One More Mommy

Thoughts of a mom and her husband, son, daughter, pets, friends, job (or lack thereof), house, family, trying to be more ecologically aware...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Garage Sale

We held a garage sale this past weekend. One day only! I placed one ad in the local paper, one ad on Craigslist, and one sign at a busy intersection. We had people pouring in left, right, and center, and when my friend left to get to her events of the day, I wanted to grab her ankle and yell ‘Don’t go!’ because I honestly didn’t know if my mother, my husband and I were going to be able to handle the people and the baby all day long.

Garage sales bring out an interesting sort of person. And I like garage sales, and go to garage sales, so I feel I can pass judgment my fellow garage-salers.

The first sort arrives early. We had only one early arriver, and he was a gem. A short older gentleman, this is what he has to do with his time. As we were moving stuff out from the garage, he was wandering in to look at things. At a lot of things we weren’t selling, because it’s OUR GARAGE, where we STORE STUFF. He asked about electronics, and I said we had some radios. We hadn’t brought them out yet, and as my mother went in to get them, he tried to follow her into the house. Whoa, dude, not cool. He tested a friend’s radio, and it didn’t work. I hadn’t had a chance to look at it and told him so. He offered $0.50 for it. I was exasperated and refused. He was annoyed. He returned twice more during the day to check things out, and each time we tried to sneak away from talking to him.

The second type are your cheapos. These are the people who drive up in a shiny new car, and when you say you’re selling something for $2, they offer one. If you say $5, they offer $2. We had a couple fellows who bought a couch set and kitchen table set who were doing this to me. I priced the couch/chair/ottoman set at $75. They offered $50 – at 9 AM, when we had 900 people coming through. You don’t drop your price at 9 AM, especially when the place is hopping. We haggled a bit, and finally, we got to the point where they took a table set and the couches. They went off to rent a truck, and were loading up their purchases when he made me an offer a chair priced at $20. He offered $10, and the argument he used was that he was a good customer and buying a lot of stuff. Apparently he didn’t get the point that garage sales are one-off events, and I’m not looking for repeat business.

Thirdly, we had the neighbors. I loved the neighbors. They came over and chatted about the neighborhood, about the people who lived around us, and offered to make us a wine stopper out of a root we had dug up from our backyard. Neighbors! I’d host a garage sale once a month if it meant I got to get to know the neighbors a bit better.

There are the treasure hunters. We had a guy wander in and ask if we had Hummels or Lladros for sale, or a real silverware set. I know that people can have a business in these dealings, but to me it’s dirty business. It’s cheating and taking advantage of what people don’t know about their collectibles.

The rest of the people are just looking for something, and those are the fun people, the ones you enjoy dealing with and are willing to help out. The grandma-to-be who excitedly bought the Pack –n-Play. The polish couple who debated on the stereo and checked out every button, and then offered to have one of them stand and lay claim to the stereo while the other went to get cash. The book hounds who are there for one purpose and one purpose only – they don’t even glance at anything else.

And I have one tip for people who like garage sales – be nice. No one wants to sell their stuff to someone they don’t like, and they don’t want to cut a deal for someone they don’t like.


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