Nearly every weekend in the U.S., domestic spaces in countless suburbs, rural towns, and urban areas are transformed into temporary quasi-public commercial sites for the grassroots economy of yard sales. The sales operate as a multi-tiered paradox: in one regard, they simultaneously emulate and undermine consumerism. In these transactions, meaning and value change hands through mutual agreement. Additionally, the sales are public events occurring on private property -- social gatherings conflated with commerce.
The monetary demands of a sale are balanced against a spirit of hospitality and moral equity that pervade the domestic space, and prices are expected to be set fairly and open to good faith bargaining. The consensus-building and personal interactions at sales carry possibilities for reshaping our experiences of public life. Such arenas of informal trade more closely resemble the interstitial space of barter or gift economies, and suggest alternative forms of sociality.