#860: The World's Longest Yard Sale Six states. Three days. One ugly cookie jar. Today on the show: Yard sale!
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#860: The World's Longest Yard Sale

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#860: The World's Longest Yard Sale

#860: The World's Longest Yard Sale

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KAREN DUFFIN, HOST:

Morning, Nick.

NICK FOUNTAIN, HOST:

Morning, Karen. I guess we should say that it's 6:57 in the morning.

DUFFIN: Right.

FOUNTAIN: So we're a little groggy. Why are we here?

DUFFIN: We're here because we're at a yard sale.

For sale - fishing tackles.

FOUNTAIN: I like the fire pit thing.

DUFFIN: That is nice.

FOUNTAIN: We are at a yard sale in Gadsden, Ala. And we are not here for just this one yard sale. We are here for thousands of them.

DUFFIN: We are at the starting point of the World's Longest Yard Sale. It spans 690 miles all the way from Alabama to Michigan, up this little highway, Highway 127, that runs mostly through small towns.

FOUNTAIN: Our editor had the brilliant idea for us to drive all 690 miles of this thing in three days.

DUFFIN: Which I was not totally excited about. I mean, I'm someone who, if I see a yard sale in my neighborhood that's, like, one block out of the way, I'm probably not going to go out of my way to stop at it. But 690 miles of them, that's worth it.

FOUNTAIN: Yeah. For me, I love yard sales. But I always kind of feel like I'm the sucker in every deal. So 690 miles to learn how to be a better yard saler (ph), I am definitely in. I have a hundred dollars in small change in my fanny pack, and I'm ready to go.

DUFFIN: Oh. Let's go to the maps, info, T-shirts...

FOUNTAIN: Yeah.

DUFFIN: ...Of the World's Longest Yard Sale.

Hi there. Who are you?

AMBER JEAN: My name is Amber Jean, and I work for Greater Gadsden Area Tourism here in Gadsden, Ala. And this is the map. You're here in Gadsden.

DUFFIN: We're doing all 690 miles in three days. What do you think are the odds that we make it?

JEAN: Well, this is the beginning. So if you're starting here, and today's Friday, you will never make it by Sunday - never. Never, ever make it all the way through. Six-hundred and ninety miles?

DUFFIN: Yeah.

JEAN: Yeah, no.

FOUNTAIN: Oh, no. We don't even have three days. We have 2 1/2 days. I'm worried. You just made me really worried. I'm sorry. It's OK.

JEAN: Y'all better drive fast and skip some yard sales because no way. No.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAWRENCE MAU YIP WONG SONG, "SKYWARD")

DUFFIN: Hello, and welcome to PLANET MONEY. I'm Karen Duffin.

FOUNTAIN: And I'm Nick Fountain. It is summer. It is America. And what is more American than the World's Longest Yard Sale - Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan?

DUFFIN: Today on the show, 690 miles of microeconomics at work. We're going to learn from the most ruthless buyer in southeastern Alabama and the grumpiest seller in Tennessee.

FOUNTAIN: There will be haggling. There will hopefully be some deals. And there will definitely be some speeding.

(GROANING)

FOUNTAIN: So much traffic.

DUFFIN: We're going 8 miles an hour?

FOUNTAIN: Yeah.

DUFFIN: All right.

FOUNTAIN: You can start early, but you can't start early enough. Yeah, we had not quite factored in the tens of thousands of other people who had come along to do what we had done - to be on this yard sale.

DUFFIN: Right. Because the World's Longest Yard Sale is an annual thing. It's been going on the first weekend in August for the past 29 years. A guy in Tennessee started it because he wanted to get people to come to his small town. And it just kind of grew from there. And now, tens of thousands of people come every year from all over the country.

FOUNTAIN: And that first morning, it felt like we were stuck behind all 10,000 of them.

This looks like a yard sale I would mess with.

(SOUNDBITE OF SEATBELT CLICKING)

DUFFIN: Yeah. All right.

FOUNTAIN: OK.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR DOOR CLOSING)

FOUNTAIN: Some baseballs, phone cases.

DUFFIN: I would never buy a stuffed animal at a garage sale.

FOUNTAIN: I mean...

DUFFIN: No. That's gross.

FOUNTAIN: While we were debating the merits of yard sale stuffed animals, we spot this one guy.

DUFFIN: He's mid-30s, super tan, baseball cap. And he's carrying this huge metal sign.

FOUNTAIN: What is even going on here? You have an 8-foot-long sign that says Manitowich.

JOSH CRUMP: Have you ever seen another one?

FOUNTAIN: Fair enough.

J. CRUMP: Fair enough. I've got a 48-foot trailer full of old stuff like this.

FOUNTAIN: Excuse me?

J. CRUMP: Yeah.

DUFFIN: This is Josh Crump. He's from Alabama. And he's at the yard sale with his wife, Marcie.

MARCIE CRUMP: And I am, like, a third- or fourth-generation junk hoarder.

FOUNTAIN: Her mom, her grandma, her great-grandma, her aunt.

M. CRUMP: Nearly, my cousin missed his appendix surgery because she was at a yard sale and she was supposed to bring him.

(LAUGHTER)

M. CRUMP: He was late.

(LAUGHTER)

M. CRUMP: That is what we're dealing with. That's the class of hoarders that we're dealing with.

FOUNTAIN: They told us, look; this isn't just an obsession. Our family has a wedding venue, and we use this stuff to decorate it.

DUFFIN: Right. These are people who have turned yard saling (ph) into a profession.

FOUNTAIN: These are people we can learn from.

DUFFIN: So we turn to them, and we say, look; we want to be great yard salers. Give us all your tips.

FOUNTAIN: And Marcie says before the yard saling even starts, you got to get prepared.

M. CRUMP: I always have an extra set of clothes 'cause you never know when it's going to rain. Have toilet paper 'cause I'm going to stop wherever I got to use the bathroom. Snacks. And I'm going to have plenty of change.

DUFFIN: Dude, we forgot to bring toilet paper.

FOUNTAIN: All right. That is the pregame. But at a yard sale, it's the deals that matter. And I want to know how Marcie gets the deals.

M. CRUMP: I start - as soon as I walk up, I just start, like, downing everything they have. And I start getting in their head. I just start playing with their mind, just thinking, you know, did I price things too high? Will I ever even get this stuff off the ground? I mean...

DUFFIN: You break them down first.

M. CRUMP: They may be on an antidepressant by the time I leave this yard sale.

DUFFIN: But there is one exception to this, and that's if she finds plain white dishware. That is her weakness. In fact, her family has forbidden her from bringing any more home because she already has tubs of it.

FOUNTAIN: Today, there is one thing that Marcie really has her eye on. In fact, she's been looking for it for a year and a half.

M. CRUMP: If we can find an iron twin bed, you're fixing to see it go down 'cause that's what I'm looking for.

FOUNTAIN: I want her to find that iron twin bed 'cause I want to see it go down.

Is it cool if we follow you just for a few miles to see how you do your thing?

M. CRUMP: Yeah. Yeah.

J. CRUMP: Absolutely.

DUFFIN: We start following them through mostly suburban Alabama. There's a couple yard sales every few blocks.

FOUNTAIN: The rental car is getting very warm.

DUFFIN: I am sweating.

And finally, they pull over.

FOUNTAIN: She just jumped out of the car. She's going to look at the stuff while he parks.

DUFFIN: And the first thing that Marcie buys is the one thing she is not allowed to buy.

M. CRUMP: How much are your platters - a dollar? OK.

DUFFIN: Weren't you explicitly banned from bringing home white plates?

M. CRUMP: Yeah, I was. But you know how people, like - they just need just a little fix? This will get me through the day.

FOUNTAIN: She gets her fix, and then we hit the road again.

DUFFIN: I can't believe they didn't stop.

FOUNTAIN: Wow.

DUFFIN: I'm shocked.

And at this point, we've been following them long enough, we thought we could kind of predict when they would pull over. But then they pull into this one yard sale that just does not look promising.

FOUNTAIN: Oh.

DUFFIN: Oh. What?

FOUNTAIN: How do they know?

DUFFIN: Yeah. What's - I don't see a thing here that they would want. Let's go find out.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR DOOR CLOSING)

DUFFIN: What do we got here?

M. CRUMP: Did you see it?

DUFFIN: No.

M. CRUMP: I'm pretty sure it's a twin iron bed.

FOUNTAIN: This is the thing that Marcie had been looking for for a year and a half. She promised us a throwdown if she found it.

M. CRUMP: OK. So I can't act too interested.

DUFFIN: OK.

M. CRUMP: So I'm just going to kind of...

DUFFIN: Should we look at other things first?

M. CRUMP: Yeah. Well, we may need to - yeah.

DUFFIN: We look around. And after we had faked it long enough, finally, she goes in.

M. CRUMP: How much are you wanting for your bed?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I could do 60 on that one.

M. CRUMP: OK.

DUFFIN: What do you want to pay?

M. CRUMP: I'd pay 50. We're fixing to go into negotiations.

FOUNTAIN: OK. Here it is. She's going in for the kill.

M. CRUMP: Would you do $50 on that?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: I can do 50 on it.

M. CRUMP: Yes. It's good.

FOUNTAIN: No throwdown. We wanted a throwdown.

M. CRUMP: She did have a good price. And when someone's fair to you, you want to be fair back.

DUFFIN: There was a time in Marcie's life when she probably would have negotiated down to $25 and felt like a sucker if she didn't get it. But not this time.

FOUNTAIN: I was expecting you - I was expecting you to be much meaner than you were.

M. CRUMP: Well, I'm going through, like, a whole, like, renewal process myself. So yeah, I'm trying to be a little bit nicer. People are trying to make a living.

DUFFIN: What Marcie is reminding us is that yard sales are not anonymous economic transactions. Like, if you're bargaining online, all you want is the lowest price.

FOUNTAIN: But if you're bargaining face-to-face like Marcie on someone's front lawn, the optimal price isn't necessarily the lowest one. It's the lowest one you can get while also being able to say, thanks, maybe I'll see you next year.

(SOUNDBITE OF BARNABY ALLAN TAYLOR'S "BLUES SWAGGER")

DUFFIN: Fifty-four hours to go. And of those 690 miles, we still have 684 left.

FOUNTAIN: We got to find a way around all of this traffic.

The guy told me you take this dirt road over here.

DUFFIN: This is the plot of every horror film.

(LAUGHTER)

FOUNTAIN: But we make a rule for ourselves. We can take shortcuts. We can even take freeways, but we have to hit yard sales in every single state.

DUFFIN: OK. But even so, we still have so much ground to cover.

COMPUTER-GENERATED VOICE: Make a right onto U.S. 127 North.

FOUNTAIN: And you know how you learn way too much about someone by being in the car with them for way too long?

DUFFIN: Like, I generally try to keep my Diet Coke habit hidden from people, but, you know, three days in the car.

FOUNTAIN: No secrets there.

DUFFIN: I know. OK, but that cemetery thing that you do.

FOUNTAIN: Cemetery - hold your breath. There's a church at the end of the cemetery that says, salvation not for sale - freely given.

DUFFIN: (Laughter) Do you think they put that sign up just for this weekend?

FOUNTAIN: A hundred percent. And it was around Georgia when I realized - oh, no. I'm not the one who loves Googling stuff. You have a need to Google every single thing that goes through your brain.

DUFFIN: Look, we had just passed, like, 15 Dollar Generals. And all I wanted to know was how many Dollar Generals are in the United States, which then, of course, meant that I had to find out how many Walmarts there are.

FOUNTAIN: And McDonald's.

DUFFIN: OK. But I'm not the one who made us Google every historical fact in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire."

FOUNTAIN: This is great.

DUFFIN: This is killing me.

FOUNTAIN: I think we've made it...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WE DIDN'T START THE FIRE")

BILLY JOEL: (Singing) We didn't light it, but we tried to fight it.

DUFFIN: No.

FOUNTAIN: ...Three-fifths of the way through.

DUFFIN: You're being optimistic. OK, if I ever hear this song again, I'm going to cry.

FOUNTAIN: What about tomorrow in the car?

DUFFIN: No, no. Definitely not.

OK. I'm seeing it.

FOUNTAIN: Day 2 - Tennessee.

DUFFIN: We start Day 2 with 500 miles left to go in just 36 hours.

FOUNTAIN: But we get kind of distracted.

DUFFIN: Big American flag. Lots of American flags.

FOUNTAIN: Oh, that's some good stuff, actually.

DUFFIN: Pull over?

FOUNTAIN: Yeah. Why not?

DUFFIN: All right.

We pull into the parking lot of a restaurant called Shoney's in Crossville, Tenn. There's a strip of grass where people have set up a bunch of yard sales. And right away, we see this one guy. His name is Jonathan Jones. He's older. He's chain-smoking. He's a little bit grumpy.

JONATHAN JONES: Does that mean if you - if I don't sell it to you for 20, you're going to stand around here and bug me?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Yeah.

JONES: OK. Take the clock and go.

FOUNTAIN: But charming in his own way. And he's selling some things that we're looking to buy.

DUFFIN: Oh, record - records. We have an order for French records.

FOUNTAIN: Before we left, we asked our colleagues, hey, do you want us to pick up anything for you along the way?

DUFFIN: And Stacey Vanek Smith - and we really don't know if she was just trolling us here - but she said, could you get me a shaming cookie jar? You know, the kind that yells at you when you grab a cookie.

FOUNTAIN: And also French records. And here in Tennessee are crates of records - dollar records.

DUFFIN: I kind of feel like we're not going to find the French records.

FOUNTAIN: What is this?

DUFFIN: Oh, that looks French.

FOUNTAIN: Yeah. This is totally - un, deux, trois.

DUFFIN: Oh, my God. Stacey Vanek Smith is scoring.

FOUNTAIN: Oh, my goodness.

DUFFIN: Did you find two French records? This is ridiculous.

JONES: That's the only $10 album I've got in there.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: No, it's a dollar.

FOUNTAIN: We keep digging, and we find some great records.

DUFFIN: The Commodores, Otis Redding, The Pretenders.

FOUNTAIN: The Pretenders? As long as this has "2000 Miles."

DUFFIN: Yeah. It's worth it.

FOUNTAIN: Then we need it.

DUFFIN: We hand over the money to Jonathan, the guy selling these records.

FOUNTAIN: Am I paying you?

JONES: I hope so.

DUFFIN: (Laughter).

FOUNTAIN: All right.

JONES: You can pay her.

DUFFIN: But then, we run into a problem.

We're going to be the most...

JONES: I wasn't going to sell The Pretenders.

FOUNTAIN: Oh, please.

DUFFIN: Jonathan does not want to sell us his Pretenders album.

FOUNTAIN: It's out here. You're going to sell it, right?

JONES: Sorry. You'll have to be happy with your two French ones.

DUFFIN: Really?

JONES: Really.

FOUNTAIN: I feel like this sale already happened.

JONES: Yeah. But you hid this on the bottom.

FOUNTAIN: The box was out here. No.

DUFFIN: We didn't hide it.

JONES: I didn't look close enough.

FOUNTAIN: Jonathan says, listen; this record really means something. I really like this band.

JONES: The whole feel of it.

FOUNTAIN: I've seen them in concert.

JONES: One of the best ones I've been to in recent years.

FOUNTAIN: Listen; I'll make a deal with you.

JONES: I'll give this back, and you can take any other two records here. How about that?

FOUNTAIN: At this point, we realize two things. We are sitting here being awful to this 68-year-old Pretenders fan. And we are becoming a living example of something in behavioral economics.

I guess we should tell you, like, why - so we cover economics. You want to tell him why...

JONES: The underground industry that's going on here?

DUFFIN: No, no, no.

FOUNTAIN: No. We don't care about tax evasion.

(LAUGHTER)

DUFFIN: But there is this economic term called the endowment effect. And that's when you - OK, so I get a little too into the weeds with Jonathan here. But basically, the endowment effect is the idea that the mere fact of owning something makes it more valuable to you.

FOUNTAIN: Jonathan says, yeah, that totally makes sense. This happens to me all the time.

JONES: Many times, if I've got it, it's not worth much to that person. But the same thing - if he's got it...

DUFFIN: Right.

JONES: ...Oh, I couldn't part with it for that, you know?

DUFFIN: That's exactly what the endowment effect is.

FOUNTAIN: And that is happening right now because, look, this is not a record that I've been looking for. I know one song on it. But once I'd owned it for - what? - like, three seconds, no way am I giving this up.

JONES: Ah, you have a...

FOUNTAIN: So I realized I was being predictably irrational. And I told Jonathan - sorry, my bad. We will take you up on that offer.

DUFFIN: So Jonathan gives us a folk record...

JONES: This is a cool-ass record right here.

DUFFIN: ...And this other one by a soul singer named Jackie Wilson.

JONES: This is - that "Say You Will" is a killer song.

FOUNTAIN: I'm game.

DUFFIN: I'm game.

JONES: It's a real classic.

DUFFIN: All right. But you have to put the Pretenders record in your car.

JONES: I'll do it right now.

DUFFIN: OK (laughter).

JONES: Thank you for saving me from myself. Yeah. If it's the only one I go home with, I'll be happy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAY YOU WILL")

JACKIE WILSON: (Singing) Say you will. Come on now, baby. Say you will. Say that - whoo. Say you will. That hey my darling, darling...

DUFFIN: And you know what, Jonathan was not just trying to get back his Pretenders record. This is a good song. I am so glad that Jonathan told us about Jackie Wilson.

FOUNTAIN: I feel like this is the first great find from this trip. And after getting this awesome record, we are converts. We are really yard-salers, like, not hipster buying silly stuff yard-salers. We are in. I'm looking for deals.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Deals. Well, you've got them right here. You won't find no better deal than here.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAY YOU WILL")

WILSON: (Singing) Darling, darling...

FOUNTAIN: But after we hit Kentucky...

COMPUTER-GENERATED VOICE: Welcome to Kentucky.

FOUNTAIN: ...We were buying so much stuff that this all sort of became a blur.

We need luggage.

DUFFIN: We do need luggage.

FOUNTAIN: We've picked up so much stuff.

I remember we got more luggage.

DUFFIN: I got some goblets that I loved, you hated.

FOUNTAIN: All right, what are you actually serious about?

DUFFIN: I actually seriously want those goblets.

We drove through Cincinnati.

COMPUTER-GENERATED VOICE: Welcome to Ohio.

FOUNTAIN: Only, like, 1 1/2 more states.

DUFFIN: (Laughter) Oh.

Two hundred and twenty miles and only 24 hours to go.

FOUNTAIN: And I found a miniature ironing board. I'd been looking for that.

Two dollars for this.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Yep.

FOUNTAIN: Thank you.

DUFFIN: I start justifying things that I definitely do not need.

Oh, I mean, I'd be doing myself a favor.

FOUNTAIN: We bought so much stuff.

DUFFIN: Day 3, our last day, we wake up early in Ohio with only one thing on our minds, Addison, Mich.

FOUNTAIN: The end of the world's longest yard sale.

I'm so tired.

DUFFIN: I have the best news for you. We're in Addison...

FOUNTAIN: We have made it.

DUFFIN: ...Home of the state wrestling champs 1989.

FOUNTAIN: (Laughter).

But we barely had time to celebrate because when we pulled over, we realized we had a whole new problem.

We're in Addison. We're going to take a second to pack up our stuff 'cause next stop is the airport.

DUFFIN: That's right.

FOUNTAIN: We actually kind of finished early...

DUFFIN: Yeah.

FOUNTAIN: ...Which is awesome.

DUFFIN: Yeah, yeah. And we're just an hour from Detroit.

FOUNTAIN: All right, let's pack up.

DUFFIN: All right. Let's do it.

FOUNTAIN: Oh, there's so much trash in this car.

DUFFIN: Like, now I'm starting to understand how the yard salers feel. Like, I just don't really want to lug it home.

FOUNTAIN: Yeah. Well, you bought it.

DUFFIN: Oh, man, there's a whole other box of it.

FOUNTAIN: Some of it's mine. You have a lot of glass. What even is this stuff? I don't even remember.

DUFFIN: Remember? (Laughter). Don't forget your ironing board.

FOUNTAIN: Oh. I always thought of myself as someone who had great spatial reasoning. Like, the baseball bat alone - even diagonal...

DUFFIN: No, there's no way.

FOUNTAIN: No.

DUFFIN: Nick, we have a pile of stuff here that is not going to fit in our suitcases.

FOUNTAIN: Big decision time.

DUFFIN: No. I think that I can't think about what to do with this stuff until I get food. Maybe let's get lunch.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHRIS JONES' "INNER DESERT BLUES")

FOUNTAIN: Hey, can we order some ice creams?

UNIDENTIFIED SERVER #1: Sure. What would you like?

DUFFIN: We drive just past Addison and find ourselves a lunch spot. It's called Freddies Freeze. It is very delicious, so we also get dessert.

UNIDENTIFIED SERVER #2: Small watermelon slush and a small lemon cone.

FOUNTAIN: And as we eat and our blood sugar levels start rising, we have an idea. Freddies has this big outdoor seating space, a bunch of picnic tables, lots of people - maybe a captive selling audience.

DUFFIN: So we go back to the ordering window, and we ask for the manager. Her name is Sherry Halliwell (ph).

FOUNTAIN: What's going on?

SHERRY HALLIWELL: Well, we're busy.

FOUNTAIN: You're busy?

HALLIWELL: Yeah.

FOUNTAIN: We're reporters from New York. We just drove the entire 127 Yard Sale.

HALLIWELL: Oh, my goodness.

DUFFIN: Seven hundred miles.

HALLIWELL: (Laughter) Yeah.

FOUNTAIN: And we got to go to the airport.

HALLIWELL: Uh-huh.

FOUNTAIN: And all of our stuff is not fitting in our luggage. And we have a very strange request. With your permission, we would love to just, like, set up right out there - just have the smallest yard sale you've ever seen.

HALLIWELL: Yeah, just fine.

DUFFIN: Really?

HALLIWELL: Yeah. Sure.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANDREW PETER KINGSLOW'S "FRENCH QUARTER BOOGALOO")

DUFFIN: After the break...

FOUNTAIN: A clever sign goes a long way.

DUFFIN: OK. Yard sale - leaving Michigan tonight, must sell everything.

FOUNTAIN: And then, NPR - no price refused.

DUFFIN: We hold the world's tiniest yard sale in the parking lot of a small-town ice cream stand.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANDREW PETER KINGSLOW'S "FRENCH QUARTER BOOGALOO")

UNIDENTIFIED SERVER #3: I got a large red raspberry slush. All right, red raspberry slush.

DUFFIN: Back in the parking lot at Freddies Freeze, where we're holding our tiny yard sale, we quickly discover that people coming for lunch are not necessarily interested in a mini ironing board...

FOUNTAIN: All right. Well, just come look after you finish your delicious-looking meal.

DUFFIN: ...Or my amazing '70s amber goblets.

FOUNTAIN: Yard sale?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: (Laughter) No thank you.

DUFFIN: Are you sure? These are some great goblets.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: I see.

FOUNTAIN: This is not going well.

Before you guys leave, you want to look at our stuff?

Especially when it comes to your ugly cat cookie jar.

DUFFIN: I love this cookie jar, and nobody is buying it.

FOUNTAIN: Oh, those guys are going around us.

DUFFIN: So just as I'm thinking we might just have to throw everything into the dumpster, we meet the first two people who are willing to talk to us.

FOUNTAIN: Oh, we got some yard salers here.

DUFFIN: We were just going to get rid of it.

NICK JAMES: (Laughter) I don't need an ironing board, yeah. I'm downsizing. We're moving.

DUFFIN: Nick James and Tiffany Boss are here for lunch, so I try to pawn off my goblets. You try to sell your bat.

FOUNTAIN: What about for self-defense?

JAMES: (Laughter) That just seems very brutal (laughter).

FOUNTAIN: Nick and Tiffany are like, we don't actually need anything 'cause we drove a lot of this ourselves the past couple days, but also, you guys are kind of doing this wrong.

JAMES: You know, you got to tell a story in order to sell it.

TIFFANY BOSS: You know, sell him that ironing board.

JAMES: If you're going to sell something, you need to have a story.

DUFFIN: In retrospect, this seems kind of obvious. But this thing that we're doing that feels normal to us because we've been to dozens of yard sales at this point is actually a little weird. Like, people came to their small-town ice cream shop for lunch, and they found two random radio reporters in the parking lot trying to sell them a mini ironing board.

FOUNTAIN: The thing we were not doing was telling all those strangers the bigger story. We were not tapping into the thing that makes the world's longest yard sale work. Connecting 690 miles of yard sales turns it from that one-off yard sale in your neighborhood that you probably won't go to to a destination, a legitimate thing you might plan your family vacation around.

DUFFIN: And where you might buy some '70s amber goblets.

FOUNTAIN: All right, so we got some primo, like, goblets.

As soon as we start connecting our little yard sale to the world's longest one...

DUFFIN: We've been on the road for literally a thousand miles.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: What are you doing?

DUFFIN: We were going to the world's longest yard sale.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: Oh.

FOUNTAIN: ...Everything sells pretty quickly.

DUFFIN: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: Four dollars is fine.

DUFFIN: To be clear, we were also giving the stuff away at bargain basement prices.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: Here's two bucks.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: Two bucks.

DUFFIN: We lost, like, 5 bucks on the goblets, two bucks on the bat.

FOUNTAIN: We ended up giving away the ironing board.

DUFFIN: All that was left was Stacey's cookie jar.

FOUNTAIN: No one wants that thing - no one.

DUFFIN: I'll throw in the cookie jar for free.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: No, no, no. That is...

DUFFIN: For free.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: ...So sweet - no.

DUFFIN: For free (laughter).

And it so sadly would not fit into my suitcase.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FOUNTAIN: I think - here's what I think.

DUFFIN: Please say you're going to take it home.

FOUNTAIN: I don't know if it's going to make it all the way. But I can - if I stuff some clothes inside the cookie jar, I think I can bring it home, and we can give it to Stacey Vanek Smith.

DUFFIN: I am dancing in the parking lot of Freddies Freeze. That - I'm very happy about that. That is the perfect ending to this yard sale.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DUFFIN: We're...

FOUNTAIN: You can - if you have any awesome yard sale stories or any stories at all, send us email, planetmoney@npr.org.

DUFFIN: We're on all the social media - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter - @planetmoney.

FOUNTAIN: Our supervising producer is Alex Goldmark. Our editor, who convinced us to drive this whole thing, is Bryant Urstadt. I'm Nick Fountain.

DUFFIN: I'm Karen Duffin. Thanks for listening.

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