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Kate Explains How Garage Sales Are a Vital Part of the World

THINGS are always more complex than you think they are.

Take mosquitoes. Please. I detest them, you see, with their rotten needle-noses and their buzzy-buzzkins, and the way they come out just when you’re sitting in the dark looking at the stars or trying to sleep. They love me, but I hate them, and I always believed the world would be better off without them.

Then I read a science article that said mosquitoes break down something like 60 per cent of all the carcasses in the world. Not flies. Not worms. Mozzies. Without them, apparently, the world would be uninhabitable. So now I can’t even wish them dead.

I was reminded of this the other day. We were all in our studio, getting ready for the jolly radio show we do every afternoon, when my funny friend Hughesy passed over his phone to show me a picture his wife Holly had just sent him.

It was of a yellow sign taped to a tree. On it was written: “EX-BOYFRIEND CAUGHT CHEATING. EVERYTHING MUST GO SALE!”


Underneath was the address and that coming Sunday’s date. And the whole scenario was so unexpected and intriguing, I laughed and said: “I am definitely going to that garage sale.”

The rest of our team passed the pic around, and then we speculated about what would be for sale. The contents of their apartment? Old CDs? Free weights? It seemed to me there probably wouldn’t be much more than some cheater’s clothes, but I still really wanted to go.

So did most of us. Sacha, our producer, was keen as mustard. I mean, how fascinating – this unknown girl (we assumed) had suffered the ultimate act of hurt and betrayal, but still had the juice to turn it into a life-affirming act. To sell a cad’s stuff. So vengeful! So raw! (I was also kind of hoping he might turn up on the day.)

And then our assistant producer, Mister Darcie (who is a lovely girl), said: “Wouldn’t it be kind of weird, buying their stuff?” And we all ummed and aahed, and the silence was broken by Hughesy saying: “Of course it would be weird!”

Then he called me a vulture, and accused me of wanting to feast on the carcass of someone’s deady-bones relationship, and it was so funny and absurd we all laughed and laughed. Then I remembered I had to take my son to basketball training that morning, so I couldn’t go to the garage sale anyway.

In fact, I forgot all about it.

Then, on Sunday morning at 9.42am, my phone pinged. It was a group text from Sacha: a photo of a young couple with enormous grins on their faces. Next to them was a neat display of clothes, shoes and old luggage. The message with the photo said: “No cheating ex! Just a good marketing strategy by Justin and Heidi.”


I didn’t know whether to applaud or be appalled. I mean, genius, right? But sly genius. Evil, almost.

Hughesy was thrilled. “Nice,” he wrote. “Vultures deserve to be conned.”

Vultures, I have to inform him, play an important role in the ecology of garage sales.

Without us, who would take the old stuff? The world would be a mess.

Vultures are important. They are of more use, for instance, than snakes.

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