Author Topic: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors  (Read 8033 times)

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GrammarNerd

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The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« on: June 05, 2014, 09:19:07 AM »
Neighbors/friends are having a garage sale.  We have a lot of stuff to get rid of too.  DH was casually talking with neighbor mom and came back and told me...he thought it was a great idea...gee, WE should sell some stuff at their sale!  Yippee!  He offhandedly mentioned that I should take some stuff down there, I told him it wasn't a good idea with a small amount of my rationale (will get to that in a minute) and then we went on to something else.  This was about a week ago.

Well, I don't dispute that we have a lot of stuff to get rid of.  But we had a disagreement this morning b/c he's upset that I didn't take his 'suggestion' and run with it...namely, that I haven't contacted NM to arrange to take some stuff to their garage sale.  Ugh.

See, when I was younger (teenager?), we had a garage sale.  From this, I KNOW they're a lot of work....cleaning the garage, marking stuff, arranging, and just sitting there for two days and haggling with people who come to look at your stuff and still want to get it cheaper than the already cheap prices we put on it.  We also paid for an ad in the paper and went around the neighborhood putting up signs.  Then neighbor (wife of a very busy couple with a somewhat starved-for-parental-attention little girl) marched over and asked if she could bring 'a few things' to sell them at our sale.  Not knowing how to say no, we said okay.  So that neighbor marches back over with armloads of toys that her DD had outgrown.  Way more than a few.  Just dumped them with us.  We didn't see her for the two days of the sale, until she stopped by to pick up the money from what she sold (and it was a good percentage of the money we made, b/c hey, kids toys always go well).  She never offered us anything for our time or effort in selling her stuff, nor offered us anything toward the ad in the paper that we had to pay for.  Barely said thanks.  Just took her money and left.  For my mother and I, we were supremely annoyed; we had put in all of the work for the sale, and she just piggybacked on our work and benefitted from it with no effort of her own. 

So anyway, now that DH wants to take a bunch of our stuff to NM's sale, I DON'T want to become the woman that annoyed me so much.  I don't want to presume anything.  From that experience, my rationale is that I think it's rude to try to horn in on her sale when we haven't done any of the prep work.  I, of course, would sit there with her for at least some of the time, but I don't even want to put her in the same position that I was in with our past neighbor, where we didn't feel we could say no and have it cause hard feelings.

I told DH that if it was so important to him, then HE should ask them.  I could sit there at the sale, of course, b/c he'll be at work and I don't work that day.  He was annoyed that I didn't just jump right in on his offhand suggestion last week.  We DO have stuff to get rid of, and I think that's all he's thinking about.  I agree, we DO.  But I don't feel that this isn't the way to do it.

So tell me, did my past experience give me a bad perspective and make me oversensitive about this, or is it truly rude to try to horn in on someone else's garage sale like my husband is suggesting?  If he still gives me a hard time about it, I want to at least know if I'm being unreasonable, or be able to counter that it's just not good for friend/neighbor relations to put them on the spot like that.

**By the way, it starts TOMORROW.  That's part of his complaint with me....I should have asked them last week.  Well, I told him I was uncomfortable with it last week, and he never went any farther either.  Ugh.  But regardless of that, to ask NOW...I think the last-minute nature of the request would look even worse.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2014, 11:32:53 AM by GrammarNerd »

YummyMummy66

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2014, 09:26:25 AM »
How far is this neighbor?  A few doors away?

I would not go down to their home and sell your stuff, I would sell stuff in my own driveway.
I would also pay them for some of the advertising that they did. 

If you know this neighbor well enought that this would be ok with them, and you do have stuff to sell, I would talk to her about it.  But, I would not leave my stuff there and expect her to sell it. I would go down and sit with her and sell my stuff and when I was ready to go back home, my stuff would go with me.   

We have community yard sales all the time in our area.  Our dev. does at least one a year if not two.


z_squared82

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2014, 09:30:10 AM »
I would not join the yard/garage sale. I would go over during the sale, acknowledge DHís conversation and say something like, We just didnít have things organized to get rid of stuff.

And that neighbor woman previously? Horribly rude. If you want to have a joint yard sale, you stay the whole time and do the work. My mom and aunts all sell together every few years and they all stay the whole day and are in charge of haggling and making change for their own items. Period. And thatís what you would have to do with this neighbor.

And as an aside, if garage sales bother you that much, look into consignment shops in your area. Mom and I have an account at one that makes womenís clothes and housewares. My SIL takes in a lot of my nieceís old clothing somewhere else. And if no consignment shop wants it, donate it. So much easier than a yard sale.

bopper

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2014, 09:38:27 AM »
Put a sign out and sell your stuff in your driveway. People who drive to the garage sale will  see yours too.

tinkytinky

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2014, 09:40:03 AM »
How far is this neighbor?  A few doors away?

I would not go down to their home and sell your stuff, I would sell stuff in my own driveway.
I would also pay them for some of the advertising that they did. 

If you know this neighbor well enought that this would be ok with them, and you do have stuff to sell, I would talk to her about it.  But, I would not leave my stuff there and expect her to sell it. I would go down and sit with her and sell my stuff and when I was ready to go back home, my stuff would go with me.   

We have community yard sales all the time in our area.  Our dev. does at least one a year if not two.



POD.

If DH has never done a garage sale before, he really has no idea about how much work goes into them. I would probably tell him that yes garage sales are a nifty idea, and I'm not opposed in the slightest, but it takes more than a day or two (or even a week if you have a lot of stuff) to prepare. By all means, have a garage sale and have him help with the leg work, the pricing of items, the cleaning and organizing, the ad in the paper, getting change to start off with, etc. Once he does a garage sale, he would probably never ask you to jump in on someone elses  without forethought.

I do think you can make this work to your advantage with the neighbor, though. Go over and talk with neighbor and let her know that in 1-2 weeks, you will be having a garage sale yourself and you would be happy to direct people to her house if she wanted to put out the things that didn't sell this week. or she can bring some of her items and sit with you (and visit during the slow times). This could prompt her to let you know in advance of future garage sales so you can have a joint

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Aquamarine

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2014, 09:40:15 AM »
You sell your own stuff at your own garage sale.  If your houses are close, probably everyone that would go to your neighbors would also go to yours.

Your DH is being a clod and rude to boot.  There are many here who believe "it's not rude to ask", however, I am not one of those people.  I believe it's terribly rude to put your neighbor on the spot, in a very awkward position and ask to intrude upon an event that they have planned for themselves.

I love how your DH thinks not only that you should horn in on the sale, but that conveniently it will be on a day when he works, so of course he wouldn't be able to help the neighbor sell his stuff.

Garage sales are a lot of work, it may be more efficient to donate and take a tax deduction for the items.  For me, it was always better to work at my job (extra shift) for those hours that would have been spent organizing something like this and just donate the stuff.  This may or may not be an option for you.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

turtleIScream

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2014, 09:51:20 AM »
I have done many a joint garage sale, and they have all gone smoothly. The key to not being "that neighbor" is to not be like that neighbor. Arrive early to help set up, bringing your own tables to display your wares. Price your items beforehand. Bring tissue paper and plastic bags. Offer lunch/lemonade. In other words, make your presence helpful and welcome.

Did you husband tell your neighbor you wanted in, or did he just say that to you? If he suggested it to your neighbor, I agree it was presumptuous, especially if you really don't want to. But if it was just a discussion between you two, I sort of understand how he felt dismissed. Not that you had to go along with his plan that still put the bulk of the work on your shoulders instead of his; that was unfair of him, as was pestering you for a week.

The time to settle this was a week ago. Even if you changed your mind, now that the sale is tomorrow, it is a little late to try to add on or coordinate.

If you do ever decide to try to go in on a sale, the key is in the phrasing. Asked they'd be open to a joint sale, offer to divvy up tasks, let them know you plan to put in equal effort.

lowspark

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2014, 09:53:04 AM »
I agree with those who say to set up your own sale in your own driveway. Put out your own signs as well. If she put an ad in the paper, you can offer to chip in for that if you want, although I'm not sure that's totally necessary.

I will never ever have another garage sale. They are definitely a ton of work. I'm sure your DH doesn't realize it. It's a lot of work to get all the stuff organized and priced, make sure you have plenty of change on hand, keep an eye on shoppers as well as making your stuff doesn't "walk away", haggle, etc.

The worst part of it is manning the sale and that is the part that your husband is not able to do and that you are only suggesting to do for some of the time. If you do your own, you can sit there as long as you like and close it down whenever you want without taking advantage of anyone else.

As a garage sale goer (I love to go, hate to have), two (or more) garage sales in close proximity are definitely attractive, so putting your signs next to each other everywhere will tend to attract more people to both houses.

m2kbug

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2014, 10:02:04 AM »
I wouldn't want to piggyback on this either.  What you could do, is make arrangements next time to do a combination yard sale some time in the future where you and DH can equally participate in the prep involved.  That is, if they regularly do these sales, you could plan a time to do it together and maybe even get a couple other neighbors involved and split the prep and the cost.  In any case, I agree with you. 

If you're going to ultimately end up piggybacking, offer to help with the signs and offer to give them money for the ad they placed or feed them or something.  If your homes are close, you just set up in your own garage.  If you go there, you sell your stuff while you're there and take it with you when you leave, so the burden isn't left entirely on them.     

Your husband is volunteering you for something you're not entirely interested in doing.  You're going to be left with the bulk of the work and hanging with the neighbors while he heads off to work.  Yes, we do these things for each other sometimes, but I don't think I'd be up for this one. :)  If he really, really wants to do a yard sale, he should take a day off and be around to help.

jmarvellous

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2014, 10:02:53 AM »
I grew up on garage sales (literally half of my mother's (very nice, like-new) furniture is from garage sales, and nearly all of her decor). My parents even had a garage sale 'business' for a while (give us your garage for a week, put all the junk in there, and we'll give you a percentage of the profits at the end).

They don't have to be a pain in the you-know-what. Gathering can be done one day after work, pricing the next, and set-up early the morning of (very early, if your neighborhood is prone to sale vultures!). More or less.

I love it when several homes on a block have sales. It's easier for the customers than if the stuff is all jumbled together and payment to one person or the other is confusing. Parking is easier, too. The simple solution to the advertising stuff is to make posters that say, "Multi-Family Yard Sale!"

Don't worry about ads in newspapers, or stretching it out over two days, or making your yard look like a showroom. Commit to selling for one morning/afternoon, and donating or consigning the rest. Mark everything CHEAP and be willing to go half-off or more to get rid of it after a couple of hours.

I do think it's unwise to latch onto your neighbor's sale less than a week in advance. It's their choice, of course, but if you do combine sales, make sure you price your own stuff, deal with change/negotiation yourself, and buy them coffee and bagels or something for the favor of letting you set up on their property.

wolfie

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2014, 10:08:26 AM »
I would tell him that if he wanted to do it then he should have taken the initiative and made the arrangements. It's not right that he gets to have the ideas but you have to do the grunge work to make it happen.

SCAJAfamily

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2014, 10:10:59 AM »
If you have the time and have lots of stuff (especially if you have big items) I would give it a try in my own driveway.  Put signs at either driveway to advertise the other.

They are a pain.  I always swear I'll never to it again but I did a co sale with a friend last Sept.  I took everything over to her house (she had the big items) and we sold together.  I mainly did it because C and A had lots of outgrown items they had bought or earned themselves and they wanted to make money.  A ended making $75 (Beyblades were a huge seller), C made $30 and I made $130.  Worth it to me only because of my sons.
SCAJAfamily = dd S 22, ds C 15, ds A 12, dh J and myself dw A

acicularis

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2014, 10:13:29 AM »
I can see why you think this is a bad idea. Did your DH even discuss this with the neighbors, or just hatch this idea on the way home?

As others have said, have your own yard sale (if you feel like it). In the future, make plans ahead of time if you want to collaborate with the neighbors. Or, it if it's so important to your DH, let him do it!

GrammarNerd

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2014, 10:16:16 AM »
Thanks for the validation.  To answer a few questions....I don't think that DH specifically said anything to the neighbors.  He came back and said something to me, at which time I told him that no, I thought it was rude to infringe on someone else's sale.  He went on to something else, and I had no idea that it was still a bug up his rear.  He brought it up again this morning, and that's when he said that I should have done something a week ago. Ugh.

But see (and I pointed this out to him), he does this a lot, about a lot of different things.  He hears about someone going camping, and next thing is that he wants to buy a lot somewhere so we can 'rough it' and go camping on the lot.  Stuff like that.  A good idea, maybe, but totally impractical for our lifestyle and commitments right now.  'We should do this' type of things that have no basis in reality.  Daydreaming, if you will.  So over the years, I've learned to save myself the grief and not follow up on the comments that seem to be along the 'we should do this!' daydreaming variety.  Yes, something might be a good idea, but there are a LOT of good ideas that are just not feasible for our family, our time frame, our commitments, etc. 

And he's been in management and is still in some form of management, so he's used to delegating.  Sometimes he just doesn't turn it off.  I don't work full time, so he tries to manage me at times.  So when he said 'we should get in on their garage sale' and I said that I didn't like the idea, and he didn't do anything about it either, I thought it was done.  So when he said 'you should have asked them a week ago', that was the management part of him kicking in.  I told him about how, well, he said we should buy a lot, but I didn't do that just because he happened to mention it one random time either.

There's also a neighborhood/city garage sale in August.  I told him about that and said we can shoot for that. 

I KNOW we have a lot of stuff, and in his naÔve way, he's trying to find a solution to that.  But he just doesn't get the work involved and that one just does NOT do what he is suggesting.

lowspark

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Re: The etiquett of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2014, 10:24:20 AM »
If you really do want to participate in the city sale in August, I suggest you start getting ready now. Start going through your stuff and deciding if it's sellable, price it and box it up for easy storage. Throw away and give away the stuff that you don't think is sellable. If you start now, you can do it a little at a time, and by the time August rolls around, you'll be ready with minimal last-minute prep.

As far as pricing goes, here's my advice. What you paid for something or how much it meant to you should not enter into the equation. As a customer, I don't care what you paid for it. I care what it is worth to me. So price things at a number that will get it out of your house. Remember, doing a garage sale isn't just about the money, it's also about getting rid of stuff. So let go of any emotional attachments. And every time something sells, regardless of the price, just think to yourself, "Yay! I never have to worry about storing/dusting/moving/etc. that item again!"