This is going to be a two-parter. Look for part two sometime next week. I got a little wordy on this one I think, in part, because I spend a lot of time going to a lot of yard sales an d I see a lot of mistakes being made. I would love for everyone who has a yard sale to be successful so that more people will hold yard sales so that there will be more yard sales for me to attend.Take both of these posts with that in mind.
And, of course, I'd love to see your comments on the issue, as well!
Besides, once the chaos of the sale gets started, you really don't need five people yelling at you for prices on every jot and tidbit. Trust me.
3. If you say "Make me an offer," then be prepared for the offer.
Please don't play the "Make me an Offer" game. It goes like this:
- You have a sale and don't price your stuff.
- Someone comes to your sale and wants to buy something.
- They ask you how much it is.
- You don't know and you haven't thought about it, so you try to pass the buck to the seller and say "Make me an offer."
- They do.
- You don't like the offer, so you get offended. You either snap at them or otherwise get bent out of shape.
- They put the item down and leave.
If you're going to play the MMAO game, then remember why people come to sales--they're looking for bargains. If you put the impetus back on them, they're going go right for the lowest possible price. Getting upset with them for doing it is a little tacky at this point. They are only doing what you asked them to do.
I had a woman at a sale last year make faces at me every time I made the offer she was asking me to make. She'd screw her lips up, curl her nose, arch her eyebrows and say "Ewwwwwww!" really loudly.
After the third time, I said: "Look. I'm doing what you asked me to do. If you don't like it, then don't accept the offer, but stop being rude to me." I left without buying anything.
If you do ask for an offer and get one you don't like, then politely counter-offer. You don't have to accept the offer just because they made it, but use it as a starting point to work towards a price you can live with. Yard sales are about bargaining and bartering.
Then, after that person leaves, get busy and price the rest of your stuff, like you should have done in the first place! Keep playing MMAO all day and you're going to sell less stuff, become increasingly frustrated, and generally waste your time. Not to mention pissing off everyone who comes in your yard.
- Early birds do have money, which you want
- They’re also annoying and time-consuming, which you don’t want.
- It’s not fair to those who stick to the posted times to sell all the good stuff early.
- Who said yard sales have to be fair?
- Early birds are often dealers looking to beat out the competition.
- It is illegal to shoot them, no matter how much you may want to.
- How early are they? There’s a big difference between someone showing up two hours early and fifteen minutes early.
- How much set up do you still have to do? If you’ve still got tons to do, you really don’t have the time to deal with someone getting in your way to look at things.
You might consider appointing one person on your set up crew to be on "Early Bird Patrol." Their job would be to deal with the EB's, herd them away, watch them to make sure they don't swipe anything, etc.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure everyone at the sale knows about it and that everyone acts consistently.
4. Be honest!
There's an annual multi-family sale near us that I never miss. Two of the participants are antique dealers and they always have good stuff from their businesses that they need to clear out, so it's cheap.
I stopped at a house in a neighborhood sale once and found a Bybee pitcher and a book I wanted. Total was $3.50. I was down to twenties at that point, since my small bill reserve had run out. The seller looked at the bill and said "I couldn't possibly change that." And this was the middle of the morning! I convinced her to hold the items while I shopped at a neighbor's house to get change. If I hadn't really wanted the pitcher, I wouldn't have done it and just left the sale.
It's your responsibility to be prepared.
Later in the day, I'll be more friendly, but I still like my space. Acknowledge my presence and then let me do my thing. I might just spend lots of money with you if you do.
And, yes, I'm also thinking about what price I might be able to re-sell something for when I make an offer. So?
Let the kids play a part by selling canned drinks or cookies. If you let them keep the money they make, they'll have good incentive to stay involved. It's hard to resist a can of Coke from a cute little kid on a burning hot day. And I've seen some of the kids really get into the selling.
Older kids can get involved by selling their old stuff. I've seen lots of little wheeler dealers working hard and raking in the cash getting rid of old toys. It's never too early to start learning good work habits or good money habits.
Unfortunately, it's usually not the best idea for the dog to be one of the family members involved, unless you know absolutely for sure that there's no chance of biting or barking. Fluffy may be the sweetest, kindest thing on four, but there's always going to be someone who is afraid of her. Remember, it's also kind of hard for Fluffy to understand why all of these strange people are coming into her yard.