Thursday, May 12, 2011

She who hesitates....

At a recent indoor community yard sale, I had a chance to exercise my keen garage sales skills to assist my wife in a purchase. The community yard sale was held at a big municipal gymnasium. I always like those indoor venues, you can hit many sellers at once with the added benefit of no rain to ruin things. For me, it was the kick-off to the spring yard sale season. Knowing my wife likes these indoor sales, I suggested she tag along and she was all for it.

Once we arrived at the gym we went our separate ways. I like to move fast and she is painfully slow and deliberate when shopping. I began my usual race down the aisles scouring for treasures to sell on eBay, while my wife looked for stuff to decorate the house. About ten minutes later we crossed paths and I noticed my wife was hovering near a seller and another shopper. I knew something was up right away. My wife had a worried expression on her face and seemed to be eavesdropping on this buyer and seller. Sensing a possible mini-drama, I went up to my wife and asked what was up? My wife told me in whispered tones that the seller she was watching was haggling with a potential buyer over a beautiful old stain glass piece. My wife thought it would look great in our kitchen window. To my wife's bemusement, the seller was asking only $25 dollars on the stain glass, then even lowered it further to just ten dollars in an effort to make the sale. Even with this super low price, the potential buyer was hemming and hawing while my wife stood nearby agonizing. The piece could easily fetch fifty dollars or more and yet the women was balking on the ten dollar price tag! As the minutes ticked by, the women told the seller she was going to call someone to discuss it further. That was enough waiting around for me. Seeing my wife stressing out while the other buyer procrastinated, I decided it was time to unleash my awesome garage sale skills!

My philosophy on garage sale protocol is this: if a buyer isn't holding the piece in their hands, well then it's still for sale. (Always a good garage sale habit to get into: if you think you want an item, pick it up and continue browsing.) In this case, the potential buyer wasn't holding the stain glass...instead she was off making a dumb phone call! (Sure lady, go phone your friends...the rest of us will wait while you discuss it further....not!) As far as I was concerned, that stain glass was up for grabs! I walked up to the seller and made my move, "I'll give you ten bucks for that stain glass piece" I said as the would-be buyer chatted on her phone.

The seller looked over nervously at the women on the phone, "Uumm, that lady over there is thinking about buying it." At this point I went in for the kill...I wasn't going to lose this piece. Holding out a crisp twenty dollar bill I said, "Ok listen, I'll give you twenty for it and I am standing here with cash in my hand while she's just talking on her phone".

Seeing the merit in this, the seller quietly took the twenty from my hand. As I picked up the stain glass piece the seller broke the news to the other buyer who turned around and gave me a sarcastic, "Thanks a lot." As I walked away with my stain glass I counseled her, "Hey you were on your phone, what can I tell you?" My wife was beaming proudly...she got her stain glass piece! I was glad too, now I didn't have to listen to her complaining to herself for missing this great deal. Instead it was a happy ride home with her repeatedly asking out loud, "Can you believe that lady couldn't make up her mind....and for ten dollars!?"

So now the stain glass hangs in our kitchen window. If and when I sell it, I think it will go for fifty dollars or more. In the mean time it looks great and comes with a funny moral to the story: don't be on your cell phone at a garage sale!
Pin It now!


  1. Nice job Dude, but I would have gone for $15 :-)

    I agree, there are times you have to move fast, and maybe even offer full price with nothing more than your gut to go on.

    As you gain experience you will find that more often than not your instincts are correct.

    Good luck tomorrow. I'm on a buying moratorium until I get some stuff listed.


  2. Well I should be like Bill and be on a buying moratorium until I get some stuff listed, but, it is so much fun finding those neat things!

    I had a similar situation, I wanted this end table, but the seller was busy talking to other people, so I decided to look at other things. When I got back to the end table, another person had the seller and was haggling a price. She talked him down to $10.00. Then said she had to go to her van to get the money. I so wanted to offer the guy $20.00 while she was making her way to the van! Would that have been rude? I didn't do it and I have regretted it over and over! I could have paid and been off with it by the time she got back!

    Love your blog!

  3. CindyLou- I don't know but if the seller was willing to take your offer of twenty maybe you could have pulled it off! But for sure your competition would be upset...oh well! Hope you find another table just like the one that got away!

    Bookmark my blog and stop in again ! Thanks for checking in.