Friday, May 1, 2009

garage sale pet peeves

Yes, I'll admit... I'm an avid garage saler.  I am the freak who actually plans out the sales I'm going to go to the night before and arranges them all in geographical order so I can save time and gas.  But I'm also very picky about the sales I go to.  I have listed some of my biggest pet peeves.  Sorry if I offend anyone... I'm just trying to help you have a better sale next time!
  • Poor signage.  Yesterday I entered a subdivision with a big sign saying, "Garage Sale!"  So I turned where the arrow pointed and found myself in a huge neighborhood and no other signs pointing me where to go.  I drove around forever before I finally found the sale.  
  • "Block Sales" that aren't really a block sale.  There's nothing I love better than a true block sale where I can park my car and load my girls in the stroller for a good stroll through the sales.  But I recently attended a "Block Sale" where the "block" was actually about 5 blocks and only about 1-2 sales on each block.  Very deceiving.  This would be more of a "neighborhood sale."
  • Digging through bins.  Please, if you want me to buy your stuff, don't make me sit on your dirty driveway and dig like a starved peasant through your bins of old, dirty clothes.  I just will not do it.  These sales are definite drive-bys for me.
  • Clothes piled 3 feet high.  I understand table space can be hard to come by.  But it's very difficult to sort through your clothes when anything I try to pull out causes the entire pile of clothes to topple to the ground.  This happened to me yesterday, except I think maybe the piles were actually closer to 4 feet high, no kidding.  I bought nothing at this sale because the frustration wasn't worth any good deal I may have found.
  • Clothes not arranged by size.  I hate digging through piles of clothes looking for certain sizes.  It's a waste of time to search out tags upon tags when I just need one size, and by the time I find an item in that size, most likely it's one I don't want to buy anyways.  I've actually been known to arrange clothes by size as I dig through them (as long as my kids are behaving).  I'm not doing it as a favor to the garage-sale-holder (their laziness doesn't deserve this service), I'm just trying to help out my fellow garage-saler dealing with the same issue.
  • Unmarked items.  I will not attend a garage sale where it says, "name your price."  You are just too lazy to mark your junk and I don't feel like arguing with you over the price of everything.
  • All items marked the same price.  Now, I'm not talking about items marked the same that make sense together.  Example, "All pjs - $1, bibs - $0.10," etc.  That is totally fine and makes it easy for the shopper.  What I'm talking about are signs like a sale I attended yesterday - "All maternity items, $5 each."  Seriously?  The problem with this is that all I wanted of theirs was a few camis and they were priced the same as sweaters and jeans.  And there was no way I was going to pay $5 for a faded black cami.  
  • Outfits wrapped together with duct tape so you can't inspect them.  I understand it's hard to keep multiple-piece-outfits together, but when they're wrapped so tightly with tape, I can't see if there are any stains or holes.  I usually try to give the seller the benefit of the doubt, but then there have been times when I get home and see they were cleverly hiding a big ol' stain.  Bummer.  I think safety pins work better for this, then you can actually see both pieces well.
  • Prices that are too high.  I actually attended a sale where they had child's Target-brand T-shirts for $4.  Are you kidding me?  That's what I pay for them brand new, full price!  If I want to spend that much money, I can go to a consignment store any day of the week, all year round.
  • Prices that are too low.  This may sound unusual, but last week I spent several minutes searching over a pair of kids jeans looking for stains, broken zippers, anything wrong I could find with them because they were brand name, adjustable waist, like new jeans that were only marked $0.50!  Of course I love a good deal, but when things are marked that low, I figure there's got to be something wrong with them, and it makes things seem more "junky."  And it doesn't make sense to sell them that low when you could take them to a consignment shop and get a lot more out of them with less hassle of doing a garage sale!
  • Overly helpful sellers.  I appreciate friendliness at a garage sale.  I love meeting new people and having friendly conversations.  What I don't enjoy is when the seller thinks she's helping you out by showing you certain outfits and items that she thinks you'll like.  Then you feel guilty for not buying them if you don't like them or don't want to spend that much.
So, that's just a partial list of my pet peeves.  Maybe I'm a little too picky.  Or maybe my pregnancy is just causing me to be overly annoyed at every little thing... I'm sure my husband would say this is the real problem.  But don't worry, if you have any of these issues at your sales, I'll still be your friend - just don't be offended if I don't buy anything at your sale!  I'm having my own garage sale next week and I promise to have all my clothes sorted and marked with decent prices.  What are some of your pet peeves?  Let me know so I can try and avoid them at my sale!


peter marie said...

Hilarious! Yes, after the hundreds of sales I've been to, I could probably make a huge list of pet peeves as well. My major pet peeve is too high of prices for non-name brand. I can understand if it's GAP or something, but Target?
I also don't like when people advertise how great their clothes are I get there and it's all ugly stuff. Get some taste, people!:) Kidding, yet not really. I also hate it when I'm trying to shop and Henry starts breaking a toy and then freaks out when we have to leave...oh wait...that's my own problem, huh.
Have I mentioned how pumped I am for your sale? I've gotten crazy organized with it and am loving going through all the clothes and pricing everything. You're going to be so proud of me!

Jenn said...

You should write a "how to" (or "how not to") have a successful garage sale book. Those may be some of the very reason's I haven't gotten into garage saleing in the past. I am not afraid of used stuff, just afraid of the junk piles.

une autre mère said...

I'm already proud of you Abby! And I can't believe Henry ever freaks out... none of our children EVER do that at garage sales... okay, maybe I'm a liar and that's the very reason I pack a ton of snacks that they don't normally get at home...

And Jenn, I would love to write a book, but I'm afraid the very people who need to read it would be too lazy and wouldn't care. There should be some city regulations on garage sales or something to limit the nasty ones so we don't all waste our precious time.

The Sneaky Mommy said...

OK, here's my most recent pet peeve, but I guess it comes from the other side: some silly old lady (who happened to not speak English) scoffed at me for asking $2 for a brand new ladies vest from Younkers. "You not know" she said...then proceeded to hand me a card for her in-home cleaning business. Like I'd let her step foot in my home "that's not worth a dime". ERG... This isn't your home country, lady.
Great post, Katie! I share the same sentiments...also, why can't there be more people selling brand name boy clothing in two of a kind???

Amy said...

Ha! This made me laugh -- I totally hear you on this one. I went to a garage sale this morning where they had all of these pet peeves going on and more..I didn't buy anything. I'm excited for your sale next week, especially now that I know you'll be running a quality sale ;) Thanks for inviting me to stop by early...I think I will take you up on that and beat the crowds :)

laney said...

I love this!!! Glad to know I'm not the only person alive who is this anal :)

laney said...

I love this!! Glad to know I'm not the only person alive who is this anal!!

Sarah said...

Speaking of garage sales...that's the last time I saw you! :) Sooo, I had NO idea this was you until I saw those beautious pictures of your girls playing dress up...super cute and a great photog. idea! ;) Anyway...good to have a connection via BloggyLand! :) I'll be following you, Chica! ;)