Saturday, May 21, 2011

Finally - a yard sale!... and a sunburn

The rain date for the yard sale was today.

I usually don't have high hopes for rain date yard sales.  People who showed up the week prior are not likely to show up again.

But this time around, it seemed like the rain last week was persistent enough that nobody really had any misconceptions about last Saturday as a yard sale day.  Today, I had quite a bit of traffic - all day - from about 7 am (start of the sale was 9 AM...) until I closed shop around 1 PM.

.. and I did have a lot of fun!

Let me tell you my secret for having fun at yard sales....

I used to hate them, thought that they were a pain in my rear end.  I'd spend hours preparing items, organizing them, pricing them and in the end - I'd make 20 bucks or so.

Back then, I held yard sales to make money.

I don't do that any more.  Now I hold yard sales to get rid of stuff.

What my customers don't know is that virtually nothing from the sale comes back into the house.  This time around, I had already scheduled a truck from Cedar Lake Lodge to stop by early next week to pick up the leftovers.

I have a few boxes in the basement that are used to collect stuff all year.  The yard sale organization happens at that time:  Kitchenware goes in the kitchen box; Electronics goes in the electronics box etc.

Unfortunately, thanks to a rather extensive yard sale - and donation - last May, this year's yard sale items left a lot to be desired.  No baby clothing, no toys...  This time we were talking telephone cords, diskette boxes, boom boxes and old kitchen appliances.  I was going to be lucky selling anything at all!

I don't price anything.  Yes, I know that's against the rules, but I don't really care.

On the date of the sale, I simply hang up the clothing and organize the boxes on shelves.  I do set them up in departments of sorts.

Then, instead of sitting there, waiting for someone to stop by and buy something, I weed the flowerbed in the front of my house.  Since that's usually the first weeding of the year, that bed really needs it, too.

If a customer shows interest in an item, I usually let them make an offer.  More often than not, I just take that offer.  After all, it's not really about the money at all.

Sure, occasionally, I'm probably way off with what I take.

The lawnmower, for example:  We could not get it to start the last time we tried, but I was sure that it could easily be fixed by someone, who knows what he/she is doing. I wanted $10-$15 for it and thought that was a fair price.  A number of people looked at it and decided against it, but one guy even told me that $10 was a fair price.  He just didn't want to fool with it.

Eventually, another gentleman stopped by, who was interested in the lawn mower.  I told him that I wanted $10 for it. He told me that he was willing to pay $5.  I just didn't feel like haggling.  After all, it was not really about the money.

It was not until he left with his $5-lawn-mower that I realized that the mower had a full tank of gas. At $4 per gallon, the gas alone was worth more than $5.

The other standout customer was a gentleman, who bought an old boom box from me.  Yes, I realize that $1 was probably way low for that one, too.  But again, I didn't really care.

No sooner did the money and the boom box change hands, that a second gentleman walked up to my customer and said:"I've been looking for one of those all day.  Would you take $15 for it?"

I don't even want to know how shocked I looked, when he pulled out a wad of money and started to give my customer a $10 and a $5 for it.  Could I have been that far off with my price?  There was no way this thing was worth $15!

The money did not actually change hands.  Instead, the customer explained:"This guy is my idiot brother!"

I'd been had - good!.. and we all had a good laugh about it.

In the end, I got rid of a bunch of junk - made some customers happy with some great deals - got my flower bed weeded - made $47 I didn't have before - and got the first sunburn of the season.

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