Garage sales (and other secondhand vendors) who overcharge: Do you say anything?

Inspired, of course, by this thread:

When I lived in my old town, I was out garage-saling, and some people (paraphrasing) said, “Don’t go to the sale on XYZ Street, because they’re selling kids’ clothes and charging more than you’d pay for them new. They’re trying to make a profit on them, and don’t seem to understand what a garage sale is really all about.” I hadn’t planned to go anyway, but there were other people who appreciated that information.

There’s also an estate sale company for which I don’t patronize the sales (if they identify themselves in the ad) because they also do this - things like 1970s paperback novels for $5 each, cheap silverware for $2 an item, etc. I’ve been to a few of their sales, and if I see the elderly woman with the Bluetooth, I know immediately where I am and that all the stuff is still there because it’s so grossly overpriced. Why they haven’t figured it out is a mystery to me, and I don’t think it’s my place to tell them because they are a licensed business.

I also don’t shop at Goodwill, and this is one of the reasons why. Too many people go there thinking things there are bargains, when they really aren’t.

Does anyone else have similar stories to tell?

There’s no rule that garage sales have to offer bargains.

I don’t get this at all. You are of course under no obligation to tell them why you’re leaving without buying anything. If they are halfway competent business operators who hope to stay in business then they should be open to this kind of feedback. If they’re not, let them die.

Say anything to who? Say “Your prices are unreasonably high”? Would that help anything?

I check the Tools section on craigslist everyday. It’s amazing to me to see what people try to sell absolute junk for. A good deal is really rare. Most listings are used items wanting around 80 - 100% of retail price. It’s crazy.

And how some will sell something like a single wrench for $3… like, is it really worth it to arrange to meet someone to sell a wrench for $3? It IS a bit of trouble to do that.

Yeah, my experience is that most people overvalue their junk/used goods. Every once in awhile I’ll find something to pique my interest, but the vast majority of time, I feel like Craigslist users are looking for idiots who don’t price shop at eBay to get an idea of what the market value of something is or b) are just willing to pay a significant premium in order to get the item NOW.

I mean, it’s just laughable. I especially love the “I want to get back what I paid for it” or “I want to get back nearly what I paid for it” type posts. I mean, yeah, sure, of course you want to do that, but why the fuck should I pay 90% of retail from some schmoe I don’t know on the internet on a used item, when I could buy it new from a store that will also afford me some sort of purchase protections?

So, no, I don’t say anything because, hey, that’s business. Gotta give them credit for trying to get the highest price they can for their items.

My brother peruses his local Craigslist regularly for bargains, both to buy and sell. For a while, someone was offering an autographed Billy Idol LP for some ridiculous price ($200, that kind of thing) and finally, someone made a post that said “Nobody wants it.”


As someone who worked for the first used video game business in my area that was located I faced this for 5 years ……. we sold most games for 80 percent off………
she made her own tools and pretty much taught herself how to clean and repair everything up to the ps1 and we offered a 30 day guarantee

just because it was located in a swap meet/her house you were supposed to sell everything for nothing 19.99 for a 60 dollar game but they’d say “but its a swap meet”
I got pissed one day and said " look you can buy it for 5 bucks from mr guy in a van selling his stuff on a blanket but when ya slink back to us cause its broke or dirty just go elsewhere …… cause we aint fixin it …… the only reason I didn’t get fired was we were good friends and that guy was known to be an ass to everyone there …….

I’m on the fence with companies that perform estate sales or liquidate businesses. I don’t know if both these options exist, but if a company outright bought out the estate or business for pennies on the dollar and are strictly trying to increase their profits by overcharging, then I’ll lean against it. If they’re performing the sale to pay off the estate owner’s or businesses debt (after taking their cut of course) , then I’ll pay a little extra to help out the debt holder.

Same thing with thrift stores. If it’s a for-profit store, I’ll pass up anything I can find on Ebay for the same price or less. If it’s Goodwill or The Salvation Army, I’ll pay a little more (even if it’s cheaper on Ebay), because at least some of the extra will go to a good cause.

IMO most garage sales are a waste of time. Most of the blame goes to the sellers.

For the sellers, the idea should be to get rid of stuff, not make money. So the best tactic is to make everything super super cheap. Nothing more than $1. If you believe something is genuinely worth some good money, sell it on Craig’s List.

Back when I did a lot of garage sale visiting my goal was to get in and out very quickly. So …

Chatting was wasting my time.

If I saw right away stuff was overpriced, time to leave now. No point in further browsing.

Conversely, it is a pain when you’ve priced everything to move and everyone who comes in tries to talk you down, even when stuff is priced at pennies on the dollar and is in perfect shape, because yeah you’re trying to move it but also you spent a ton of time and effort on this damn garage sale and want to make at least SOME money. And you can’t price it high to overcome haggling because one, you don’t want to haggle, and two you don’t want people to come in and see high prices and then take off.


You should see the Computers section. A lot of people are still enamored enough of the idea of “computers” that they think anything with a beep and Windows screen must hold significant value. No, your Dell Dimension from 2006 is not worth $100. It’s not even worth $30, really. Or the people who say “I built this for $1,200 in 2016” and are asking for $1,000 as though depreciation (and component obsolescence) isn’t a thing.

I share your confusion about people listing things under $10. You’re really that dedicated to getting $5 for your used case fans?

Agree! My friend and I do a rummage sale together every year. It’s amazing to watch people that are clearly not hurting for money, agonizing over spending 50 cents. My friend had a bin of little boys’ clothing - all in perfect condition (no stains, rips, etc) marked 50 cents for each piece. There were jeans, jackets, t-shirts, etc. Someone asked if she would take 25 cents instead. She held her ground and was able to sell most of the clothing at her asking price.

We enjoy going to thrift stores and garage sales, because you can find great bargains. You can also find clueless people.
Musical instruments are often insanely priced. $600 for a beat-up trumpet (used by students as a football). :eek:
Completely useless instruments can be priced for more than a new, functional one. Yet they keep getting listed, and people will still buy them. :smack:

To answer the question? No, we just walk away.

I don’t frequent second-hand sales much but if something were overpriced I would keep my mouth shut unless I wanted to actually buy it, in which case I would make an offer of what I’d be willing to pay.

Most vendors don’t like unsolicited advice. If you tell them their stuff is overpriced and then leave, it’ll just annoy people and they won’t suddenly decide to lower all their prices.

Yep. Thrift stores are a complete “hit and miss”. Old busted drill, they want $20. Right next to it is a new Michelin tire. $20! :confused:

Must be the cord.

If a garage sale is asking up to twice what I think a good price is, I assume they’re intending to haggle, and offer them whatever I think is the good price. More than that, and I’ll just leave, because they’re not going to haggle that far.

I might still comment to other shoppers I see at other sales (“Don’t bother with the one on Elm; they’re overpriced”), because it’ll save them time, and so I would appreciate it if they told me the same, and it’s a standard form of light socialization.

EDIT: Oh, and I also wouldn’t say anything to the seller if it’s not an item I’d be buying anyway, not least because if I’m not in the market for it, I might not even know what a reasonable price is.

I think most people have a very poor understanding of what their time is worth, or the amount of time required to sell something.

I have a little boy, and let me say this is quite an accomplishment.

When I see someone offering something for too much on Craiglist, if I actually want it, I’ll sometimes say “Hey, I can get that for $X, new, on Amazon. How about $X/2?” Sometimes people just aren’t aware that the new price has dropped so much.

My husband’s cousins just had an estate sale to clear out the house that their parents had lived in for 40 years because their widowed mother moved to an assisted living facility. They each kept a few things and their mom kept a few things, and they gave us a few things, but it was simply unrealistic for two adults who are employed full time, both of whom have their own households (and one of whom is very pregnant and has a toddler and lives in another state) to clear out the contents of a 5 bedroom home on Craigslist. By the same token, assisted living ain’t cheap, and their mom will need the money, so they have an interest in getting some actual money for the things that are worth something.

Sometimes this is why people have estate sales.