Vide de Grenier - Clean out your Attic

Sept 2006, DSC04515.JPGThe town of St. Quentin-la-Poterie like many villages have an annual Vide de Grenier, clean out your attic sale or a large, grand garage sale. The village sells a spot for 10euro in which you set up your wares and settle in for the day to sell, sell , sell. Not having tons to sell but wanting to experience the sale this year, we joined forces with the Till family to share a spot. I cleaned out everything I could; toys, clothes, hardware, old knickknacks and more and scavenged our friends as well for a few of their odds and ends. Zoe-Pascale being 7 had a difficult time parting with anything remotely interesting but insisted she wanted the money at the end. After a bit of begging and bribery I managed to find a few old books she had outgrown and some clothes. I hoped that this would be a great opportunity to learn about selling, negotiating and the first steps in business. DSC04516.JPG

7AM the morning of the sale I drove the full car down to the Marche and unpacked. Jean and Zoe still sleeping refused to come at that hour. The first lesson, showing up, but didn't work well ...... another time perhaps.

By 11 am jean and Zoe showed up and stayed to help out throughout the next couple of hours. Jean eager to get rid of everything and not dare bring it back home was negotiating good deals and trying to throw in incentives. Zoe-Pascale sat on the chair and read her book. A salesperson I was thinking , she is not going to be.

By noon, I managed to spend all the money I made on new (well old) books for zoe in French and some in English, a beautiful proper English dress with a lace collar, a set of coral cups and saucers, some new Didl paper that Zoe wanted for her birthday, and a kilo of courgette (zucchini). (Some one was selling tons of zucchini from their farm as well. Feeling rather good about it I felt if I could come out even it was a good day.

Finally Zoe-Pascale decided she wanted some marbles one of the boys in her class was selling. I told her I only had one euro and she could not pay the asking price of 2 euro, she had to negotiate. I explained to her that if we waited until the end of the day maybe they would lower the price. Shy to ask I went with her to talk to the classmate. The Mom looked at the marbles and said to her son, "How much do you want for the marbles?" "2 euro." A second later the older brother interrupted. "Those are my marbles. I'll sell them for less." And so the negoitation began. It went from 2 to 1.50 to our final offer of 1 euro. Smiling Zoe-Pascale said, "Thanks mom, you were great." I asked her later if she learned anthing and she said "To take you with me." Smart kid I have!  By the end of the day I admitted Zoe could have cared less about the Vide de Grenier and prefered to read her book. Then two days later she said. "I think we should do a Vide de Grenier every two months." "Why? I said, you hated it." "No, I didn't I liked you doing it and then I get things too."

Go figure!  Meanwhile I had a good time... but once a year is enough!!

Vide de Grenier

Suzanne Saxe-Roux