My last post on garage sales was about how to maximize your profits and hold a successful one. This post is going to be about being a polite garage saler. You wouldn't believe some of what happened at ours.
Please, please, please do not show up early. Even if the ad didn't state no early birds. The people holding the garage sale will be busy setting up before the stated opening time and probably don't have time to take care of customers. While I was setting up, with the sale posted to start at eight, I had people stopping and getting out of their cars to look at seven. A full hour before we were to open. And if I told them we weren't open yet, they said they were just going to look and come back later to buy. There was really no way of convincing them to leave without sounding horribly rude. But then, maybe I'm too nice.
Please, if you are taking your children with you, please keep them under your control at all times. We had a four-year-old little boy try to climb the antique gas street lamp we had for sale while his parents were looking at a pair of shoes. It was leaning against the tree. He knocked it over, and bent the top part of it where the glass fits in. I'm grateful we thought to take the glass out of it just in case. But instead of being square shaped, it is now diamond shaped. We aren't sure if we can fix it. We also had kids riding around on the ride on toys we had out and nearly took out a few other customers. So please, if you take your kids, keep them under your control. If they can't behave, either don't bring them with you, or take them to the car and leave. I have had to take my kids to the car while we have been out before. Trust me, it isn't the end of the world.
We don't smoke. None of our items smelled of smoke. Until we had customers who thought nothing of bringing a cigarette with them. Please, don't smoke around the merchandise. Yes, I realize that a garage sale isn't a high end department store, however, for the sake of being polite to those around you, please don't smoke around the items. You also don't know if someone is on oxygen at the sale, has asthma or any other health problems that would be made worse around cigarette smoke. Also, we had our kitchen window open. The smell of your cigarettes got into my house. We spent weeks getting the smell of the previous owner's smoking out of our house, we don't want to have to do it again.
I don't know why, but we had three people bring their dogs to our garage sale. Why must you bring your canine? Two of them were chihuahuas which the owners carried under their arms, the other was on a regular leash. I'm not bashing needed service animals here, however, when out, they wear a vest identifying them as such. None of these dogs had the service animal vest on. If your pet happens to bite someone, you will be held liable. I could possibly get in trouble if it happens on my private property. You also don't know if I have an animal that won't get along with yours. Also, I don't want your animal to use my front yard as a restroom. Please, just leave them at home. I honestly can't think of a reason why the family pet would enjoy bargain hunting like you do.
If you are sorting through clothing on a table, please refold items if you decide you don't want them. Same goes for leaving a book table a mess, opening packages to check that the contents are all there and leaving it open. The people holding the sale don't have time to clean up after each and every customer that visits.
Please don't insult my intelligence. Don't talk bad about items, how you wouldn't have priced something as high as I did, or say that the sale was bad. You may not have found what you were looking for, I'm sorry I didn't have it, however, your attitude will rub off on the customers that are there browsing. Feel free to try and haggle, but please, don't go complimenting me and telling me other items are priced too low and that I should raise them first. Also, don't go to your vehicle and show me the bargains you got at other sales in order to impress me. I don't care if you got that towel rack with the brass hangers for fifty cents. Yes you want that guitar, no I'm not going so low on it that it would be giving it away (yes, this did happen). Be polite and be upfront with haggling. I don't have the time to sit and listen about your other great finds, I have other customers to take care of.
One last thing. Before you go out bargain hunting for the day, make sure you have enough cash to last you. Also make sure you have smaller bills. We started out with a $30 change fund. The first five customers all had twenty dollar bills and bought about three dollars worth of merchandise. My husband had to make an emergency run for more change not barely 45 minutes after we opened for the day. We didn't want to refuse the sale, however, it was quite an inconvience. It would take no time to stop and get a lot of ones and fives and quarters. Now, if you are looking for big ticket items, then larger bills will be fine. However, breaking a twenty for a fifty cent purchase will cause some issues for the ones holding the sale later when they can't make change for a dollar.
Please, if you enjoy going garage saleing, just use some common sense. It will save both you and those you are visiting headaches later.