Dear Yard Sale Vendor,
While I realize your aim this morning is not to open a Saks Fifth Avenue on your front lawn, I firmly believe there are some general Rummage Sale Rules that you should be aware of. By placing an ad in the paper, a listing on Craigslist, or even simply duct taping a neon green sign to a utility pole, you are asking people for their time, with the promise of the discovery of hidden treasures amid your stanky old running shoes. Let’s go over a few basics:
- When your ad says your sale begins at 8:00 am, that means you need to be ready to BEGIN at 8 am. This does not mean you are rolling open your garage door and stumbling out in your pajama pants and slippers at 8 am. This does not mean you are hauling out the second box and unfolding tables at 8 am. Certainly there might be a few odds and ends to bring out, and I don’t care if you’re in a floor length sequin gown…but BE READY AT 8AM. In fact, maybe you should shoot for the lofty goal of 7:45…just for some motivation. If 8 am is too early for you, perhaps you should have picked a later time. Because YOU picked that time, remember? Don’t glare at me for being there at the time you told me to be. In print no less. (And no, I’m not early. Because that’s rude too.)
- Be ready to sell your stuff. It happens to the best of us: we put tons of stuff out for sale, and somehow, that special stuffed elephant from our nana made it out onto the tarps. A customer comes up to buy it, and you gasp, and apologetically take the item back saying it isn’t for sale. No big deal. We get it. (I mean, even Pixar did it. Hello? Toy Story? Woody is NOT for sale.) But you don’t start your sale at 8 am (see above) and tell your customers that your mom still hasn’t gone through your dead grandma’s stuff yet…Mom rolls in at 8:20 and starts making her own (giant) pile of keepsies. In the meantime, three of us have asked you for prices on at least 20 different items only to have you say that “Oh, no, not that. My mom will want that.” BE READY AT 8AM.
- Have change. In this day of technology, having cash on hand can be a rarity. As a result, many yard sale go-ers swing by an ATM on the way out for the morning. The pesky thing about ATMs is that they only spit out twentys. Go figure. When you are hosting a yard sale, and presumably requiring cash payment for items in the 50 cent to $3 range, you should have some change made in advance. When I rummage in my purse and find a rogue dollar bill and you STILL don’t have change for the 50 cent mason jar in my hand, I might have unpleasant thoughts that involve your face and said mason jar. And telling me “Oh yeah…I was going to send my husband out to the grocery store for change sometime this morning” does not somehow help. Also, suggesting that I come back once I’ve gotten change at other yard sales is absurd and I may or may not laugh. And Sir, my ten dollar bill is not what anyone would consider a “large bill”. But thanks anyway. BE READY AT 8AM.
- Price your items accordingly. I realize your things hold precious memories and you want to make some extra money this morning for that big screen TV you’ve been eyeing, but let’s be serious here. This is, after all, a yard sale…not a 25% off sale at Target. This stuff is used, remember? When I gently inform you that I can buy this glass container at WalMart right NOW, brand NEW, for $15…it implies that the $10 you are asking is a bit steep. Responding with “It’s really nice glass” might make me double over in laughter. When you go on to tell me that you paid $30 for the jar, I will stop laughing and feel really, really, really bad for you. Because either you have a horrible memory, or you got royally hosed. I love Anchor Hocking as much as the next gal, but I am here to tell you that it is not at all “nice glass” nor is it worth $30. I hope you like that jar because I’m pretty sure you’re keeping it today. Also, kind lady, don’t try to sell me your kid’s old tattered Curious George books for $2 each when they still have the original WalMart sticker of $2.49. When I kindly point this out, don’t look at me with a straight face and proclaim that ‘Yes! See, it’s cheaper! You’re still saving money!’ You’re right. And its also got a bent cover and crayon on the third page. Awesome.
- If you are having a multi-weekend sale, please update your ads as needed. Because if I beeline to your house at 8 on the dot with promises of a wooden porch swing…bypassing ten other sales on my way…and I wait patiently for ten minutes as you tell your neighbor all about your expletive-filled landlord and what a jerk he is for kicking you out…and I finally interrupt asking about the swing…I might lose my mind when you giggle and tell me that you sold it at LAST WEEKEND’S yard sale, and when you copy/pasted the Craigslist ad over for this week, you “didn’t really feel like deleting the stuff we sold“. And this, dear friend, might be why your landlord needs you to vacate. Attention to detail may not be your strong suit. That pesky first of the month just keeps changing when it comes. 30 days. 31 days. Sometimes even 28 days! Crazy, right?
- If you don’t want to price your items, don’t be annoyed when I keep asking you how much things cost. Just a thought.
- Never, ever, ever, ever, EVER try to sell your old underwear. EVER.
The mom of four who snuck out really early this morning hoping to find some treasures and willing to give you money in exchange for them. Assuming, of course, you have change for a twenty. Or a ten. Or heck, even a one.
Did I miss anything?