Here’s a hint: You can’t do it online. And you have to show up in person Monday through Friday between 8 a.m.-4 p.m., with proof of residence, to receive the $15 permit that will allow you to hold a garage sale. Otherwise, you’re breaking the law.

Backing up a little bit, recall that this new city ordinance was part of the council’s recent attempts to balance the budget. The city estimated the fee will bring in $250,000 in revenue, over and above the costs of implementing it and overseeing it. And it’s hard to argue with the stated intention of the permit, which is to drive the “professional” garage-salers out of business.

But the idea of having to drive to one of three locations (7901 Goforth1818 Westmoreland or 3112 Canton) to obtain a garage sale permit doesn’t seem very customer-friendly to me. Surely, there is some way to handle this online or even by mail? Another bummer: No refunds if your sale is rained out or you wake up on Saturday and just don’t feel like dragging everything out.

Being conservative, I’m figuring it would take about two hours to get in a car, drive to one of the locations, wait in line, produce proof of residency, pay my fee, get my permit and then get back in the car and drive back to work — my garage sale profits are already in the red $15 for the permit, $10 or so for gasoline and $30-$50 in personal time value (or more), and I haven’t even sold my first gently-used shirt for $1 yet.

The idea behind this program seems laudable, but the implementation sure seems to smack of government bureaucracy run unintentionally amok.