fashioned into a colorful walk and a small patio that did not get much use until lately. For almost as long, we have dreamed of having our landscaping and sixty-year old cracked and stained concrete replaced with something that was esthetically-pleasing and within a fixed budget. Having made the decision to get started, it seemed such a waste to send these pavers to the landfill.

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”


Someone suggested I advertise them using an app, “OFFER UP”. As with any selling enterprise, the seller has to weed out the “wheat from the chaff”. After a first day listing on Offer Up, I had several dozen “lookers”. These included two personal information-scammers; another inquirer who missed the listed price – and wanted them for “free”; one who inquired of my “cash and carry” items though residing eighteen hundred miles away; and one who wanted to lowball me, sight unseen. The second day went better. I sold the bricks to a gentleman who came out at the time we agreed, paid immediately my asked price and set about loading a few hundred bricks by himself. I felt it was a neighborly thing to help him. We both were about the same age and he had no help at the other end to unload them. We both were covered in sweat by time he drove off with the first of three truckloads.

My wife and I set to tearing apart the patio bricks. We cleaned up and went out for dinner on the “brick money”. Jose messaged me to say that he had picked up a second load and would return tomorrow for the remaining bricks. When I returned, the man had hosed down my sidewalk, and re-stacked every brick my wife and I had left. Today, Jose returned to load the last of these. And bid us a grateful farewell. My junk has become another man’s treasure.


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