Garage Sale!

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  1. No I'm not selling anything so don't worry.

    In the Secondhand bargains thread we’ve been getting into an interesting conversation about garage sales. I figured it needed its own thread to vent, brag and give tips.

    I used to balk at the idea of going to them, now I’m addicted. You can find a lot of deals at sales but you also have to deal with a lot of interesting people. I could go on for pages about my experiences and I’m sure some will but to start this off I’ll keep things at a positive note on what I’ve learned over the years.

    The early bird gets the worm. Although I find it rude to go to sales before the scheduled start time that won’t stop me from showing up 5-10 minutes early and sitting out front in my car waiting. Sometimes they do open early and don’t care, but I won’t go knocking on doors, it’s rude. If you want the best selection go early.

    The best time for dealing is near close. Most things will probably be picked over but there might be something you had your eye on but the price was too high. Can’t hurt to go back near the time they shut down to see if it’s still there and bargain.

    When it comes to bargaining your idea of a fair price and their idea can be in two different orbits. One phrase I hate is ‘give me an offer’. I’m a cheap person so my offer is usually something low, this can and has insulted them before. I usually stumble around my words a bit and say ‘oh I have no idea, what do you think?’ There are some benefits to this; it puts the ball in their court and I’ve found a lot of the time their offer is much lower than I was going to go. If it’s near retail then just say thanks and move on.

    Always check CD/DVD boxes before you get them to make sure the disk is in there. Ask if electronics work, or better yet try them out.

    I love to hunt out designer items at sales. You need to educate yourself on what to look for since 90% (or more) of the designer bags I see are fake. Otherwise you’ll just be wasting money. Just because the sale is at some mansion doesn’t mean they have designer bags. I can’t tell you how many sales I’ve gone to at huge 6000 square foot houses with fakes, yet the modest 1800 square foot houses have people who spend $1000 on a bag. Look for key words, do searches for ‘designer’ and the like. I also look for clues on what they are selling. If they state they are selling Ethan Allen or Pottery Barn, or another place that over-charges for décor they might spend a lot on bags as well.

    Talk to the sellers. I’ve seen so many women grabbing a faux ___ purse thinking it’s real and paying for it and running like they just got a huge deal. I admit I’ve done it myself but the chances are the sellers know it’s a coach they are selling, it’s not like it slipped through the cracks. You ask them if it’s real, most of the time they will tell you. If they say it’s from a factory and it’s a second, it’s fake. If it was a gift or they aren’t upfront with you, probably a fake. I’ve also had sellers pull even more shoes and bags for me to look at after talking to them. If they like you, and see you are willing to buy they might sell you things they hadn’t put out yet.

    I could keep going on but that’s enough for now. I’m sure other members have more to share.
  2. I love your tips -- great stuff!

    Here is my most unbelievable garage sale story and it happened years ago when my daughters were little. I was living in CT at the time and in my yard sale I'd put out a "Freebie" box with some stuff in it that was not in great condition -- some old pilly sweatshirts that could be cut up for rags, other junk and in there were two London Fog girls winter ski-type suits -- overalls with matching jackets (and in retrospect they should NOT have been in there but, my mistake....) Cuffs were dirty and I couldn't get them clean, buttons faded, but the rest of it in very good shape.

    So, along comes this woman. Goes through the Free box. Takes at least one of the ski suits (maybe both, can't remember) and some other stuff. Picks up a small ceramic "piggy bank" in the shape of a rocking chair that I had marked for 10 cents, and asks, "Would you take a nickel?" OMG I saw stars!!! It was all I could do to bite my tongue, stick out my palm and she placed a nickel in my hand and walked away, all those other goodies in hand!!! My foot up her fanny should have helped her off my property. Did she play by the rules, yes. But would it have been a whole lot nicer to a)not negotiate when your arm is full of other free stuff and b)offer me a buck or two for all that stuff?? Absolutely. The whole experience just took me by surprise - I expected more of people (sadly I don't now, just older and wiser, I guess!) Ugh, will never forget it!

    Looking forward to the stories here -- this will be a very interesting thread!
  3. ^^People are crazy! My DH would have said something like, "Yes, I'll take a nickel for the bank but there's a 5 cent convenience/negotiation charge on all discounted items. That'll be 10 cents please!" :biggrin:
  4. I've always been an avid flea market/junk store/garage sale person and have some tips for when you're doing a whole day of it.

    1. Bring a lot of cash, in various denominations. It seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how often you skip out the door without bucks.

    2. Sunscreen, hat, water. Don't roast and dehydrate yourself.

    3. A partner. She looks at one end, you look at the other, and you have a lot less fatigue.

    4. Smartphone so you can look up values of something you think could be a bargain...and sometimes it really isn't. A way to avoid mistakes.

    5. Polite negotiation. It's a fun day primarily, and if you get a find, great. Be there to have a good experience.

    6. Effective language: "What is your best price for this?" Always see if you can get the seller to name a good price first, before offering one.

    7. Act fairly neutral, pokerfaced, if you think there could be some negotiation ahead. Your enthusiasm is information to the seller.

    8. Save the best stuff for me!:biggrin:
  5. ^^^ Excellent tips!

    I'm an avid antiques hunter, but I learned everything I know about negotiating at markets in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire and in Nigeria. Those skills include much of what you mention above and have served me well when shopping everywhere.

    And gosh, I wish I'd had a smartphone 6 years ago when I bought a 'Louis Vuitton' keepall from a lady who claimed to have purchased it at an estate sale in Maryland. Aargghhh.... the bag sits on the floor of my closet (unlike my authentic luxe bags) as a reminder to do my research. Always.:smile:

    Great thread OP.
  6. A GPS unit has really helped save me time and gas this past year compared to before. You can hit the sales faster vs. driving around and avoid a lot of frustration.

    Last week I was at a sale and this lovely woman was selling tons of designer purses. I snagged a couple as well as a few other things. Of course I was out of money so I had to go get some and she said she'd hold them for me. I got back and she said this woman (mid 20ies) wanted my bag, then she came over to me and was 'I came for that bag' indicating the Burberry. For a split second I thought about letting her have it but then changed my mind, after all it's why I came and it's not my fault I beat her to it. Well later on I found out she had tried to outbid me on the bag by offering $10 more whatever I was paying. Now i'm glad she didn't get it, that's pretty low in my book.

    I went back the next day to see if she put out anything new, she hadn't but told me that this one woman, who I remember gragging bags just after I had picked out a few I wanted, had stolen two of them! Could have been more but she couldn't remember. It makes me sick that someone so nice as that woman selling $500-$1000 bags for dirt cheap would have that happen. Then she said two other women were trying to steal shoes a bit later. What is wrong with some people.

  7. HaHa!! Love it!
  8. Stealing at a yard sale?! That's ridiculous! The nerve of some people :rant:
  9. So slimy!! I had a full-length leather coat that I was selling for my sister stolen once at a garage sale I was doing with a friend. A bunch of people came in a van, it got "busy", we lost track of things and at the end, I asked my friend where the coat was and if she sold it to anyone in the group. Since neither one of us had sold it, we figured it walked. It's such bad karma... I was so mad but I have confidence it comes back to them in the end, one way or another.

    It's this kind of stuff that has me sworn off doing garage sales. Such weirdos show up at your doorstep and I can't stand negotiation on something that is largely in perfect condition and is already 75% off it's value and THEN they want it for nothing! Ugh... drives me nuts!! And to steal on top of it....soooooo slimy!! I really DO need to do one but I feel better about donating or ebaying or throwing something on Craigslist if it's of any value. I know I have totally the wrong attitude... many people will say get a few bucks for it and let it go, and they're likely right (like my mother!). I think I'm just wound too tight for the garage sale crowd -- don't want to deal with them!
  10. My ex really got me into going to garage sales when we lived together in West Los Angeles. One of the best places IMO. I once found a mannequin for $20. Also, found an Afflicition Jacket for him which was $70 that retailed for over $800. I've never found any designer bags/shoes that ppl in that area weren't asking an arm and leg for. :/
  11. I love yard sales but am so not a morning person. None of my friend like them so I don't go much anymore. I do check out ones in the neighborhood if I happen across them. I think people here hate throwing things out so there's a lot of smaller just getting rid of a few things style yard sales.

    My best friend had an actual garage sale recently told me about all the weirdos that came to hers. Lots of people way early and guys asking if they could try on the mens casual work pants she was selling for like $0.50-$2.
  12. LOL in our newspaper this week there is one yard sale advertisement that says "early birds will be put to work"
  13. great thread op!

    oh wow... i didn't know people would steal from a yard/garage sale. so sad given that the owners are oft willing to sell their possessions at a low cost!
  14. how do you know when garage sales will pop up? other than newspaper? even if its in the paper.. is it in the classified section?
  15. Many newspapers have a special garage sale section. Also check Craig's List and those little local/community publications that are available at grocery stores, libraries, etc.