World's Longest Running Yard Sale

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Tuesday, August 22, 2000

from the one-man's-trash-is-another-man's-career dept.

PATTERSON, MO -- Representatives from the "Guiness Book of World Records" were on hand to congratulate Alvin and Beulah Bogenrieder for operating the world's longest continuous yard sale. At 23 years, 3 months, and 15 days, the Bogenrieder yard sale set a new world record, beating out the old record holder, a permanent garage sale in Dothan, Alabama.

Alvin was quite enthusiastic about earning a place in Guiness. "In high school I was voted most likely to become a pathetic loser with no life. Ha! I've actually accomplished something. What does Mr. Football Captain have to show for himself? Three ex-wives and fifteen illegitimate children. Loser."

The idea for a permanent yard sale came in 1977. Some out-of-towners mistook the beat-up cars, yard ornaments, and the piles of junk sitting in the front lawn for a yard sale. Well, it wasn't much of a lawn, since the junk covered up every single inch of grass.

"I told those tourists to get off my property or I'd release the hounds," Alvin said. "It wasn't until the next day that I realized that we could make money from all of the second-hand junk surrounding our single-wide trailer."

From then on, "Big Yard Sale!" signs have been directing cars on Highway 34 to the permanent yard sale sitting 4.5 miles back on a dusty county road. It's the family business -- and a county landmark. Their two sons, Bert and Garth, make a weekly trip to the Piedmont city dump to find replacements for anything that sold. They've only been abducted by UFOs three times while making their weekly foraging trips.

"Wanna see my scar where they probed me?" Garth asked.

Bert butted in, "Shut up Garth, nobody wants to hear about it..." He added, "We have to constantly replenish our inventory of junk because we don't want any exposed earth in our yard. We own thirteen used lawn mowers, but none of them work, so we do everything we can to prevent grass from growing on our property."

Even after 23 years, some of the original junk inventory remains. "We have several old rusty tractors sitting in our back yard that we haven't been able to unload. We also have two toilets, a busted television, and a stack of Coke bottles that have been with us since the first day."

Beulah Bogenrieder quit her day job as a yard ornament painter to run the yard sale. "I make more money selling nickel and dime items than I ever could at a full-time job. This was definitely a wise career decision. I like having a job title of 'Professional Yard Seller'," she said to the small crowd that had gathered to celebrate the Guiness award.

Nobody else in Wayne County has ever been inducted into Guiness, although Piedmont resident Dale Coonley did try to become the first person to consume 10 gallons of Stag in one sitting back in 1977. He unfortunately passed out after drinking 9.5 gallons, just shy of the record set by a St. Louisian the previous year. Dale has never been sober since then.

The Bogenrieders won't be able to rest on their laurels, however. Another couple in nearby Greenville is attempting to create the world's largest permanent yard sale. The Schoonovers hope to break the old record of 23 acres of junk for sale by next summer. They've already got 10 acres.

"We're not going to let the Bogenrieders get all of the fame and fortune," said Mr. Schoonover.