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Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 02:30 PM   #1
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Yard sale methodology and etiquette

My cul de sac of 8 homes is holding a general yard sale tomorrow. I have a lot of useful crud I brought with me from the mcmansion that I could get rid of in exchange for two bedrooms becoming bedrooms again instead of storage rooms.

First question is that while I've participated in a couple of yard sales before, the best known methods are not known to me. Anyone an expert? Is it better to price things at where you want to sell them and stay firm, price things up a little and come down to what you want, or leave the prices off completely and wait for interest and bargain there? My usual method for selling stuff is probably the worst, but most effective. When selling a car I'll list it for about halfway between wholesale and retail, even though the condition is usually retail worthy, and I get a quick sale to usually the first serious caller. I leave a few bucks on the table, but thats replaced by making it quick and easy and still getting more than if I'd traded in. Always some discomfort when the buyer tries to dicker me down and I usually respond "look, I already dropped my pants on the price for you, I'm not going to put them over my head too."

I'm figuring to either leave the prices off and dicker or price them up a little and allow myself to be bargained down. Most of this stuff isnt the usual yard sale crap, its a set of golf clubs, some vcr's and dvd players...definitely a step up from ice cube trays and old shoes. I did discover from my last yard sale that having some "crap" brings in more lookers than just having "good stuff". So what pricing strategy works best for these things. I know these people come to dicker.

Second question on etiquette. This is something the cul de sac does annually, and I'm imagining someone paid for a newpaper ad or went around putting up signs. Should I offer to kick something in, do something gesturish like put out an urn of coffee, Or just wait and see if someone asks me to chip in next year?

Since yard sales were prohibited in the old mcmansion neighborhood and I usually donated all my old stuff to goodwill before that, my experience is limited!
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 02:46 PM   #2
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

I've never held a yard sale, but I visit them regularly when the weather warms up and they pop up (like mushrooms) within walking distance.

Personally, the "no prices" thing is a big turn-off to me as a buyer. I want to at least have a ballpark idea of what the seller is asking, and not have to waste my time going up and asking (maybe several times for different items, maybe having to wait while the seller is dealing with someone else) only to find that he's priced it way too high.

As to haggling - that's your call. But I'd suggest (again from the point of view of the buyer), a couple of tips: (all taken from experience)

-- Don't get all pissed off if someone low-balls you. If someone gets all huffy because I offer less than they think Grandma's antique whatsit is worth, that's a guarantee I won't buy it! Don't take it personally.

-- If you're not going to haggle, just be concise. "Nope, that's firm." It's really tedious to have to listen to a spiel about how it's really a super high quality item and that's why the price is that high.

-- If you are going to haggle, make it worthwhile for the buyer - ie. don't offer to knock 25 cents off a $10 purchase! And be willing to knock off something for the purchase of multiple items.

-- Be realistic about pricing. Even though your stuff may be higher-end, it still needs to sell at a substantial discount to the cheapest new option for that item, to make it worthwhile for the buyer to a) make an on-the-spot decision to buy, and b) take the chance that it doesn't work (for electronics). My rough estimate would be to price things at *no more than* 25% of new price... realistically more like 10%, unless it's something particularly special.
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 03:00 PM   #3
 
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

TH,

E-Bay!
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 04:26 PM   #4
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Oh i've ebayed my brains out and I have had some luck with that. Many of these objects are heavy (high shipping), or things someone might want to look at first hand before buying.

I can haggle with the best of them! My favorite actually came from the last yard sale I did about 10 years ago...guy came up and started a dissertation on how microwave ovens (I was selling one) were dangerous to people. I suggested he buy it for my bargain price to keep some poor uniformed sot from taking it home and being hurt by it. We entered a serious pricing discussion, when another guy came over and started bidding. It was more fun to watch than to read about I guess...

So I guess I'll stick some prices on the stuff as we go through the morning. I frankly dont even care about how much it sells for, I need the space, dont need the stuff, and anything is better than nothing...
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 06:01 PM   #5
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

I don't know about the etiquette, but last year Management decided to have a big yard sale and I proposed at the board meeting prior to the sale, that Labor be allowed to handle the advertisment. I rolled out my John Deere riding mower, and a DeWalt Sliding compound with saw stand(All over priced of course, can't have my good stuff riding off in someones truck for a quarter), for three days in a row right in front of her wares. Every husband that drove by stopped in and inquired about it. I sold a whole pile of useless worn out carpentry tools, and she cleaned out one bedroom and the loft. I'd look towards offering some bait.....
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 06:08 PM   #6
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

By the way I'm not confused about Dryer Sheets, you can re-use them as dust rags, check the oil, fire starters, clean your monitor, blow your nose, air freshners, emergency note pads, when your stranded on the toilet, and you can sell them at yard sales.
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 06:12 PM   #7
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Nice try, Jack! But the next level is awarded only after a few more posts...
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 07:28 PM   #8
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Wannabees...
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 07:30 PM   #9
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Aaaargh!!
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 07:54 PM   #10
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

The trick to a successful yard sale is to emulate the techniques that work so well on eBay:

1) put a sign by each item that says L@@K!!!! RARE!!!!

2) bring in a shill to bid up the price

3) charge an outrageous "handling fee" to increase your margin

4) when the buyer isn't looking, replace the VCR with a box of rocks

5) sell your stuff in somebody else's yard so the buyer can't track you down after the sale
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 08:11 PM   #11
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Good ones...fortunately my ebay buys and sells have been pretty good with two exceptions.

Once I bought a video game system from a guy who advertised them as "new in box". He seemed a little weird and had a couple of pieces of offish feedback mixed in with the usual "AA+++++++ ebayer" crap. So I told him I'd pay him COD and he waffled...I ended up telling him to forget it. He sent about 20 emails over a 2 hour period ranging from angry to upset to panicky. Then after midnight one saying he had shipped it and would I please pay. I told him I'd pay after reviewing the items. Good idea. Game console arrived in a luggage box (well, 'new in box' doesnt exactly say which box') with no packing material, smashed to heck and back. I complained about him to ebay, but it wasnt until he sold two more items in the same manner that he was banned.

Second, I bought a bike from a guy. First thing he did was try to up the shipping costs after the close of auction by saying his quoted shipping costs were to "a commercial business only" and to send to a residence would cost more. After I talked him out of that, he overnighted me a 'waiver of liability' that said, among other things, that he could be aware of or in fact cause defects in the product that could cause injury or death and that my signing removed him of any liability. Seemed a little much and there was no such clause in the auction terms. Bugger refused to ship it without the sig, so no deal, which is what I think he wanted because it was a low reserve and nobody else bid on it.

The other 30+ transactions I did were surprisingly well done on both buying and selling sides. But then those were mostly prior to last year and I understand its gotten a lot worse lately.

Thanks for all the tips and feedback. My new problem is that my neighbors have about 37 metric tons of stuff each and I have this paltry little heap.

I feel so yard sale inadequate.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-12-2004, 08:33 PM   #12
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

My experience prior to ER was I could get more from donating the items to charity and taking the write-off. Plus, I didn't have to spend the day haggling with strangers. Now that I'll be in a much lower tax bracket, I may have to re-think that strategy.
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-13-2004, 04:19 AM   #13
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Quote:
Since yard sales were prohibited in the old mcmansion neighborhood and I usually donated all my old stuff to goodwill before that, my experience is limited!
That must have been a fairly sad neighbourhood.
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-13-2004, 12:03 PM   #14
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Yes it was a pretty sad place. I dont miss it much.

Well we're wrapped up for the day. Three hundred bucks in pocket and a lot less useless crap gone.

And I sold my girlfriends old pickup truck as well.

One of my neighbors friends has left his RV sitting out in front of my neighbors house now for 2 weeks and hasnt come to get it, so we slapped a "for sale" sign on it with his friends phone number on it. We didnt answer his calls until the third person had called him on it. He's on his way over to get it as we speak before we do manage to sell it.

Except for only getting about 4 hours of sleep before I dragged myself out front at 7am (an ungodly hour), all in all went well.

Thanks for all tips and assorted advice!
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-13-2004, 12:26 PM   #15
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Act fast! Take that new-found money and place a bid on this hot item!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=20607
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-13-2004, 01:10 PM   #16
 
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Quote:
JUST ADD A NEW SHEET IN DRYER AT START OF DRYING ... DISCARD AFTER EACH DRYER CYCLE...........................
From the Ebay ad - How utterly wastefull !! - I'm sure this could be used for at least 20 cycles and then made into some perfectly good underwear!
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-14-2004, 08:34 AM   #17
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Dory36,


Wouldnt you (of all people) prefer a nautical theme?

http://www.drugstore.com/qxp86872_33...each_house.htm

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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-14-2004, 09:47 AM   #18
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

The new Martha Stewart Living has an article about how you can tie used dryer sheets together to make a prison escape ladder.
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-14-2004, 02:25 PM   #19
 
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Re. "Martha Stewart.......dryer sheets", I've never seen
such cruelty.......Seriously folks, the real crime here is that
she was charged and convicted. The
only thing protecting most of us is that we lack her
money and high profile.

John Galt
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette
Old 03-14-2004, 04:46 PM   #20
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Re: Yard sale methodology and etiquette

Quote:
Re. "Martha Stewart.......dryer sheets", I've never seen
such cruelty.......Seriously folks, the real crime here is that
she was charged and convicted. * *The
only thing protecting most of us is that we lack her
money and high profile.

John Galt
Why do you say that, John? From the details I've read, Martha would have walked had she just been cooperative. Instead she acted arrogant, lied, tried to put investigators on the wrong trail, . . . I was surprised that they decided to prosecute her, but I have no sympathy for her at all. It's pretty clear from the evidence that she did the crime.

She didn't even have to defend herself against her real crime -- insider trading. I think most juries would consist of several people who lost a bundle in the stock market because they didn't have the advantage of CEO's telling them when their stocks were going to fail. It's hard to see how they would have much sympathy for Martha.
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