Nearly every weekend in the United States, domestic spaces in countless suburbs, rural towns, and urban areas are transformed into temporary commercial sites for the grassroots economic activity of yard sales – or, as they’re also labeled depending on setting or geographic location: garage sales, porch sales, stoop sales, barn sales, tag sales, moving sales, and more. Regardless of name, the sales typically consist of homeowners purging their residence of a variety of used personal possessions and spreading them across the property for neighbors, friends, and strangers to examine and purchase at drastically discounted prices.
Although yard sales are fairly pervasive today, their informal structure complicates efforts to measure the amount of yard sale trade nationwide – for the most part they function without regulation or taxation, and there are no overarching groups or bureaucracies that manage or quantify the sales. Some of the most credible – yet slightly outdated – estimates drawn from anthropologist Gretchen Herrmann’s studies of yard sales in the 1980s and 1990s indicate that approximately 6-9 million yard sales occur each year in the U.S., with nearly $2 billion exchanged annually.
Combined with other sources approximating that nearly five million items are sold at yard sales each week, these figures seem to reinforce what makes the sales an almost uniquely American phenomenon: their origins in the mass consumerism and proliferation of commodities that have become a centerpiece of life in the U.S. As sociologist Colin Campbell writes, modern consumer society is “symbolized at least as much by the mountains of rubbish, the garage and jumble sales, the columns of advertisements of second-hand goods for sale and the second-hand car lots, as it is by the ubiquitous propaganda on behalf of new goods.” (1)
In counterpoint, yard sales may also be seen as an antidote to the wastefulness and conspicuousness of overconsumption, for example by sending used goods into secondary cycles of consumption where they may find renewed value or purpose and thereby help reduce the piles of trash in landfills. Further, yard sale activity tends to spike during periods of economic distress or recession, when the sales become a survival strategy for many sellers and shoppers – as such, in the environment of financial uncertainty lingering from the Great Recession that began in 2007, the numbers presented above may underestimate current sales. By bargaining and negotiating prices, yard sale participants are empowered to stretch the value of their dollar in ways that aren’t always available through retail transactions in the traditional marketplace.
With those key distinctions – the drive of commodity consumption versus the needs and subsequent tactics of financial sustainability – we begin to see how yard sales are directly embedded in the panoply of consumer capitalism, yet can also flow outside that system. By analyzing the intricacies of how yard sales function, their relationship to affluence, homeownership and mass consumption, and how the informal sales both emulate and subvert the formal capitalist economy, this essay seeks to discuss the paradoxical nature of yard sale activity in American consumer society.
Such a paradox is partly described in urban scholar Margaret Crawford’s research on yard sales: “these are public events that take place in private, social events masquerading as a commercial activity as well as its opposite. They simultaneously celebrate and undermine consumption, and are economic exchanges where meaning and significance change hands along with used goods.” (2)
Historically, American households had very few possessions by today’s robust standards. Susan Strasser has traced the lineage of consumption and waste in the United States and talks frequently about the practice of bricolage that characterized early domestic life: “Everyone was a bricoleur in the preindustrial household…saving and reusing scraps was a matter of course.” (3) Such thrifty customs also related to a certain stewardship of objects: “The sense of stewardship with regard to objects may be seen not only in diligence about repair but also in the many processes that were recommended to protect new possessions and prolong their useful lives.” (4)
However, as the Industrial Revolution led to continuous productivity gains and economic expansion, everyday consumer products soon became abundant and easily disposable, thus reconfiguring the human relationship to the material world and rendering notions of thrift and reuse to be associated with backwardness and poverty. Notwithstanding the austerity of the Great Depression and wartime years, the blossoming consumer culture in 20th century American life fostered a growing obsession with convenience, cleanliness and luxury through commodities. As Strasser describes: “No longer did the habits of reuse and the methods of the bricoleur frame the ways people perceived the objects they used and used up. Now articles could be declared obsolete because new technologies had made them so or for reasons of style and fashion, preoccupations not only of the wealthy. Like style, cleanliness and convenience were touted as reason enough for throwing things away. The selling points of modern products – styling, technological superiority, convenience, and cleanliness – all amounted to arguments for disposing of things rather than seeking ways to reuse them.” (5)
As consumer society grew, advertising slogans and social mores began to link quality of life to a person’s ability to constantly buy new products and throw away old ones, eventually combining virtues of consumption, affluence, and luxury with ideals of freedom, democracy, and a vibrant economy. These notions reached a fever pitch after World War II with the ascendance of what historian Lizabeth Cohen has called the “Consumers’ Republic”, a creed codified by corporate interests and government policy that envisioned self-interested “customer consumers” as active agents “[seeking] primarily to maximize their personal economic interests in the marketplace,” and whose pursuit of private gain irrespective of the public good molded the consumer as a “citizen who simultaneously fulfilled personal desire and civic obligation by consuming.” (6) Over time, this ideological turn grew into the basis for a consumption-oriented economic model where consumer spending and demand replaced manufacturing and production as the fulcrums of American prosperity.
In addition, after World War II the U.S. faced a substantial housing shortage, which was remedied by mass construction of single-family homes in burgeoning suburban areas. This suburbanization plan became a crucial component of the Consumers’ Republic, aiding the national economy by stimulating demand for new homes and new products to fill them with: “By turning ‘home’ into an expensive commodity for purchase by many more consumers than ever before and by increasing demand for related commodities such as cars, appliances and furnishings, new house construction became the bedrock of the Consumers’ Republic.” (7)
It is at this intersection of homeownership and commodity consumption in the dawning Consumers’ Republic that we can also locate the beginnings of yard sales in America. By the late 1950s, second phones, second TVs and second cars were increasingly common in many households. As people continued to buy additional products or upgrade to newer, technologically advanced versions, yard sales became a way to shed old items from the home and make space for more consumption. Eventually the sales became legitimized through media articles that promoted them as a fun way to clean house and earn some extra money.
However, as yard sales continued to expand through the 1960s and 1970s, their identity and purpose absorbed additional meanings influenced by monumental events of the day: mainstream critiques of consumerism from the likes of Vance Packard and others; counterculture politics that revived second-hand consumption and framed yard sale participation in terms of community benefit, social justice, and a challenge to capitalistic hegemony; and the environmental movement’s calls for ecological sustainability and re-embrace of recycling and reuse principles. As the nation dealt with rising inflation and costs of living, stagnant wages and benefits, oil shocks, and multiple recessions in the ‘60s and ‘70s, yard sales began to take on a second role – no longer just in terms of facilitating the materialistic whims of “customer consumers”, but now for others also a financial protection through saving money on purchases or finding supplementary income from selling their cast-offs.
In turn, yard sales developed their dual functions oscillating inside and outside the rationalized capitalist economy. This notion can be explored in greater depth by looking at some of the specifics of how yard sales operate: the role of alternative markets in expanding consumer choice and adaptive economic relations, the creation of value through exchange, planned obsolescence and the life cycle of objects, the homeowner as proprietor, gender roles at play, the yard sale ethos and sense of community, the impact of price negotiating and bargaining techniques, and the implications of social class.
Unlike the passive experience of shopping at retail stores where prices are rigidly fixed, yard sales and other modes of informal trade grant consumers much more leeway to negotiate prices, which creates an active experience that is more easily crafted to one’s budget. Similarly, sellers have the capability to set and alter the prices they charge at their yard sale. This flexibility in pricing energizes the shopper’s search for savings, and negotiations form unique personal and social dynamics between shoppers and sellers – who are, after all, peddling their own used items
– that are not found in standard retail interactions. As Herrmann writes about yard sales, “the metaphor of the market – that is, all the apparent trappings of buying and selling – simultaneously cloaks and facilitates a web of transactions that are often as much as or more socially engaged as economically rationalized.” (8) In other words, while yard sales are still fundamentally modeled after a formal economic exchange mediated by money, in practice they aren’t confined to that system’s rationalized and impersonal tendencies. Instead, the yard sale can be “a site that allows transactors to play out incipient ideological structures alternative to those of the dominant market discourse: reclaiming control over one’s labor, creating justice in the marketplace, beating the system, and recreating a sense of caring community. Thus, under the auspices of market exchange, more socially engaged exchange can occur.” (9)
Fluctuating prices at yard sales also undercut common notions about an item’s value relative to money, particularly in context of its exchange value versus use value. In setting some of the influential groundwork for our understanding of how commodity exchange is dictated by money, sociologist Georg Simmel claimed that value is not inherent in any object, but instead is a judgment imposed by its user. We can easily see this idea carried out in the yard sale setting, as prices for any given item may vary wildly from sale to sale; a household good that sells for 50 cents at one sale may ask for two dollars at another sale down the street. These differences, as a function of perceived value, are also often exaggerated by assessments of usefulness, rarity, entertainment, sentimentality, or needs versus wants. Thus all of these factors can drastically alter both the price a shopper might be willing to pay for an item they feel an affinity toward, as well as the price of an object that a seller has qualms about parting with and therefore might price slightly higher.
Cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai accounts for such inversions of value by leaning toward Simmel, saying “Economic exchange creates value. Value is embodied in commodities that are exchanged…commodities, like persons, have social lives.” (10) However, he also goes a step beyond Simmel to point out how commodities exist in different regimes of value, which change over time based on historical or cultural circumstance. This can be witnessed in the sentimentality or nostalgia for certain antiques or out-of-date objects often found at yard sales, decades removed from their popular use but occasionally gaining renewed value. In other words, “it is the things-in-motion that illuminate their human and social context.” (11)
Appadurai’s idea of “things-in-motion” can be directly applied to an object’s circulation in and out of commodity status. The items found at a yard sale are typically household detritus – lamps, furniture, clothes, toys, kitchenware, home décor, tchotchkes, tools, sporting gear, etc. – most of which were originally purchased as new commodities but have now exhausted their use and value to their owner. By having a price re-attached to them, they become re-commodified by the yard sale and can then circulate through the economy again in search of new users.
The path of objects into yard sales often originates from obsolescence, a decisive phase in the life cycle of commodities – and indeed, the very notion of planned obsolescence is what fuels the continual purchases bulwarking a consumption-based economy. Although examples of planned obsolescence go at least as far back as Henry Ford’s car models in the 1920s, the term itself didn’t actually emerge until the 1950s when it was developed in critique of the marketing and advertising of consumer goods. Vance Packard and Martin Mayer both detailed the process around the same time, formulating overlapping definitions of three types of planned obsolescence: obsolescence of quality, or planned product failure; obsolescence of desirability or style; and obsolescence of function, or outmoded due to technology, which both men believed could be the only useful form of obsolescence.
Through personal ownership, generic manufactured commodities become sacred possessions and take on unique elements from their owners: stains and scratches and other signs of wear, memories, emotional attachments, biographies, and the patina of time. These qualities are then transferred and transformed at the moment of re-sale, with new meanings and functions constantly being created for those items. Many shoppers express that learning an object’s history and then reusing and repurposing the item are among the most rewarding parts of yard sales, evident in the common mantra of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Meanwhile, those who host yard sales play the role of casual proprietors, choosing which items will be for sale and at what prices, setting the opening and closing hours, and advertising through online postings, newspaper classifieds, and colorful roadside signs. Merchandise is then arranged into displays – sometimes randomly or haphazardly, other times in specific departments or calculated patterns such as placing large and attractive items down closer to the street versus more valuable and sentimental items up closer to the house. All of these actions and decisions, in mainly mirroring the responsibilities of any business owner in the standard economy, comprise the temporary conversion of private domestic space into a public commercial zone. As Crawford asserts: “Mixing the commercial and domestic alters the function and meaning of the front lawn or driveway, transforming it into a liminal space. For a few hours or days, the sale inverts the usual meaning of the house, making what was the private space of the front lawn into a site of public display for items that recently resided in the most private places of the house, the insides of closets and drawers or basements and attics.” (12)
According to Herrmann’s research, most yard sale trade is done by women, who comprise nearly two-thirds of all sellers and shoppers and also more often handle a household’s cleaning, organizing, and shopping duties – although over time these gender roles have been changing. She asserts that men might initially be reticent about yard sales if they are seen as an affront that questions a man’s success as breadwinner. Further, when they do participate in sales, “men are more concerned with money and their time, while women are more concerned with creating relationships,” (13) which Herrmann says can be paralleled with traditional male emphasis on independence and finances versus female emphasis on intimacy and human connection. As such, men’s involvement tends to be much more purposive and commercialized: “Men are often found at sales of greater size (which generate larger profits), at sales where more expensive (e.g. large furniture or appliances) or ‘manly’ (e.g. sports equipment or tools) items are sold, and at sales that are operated primarily to generate profits.” (14)
While the basic motivations for those hosting sales generally include housecleaning, getting rid of clutter or excess goods, and earning extra money, those rewards are sometimes rather miniscule. The typical yard sale only yields $100-$200 average profit, and all the labor involved in setting up and breaking down a sale might seem arduous or inefficient compared to the ease of donating the used items to charity or dropping them at a thrift store. Ultimately many sellers downplay the importance of making money and instead promote the social activity and strengthened sense of community gained through yard sale participation. It’s very common to see multiple families, neighbors, subdivisions, or entire towns collaborate to host yard sales on the same days, and they’re often patronized by similar groups of shoppers who plan bargain-hunting trips together. The sales “can provide the context for neighbors to come to know one another since neighbors are attracted by the informal open invitation to the public to stop by and look over the garage sale goods. Some neighborhood sales have even been organized as a means of luring neighbors out of their houses for interaction.” (15)
The commercial demands of a sale are balanced against an ethos of hospitality, congeniality, and moral equity that pervade the domestic space. People wear casual clothes and try to present themselves as everyday, regular folk. The sales welcome people from all walks of life to come to the house and browse items, and it is commonly expected that prices will be set along notions of fairness and open to good faith bargaining. Yet yard sale negotiations remain influenced by factors such as gender, social class and status, personality, economic need, ethnicity and cultural background, amount of time elapsed in the sale, judgment of correct or equitable price, and past experiences.
These price negotiations are significant for a number of reasons. First, as previously mentioned, they provide shoppers with a degree of empowerment in their ability to influence prices through consumer knowledge and bargaining skill, making yard sales a more engaging alternative to the capitalist marketplace. The consensus-building and personal interactions at sales carry possibilities for reshaping our experiences of public life. “In the bargaining process, something individual about the participants emerges. For both shoppers and sellers, bargaining directly involves their sense of values, their judgment of people and of objects…shopper and seller must directly interact with one another, and the price is mutually created.” (16)
Second, yard sale transactions vacillate between commodities and gifts, or are sometimes a mix of both. In addition to standard monetary exchange, sales often have a “free box” of giveaway items, or will otherwise accept price offers that are so low as to practically resemble gift-giving. This malleability between commodity-like exchange and gift-like exchange results from shoppers and sellers actively constructing meanings about the objects and the transaction itself. Gifts become “socially engaged and a binding force in society” (17) that can help create community in three ways: gift-givers solidify pre-existing personal relationships; sellers transmit something of themselves and their lives through the goods; and a spirit of reciprocity and moral economy emerges.
And third, the sellers’ elasticity in pricing resists the profit-maximizing rationale that is central to capitalism. “In that sellers do not need to derive a profit from the sale of their possessions, the garage sale defies the formal logic of the marketplace. This is the key point about recommodifying possessions in the garage sale: the price need not cover sellers’ costs, since these are personal possessions, which have presumably already been bought, paid for, and used.” (18)
Because yard sales generally unfold in an open environment of friendliness and egalitarianism, cursory forms of social mixing are thereby created that bring together people who might otherwise never cross paths. Crawford asserts that this has potential to mitigate social division: “In many places, garage sale shopping mixes classes, races, and ethnicities in surprising ways, often crossing the prevailing boundaries of residential segregation…poor people often travel to affluent areas to find garage sales, believing that the quality of the merchandise offered there is higher and the seller’s need to make a profit lower than in their own neighborhood.” (19)
Herrmann’s studies indicate that the vast majority of yard sale shoppers are middle class or lower class, who tend to purchase basic necessities such as clothing, furniture, and general household goods at sales; by contrast, upper class people attend more as a recreational search for pricier antiques and novelties. Overall, shoppers tend to prefer buying from people in a social class equal to or above them, as a way of acquiring useful items in good condition at a reduced cost. This can be related to the assumption that wealthier sellers have more reputable goods and aren’t just peddling junk – accordingly, a “proper” sale is then judged as a function of the virtues of respectable homeownership. “The sellers’ place in society is approximately identified by the size, location, and appearance of their house. This specific location establishes their legitimacy, which extends to the provenance of the goods for sale…” (20)
As shoppers make associations between the sellers and their possessions, constructions of social class and other identity markers color the type of “contagion” they might wish to absorb in buying certain goods from certain people. “Items purchased from successful people are attractive. Shoppers seek out affluent neighborhoods, not only because they believe the goods will be better, but also because they believe they will receive a better kind of contagion; they boast of where they purchased something as if that added to the social value of the object.” (21) Similarly, sellers may impose a converse judgment, as their need to feel like their used objects are going to “a good home” implies a character assessment of potential buyers.
Notions of contagion relate back to social mores that linked well-being to income and made the lifestyles of the wealthy a salient point of reference for many people. Sociologist Juliet Schor asserts that in such a context, “luxury, rather than mere comfort, is a widespread aspiration,” which causes a shift toward “upscale emulation.” (22) However, in a recent group study that looked at how families of various social strata adjust their shopping habits during times of financial stress, James et. al. counter that widespread economic changes in America – particularly through deindustrialization and globalization that spawned rising costs of living alongside stagnant wage growth over the past 40 years – might be causing many lower- and middle-class people to shed their upward admirations and instead focus on maintaining their current position on the social ladder. “Economic restructuring and financial uncertainty have created an environment where economic adaption becomes not only desirable but also necessary.” (23)
As the traditional promises of the home as valuable commodity and wealthy asset were erased by the nightmare of the recent foreclosure crisis, and dreams of upward class mobility eclipsed by the reality of economic survival in times of volatility, informal yard sales and other parts of thrift economy are increasingly utilized in response to declining purchasing power. Returning to Appadurai’s words about commodities in motion: “The diversion of commodities from specified paths is always a sign of creativity or crisis, whether aesthetic or economic. Such crises may take a variety of forms: economic hardship, in all manner of societies, drives families to part with heirlooms, antiques, and memorabilia and to commoditize them.” (24)
The rise in yard sales and general thrift economy has also been accompanied by an accelerated proliferation of dollar stores and deep discount outlets, especially during and after the Great Recession. This pattern of retail response to the shrinking incomes of middle- and lower- class populations hints at a certain shift in the American marketplace that has, in a sense, blurred distinctions between the formal capitalist economy and the informal thrift economy.
Perhaps the greater phenomenon at play here is another massive psychological reconfiguration of our relationship to the material world. In light of the recent recession and the unpredictable job markets that followed, many people have decided to save more money and reevaluate their consumption habits, creating new spending patterns that offset trends of the past several decades and interrupt the conversation about consumer spending’s role in national economic vitality. As retail analyst Marshal Cohen discusses in a 2010 New York Times interview: “We’re moving from a conspicuous consumption – which is ‘buy without regard’ – to a calculated consumption.” (25)
As American society has increasingly centered itself upon a capitalist paradigm extolling the pursuit of individualistic gain in the marketplace, citizens have continuously had to determine their relationship with material objects and how that relationship situates their engagement with
– and understanding of – the economy at large. Martin Daunton reminds us that throughout these developments, “the everyday interactions with material culture have remained necessarily political acts, whether or not consumers are aware of this themselves.” (26) Into this sphere of latent political acts we could add yard sales and other broad modes of secondhand consumption, thrift economy, and informal trade.
While yard sales are inseparably embedded within the capitalist economy, they occupy a decidedly paradoxical position: in one regard, they stem specifically from the cornucopia of commercial goods flooding our daily lives. Their links to affluence and homeownership simultaneously champion and perpetuate the Consumers’ Republic ideology that unfettered, self- interested consumption is a righteous vehicle for democratic values and national prosperity. The conflation of domestic space and commercial space in the yard sale temporarily renders that setting a liminal space. The visible externalization of personal possessions from the house’s private interiors out onto the public lawn or driveway also reinforces the commoditization of the home and the home as receptacle for commodity accumulation.
At the same time, yard sales can also subvert the capitalist economy. By redistributing goods into secondary cycles of consumption, they combat wastefulness and overconsumption. Through informal trade that prioritizes bargaining and negotiating, yard sale shoppers are able to extend their purchasing power, while sellers can earn extra money from objects that have already been paid off and used. These mutual benefits have been particularly poignant during the recurrent periods of financial distress or economic uncertainty that have punctuated the short 50-year history of yard sales.
Finally, many participants, especially sellers, state that their interest in the informal economy sometimes isn’t exclusive to material or monetary issues but instead is equally wrapped up in forging social bonds and a sense of community. These goals are achieved through gift- giving and price flexibility which, insofar as they de-emphasize money-making, stand in contrast to the profit-oriented nature of formal capitalist markets. In her extensive ethnographic research on yard sales, Herrmann summarizes this point by saying: “Transactions in the garage sale setting are less fully rationalized than in the formal economy. As a part of the informal economy, the garage sale is an important site for the construction of resistance to the alienation of contemporary capitalism. Interpersonal ties, reciprocity, and a sense of moral redistribution are often distinguishable features of the informal sector.” (27)
In the end, the paradox of yard sale activity in the U.S. requires a careful reconsideration of the role and functioning of both formal and informal economies – and in John Sherry’s anthropological analysis of the latter, he provides a wider glimpse at the dynamics of this dilemma: “For some, the exploitation of a parallel ‘guerilla’ economy that merely mirrors the formal sector is a satisfactory result of this questioning. For others, immersion in an alternative, complementary, and more holistic economy is the preferred resolution…prices fluctuate and money is not the sole legal tender; age and disrepair are emblems of quality; objects are invested with biographies in which the past is present; workaday proletarians become weekend entrepreneurial capitalists; obsolescence is subordinated to recycling. The immediacy of the encounter between buyer and seller, consumer and object, person and environment prompts a rethinking of marketplace dynamics.” (28)
1) Colin Campbell, The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism, London: Basil Blackwell, 1987, pp. 38-39
2) Margaret Crawford, “The Garage Sale as Informal Economy and Transformative Urbanism”, in The Informal American City: Beyond Taco Trucks and Day Labor (edited by Vinit Mukhija and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014, pg. 28
3) Susan Strasser, Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash, New York: Metropolitan Books, 1999, pg. 22
4) Ibid., pg. 26
5) Ibid., pg. 173
6) Lizabeth Cohen, “Citizens and Consumers in the United States in the Century of Mass Consumption”, in The Politics of Consumption: Material Culture and Citizenship in Europe and America (edited by Martin Daunton and Matthew Hilton), New York: Berg, 2001, pg. 204
7) Ibid., pg. 218
8) Gretchen Herrmann, “Gift or Commodity: What Changes Hands in the U.S. Garage Sale?”, in American Ethnologist, vol. 24, no. 4 (November 1997), pg. 912
9) Ibid., pg. 918
10) Arjun Appadurai, The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986, pg. 3
11) Ibid., pg. 5
12) Crawford, “The Garage Sale as Informal Economy”, pg. 29
13) Herrmann, “His and Hers: Gender and Garage Sales”, in GCB – Gender and Consumer Behavior, vol. 2, Association for Consumer Research, 1993, pg. 88
14) Ibid., pg. 94
15) Herrmann, “Gift or Commodity”, pg. 915
16) Herrmann, “Haggling Spoken Here: Gender, Class, and Style in U.S. Garage Sale Bargaining”, in The Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 38, no. 1, 2004, pg. 75
17) Herrmann, “Gift or Commodity”, pg. 911
18) Ibid., pg. 917
19) Crawford, “The Garage Sale as Informal Economy”, pg. 28
20) Ibid., pg. 29
21) Herrmann, “Gift or Commodity”, pg. 919
22) Juliet Schor, “The New Politics of Consumption”, in Boston Review, summer 1999; accessed online 7/7/2014 via: http://new.bostonreview.net/BR24.3/schor.html
23) Spencer James and others, “Adapting to Hard Times: Family Participation Patterns in Local Thrift Economies”, in Family Relations Journal, vol. 59.4, October 2010, pg. 384
24) Appadurai, The Social Life of Things, pg. 26
25) Stephanie Rosenbloom, “But Will it Make You Happy?”, in The New York Times, August 7, 2010; accessed online 7/12/2014 via: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/business/08consume.html
26) Daunton and Hilton (eds.), The Politics of Consumption, pg. 13
27) Herrmann, “Women’s Exchange in the American Garage Sale: Giving Gifts and Creating Community”, in Gender & Society, vol. 10 (December 1996), pg. 236
28) John F. Sherry Jr., “Sociocultural Analysis of a Midwestern American Flea Market”, in Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 17 (June 1990), pg. 28