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Old 06-25-2004, 07:41 PM
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Yard Sale Etiquette

by Nancy Twigg


Just call me the Miss Manners of garage sales.

You see, there’s a certain unspoken moral and ethical code governing the sacred act of selling one’s stuff. Contrary to popular belief, a yard sale is not an anything-goes, no-etiquette-needed free-for-all. As in any social situation, there are certain things you do or don’t do in order to be polite.

Being avid yard sale shoppers, my husband, Michael, and I often run across examples of bad manners, both by shoppers and by sellers. Here are a few of the faux pas we’ve seen that could have been easily avoided by the simple practice of good yard sale etiquette.



Buyers’ Blunders

Being an “Early Bird” – If the paper says the sale starts at 7am, don’t show up at 6 or don’t drive by the night before in hopes beating the other shoppers to the bargains. Yard sale shoppers who peer in garage windows with flashlights or knock on doors at 5:30 a.m. give the rest of us shoppers a bad name.

Not Respecting the Seller’s Property – Walking unnecessarily through the yard, stepping in flowerbeds, and blocking neighbors’ driveways are definitely no-no’s. If children accompany you, see to it that they respect the seller’s property as well.

Carrying Only Large Bills – While it is the seller’s responsibility to have adequate change, producing a $20 bill for a 25˘ purchase is extremely inconsiderate. Save small bills and change throughout the week for your Saturday yard sale trip.

Loud or Obnoxious Behavior – Just because the seller is up early doesn’t mean his neighbors are. Driving a noisy vehicle or speaking and laughing loudly will not endear you to the seller. Aggressive haggling or obnoxious negotiating tactics aren’t welcome, either.

Not Respecting Other Buyers – If you want to buy a large item or more items than you can carry, ask the proprietor to mark the item or start a “pile” for you in an out-of-the-way place. It is rude to claim items as “yours” while you continue shopping if you haven’t made any effort to let the proprietor and other shoppers know you intend to purchase them.



Sellers’ Slips

Not Pricing Items Clearly – Or worse yet (in my opinion), not pricing items at all. Buyers shouldn’t have to work at figuring out the prices. If it’s too confusing, some shoppers will get frustrated and leave without making purchases.

Accommodating Early Birds – Allowing early shoppers to get the bargains is unfair to the shoppers who are careful to respect your wishes. Remember that accommodating early birds provides positive reinforcement to this inconsiderate behavior.

Trying to Sell Used Stuff at “New” Prices – If your stuff means that much to you, take it to a consignment store or sell it through a classified ad. Yard sale shoppers are looking for bargains, not prices barely below what you’d find at a discount store.

Being Careless in Yard Sale Preparations – There’s nothing worse for a buyer than hearing, “How did that get out here? That’s not for sale!” If you are working with someone else in preparing for the sale, make sure there’s good communication so that things don’t get out that aren’t supposed to.

Not Taking Down Old Signs – After the yard sale is over, the signs you posted are litter that should be disposed of just like any other garbage. Carelessly leaving old signs up ad infinitum is extremely inconsiderate to both shoppers and neighbors who must look at your weather-beaten signs for months to come.

If you have ever violated any of these social graces (as either a seller or buyer), take heart. Yardsalers are a forgiving bunch. Just make a silent vow that in the future, you will always be on your best bargain-shopping behavior.




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Old 10-03-2017, 06:54 AM
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