Garage Sales

by john on August 8, 2006

Alex Scoble got me thinking about garage sales. Our inventory has been depleted over the last few years but it seems like we still manage to scrape enough stuff together for a garage sale each year, sometimes even twice. If I can get the garage cleaned out this summer we’ll probably have another one this fall. has some great tips and stories about garage (or yard) sales. But my favorites are the horror stories like this one:

I had heard that having a “freebie” box at a yardsale was a good way to show your generousity with your customers. So at my first yardsale, I had a freebie box with various items in it, including 6 jars of my homemade jam. Not long after the sale started, a foreigner lady came up and pulled out the jars of jam and started yelling: “Me no want stuff in, just jars!” Over and over she yelled this. And then said to me: “fix this!” I was embarrassed and tired of hearing her so I took the lids off and dumped the jam out. She then asked for a paper bag for the jars, then continued to shop putting many items (including a cellphone) in the bag and starts to leave without paying. I said “excuse me ma’am! that will be $15 for those items” She yells: “No charge no charge, see free right there” and she points to the freebie sign. I told her what was in the box was free, but not the other items. Then I pointed to the price tags. She argued with me for about 10 minutes and threatened to call the police on ME! She finally said “No! forget, don’t want!” then she took the jars out of the bag and left. I’m not a big hurry to have another sale, but if I do again, no freebie box!

— Jenifer in Missouri

I’ve also had a freebie bin the last couple of years and invariably there will be someone who shows up, grabs a bunch of stuff from the freebie bin and leaves without buying anything. Maybe it’s just me but that strikes me as extremely rude. It’s one thing to take a big item like a couch or something that has been marked for free, but to help yourself to the small items in the bin? Seems out of line to me. In any case, “Free with Purchase” sign going up next time. At least I’ll get a quarter out of them.


cp August 9, 2006 at 8:37 am

hiya – thats a funny story about the yard sale – my wife and i went to a car boot sale here in Ireland last fall (kinda like a big yard sale where everyone comes with stuff in their car trunk) and had a big sign saying “Make us an offer – everything must go” – we expected we’d get pittance for the things we had but you’d be surprised if you left the pricing up to the customers what they will offer you 🙂

Chris August 16, 2006 at 5:52 pm

Hey, thanks for the compliments about my site. I got tons more yardsale horror stories to add to my site, but just haven’t had the time. (too busy shopping!)


ps. its not

Previous post:

Next post: