Sunday, July 24, 2011

Yard Sale Addiction... and Etiquette?

I've never kept this a secret, but I love a good deal.

I've had more than one friend who started as being somewhat "put off" by the idea of yard sales... but then after coming along to one... and then another... and then a few more and seeing that you can pick up anything from standard finds like clothing and toys to more unique discoveries like antiques or tools at a fraction of the original price, well, let's just say that they ended up converted.

After all, whether you go looking specifically for lamps or wall art or corner computer desks, it's almost nearly as fun to pick up other surprise treasures along the way as it is to find that one mirror or welcome mat that will fit your home perfectly.

On the other side of the equation, however, is the amount of time and work that goes into putting together a garage or yard sale of your own. Having spent hour upon hour preparing for and running my own sale last month, I know full well that it takes a lot of dedication, persistence, and something that can be described only as optimism each time someone decides to take on this ordeal.

Which then also gives me much more respect for others and what they have done when I arrive at their sale. After watching and interacting with a variety of people in my own garage, I feel like categorizing garage sale shoppers can be done in a similar way to categorizing retail shoppers: if you haven't worked in retail before, you just don't get it.

So, if you haven't held your own garage sale and spent late nights, early mornings, and every available minute in between pricing and painstakingly organizing outgrown baby clothes, computer carts leftover from college, and telephones that make you wonder if landlines truly are a thing of the past, then you just don't appreciate the effort.

Does that mean that I'm not still just as hopeful when you walk up and start browsing my sale? Not at all. But does it also mean that I might cringe a little bit when you unfold clothes or take items out of boxes and then discard them into a messy pile on the table? Well... yes.

In stores I don't bunch unwanted clothing into piles or leave dropped items on the floor, so it makes sense to me to extend the same respect to a yard sale. Do other people just not feel the same way?

In the end, it seems that no matter the lack of sleep and exhaustion that I've experienced with my own sales or the disappointment that I've found visiting ones that were advertised well but then didn't live up to the hype, I'm still a garage sale fan. The excitement over getting that deal or selling something that was useless to me has a way of making it all worth it... no matter how people act.

If you shop at garage/yard sales, do you think you have good sale etiquette?


Jessica said...

We had a garage sale a month or so ago and the people watching was just about the best part of it (since it was pouring down rain and we didn't make much money). I love garage sales, too. But am also amazed by how some can be so poorly put together. And how people in general just don't have good etiquette, too. The ones that make a mess at your garage sale, probably do it at a store too.

Jenny said...

I think I do have good garage sale etiquette. I am always annoyed by those that leave everything a mess. I find it even more annoying when the person who is having the sales has everything thrown out all over the yard.

Also, what is up with the garage sale drivers? Especially the older ladies with their vans? Every single time I go to a garage sale, there is one of those ladies that pulls up right in front of the driveway and leaves her car running, not even bothering to notice she's blocking everyone else. Or the ladies that pull up and park on the wrong side of the road or practically in the middle of the road!

Now I will say, I hope to get a van someday and I will be an older lady, but I will NOT be one of those ladies. LOL!

Amber said...

Yes! We always make sure we put things back where they were. And we don't offer less than full price until the last hour or so of the sale. When we did ours, though, we had people trying to offer us 1/2 price in the first hour, and even one lady who switched price tags and then tried to talk us down from her self-reduced prices. It was wild. I was glad my husband was there to back me up!

TheSmellyArmpit said...

I try to not make things messy and stack things back in place but this weekend my little 1 year old was "sorting" clothes from a pile on a tarp to the ground as I was shopping. OOPS! I put them all back and the people didn't mind but I'm sure they didn't want their clothes off the tarp. wooopsieee. :)

Liz Mays said...

I can only tolerate doing them once every three years or so, but I always make a lot of money. Of course, when you break it down to the number of hours spent preparing, I'm probably making less than minimum wage.

LeeAnn said...

I don't know that I could be converted. ;-) We have had one garage sale in the past, and I am still so traumatized by it that I can't bring myself to have another. The best part were the people peering in my house as we were bringing stuff out before the sun even came up! What is wrong with people?

Oh, and I don't sort or tag anything. I will pretty much take what people offer. Maybe you should come to FL and hold a garage sale for me...if I made some decent money, I might like them better.

Becca said...

I do go to garage sales occasionally. I think I have good etiquette because I don't really touch anything. I mostly buy books or puzzles and those are easy to put back just how I found them. I have always kind of wanted to host a garage sale - but never have.