Author Topic: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors  (Read 8217 times)

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Roe

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2014, 08:55:04 AM »
To the Op, please do not piggyback on your neighbors hard work. A neighbor did that to me once and after, I never thought the same of her.

As we were having our sale, she brought over items to sell and basically took over my customers and then had the audacity to ask if a stranger could use my bathroom to try on some jeans. Hm, her house was right across the street so really no need to use mine but this was before eHell so I didn't know how to say no.

Needless to say, I was not happy.

GrammarNerd

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2014, 09:11:44 AM »
The garage sale is going on as we speak (read/write) and no more was said about it last night.  Yay!

For all I know, he could have said something to someone at work and the person agreed with me, and he realized his best course of action was to shut up about it.  ;D

Yvaine

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2014, 09:40:25 AM »
I posted this in the drive you up the wall thread, but I think we're married to the same person!

My husband got it in his head that we had too much of DD's stuff and we should have a garage sale at the citywide sale. I suggested just taking it to Goodwill--we only have the one kid, she's only 6, and she's only in size 6, so not a huge array of kid clothes, and I sold lots of our bigger stuff years ago on CL. Oh no, he wanted to have a garage sale. I said I was not helping. He said OK. He paid $10 to get on our town's map of houses.

He brought the clothes down from the storage space a couple weeks before. And there they sat, taking up room in my dining room.

The day before, he rented some tables. That was it.

The afternoon of, he got off work a little early and started sorting clothes. (When I asked when the sale officially started, he flippantly said it would start when he was good and ready. Obviously he has never met a hardcore garage saler...)

He didn't buy dots or signs or anything--just stuck them in piles and made random signs on printer paper. Eventually he got tired (and ran out of table space, because he had only rented two) and figured people could just root through the rest.

The biggest ticket item, a plastic climber, sold immediately, but I'm not counting that in his sales, as I could have sold it on CL just as fast.

He ended up putting about  8-9 hours in minimal set up and sitting outside in our driveway. He sold $9 worth of stuff. (He realized later that mothers of little girls don't want used dresses with spit up on them that are 6 years old/not the current style, and most clothing garage salers are mothers of boys. I could have told him that. Oh wait, I did  :P) Then someone on here pointed out that he had paid the $10 to get on the map.

So a weekend wasted and he made -$1. LOL.

Yeah. SO not worth it.

Ha, I made about -$1 when I did a combined yard sale with several friends a few years ago. One of the women actually made a fair amount of money because she had tools and craft supplies to sell, but as I found out, it's a total crapshoot whether any customers will like or fit one's scads of used clothing. (What, the world isn't filled with women one size smaller than me who like to wear stuff from the mid-oughts? Dang.) I only sold a few toys and paperbacks. And spent about a dollar more chipping in for our fast food order than I made. It also didn't help that the house was in a labyrinth of a subdivision and someone else was having a sale much closer to the main road--I think people saw our ad but ran into the first sale first and thought they'd found us.

lowspark

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2014, 10:00:19 AM »
In my experience, people who hold garage sales but never go to them don't do as well. They often don't put up adequate signage, mark visible and reasonable prices, offer the kinds of things that will sell well, etc. As a veteran garage sale customer, these kinds of gaffes are immediately apparent to me but I can see how they might not be to the sale holder. And that leads to frustration for them because then they don't know why they didn't make much money.

I have a group of friends who loves to go garage sailing (as we call it) and we have joked about making up a checklist of "DOs and DON'Ts" which we could then hand out as we visited sales, with check marks for those things they did properly and those which needed improvement. Just a joke of course! But when I read stories of people who had unsuccessful garage sales, I figure they just didn't know how to do it right. And by the way, sometimes doing it right (in my opinion) means not doing it at all. If you don't have things that will sell well or if you are going to argue with folks who want to bargain*, etc.

*That's not to say you must bargain, just that you need to be polite and reasonable about it, whether you do or not. My son and I witnessed an argument between a customer and seller once where the seller was practically yelling to the customer, "It's a dollar! It's only a dollar!"... repeatedly. We now say that to each other as a joke. It was clear the customer wanted to pay less. It was fine if she didn't want to sell it for less, but she could have just said, "no, sorry, the price is firm" in a normal tone of voice.

BabyMama

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2014, 11:30:55 AM »
And sometimes even when it's a success and it goes right, stuff goes wrong. A friend had one last fall, and they're the type who buy lots of fancy toys, upgrade their appliances frequently, etc. They live in a nice town in a nice neighborhood. They had an awesome washer/dryer they were selling, and the buyers paid with a check, drove off on their fancy Harleys, and came back later to pick them up.

Next day, she went to cash the check and it bounced.
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Isisnin

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #35 on: June 06, 2014, 11:42:26 AM »
In my experience, people who hold garage sales but never go to them don't do as well. They often don't put up adequate signage, mark visible and reasonable prices, offer the kinds of things that will sell well, etc. As a veteran garage sale customer, these kinds of gaffes are immediately apparent to me but I can see how they might not be to the sale holder. And that leads to frustration for them because then they don't know why they didn't make much money.
.......

A couple friends of mine don't put prices on what they are selling.  They want potential buyers to ask for a price so they (the seller) can respond " what will you pay for it?".  Friends claim that buyers offer to pay more than what they (the seller) would've originally priced the item at. 

These friends don't know each other, so I wonder if it's a "read it on the internet so it must be true thing".

Whether or not I'd ask for a price depends on what kind of mood I'm in and whether or not it's so busy I'd have to wait.  no price would definitely stop me from making an impulse buy. 

lowspark

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #36 on: June 06, 2014, 11:54:54 AM »
And sometimes even when it's a success and it goes right, stuff goes wrong. A friend had one last fall, and they're the type who buy lots of fancy toys, upgrade their appliances frequently, etc. They live in a nice town in a nice neighborhood. They had an awesome washer/dryer they were selling, and the buyers paid with a check, drove off on their fancy Harleys, and came back later to pick them up.

Next day, she went to cash the check and it bounced.

Rule #1 when holding a garage sale. Cash only.
Don't have that much cash on you? Here's directions to the nearest ATM.

lowspark

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #37 on: June 06, 2014, 11:57:26 AM »
In my experience, people who hold garage sales but never go to them don't do as well. They often don't put up adequate signage, mark visible and reasonable prices, offer the kinds of things that will sell well, etc. As a veteran garage sale customer, these kinds of gaffes are immediately apparent to me but I can see how they might not be to the sale holder. And that leads to frustration for them because then they don't know why they didn't make much money.
.......

A couple friends of mine don't put prices on what they are selling.  They want potential buyers to ask for a price so they (the seller) can respond " what will you pay for it?".  Friends claim that buyers offer to pay more than what they (the seller) would've originally priced the item at. 

These friends don't know each other, so I wonder if it's a "read it on the internet so it must be true thing".

Whether or not I'd ask for a price depends on what kind of mood I'm in and whether or not it's so busy I'd have to wait.  no price would definitely stop me from making an impulse buy.

I actually have a rule that if something isn't marked, I just pass on it. And if nothing is marked, I leave as soon as I realize that. I don't want to ask only to have the seller determine the price based on a) the fact that I'm actually interested in buying it and b) my appearance. In other words, give the item a fair price. If I like the price I'll buy it. But that price should have been decided before I arrived.

TootsNYC

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #38 on: June 06, 2014, 12:07:16 PM »
In my experience, people who hold garage sales but never go to them don't do as well. They often don't put up adequate signage, mark visible and reasonable prices, offer the kinds of things that will sell well, etc. As a veteran garage sale customer, these kinds of gaffes are immediately apparent to me but I can see how they might not be to the sale holder. And that leads to frustration for them because then they don't know why they didn't make much money.
.......

A couple friends of mine don't put prices on what they are selling.  They want potential buyers to ask for a price so they (the seller) can respond " what will you pay for it?".  Friends claim that buyers offer to pay more than what they (the seller) would've originally priced the item at. 

These friends don't know each other, so I wonder if it's a "read it on the internet so it must be true thing".

Whether or not I'd ask for a price depends on what kind of mood I'm in and whether or not it's so busy I'd have to wait.  no price would definitely stop me from making an impulse buy.

I can see doing that. Because if you're interested, I'll take anything you'll give me. And I don't want to end up discouraging you because I asked too much. And I don't want to spend time haggling down. (and if we haggle, you may go lower than if you just set your price)
   Especially if I don't think I know what a "reasonable" price is.

I can see lowspark's point as well, though. However, if I wanted something, I might say, "This doesn't have a price, will you take $2?" or whatever I was willing to pay.

So maybe I'd put a sign that says, "Make an offer" or "any reasonable offer accepted," so the conversation would go that direction, with the buyer naming the price instead of me.

Thipu1

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #39 on: June 06, 2014, 12:17:23 PM »
Although we buy things from stoop sales we've given up on holding our own.  It's too much work and too much agita dealing with the customers.   

Once, I put together a basket of costume jewelry.  I put each piece or set in a baggie and put a sticker with the price on the bag.  There was one rather nice gold-tone necklace that I priced at 50 cents.  One woman looked it over very closely and then threw it in my face.  'This is not real gold'. 

Well, of course it wasn't real gold.  That's why it was 50 cents. Did she really think I'd offer real jewelry for the same price as a candy bar?

She did. 'I thought you Americans were so stupid that you didn't know the value of anything and I could pick up some real gold very cheaply'. 

She was highly insulted that I priced things fairly.

That was the end of our stoop sales. 

« Last Edit: June 06, 2014, 12:20:16 PM by Thipu1 »

darling

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #40 on: June 06, 2014, 03:23:52 PM »
In my experience, people who hold garage sales but never go to them don't do as well. They often don't put up adequate signage, mark visible and reasonable prices, offer the kinds of things that will sell well, etc. As a veteran garage sale customer, these kinds of gaffes are immediately apparent to me but I can see how they might not be to the sale holder. And that leads to frustration for them because then they don't know why they didn't make much money.
.......

A couple friends of mine don't put prices on what they are selling.  They want potential buyers to ask for a price so they (the seller) can respond " what will you pay for it?".  Friends claim that buyers offer to pay more than what they (the seller) would've originally priced the item at. 

These friends don't know each other, so I wonder if it's a "read it on the internet so it must be true thing".

Whether or not I'd ask for a price depends on what kind of mood I'm in and whether or not it's so busy I'd have to wait.  no price would definitely stop me from making an impulse buy.

I actually have a rule that if something isn't marked, I just pass on it. And if nothing is marked, I leave as soon as I realize that. I don't want to ask only to have the seller determine the price based on a) the fact that I'm actually interested in buying it and b) my appearance. In other words, give the item a fair price. If I like the price I'll buy it. But that price should have been decided before I arrived.

I've been to scads of garage sales, and nothing being marked is truly a pet-peeve. A close second is the seller marking everything with colored dots, and then you have to go look up how much that color of dot is. Just mark the dumb stuff already!

zyrs

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #41 on: June 06, 2014, 04:07:28 PM »
I have had 2 garage sales in my life and they were not very successful - while I had a lot of stuff to sell and did make a fair bit of money , the effort involved with cleaning it, figuring out the prices, moving it to the sale area, setting up the displays, making sure there was a shelter in case of rain and then sitting with the stuff all weekend meant that I made very little when you compared it to the amount of work involved.

So now, I just clean the stuff and donate it to Goodwill or one of the other thrift shops in the area.  If it's a really big ticket item, I might consider putting an ad in the paper to sell it.  But otherwise, it's just easier and less stressful to donate it.

YummyMummy66

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #42 on: June 06, 2014, 04:14:53 PM »
I was almost done with garage/yard sales, but alas, i am going thru stuff now and will probably have one in Sept. when it gets cooler. 

But, my husband and I make more money on selling hot dogs than we do our junk!    From now on, that is what we do.  Price our stuff cheap and make hot dogs.  And believe it or not, people are wanting those hot dogs at 7 am in the morning!

miranova

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2014, 03:37:45 PM »
I have had 2 garage sales in my life and they were not very successful - while I had a lot of stuff to sell and did make a fair bit of money , the effort involved with cleaning it, figuring out the prices, moving it to the sale area, setting up the displays, making sure there was a shelter in case of rain and then sitting with the stuff all weekend meant that I made very little when you compared it to the amount of work involved.

So now, I just clean the stuff and donate it to Goodwill or one of the other thrift shops in the area.  If it's a really big ticket item, I might consider putting an ad in the paper to sell it.  But otherwise, it's just easier and less stressful to donate it.

I'm with you.  I really think we get more from the tax deduction than we would if we sat all day and sold stuff.  We put big ticket stuff like appliances on Craisglist.

Roe

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Re: The etiquette of selling at garage sales; neighbors
« Reply #44 on: June 08, 2014, 05:36:02 PM »
A successful garage sale depends on many factors but the most important thing is "do you have anything that others would like to buy?" If the answer is no, then it's probably best to donate the items.

As a mother of boys who always took great care of their things, our garage sales were always successful. Toys were always a big seller and my boys had plenty! After 4 hrs of a sale, we'd walk away with at least $800. Of course, we'd only have a sale once every 3-5 years so it was worth it for us.