Every year or so we sell off all of the computers that we’ve replaced at Lincoln Lutheran. Last Saturday was our biggest sale ever. It turns out that everything went pretty well (even considering Lauren’s stories). But I actually lost some sleep over the whole process.
We had been working on getting things ready for the sale off and on throughout the school year, but really began working on it in earnest about two weeks ahead of time. I have about 8 students who are part of my Tech Center at school. They help teachers and students who are having problems with their computers, and I wouldn’t have made it through this school year without them.
Those students were actually doing the bulk of the work to get ready. I just had to organize the work into bite sized jobs that they could do. They don’t get paid for the Tech Center work that they do throughout the school year, but we kept track of the hours that they worked to get ready for the Computer Sale and I paid them for that work.
But even with them doing most of the work, I still woke up at 2:00 am on Friday and Saturday and couldn’t go back to sleep. That never happens to me. I’ve always been a very good sleeper. (Just ask my mom.) I didn’t think I was nervous about it, and maybe that wasn’t why I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know. What, am I a sleep doctor? Is that even a thing?
On Friday, during the day I had a couple of groups of students help me carry down all of our computers and stuff to the cafeteria. Boy, I’m glad we did that. It took us until about 6:00 pm to get everything set up. I bet it would have been another 2 hours otherwise.
Saturday rolled around and Lauren and I arrived at 7:30 and the boys arrived at 8:00 and we were all busy with last minute details until we opened at 9:00. There were actually other people wandering around looking at things from about 8:00 on. It was a combination of those people who come to garage sales early and those people who are at school for a tae-kwon-do tournament. I seriously have to remember to do it on the day of the tournament again next year. It sure didn’t hurt to have about 400 extra people walk through.
It was pretty amazing how non-stop busy we were all day. Lauren was a real help. She took care of nearly all of the money (after she felt comfortable dong the credit card transactions). I had no idea how much we were selling, but once or twice she said she was uncomfortable with how much money was on the table, so she took it up to the office.
After 12:00, everything was half price, and that caused an oddly large number of problems with people just walking around with items while they “looked at other things” or people who just hovered around items for 30 minutes. But we did get amazingly busy again after 12:00.
I’ll have to write a note to myself to come up with a better way to deal with that next year. I am certainly open to suggestion if you have any.
We were pretty much done selling things and taking them to cars for people by 1:15, and, after (finally) a break for lunch (all of the pizza was pretty much room temperature by that point), we took the items that we wanted to keep back to the Tech Center. One of my auction buddies (let’s call him Joe), had agreed to take anything that we had left. I let the kids pick anything that they wanted first, then we hauled an entire van-full out to Joe’s van. It really was an entire van-full too. I had never seen a van packed that tightly.
Finally, we totaled up our earnings. I just threw the cash on the table and the kids counted it. They were amazed that there were hundred dollar bills in the pile. The stack of cash was about $3,700 high. They were amazed. They knew we were busy, but they were doing everything but taking money. After that I said we should check the credit card account. Their jaws dropped when I said there was another $1,700 in credit card payments.
I was actually pretty amazed as well. When people I knew came through the sale and asked how well we were doing, I would say that I though we had passed the $2,000 mark. Little did we know.
We cut the gross in half (Lincoln Lutheran gets half the money) and subtracted our expenses (mostly pizza and an ad in the classified section). Then we divided what was left by the 128 hours we worked. and the kids ended up earning $14.00 an hour. They were all excited to do it again next year, and I was glad to have gotten rid of all of the old stuff from the shelves.
The best part? I slept until 6:00 am yesterday.