Garage sales should be obsolete

Garage sales should be obsolete
Will you take a nickel?

I’m sure my title will create some pissy commentary but after the last two days I can’t help myself. I had sworn off them before but having had a large amount of furniture and retail fixtures left over from the store I closed 2 1/2 years ago, I thought I would give it one more try.

When I closed the store I had sold many items by the last day – and then sold quite a few more on E-Bay and made a good amount of my investment back. But after a while I got tired of thinking about what was left, so there it has been left in my husband’s warehouse collecting enough dust to kill a person without allergies.

Must be the former retailer in me that gave me high hopes of turning all my leftovers into cold, hard cash. I held the sale in the large hallways of the warehouse which was my first mistake. Bad lighting. Because as we all know, garage sale merchandise looks so much better when lit properly. Right.

My second mistake was to advertise that is was a “huge warehouse sale”. Well, the warehouse is huge and there was a sale. I didn’t realize that when people arrived they expected a sports arena filled with one cent bargains. I got yelled at by one of many older foreign women (not prejudice, just who showed up!). She got in my face and yelled “You call this huge? You place false ad!”. Wow, she was pissed. The ad spelled out everything I was selling. No surprises.

My third and biggest mistake was having the sale at all. The interesting array of shoppers was like a bad episode of Jerry Springer, save for the select few that were shopping for their kids dorm rooms. Those grateful to find bargains that were in great shape were pretty excited. All two of them.

Being a jewelry rep I have accumulated what one would refer to as a “shit ton” of pieces I have collected over the years. Amidst all the furniture, clothing, electronics and other gathering of “stuff” I had, the jewelry was the single only hit of the sale. However, when something is marked $100, which was the wholesale price of a sterling silver piece of jewelry, am I going to sell it for $10? Or when you offer me $10 for it, am I going to get excited and take it??

I spent three days sweating my ass off setting up and breaking down. I almost struck several people. I nearly took the curtain rod I was selling and shoved it up the ass of the  three foot wide woman in the Mumu dress who told me I obviously didn’t have garage sale mentality. She is right, I don’t.

The few bucks I made was not even remotely worth the work on these hot summer days. I have tried selling the furniture on Craigslist in the past. The person that sent me a check for $3,000 for a $150 item could not understand why I didn’t cash the check and wire transfer him $2,850 for his “moving” expenses. Call me crazy, I was thinking “SCAM”.

I suppose eliminating garage sales altogether would give a lot of people much less to do. Much less time to scour through other people’s junk and spend money on things they probably don’t need.

I suggest everyone considering a garage sale should weigh in on the the value. Is it worth the work you put into it? Do you want to feel raped when you sell that item you had marked at $30 for $2?

My suggestion is that you box up all that “stuff” and call your local Cancer Federation, Salvation Army, Disabled Veterans, Red Cross or any other organization that is in need of merchandise. You get a nice tax credit at the end of the year and you have avoided the work, disappointment and the ability to never have to adapt to the “garage sale mentality”. That’s a win, win in my book. Which I sold for 50 cents.


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