Big Brother and garage sales in Nevada County
Garage sales in Nevada County and elsewhere in our wonderful country are synonymous as apple pie and the American flag … it is a fun way for families to explore our area, meet new and interesting people and sometimes even come across a bargain.
It is a fun way, albeit a family recreational event, that occurs most weekends, much like hiking, fishing, hunting, coupon clipping, etc. I love yard sales/estate sales. I enjoy going through the classified section of The Union and Craigslist.com.
As a practical matter, looking for things that people have to sell and things that people want is what business in America is all about. It is a way to extend the usefulness of products, and some entrepreneurial souls make a few dollars doing it and having fun, all at the same time. It is a way to recycle useful and unwanted items. And let us not forget the millions of dollars of merchandise donated to nonprofits.
For those who have had a yard sale, they know this is a tremendous amount of work. The logistics of having a sale are many and varied: The planning and staging and the constant threat of nature all must be taken into consideration. And there are costs — newspaper ads, signs, etc. Yes, it is a lot of work.
Now for the purpose of this column. Recently, I hosted a three-family yard sale at my house. It was from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday through Sunday. We had gone through the process previously mentioned.
We were rudely interrupted by a Nevada County employee with an attitude. She came onto my property carrying our yard sale sign that she had torn down (put up by someone other than me). She exclaimed that we have an illegal yard sale because some neighbor complained (yes, there is one in every neighborhood). Anyway, the county employee demanded we close immediately and declared to everyone that my garage sale was illegal because a “neighbor” complained.
Why this would make my yard sale illegal is beyond me. She further declared it was illegal to park on the street. I live in the unincorporated part of Nevada County. She further declared that we cannot put up signs on our own property or others, even with permission, but could if we paid for a permit. Aside from a possible signs issue, she made up laws as she tried to justify why my garage sale was illegal. She got so abusive that a person I didn’t even know told her to get off my property! I certainly hope she does not have a gun permit.
The irony is that she is being paid with tax dollars. Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate our priorities and see if we need Big Brother to tell us how to run our lives. Certainly, the tactics of calling the county to do your harassing should be re-examined.
What has happened to our rights of freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
Mike Ryan lives in Nevada City.
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