Back to the land of garage sales and no jobs

This Memorial Day weekend, I traveled back to Southwest Michigan to visit my wife’s parents. It’s always an experience traveling to Michigan: In April, the unemployment rate in Michigan hit 12.9 percent. That was the worst in the nation.

So it’s a bit depressing traveling to Southwest Michigan. The state is in terrible shape, and this region of the state is especially poor these days.

But while the jobs aren’t here, the garage-sale business seems to be thriving.

Driving to my in-laws’ home, I counted more than a dozen garage sales. And at every one, the cars filled the side of the road.

I’ve never understood the allure of garage sales. They’re just a way for people to swap their junk for other people’s junk, right?

But I can sort of understand them in Michigan. There isn’t a lot to look forward to in the state these days. Maybe the chance of finding a hidden gem among CDs from the late ’80s and board games with half their pieces missing is at least one small ray of hope for Michiganders struggling, seemingly in vain, to hold onto their jobs.