Yard Sale Hints and Tips
Posted by Bob Barcus on July 7th, 2013
My mother and I go to a lot of yard sales during the summer months. Whether you call them yard sales or garage sales or even rummage sales, they're all about the same. We pick one day a week and cruise around surrounding communities looking for unique treasures to bring home. We don't always succeed in our journeys, but one thing we always do is get peeved when people don't follow the simple rules for yard sales.
Put Up Good Signs
I know this sounds simple, but if people want customers to visit their yard sale, they should put up a sign. I don't know how many times we've been driving along and find a yard sale by happen chance. For those people who live on a side street, how about putting up some signs at nearby intersections that lead people to the yard sale?
Arrows are always helpful, too. I don't know how many times we'll find a yard sale sign without any indication as to where to go. When you have three or four angry commuters breathing down your tailpipe, there needs to be clear directions as soon as you see the sign. An arrow is pretty simple in my book and very effective.
While we're on the subject of signs,people should make the signs large enough so you can actually read what has written on it. While I can give dozens of examples, I often see a small 8x10 signs (or whatever size it is) with black marker writing barely a 1/2" tall. They often indicate the location of the yard sale. Here's a couple of facts - I don't know where every street is in a particular town. I also don't want to risk my life trying to stop and read the chicken scratches (angry commuters are everywhere).
Once I actually find a yard sale, finding a place to park can be a problem. While street parking is convenient, sometimes finding a good place to park is impossible. I've actually skipped some yard sales because I couldn't find a decent place to park. Dead-end streets and alleys are also a problem for me. If I get stuck in an alley behind some yahoo or on a dead-end street in front of a little old lady who couldn't back her Buick up to save her life, I usually get a little disgusted.
When I finally get to a yard sale, it's always nice to see that people have actually marked the prices on the stuff they're selling. I want to tell at a glance if I'm even interested in an item. I don't care if it is a piece of masking tape, a price tag goes a long way in helping me. I do not like having to ask what the price is on each individual item.
People are often busy helping other customers and I may have to wait around until someone knowledgeable can give me a price. The other day at a yard sale in Plymouth, I had to talk to three different people and wait for a phone call to be made to a fourth person before I was able to purchase a plastic diesel fuel can. After five minutes of waiting, I finally bought the can for $3.
Also, if people really want to get rid of their extra wares, they should mark their stuff at a reasonable price. I swear that shows like the Antiques Road Show have ruined yard sales. People thing that anything with rust on it is automatically worth $10,000. I hate to break it to them, but they're usually wrong. Sure, I get good deals on stuff every once in a while - that's the allure of a yard sale. But people shouldn't mark $30 on a set of dishes that I can pick up at Wal-Mart for $20. All that tells me is that they aren't really serious about wanting to get rid of their stuff.
Clothes Don't Interest Me
I'm sure if I had a couple of kids running around, I might be singing a different tune, but clothes do not hold any interest for me at a yard sale. First of all, I'm relatively confident that I'm not going to find anything in my size. Secondly, I'm not a big fan of wearing someone else's clothing. There are many yard sales that have nothing but clothing. Sadly, I don't stop.
Take Down the Old Signs!
Once a yard sale is complete, I wish people would take down their old signs. Just this morning while driving around Plymouth, I think I saw probably no less than three or four signs still up from the previous week. I'll guarantee that those same signs will more than likely lead people on a wild goose chase this coming week as they looking for a yard sale that isn't happening. A little bit of common courtesy goes a long way.