Yard Sales: The Good, The Bad and The Creepy

Yard Sale SignOver the years of owning my home, I’ve had quite a few yard sales. The one I had yesterday was probably the biggest if you don’t count the estate sale my ex-wife and I had years ago where we brought what felt like the contents of the Biltmore estate to our little cottage in the Heights.

During all these yard sales, I’ve found that you can expect some unique behavior from some of the, well, we’ll just call them customers. Much of this behavior is odd and some of it is downright call-the-white-coats bizarre. Here are a few conversations that occurred during or regarding my yard sale yesterday which, by the way, was a rousing success.

First, an email exchange with one potential “buyer”:

Email #1: How much are the cat carriers you are selling?
Response: It will vary from $5 to $10 depending on size and condition.

Email #2: Do you have photos?
Response: No, sorry.

Email #3: What condition are they in? What do they look like (can you just describe what they look like)? Or can you get me pics off Petco or Petsmart’s website? Where are you located?
Response: You’ll just need to come look for yourself in the morning. (ed – the address was in the ad)

Email #4: Ok, thanks for your response, but I’m too far from your location to just go by and “look for myself”. If you would be willing to provide more info, I will consider the drive.
Response: Sorry, I just don’t have the time necessary to do that before tomorrow. But, thanks.

Email #5: That’s fine. If you don’t sell them let me know the info and I’ll consider it.

FYI, we sold the cat carriers.

Here’s one with a guy that came about midway through the sale.

My Mom (to the guy buying the Aeros bobblehead): So, are you an Aeros fan?
Creepy Guy: No. I buy bobbleheads, cut the heads off and put them on sticks.

Um, ok.

One guy who just would not give up.

Guy: Do you have any guitars?
Me: No.
Guy: Do you have any stereos?
Me: No, everything we have is out.
Guy: Do you have any lawnmowers?
Me: Everything we have is out.
Guy: Do you have any…
Me: Seriously, if you don’t see it out here, it doesn’t exist.
Guy: Oh.

The price is wrong.

Woman (holding a brand new $80 bluetooth headset): How much for this?
Me: Twenty-five dollars.
Woman: Oh, will you take $5?
Me: It’s brand new in the box. It was $80 originally.
Woman: $6?

I was selling a bass guitar case that I didn’t need. It brought some interesting responses of which this was the best.

Man: Do you have the guitar that goes with this case?
Me: No. I’m just selling the case.
Man: Because the case is empty.
Me: I know.

I had an old set of golf clubs that belonged to my grandfather sitting out. One guy didn’t want the whole set.

Guy: Will you sell these clubs individually?
Me: Sure.
Guy: How much for the putter?
Me: How about $3?

He just set it down and made a face at me before walking away.

I had a nice Schwinn bike that I sold to my friend, Virginia, though she might be sharing it with our mutual friend, Jen, but that’s another story. Anyway, I could’ve sold that bike 20 times over at the sale. Here’s one guy who came by LATE in the day and really wanted it. Note that the bike was up on my back deck away from the sale and he just wandered up there.

Guy: You selling this bike?
Me: No, that’s already sold.
Guy: That’s a pretty nice bike.
Me: I know. A friend of mine bought it.
Guy: You take $20 for it?
Me: It’s already sold.
Guy: But, I have cash.
Me: It’s sold and I got more than $20 for it (ed – it sold for $50).
Guy: You take $30?
Me: It’s not for sale.
Guy: Ok.

The same guy strolled into the room in the back where we had a bunch of stuff set out. There were two rooms in there closed off – the bathroom and a back storage room that had all my stuff in it that I wasn’t selling.

He comes out of the room and says:

Guy: You aren’t selling anything in the back room?
Me: Which room?
Guy: The one back there (pointing to the right).
Me: You mean the one with the door closed?
Guy: Yeah.
Me: No, that’s my stuff. I’m not selling it, which is why I closed the door.
Guy: Oh, cause I would buy some of it from you.
Me: I’m sure you would, but no.
Guy: I’ve got cash.
Me: Not enough.

Finally, there was the woman who thought I was Wal-Mart.

Woman: Do you have any more of these (holding some linens)?
Me: No, sorry.
Woman: What about in the back?
Me (turning around and looking behind me): Back of what?

I should also mention that I put plywood up between my house and the neighbor’s fence across the driveway to block people from getting in before 7am – a necessary precaution.

By 6am, there were already three or four people standing on my neighbor’s lawn talking. By 6:45am, there were 20 people lined up ready to come in. I went out front and told some crazy woman to not park in front of my neighbor’s driveway. She just kept walking towards the house ignoring me, so I told her if she didn’t move her van, I was going to call a tow truck. There was space for her about 10 feet away.

When I did start taking down the boards, I told everyone to just give me a minute to get it all out of the way. One guy started to charge in and said, “Can I go now!?!” I said, “Just give me a minute to get the boards out of the way before they hurt someone, especially me.” He kept edging more inside by the second and I told him to wait at least two more times.

Finally, I let them in like a herd of buffalo at 7am.

Yard sales is crazy and I’m glad this one is over.

  2 Replies to “Yard Sales: The Good, The Bad and The Creepy”

  1. February 8, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Jeff,

    I was stuck in defensive driving all day, or I would have stopped by. Sounds like it would have been worth it just for the people watching!

    How much do you think posting the note on your blog and to Twitter helped in terms of bringing people in and moving stuff out?

    Dwight.

  2. February 15, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I had a yard sale. Once. 12 years ago. That was enough for me! What I was really surprised about at the time is how fast the towels and linen all went. Like who wants to use someone’s old threadbare bath towel that they dried their body with for years and years? Lots more people than one would think…

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