The first bargain hunter arrived on the sidewalk in front of a SLO rental property almost two hours before the event started. By 12:30 p.m., when the garage sale officially opened, more than 100 people were queued up, waiting to be waived in by a garage sale “bouncer.”
There was nothing especially valuable or rare or even interesting at this garage sale. People didn’t drive from cities like Palmdale or LA to get the cast-off household items belonging to a bunch of college-aged guys. They came, lined up, and waited for hours just to buy a piece of Internet history.
The cost of membership to a viral phenomenon: $1.
The event began as a joke. Three housemates, Rhys Jansen, Matt McGill, and Nick Shorts (who’s actually very tall), decided to sell most of the stuff in their house, rather than move it somewhere else after their lease was up. Shorts made a funny video to advertise the event, which happened May 24, and posted it to YouTube May 16.
In the video, the three men dance, throw dollar bills, introduce a stuffed snake “Hissy,” and enthusiastically repeat the cost of every item at the sale—“A dollar!” About a week later, the video was posted to Reddit, and then it quickly went viral—it currently has close to 190,000 views.
“We were looking around at our stuff,” Shorts said, “and we thought, we are going to disappoint.”
Less than an hour after the sale began, only a dozen people milled around. The sale had ended, the house picked was over, and the three housemates were left stunned with a fanny pack full of cash. The most sought after item was the snake, which sold immediately. All told, the sale raised $381.