Free: Anything on the Yard

Our upstairs neighbors are having a yard sale – or so it would appear, at least. In Provo (as in some other towns, I’m sure), it is common to leave unwanted items on the yard or by the curb to signal that they are free to the public. And while it’s polite to knock and double-check if there isn’t a sign, a sofa left out by the garbage can is usually considered free game.

But the upstairs neighbors are having the floors re-done, so they’ve got a veritable cornucopia of fine furniture out on the lawn, and it’s been there for the past two days. They remembered to turn the sprinkler off, so their sofas weren’t soaked in the wee hours of the morning. This is good.

But they didn’t put a sign out to signal that their stuff was off-limits. And while I can understand their assumption that nobody is going to just take your stuff off the front lawn, it really does look like a yard sale out there. And if there isn’t a price tag on anything, a lot of people will assume it’s free. Several people this afternoon, for instance. One of them drove up and double-checked with my husband, just to make sure he didn’t load up anything that wasn’t up for grabs. The upstairs neighbor yelled through a window, “We’re having the floors done!” … Which still didn’t really answer the question of whether the stuff was free, but they apparently figured it out between them.

About half an hour after that, a middle-aged woman came by and started taking pictures of the furniture. She obviously doesn’t live on this street, because this street is college housing. We were a little torn: tell her it’s not for sale, or wait and see if our neighbors learn the Provo norm the hard way? After a few minutes, she left empty-handed, so we didn’t have to decide. It’s not like we’re hoping they get their stuff stolen. We just don’t want to have to baby-sit their stuff, and they really need to put out a sign. ♦


One thought on “Free: Anything on the Yard

  1. Covering it with tarps would protect it from sun and rain while making clear it is not a yard sale.Sounds like a job for Captain Obvious!

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