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Sunday, November 27, 2011

On how NOT to do a Garage Sale

Our disastrous Garage Sale

So a little while ago we thought we would have a garage sale to get rid of some stuff, clear out the very cluttered garage and maybe make a bit of moulah on the side. Well, that's what we thought anyway.
Clearly we were wrong.
We made about $100 after taking out the $25 for the add in the paper. We worked like trojians leading up to the big event and we stayed 'open'  the whole day in hopes of getting rid of our junk treasure at bargain prices. We didn't.

So perhaps I shall tell you our sad little story right back from the beginning.....

About 3 weeks before we were to have our awesome garage sale, our lovely neighbour had a garage sale at her house. I actually bought all my plants for the driveway from her (loving them by the way). She did hers to raise money for Missions in developing countries and after her garage sale we were talking and she mentioned she still had so much stuff to sell. I unwittingly mentioned that we were having one in about 3 weeks and she would be welcome to come over to our place and sell some of her things at ours. No said she, she would just sell her stuff in her garage on the same day. I was a little taken aback however I just smiled and nodded and I mean what could I really say?No? Of course not. So I told her the dates and she was all set to do her own garage sale on the same day as ours.

We got things all organised and cleaned out the garage, sorted clothing, priced, labelled arranged and fluffed around a bit. I had the crazy idea to sell our crystal cabinet, which meant the night before the garage sale I had to pack all the wine glasses and my rather extensive range of tea cups away. At least we have packed some boxes in anticipation of the move though so in my mind it was a double gain.

Mr PTF being the organised, clever man he is, printed out and laminated some signs and put them up all over the neighbourhood in anticipation of the crowds we would attract to our amazing sale.

The big day arrived, we woke up early and got ourselves together. We had advertised in the paper that we would start our sale at 8:30am. However when we opened our curtains to look out, we saw people coming and going from our neighbour's house.
Mr PTF informed me of this as I stumbled out of bed. "Rach, our neighbour is doing a roaring trade over there...I think she's pipped us to the post"
He was right.
Right from the start we had not a hope in hades of competing. She was raking them in. She had started her sale at the ungodly hour of 6:00am. Her garage was closer to the street than ours, so people would go straight to hers before seeing ours. In fact I would say, confusion was the flavour of the day. People would see all her goods out on display and then see our sign and would stand there deliberating over which house was having a garage sale and which one they would go to first.

They went to hers.

People that did come to ours seemed to feel the need to comment on the steepness of our driveway...I am not sure what they were expecting us to do about that.

They also felt fairly free to haggle and haggle us down over every item. Now I myself am a self-confessed haggler, but really, some of these people. A brand new Sunbeam electric kitchen knife still in its box with manuals for $15 we eventually brought it down to $10....a lady felt inclined to haggle it to $8....I remained firm." No. $10 is fair" I said. "Its brand new in its box." The lady looked at me with raised eyebrows and informed me, "you can buy them new at Kmart for $15." I calmly reminded her that it is brand new. I felt like saying....."well go and buy one from Kmart then." However, I remained cool and collected. We stared at each other for a little minute and she reluctantly handed over the $10 with pursed lips. I gave her a watery smile and she turned on her heel and left.

It was like this all day. Mr PTF was haggled down over a brand new computer modem. He had it for $5 and then gave in to a man who informed him he would buy it for $1 no more.

Next door....a plethora of people coming and going, talking and laughing.....
I turned up our radio with some classic hits.....loud

We hung up a zillion balloons all up the driveway (much to little O's delight)
We had our 'goods and wares' attractively presented in nice baskets and on picnic bench seats
We moved our furniture out of the nicely arranged garage progressively down the driveway to try and lure the public up our supposedly steep drive.
We hung shirts and clothing up high, some even made it along the driveway fence
We greeted people with friendly smiles, Mr PTF even gave the odd joke.
We turned the music up louder

Nothing worked.
We were somewhat deflated, just like our balloons up the driveway. I vasilated between mildly frustrated, ticked off,  and irate, to a giggling/blubbering mess at the hilarity of it all on Mr PTF's shoulder.

Our neighbour was happy. 
She made $300.

To top it all off, when we went round during the day to see how it was all going, she informed us it wasn't for missions, this garage sale of hers. She was just wanting to make a bit of money.
She did.
Good on her.
We will probably never have another garage sale again.
Or if we do, we will most likely not offer our services to her again. She didn't need them.
So there you go, how Not to have a garage sale.

Better go, I need to do a couple of trips to the thrift store to umm, get rid of some stuff.
xo Rachel

Perhaps these scenes from our trip to Europe will help to ease the pain of our disastrous garage sale....


  1. Oh no, what a fizzer! I think I would have sat down and cried ... Or possibly gone and popped all the neighbors balloons!!

  2. Haha,
    Yes fizzer is correct. I managed to control the urge to pop her balloons, although I did contemplate bringing around all our stuff that didn't sell and giving it to her...she seemed to do much better with the whole 'selling you stuff and making money' concept. Ah well. Gotta laugh or else I might have cried. No wait, I think I already did that too!


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