Saturday, June 28, 2014

Garage Sale Etiquette

Today while we were out sailing the sea of garages it occurred to me that there should be some sort of etiquette to garage sales; for both the hosts and the seekers (there probably is, I've just never looked it up).  So while we cruised the neighbourhoods we took notes.  Here's what we came up with.  And, by all means if I have inadvertently over looked a prime point, please post it in the comments section.  All advice is welcome!  In no particular order of importance we were able to come up with the following tips:

  • Unless your garage sale if of EPIC proportions, don`t bother to use the adjectives: HUGE, MASSIVE, or ENORMOUS on your signs.  You are only setting your customers up for monumental disappointment and when a buyer is disappointed they are less likely to purchase anything from you.  
    Not likely.
  • Do always put prices on your products.  I know it's time consuming on an already lame way to spend your Saturday but I have NEVER purchased an item from a sale where there hasn't been a starting price listed for me.  I'm not kidding.  I won't even bother asking.  Doesn't matter how badly I might want the item.  
  • If you use heart shaped stickers, I'm even more likely to want to buy from you.  
  • Do not leave your pre-teen children in charge of running your sale.  I'll be frank, I won't even pull my car over.  I just can't take purchasing stuff from a 8 year old seriously.  Unless it's lemonade.  Even then I probably still won't.  I'm douchey like that.  
  • If you are the host, do not ever, EVER talk politics or religion loud enough for your customers to hear you.  And absolutely do not ever speak those subjects to your actual customers.  If I wanted to hear banter about that shit on a Saturday, I'd just stay at home, save my money and wait for the Jehovah Witnesses to come knocking.  
  • Please clean off your goods!  No one wants to buy dust.  
    Yuck, right??
  • Make sure when you put your signs up you ensure they are secure.  The wind wrecks havoc on Bristol board which in turn wrecks havoc on the number of people that are aware you are even having a sale.  
  • Your signs should also be facing traffic so the driver does not have to slow down to a stop to read it from the side passenger window. 
  • Be willing to negotiate.  Understand that the minute someone buys more than one item from you they are immediately going to try to negotiate with you.  Don't be a tool.  It's a garage sale not a department store.   
    There is a reason these are pre-printed with cheap prices...
  • Be knowledgeable of what typical prices are for a garage sale (if you aren't, let me fill you in...CHEAP).  No one cares if it's an import from Japan or China.  Frankly, damn near everything we buy from a store new is an import from 'China'.  That doesn't make it worth more.  
  • Keep the personal items (false eye lashes, used make up, half used toiletries, etc.) off the tables.  I cannot fathom that anyone is interested in that crap. 
  • Make sure you have money (small bills and change is best) with you if you are sailing the seas of garages.  That one time you don't, you'll find exactly what you were looking for.  And then when you make the decision to run to the bank to get some, someone comes along behind you and scoops it up.  (True story, happened to me today.  UGH)
  • Don't have a garage sale if you only have baby stuff for sale.  Or at the very least advertise that you only have baby stuff for sale.  Lame. 
  • Sell large ticket items on Craig's List or Kijiji.  A garage sale is no place for an $80+ item. 
  •  Remove your damn signs when the sale is over. 
    This looks like crap, and is confusing.
  • Get your neighbours in on the sale and then and only then can you advertise HUGE, ENORMOUS, or MASSIVE.  
  • No need to write your home address on your neon signs.  The street name and an arrow will suffice.  Pretty sure I can pick out the house with all the crap sitting in the drive way.  
    Really, keep it simple and easy.
  • Always have a free table.  People like free, and they are more inclined to buy something from you if they take something off the 'free table'.  
  • Have more than two scraggly tables of stuff for sale.  That's not a garage or yard sale.  It's not worth getting out of my car for. 
    Good set up.
  • Go out sailing early.  The best stuff is gone by 10 o'clock.  Guaranteed.
  • Don't be pushy with your customers.  Offer an answer when asked, but don't be all up in my grill.  If it's so damn wonderful why the hell are you getting rid of it??  
    Uh huh...
  • Know when to negotiate and do it, but if the price is lower than what you were mentally prepared to spend anyway, don't be a dick.  Just pay it.  
So hopefully some of these tips make having a garage sale or going to a garage sale easier and more pleasing.  Again, if I've missed something that's critical, please post it in the comments section for all of us to learn from!  I've scored some pretty amazing stuff at garage sales, so there is definitely something to them.  I've even decorated an entire room in my house solely from stuff I've found at these sales.  It's pretty damn amazing and I brag a lot about its awesomeness.

Hoist those sails and happy travels!  May you find a hidden treasure.  

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