Thursday, August 11, 2011

Oh the humiliation...oh wait. Ok, I am over it!

Not long ago, I had a slightly humiliating experience buying a huge lot of vintage Barbie dolls. While the transaction was awkward for me, I got over it pretty quickly after I sold this awesome find on eBay.

On this particular Saturday morning, I pulled up to a garage sale where the entire family was up early and participating. Mom, dad and three daughters...all were in the driveway chatting it up loudly, eating their morning bagels and drinking coffee. I don't know about you, but I hate these three-ring family circus type yard sales. Everyone is being very loud and carrying on... it always makes me feel like I am interrupting an early morning family reunion!

But despite all the distractions going in the driveway, I quickly spotted a nice big lot of vintage Barbie clothes and dolls. The dolls and clothes were all separated into smaller lots of three outfits per bag for three dollars each. The dolls were marked at only five dollars a piece. They even made up a sign outlining the price of each baggie. At the bottom the sign read, "$35 for all". I was able to interrupt the chatter between mom and her daughters long enough to ask about the age of the dolls. The mom told me they were her Barbies and were from the early Seventies. That was good enough for me...a sale was imminent! The daughter's all gave me a strange look, wondering why some middle aged guy would want Barbie dolls? Throwing out my usual diversionary line, I volunteered that my wife collected Barbies. The daughter's all nodded in agreement, their evaluation of me seemingly changing from "weirdo" to "nice-guy husband" in just a matter of seconds!

Now that I had mom and daughter's approval, I asked if she would take $25 for the whole lot? Amazingly, she said yes and I quickly scooped up the clothes and dolls. But I had to suffer one more indignity before retreating to my truck. Out of the garage came "Driveway Dad". If you go to enough garage sales you've seen this guy. Usually sporting "bed hair" because his wife woke him up way too early, Driveway Dad buzzes around the garage sale on a caffeine high, cracking lame jokes like Shecky Green and just generally getting in everyone's way. This particular Driveway Dad spotted me with the Barbie dolls and started chuckling. Then he had to take his shot, "Oh, I see you bought some dolls for yourself!" Playing along, I shot back, " Sure, why can't guys collect Barbie dolls, right? " I gave "Driveway Dad" a wink and headed back to my truck knowing that with the help of eBay, I was going to have the last laugh!

Once I arrived back at the "MoneyintheGarage" studios, I quickly took pictures and posted my vintage Barbie doll collection on eBay. Not wanting to mess around with smaller lot sales, a dress here, a doll there, I sold everything in one big lot. Would the strange looks and dumb wisecracks at my expense be worth it? Well, there were 270 reasons that it was definitely worth it! Yep....the Barbie dolls and clothes lot sold for a big, fat $270 dollars!

So don't let the driveway dads and yard sale-family parties distract you. While they're eating bagels and making dumb wisecracks, you're making money and having the last laugh...and that's no joke!

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  1. Great purchase and great advice! I've let yard sale family reunions drive me away many times but no more. The other thing that drives me away quickly is when the yard sale hosts all decide to start moving stuff around and there's a gang of them blocking all the stuff. And they don't move when shoppers come their way! Really?! You can't sell your 'crap' if you won't let people see it!
    Anyway, love that you got the last laugh. Take that 'driveway dad'! :)

  2. Wow, great post and awesome find! And I know exactly what you mean, although it's not always the Driveway Dad. It can also be the annoying friend(s)!

  3. Just found your blog...from someone posting on my blog about it! Yay!!!! LOVE your writing reads!

    And the Barbie story...classic.

  4. This was so funny! I actually like this type of yard sale, though--I'd rather the family members all pay attention to each other than just stare at me, willing me with their eyeballs to please buy something...
    One question--did you list the Barbies at auction? And how many bids did you get?

  5. Looks like we all share the family re-union yard sale experience! And that crowded family/friends in your way syndrome, that Jeanie and Rita mentioned...boy, do I hate that!

    Late night-Love your blog, we should link!

    Diana-Yes, I did them in one big lot as an auction. I prefer them...for now anyway.

    Thanks all for your fun comments! ...Dude

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  7. Your definition of a Driveway Dad is spot on! I like them though because they never seem to know how much stuff is worth and you can get a good deal out of them! I'm anti-Little Kid Entrepreneurs at garage sales. Suckered me out of 50 cents in the past few weeks buying their lemonade. Haha. Way to go on the Barbies.

  8. Too stinking funny! I think you should drop them a note in the mail "Hey, thanks for the Barbie loot.......remember, me, "Barbie Boy?" Uh, yeah, you sold me the whole pile of Barbie stuff for $25. I then turned around and sold it for $270!! Easiest $250 I ever made!!"

    You go, Dude!!

  9. Great post. I just picked up a Jansport bag from one of your other tips.

  10. I hate the jovial crew. I hate the yardsale dog allowed to sniff me, or snarl, or bark until I just leave!!! I hate little kids trying to "sell me" their stuff. I really want to look, maybe chat a bit, not have to ask a price on is too early for games for me. I do buy but not at every sale.

  11. The family three-ring yard sale circus...judging from the comments, way more common then any of else knew?!

    Amanda-The kid lemondade stand, whoo-boy do I hear ya. I may write a whole piece about that!

    Susie-Ha! I would have loved to. You got me wondering if they even made $270 selling the rest of their junk, y'know?

    Thrifty Momma-Great timing on the Jansport bag, I would list it right now as Mom are thinking "Back to school"

    Practical-I was at a yard sale a few weeks back where the seller's little dog was loudly barking at me as I looked around their stuff. This was at 8 in the morning!!! The neighbors must have loved that! Yeah, and the kids pushing their broken toys, I usually tell them I have one already!

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  12. Great post! I always worry about taking advantage of kids selling stuff. I was at a flea market and this little boy...maybe 8-9 years old was left in charge of a booth of stuff while his parents were out getting food. I picked up something and asked how much. He said a dollar, but I was so afraid it wasn't enough and that he could get in trouble. I said that maybe we should wait for his parents to come back. He said, no, I know that it's a dollar. OK. I sold the item for $25.

  13. Hi Clamco!

    That's great. I would say if the parents left him there to watch the store then that's on them, y'know?

    Overall, some of the these kids are pretty aware of what stuff goes for. Recently, I delt with a kid about 14 and negotiated with him on one of those Apple Ipod shuffles. After going back and forth, he sold it to me for $12 then shook my hand just like they do on American Pickers (He told me he watched the show) Well I posted it on eBay and it sold for $15, So the young man knew exactly what he was doing as far as pricing an item. Those youngins can sometimes outwit me, that's for sure!

    Thanks for your comment ! ; )

  14. Garage_sale_addictAugust 14, 2011 at 5:01 AM

    Dude: I am a "Yard Sale Mom" too and found you via YardSaleMommy blog which I found via a link in an auctiva email that I got. Anyhow, I thought it was great to read all of these stories. When I contacted "Jen" and said hey.. this is my ebay ID, and I said what is yours..she didn't offer. Is that common for yard sale-ebay-bloggers to hid their ebay identity? and if so, why? just curious..

  15. Hey GSA- I think there is a few reasons why bloggers keep the their eBay business separate from their blog world. If you are a fan of Seinfeld, you may remember how George didn't want Jerry, Elaine and Kramer to hang out with his new girlfriend. George complained that if that happened his "Worlds would collide". I think that's how it works with blogging and Ebaying... you don't want your two separate worlds colliding! Next thing you know, an Ebay buyer is complaining on your blog that you sold them a broken toy! It's best to keep the two worlds separate. Hope that helps...Thanks for checking out my blog!

  16. oh dang i am green with envy, what a fantastic find!!
    loved reading the story behind the haul

  17. Thanks Thrifted Sister's... I got more so make sure you come back! : )

  18. I'm now a follower, love your posts. I found you via Yard Sale Mommy. I'm new to the whole yard sale thing but I love reading about people's successes (and learning from their not so successes). My blog is about sports/baseball cards so two different subjects ha. Keep up the good work!

  19. Thanks Trey, I appreciate the shout out. Yeah, I am not up on the baseball cards, although I did buy and sell some "commons" from the early Sixties recently for $20. Turned around and flipped them for $40, so not bad. Other then that, it's not my genre so I stay out.

    Keep coming back cause I have more stories to tell... Thanks again!

  20. Wow! Love that story!! Hey Dude, interested on being on TV? Will you email me? I lost your email but have an opportunity for you via Lionsgate TV!!

  21. Garage Sale AddictAugust 19, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    Thank you Dude for writing a comment back. I do now regret offering my ebay ID before actually getting the low down. Yes, I have bookmarked your blog. Your stories are very interesting. I always thought I should do something like this (writing a blog about my experiences), but really... I have so limited time. I'd rather spend the time selling. I have to move (sell) like 10,000 articles of clothing and misc stuff. My garage (no lie) is stuffed to the max. So bad, I cannot even walk through my garage! But, thanks for sharing your well written stories. I think they are great!