Yard sales are a great source of discount priced items you may want for prepping, storing or for the home. I go out at least once a weekend. I use a targeting website, local ads and signs to find the sales. I have cold water, a snack and moist towelettes in the car. I count my money before I leave my driveway and get my head in the game. Yes, I enjoy the country drives, but I am out shopping and I am not alone on the road and that is a game I don't want to lose because I was daydreaming.
So I am not totally wasting gas and driving aimlessly around the county, I go to my targeting website to pre-plan my trip. I use www.gsalr.com. I am in an urban enough area for this site to work for me. I choose a section of the county or a town I haven't shopped in recently as my target. I key in my address and choose where I want to go and I get a trip map planned out for me from sale to sale. I can print that map. If I don't need a map because I am familiar with a township, I just copy and paste addresses to a document and print that. Gsalr covers all sales listed through their site and they pick up the sales listed through Craig's list. Also available to me is a free newspaper our town prints every Thursday. This paper is still widely used by old time residents and civic groups having rummage sales.
Approaching a sale, I make a snap decision here,I may not want to get out at every one. An ad online or in a paper cannot tell me if the homeowner looks like a felon selling someone else's stuff. They may have sold all their camping equipment and have only girly baby bibs on display.
Once I get to the sale and decide if this is a sale worth getting out of the car to explore, there are some basic rules of saling to keep in mind.
This is not my house. These are not my children and that is not my dog.
I do not pet the dog. I will ask if the dog is friendly and I will leave a driveway if the homeowner does not have their animal under control.
I will also leave the home if the children are bouncing off the trees. It is not my place to tell someone to get their kids on a leash!!!
You may greet the homeowner, especially if they greet you.
I appreciate good signs inside neighborhoods and I will complement the homeowner on signage.
Never mention how lovely the home appears or how safe the neighborhood seems or ask the average home price. People are selling their leftovers. They know they are inviting strangers into their yard, don't make them nervous about your presence. Personal questions are also out.
Taking in information is unavoidable. People will volunteer. If someone volunteers that they are moving, wish them luck, don't ask them where to?
Be prepared to be engaged in conversation, like it or not. If you ask the price of an item, you may get a history of the item. Just respond, as if you were not interested, without angst or sarcasm, "How much did you say it was?"
If an item belonged to a late child or spouse, (and people will tell you that was my late wife's or my son bought that then died) say, I am sorry for your loss, how much are you asking? If they hesitate, ask, "Would three dollars cover it?", or some other reasonable offer. If you hear no or that is not enough, do not haggle, this item is not for you.
When you ask for a price and it is very high, keep that urge to say, "What drugs are you on?" to yourself. Just say, "Is that your best price?" if you really want to begin the haggle, or "Oh, I don't have that, thank you." Exit the sale with some grace. It is not bad to blame a missing, absent or imaginary spouse for the lack of funds! I went to a sale today and asked a price on a single pair of cammo pants and the guy said $50! ( you know they were only thirty dollars brand new!) Not looking him in the eye. I put them down and said, "My husband would never let me spend that much on him.But, Thank You." The killer to this story is, he sold me three shirts for two dollars and he gave me four pairs of wine glasses for free, because he didn't want to pack them back into the garage. Crazy!
Speaking of the phrase thank you, you can use it to end a conversation, to thank a seller or to express any number of sentiments. I am from the south and I know I can say thank you and men get off my last nerve, bubba. So, I watch the attitude. If you don't know how to inflect the phrase thank you, watch a few episodes of THE CLOSER!
Keep in mind, some people are trying to make a balloon payment or cover a sudden debt. Be kind. Save your sarcasm for the comedy shop.
Manners in mind, don't be afraid to offer a bulk price for a purchase. Before the seller has a chance to tell you the price of each tiny item in a jewelry box, offer $5 for the entire box. I bought a box of fires starters for two dollars. There were twenty four in the box, he was asking 50 cents a piece, according to his sign, but I asked "How about $2 a box?" He asked me how many boxes I needed!
Another great way to exit a sale that isn't working for you is to say, " We collect the same things!"
Sometimes, you can get a good deal when the seller is happy or tired, you have to learn to read the people and take a "No" as a no. It isn't personal. It's a yard sale. A no can mean: I want more, I don't want to sell it, I want to get into the yard sale business and quit my job, I want to talk about it. You have to learn to read the people and smile. Just walk away.
Just like these are not your kids, so don't scold them, this is not your home, so don't argue. Don't try to change, train or educate the sellers. This is a fun day, stay grateful, positive and keep moving. Bargains will come to you.