To simplify my life, I’ve been disposing of some possessions. My technique is to place those articles on the curb with a handsome “Free” sign. Most things disappear almost immediately. The other day, I placed a heavy 4-by-8-foot work table on the curb and it was gone overnight. My “Free” sign was also gone. A case could be made the sign was part of the offer. Nevertheless, I want my sign back. – Color me “Missing in Action,” aka John Gamble
Sad are these dark days in which hordes of hoarders help themselves not only to the roadside goods but also to the complimentary proclamation.
It must be a sign of the times.
However, the placard did say “Free,” meaning everything’s fair game.
But what possible reason to hoist your sign into a waiting truck?
There’s a clear distinction between hoist and heist.
Talk about being kicked to the curb.
Speaking of curb, it’s time for full disclosure.
Action Line has been known to cast furtive glances at stuff set out beyond the sidewalk.
Just the other week, Action Line “procured” several bags of autumn leaves for composting.
Then there were the old windows.
Action Line scored several of them on Rio Vista Circle during Spring Cleanup.
For the record, Action Line left the “Free” sign after cherry-picking the pile.
“Why did you drag those old windows home?” asked the long-suffering Mrs. Action Line.
“Because these windows might come in handy,” Action Line replied. “We could make a cold frame for the garden. Or build a shed. Or something.”
Mrs. Action Line will tell you that the most dangerous phrase in Durango is, “This’ll come in handy.” Followed closely by, “Or something.”
Thus, if you have a spouse who “liberates” cast-off windows, Mrs. Action Line feels your pane.
In any case, let’s get back to the “Free” sign.
Most folks know signs are not included in transactions.
When you purchase a house, you don’t get the Realtor’s metal yard marker.
And what about “For Rent” signs? It’s obvious that you’re not renting that sign.
Then there’s “Garage Sale.”
There is zero expectation that the garage is up for grabs.
Would you expect rum to be served at a “Rummage Sale?”
Come to think of it, savvy salvagers might consider offering piña coladas at their next rummage event.
It would certainly lower resistance to buying bric-a-brac, gewgaws and miscellaneous whatnot.
Considering most rummagers rumble in the early mornings, the notion of an 8 o’clock-tail is hard to swallow.
The best solution might be to write on your next sign “Free*” with asterisk disclaimers.
“*Free does not include this sign. Restrictions apply. No returns.”
While we’re at it: “**No animals were harmed during this production. Your mileage may vary. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. All rights reserved. For external use only. This is only a test. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”
And just to be safe: “***You may be exposed to substances known to the state of California to cause cancer. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If this is an actual emergency, hang up and dial 911. If you see a bright flash on the horizon, duck and cover.”
Email questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you post a sign that reads: “No Signs Allowed.”