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

If there’s an overpriced item at a garage sale that I really want, but the sellers won’t budge on the price, I might try coming back later in the day if it’s convenient for me.

People with overpriced garage sales will sometimes reconsider their intransigence once the sale is winding down and most of their junk is still there.

They were clothes she kept at her house for her grandsons when they’d stay over. So they weren’t worn very much.

I’m really not sure what your point is; if the prices are too high, they won’t sell enough/make money. If they aren’t, then they will.

In my experience most garage sales are more a way to get rid of unwanted household crap and make a little money in the bargain, than they’re serious money making ventures. Essentially the thinking is that 10 cents per item is better than just leaving it out for bulk trash. I’ve usually found them to be a mixed bag of overpriced items and serious bargains, with most of the overpriced stuff being electronics and high-value items that people paid a lot of money for initially and have no idea that it’s that worthless now. Computers are a good example- few people are going to take that $1200 2012 vintage laptop and sell it for $25, but that’s pretty much exactly what it might be worth, having a 15" screen, 2.5 MHz processor, 4 gb of ram, 500 gb hard drive, and more than likely timed-out battery that needs replacing anyway.

There’s zero to be gained in telling anyone their for-sale items are overpriced, unless it’s a friend who you think won’t take offense and relegate you to former friend status. Just make an offer and if no counter is forthcoming, move on.

I remember trying to knock down the price of an item at a commercial going-out-of-business sale (where you’d think bargaining would be acceptable) and getting not only a cold refusal but a glare of contempt from the salesperson. How dare I? :slight_smile:

One thing that’s happened to us with the Firebug a few times as he’s grown is, we’ll buy stuff he’s not big enough for, or games he’s not ready for yet, and stash them away somewhere until he is big enough for the clothes, or old enough to play that game.

Then we forget what we’ve stashed and where, and he’s outgrown the stuff while it’s been sitting on a high shelf in a closet somewhere. It’s now years after we bought it, the sales receipt is long gone, so we can’t take it back to the store. So to the thrift store it goes, in brand new condition, since we’re too lazy to do yard sales.:slight_smile:

“Well, if *that’s *the way you conduct a moving sale, I shall never shop here again!”

This is why we just dump our unwanted stuff at the local charity drop off. Sure, we could make $20 if we held a garage sale next Saturday. Life is too short.

Earlier today, I was at a corner resale shop in a small town, and how’s this for overpricing: One of the later Harry Potter books, priced at $5. Okay, what’s wrong with that? The dust jacket was faded to very pale green, and the thing was water-swollen and infested with black mold! :smack:

That thing belonged in the GARBAGE!

Some people are professional garage sale venders. They buy cheap and hope to turn it rapidly. But, they know what moves.

Those that frequent garage sales (it is entertaining), know the address and stay away. Because they realize they are paying for the middleman.

A lot of people are desperate for money. Including some who don’t look like they are.

A number of people are greedy, and would never give a pass to € 3.
I remember seeing on TV a street corner vendor who was happy with having made about € 20 on that day, after having spent a good chunk of his night searching for and fixing stuff found in garbage and his morning waiting for someone to buy it while trying to avoid being noticed by the police.

Consumer goods don’t have intrinsic value. They are worth whatever people are willing to pay for them. I never get offended or say anything when prices are too high. I just treat them fairly as a consumer. If I think the price is too high, I’ll offer them what I think is a fair and reasonable price and they can take it or not. If it’s something that is of particular interest, I might leave my number and say the offer’s still good if you change your mind later. If the price is too low is generally when I’ll inform them. If they’re selling some rare collectible worth 100 bucks for 5, if I want it, I’ll offer them fair value and if I don’t want it, I’ll tell them that the value is actually significantly higher and they could ebay it for much more.

Overvaluing one’s possessions is practically a garage sale tradition.

Our garage sales are successful in large part because my wife is extraordinarily realistic in terms of price and will charge less than we could probably get in some circumstances, and she’ll cut a volume deal at the drop of a hat. We might lose a quarter here or a dollar there to not price discriminating, but a huge percentage of the merchandise is gone by day’s end.

That said there are some garage sales that ARE a way to make money, and reselling clothes is a common thing in such sales.

The right price is whatever a buyer and seller agree on. There is no “wrong” price. If a garage sale has every thing priced high, they won’t sell as much. But maybe they will actually make some coin off the one item they do sell. If the goal is to get as much money as possible, it might be a good strategy to price high and hope to sell one or two items. If the goal is to get crap out of your house, it makes more sense to price everything low.

Anyway, no I wouldn’t complain about the prices. If it was a friend selling, and I thought they would do better at another price point, I might say so. And if there was a particular item I was interested in, but only if it were cheaper, I might tell them that. I wouldn’t compare to prices other places, though. I’d just say, “hey, I’m sort of interested in that credenza. If you don’t sell it at $200, and you decide you’d be willing to take $100, let me know and you have a deal.” I guess I do this more often on-line than in person, as I’m probably not coming back to a physical yard sale. Usually they say “no” or ignore me. Sometimes they say they’ll get back to me if it doesn’t sell in a week. Sometimes they even DO get back to me.

It depends.

I was at a Church sale and one lady was grousing that she hadn’t sold anything all day. Most of the tables looked like they were doing ok, so I offered up a polite comment about her items being unrealistically priced. She had one DVD I had seen in store, brand new for $5 at Target the night before. I think she wanted $10 or $15 for a really, really used old copy. I gave a nice “For instance, this DVD is $5, brand new, at Target”. They have a $5 section. She started justifying, and I sort of cut it off with a “No problem, just letting you know as someone who has been spending money at other tables for the past half-hour. Have a nice day!”

Most of the time, I say nothing. I think they will figure it out when it goes unsold for long enough.

I wouldn’t say anything, but I might mumble to my wife and hope they overhear it. Lots of time if they’re watching me, I might see me pick up a nice item, get excited, and then see the price and set it down immediately. When customers do that, you’ve got things overpriced.

My wife is a preschool teacher and one of the big fundraisers for the school every year is a big garage sale…it’s been going on for years (the school opened in 1976), and they rely a lot on former student families, extended families and the community for donations…(they also get a lot of just trash every year, but that’s another story)…about 10 years ago, I was helping to take in and sort donations, an older lady came in with a painting done by Jack Paar, who was probably best know as the host who succeeded Steve Allen on The Tonight Show…she presents the painting to my wife and the school director with the admonishment that she would hope that they would not take less than $200 for the painting…as soon as she left, those two turned to me and said, “What are we going to do with this?”, I said, “I dunno, it’s a garage sale, people are looking for kids’ clothing, books and puzzles, I doubt anyone is going to spend $200 for a Jack Paar painting no matter how cool it is…”

So, it was brought out for the next five or six years in a row, to my knowledge, no one ever even made an offer as soon as they saw the price, the lady would come back every year to see if it sold, finally, she relented and told them to sell it for whatever they wanted, I think they marked it a $30 and took the first $20 they were offered…

Maybe it was worth that, I have no idea, but it was definitely not the right venue…on the other side, every year I help out, I get some guy that pulls me off to the side and says, “Hey, you got any old watches or cameras?”, my answer is always, “If we did, we sure as hell wouldn’t be selling them at a garage sale…”

Every year or so I rent a table at the local model club’s annual show and swap meet. I pull a lot of models from my shelves that I’m never going to build and assign ludicrously low prices; my goal is to send it to a loving home, so to speak; to let someone have the thrill of finding something really neat at a crazy price. And then I put Mrs. R in charge of the table. Not only are buyers more responsive to a good-looking, cheerful woman, but she’s bound and determined that none of that stuff is going to get back into the house :wink: so she tends to lower the prices even further.

The model show was just a couple weekends ago. Mrs. R couldn’t handle the table because of a transient health issue, so I hired Littlest R to cover the table. We had a great time hanging out, and sold a load of stuff. From a pile of models three feet high and six feet long, we were down to twelve by the time we pulled the plug and folded our tent.

My standard negotiating tactic is, “Well, my prices are so insanely low that I’m reluctant to go any further. But I tell ya what, if you go the $20 I’m asking, I’ll throw in this [little worthless thing].” I told Littlest R that dickering over prices is kind of a dick-waving contest, and that throwing in something additional let both parties save face and come to a deal.

My biggest gripe about yard sales (and we go to a LOT of yard sales) is when someone will have an overpriced piece of merchandise with a printed eBay listing an they’ll say “this is going for $700 on eBay.” To which I have two regular retorts:

1: If you can get $700 for it on eBay, why aren’t you selling it on eBay?


2: It may be LISTED for $700 … is anybody actually paying that much?

I’m a library volunteer, and the lady in charge of my branch’s donations is Miss Overpricing personified. We have a self-service bookstore that is open whenever the library is and you pay at the drop box or the checkout desk, but we decided to have a separate sale to weed out some overstock. We put a lot of items out that were worth more than 50 cents, because they had been looked up on Amazon, and I swear, EVERY.SINGLE.TIME someone looked at one of those items, she’d tell them the Amazon price, etc. :rolleyes:

Towards the end of the sale, a man came in and made us an offer on some automobile repair manuals that were potentially worth $30 or more each on Amazon, and she wasn’t going to let them go for less than that. I told her, “Do you want to pack these up in a few minutes, and get nothing for them?” She relented.

Another time, we came in and saw that we had sold quite a few of a genre that doesn’t sell particularly well unless the right person comes along (can’t recall exactly which one it was; there are several) and when she counted the money, she said, “I don’t think that person paid for them.” I wondered how she could tell whose money was in that box, and she kind of said, “Yeah, you’re right.”

(She will put price stickers on things she looked up, and they have a slight tendency to “fall off” in the store. That’s because I remove them if I think it’s unjustified.)

p.s. About a year or so, the library in the next town raised their book sale prices from 50 cents to 75 cents. We’re still trying to convince her that just because they did, it doesn’t mean we have to.