Shoppers storm Lions' garage sale

Scavengers circled Coupeville Sunday, waiting for the time to strike.

At noon, they landed and began to attack the carcass.

Their target wasn’t roadkill. It was the remnants of Coupeville Lions Club’s annual garage sale at Coupeville Elementary School. At noon, prices dropped to $1 a bag.

All year, the Lions stash donated items in members’ barns. Once school is out, the Lions start moving their loot in. After 10 days of set up and pricing, the service group holds a preview.

There, shoppers stalk their prey and, overnight, plan their attack route.

The two-day sale drew the expected crowd well before the 9 a.m. horn.

At 7:08 a.m., Sophia Collins was the first shopper in line. While this was her first-ever Lions garage sale, she wasn’t intimidated by the prospect of the coming charge.

“I have my bag, I know where I’m going,” Collins said as she stretched her legs, keeping her muscles warm.

Pulling a hamstring on a cold start would cost her dearly. Collins was aiming for Marcrest pottery. According to Collins, the heavy, brown-glazed pottery is quite collectible.

“In antiques stores, it sells for $50 and $60,” she said. She shivered in anticipation at the thought of Coupeville Lions’ rock-bottom prices.

Some people didn’t come for the deals, they came for the spectacle.

State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen and a group of friends hung over a fence, gazing at furniture. The group was spending a weekend on Whidbey Island and were told not to miss the scene.

“We’re thoroughly enjoying everything,” Haugen said. “This morning, we’re here for some retail therapy.”

Inside, Donna Brown fussed over her “orphans,” primping them for new homes. Over the winter Brown repaired and refitted sewing machines for the sale. She even wrote a short profile of each machine.

“It’s been so much fun and a labor of love,” Brown said of her efforts.

At the two-minute warning, people began angling elbows for jabbing and readying to throw body blocks.

At the blast of an air horn, the crowd rocketed into action.

Collins shrieked and shot forward, elbows flailing.

“I got everything I wanted and more,” Collins said Monday. She bought two large Marcrest Pottery crocks with lids and a vegetable bowl she’d seen at Friday’s preview.

After digging under a table, she unearthed two Marcrest bowls. She spent $10 on pottery.

“I got hand-embroidered linens, a transferware plate, a copper mold and a teapot for $5 or $6 more,” she said. “If I’m in town next year, I’ll be at the sale.”

Coupeville Lion Dennis Bullock, one of the sales co-chairs declined to immediately release the exact amount the sale raised.

“It was sufficient,” he said.

Three people know that figure: the president, the treasurer and Bullock. They will make the announcement at the club’s picnic July 7.

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