Saturday, November 28, 2009

Garage Sale Shoppers

Sooner or later almost everyone will either have a garage sale or go to one. The seller doesn’t even have to have a garage – the sale can be in the yard, on the sidewalk, two flights up, or at the community center or flea market. The goal is same no matter where the sale: get rid of unwanted stuff and make money to get new stuff.

If you’ve given or been to a garage sale, you’ve probably noticed several “types” of shoppers. You may be one. Here’s my taken on the dozens of people who have trooped through my yard over the years picking and poking and asking, “This your best price?”

The Questioning Talker
“Hi, how yuduin? Nice day, huh? Had lots of shoppers? Got any (insert anything here from kid’s clothes to airplane parts). Got this in blue? Whatcha asking for this (item clearly marked)? Oh, never mind, this the price? Seen the stuff down the street? Will you hold this for me? Think it will rain?

The Life Story Talker
I really like this and would like to get it for Aunt Edna, but I don’t know if she will like it. She broke her arm last year ... and the kids ... since the car ... stress at work ... and on and on and on.

The Silent Type
Doesn’t say a word, just walks up, looks and walks off. If you say “Hello,” will nervously mumble, “’Lo,” and hurry away.

The Tribe
Six or eight people, an adult or two and the rest kids, will burst from an old Honda Civic and swarm the displays. Sticky kid fingers everywhere hovering above anything shiney, but sticky-fingers owners constantly warned by the adult(s), “You touch anything, and I’ll smack you into next week!”

The Eater
This shopper arrives eating or drinking something. Once had an older lady walk in eating a fried chicken leg. She would point the gnawed leg to an item that interested her, grunt “uhh,” and the little girl by her side would carefully hold up the item for the woman’s closer inspection. If not interested, she shook her head and grunted “uh uhh,” so the item could be carefully replaced as she moved on. After she looked at every item on every table and cleaned the chicken leg, she regally returned to the car, followed by her small helper. Not a real word was spoken.

The Bargainer
No matter the quality or price of the item, the bargainer will offer less. Men seem to particularly enjoy this “sport” and will haggle over a ten cent item. I once told a man that if he couldn’t afford the ten cent item for which he was offering a nickel, perhaps he should shop elsewhere.

The Examiner
This shopper holds up the item, turns it over, looks inside, checks every seam, corner, and crevice and often puts it back down and then moves on to the next item. Seldom do they buy; they just like to plunder through other people’s stuff.

The Specific Shopper
These people are looking for specific items and some of them are pretty weird. They don’t waste time looking, they just ask, “Do you have any” followed by the name of the item. If not found, they are off in a flash to the next sale down the street. Some Specific Shopper drivers will slow down at the driveway and shout out what they are seeking.

The Bargain Hunter
Ah, the best of the bunch. Bargain hunter’s will buy almost anything and often stack up a pile of stuff. They often ask for a better price, but since they cleaned off a table or two, it’s worth coming down on the total purchase. Bargain hunters are usually fun, talkative, and have a wad of ones. For them, it’s not so much the price, it’s the hunt.

The Can-You-Change-A-Twenty
This early morning shopper arrives within minutes of “opening” your sale, picks out ninety cents worth of stuff and presents a twenty. Yeah, like I can break a twenty. If I had a twenty, I would not be up at this awful hour, but later, would be in a restaurant ordering pancakes. This is not IHOP or Walmart.

The Dealer
Dealers are those guys and gals (who may be any of the above) who shop garage and yard sales on Fridays and early Saturday mornings looking for cheap stuff to sell at their flea market stands at double the price on Sundays. For some, it’s a way to make some extra money, for others, it’s their occupation. Some look for specific things like tools or dolls, others buy almost anything that is cheap and will resell.

The Thief
Yes, they come to garage sales, too. By the time you notice something is missing they are long gone. Some of the things taken are not worth stealing. Some come to check out your house with the idea of returning later. I’ve had more than one person ask to use the bathroom or phone or step inside to “try this on.” Tip: Keep all doors to the inside locked and suggest the service station at the corner for potty and phone needs. No “try ons,” it’s a quarter, if you think it won’t fit, don’t buy it. Don’t put anything in a garage sale you can’t afford to lose.
~ ~ ~
At last Saturday’s garage sale, I got rid of even more stuff I don’t need/use/want/like anymore and I’ve got this bag of change and onesies to take to the bank. I just heard there’s a huge neighborhood sale two streets over this weekend. Maybe they will have some stuff I want and since I do have all this loose change maybe I should stop on the way. Hey, you wanna go?

© Copyright 2009 Suzzwords


  1. Stop by and pick me up!!!!!!

  2. Great blog! You're telling it as it as at garage sales (there was one a block from my home today).

    Hey, you mentioned that you'd go to IHOP if you had a $20. Perhaps you may want to choose another restaurant -- IHOP has been exposed for severe animal cruelty in its supply chain:

    Thanks again for your awesome entry. Looking forward to your next one!

  3. LoveM5:26 PM

    Got to admit - I am the bargain hunter and my soul mate is a bargainer. Aren't you glad we didn't show up?!!!

  4. You have the entire spectrum of garage sale shoppers described perfectly. Sounds like you had a good amount of bargain hunters ready to spend!