RW Learning Center – How To Avoid Rummage Sale Mistakes

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How To Avoid Rummage Sale Mistakes

Surefire Ways to Keep from Sabotaging Your Own Sale

If you’re going to take the time to plan a rummage sale, you’re obviously hoping for a good turnout. Not only will getting rid of old junk simplify your life, you’ll also make some money.

Believe it or not though, a rummage sale can be botched. Many people don’t care. After all, it’s just a quick way to make a buck, right? But some people out there (myself included) are serious about their sales. If you fall into that category, you know how important a good set up can be.

Even with planning, little things can ruin an otherwise good sale. Here are some major pratfalls of rummage sales and ways to avoid them.

1. Signs no one can read – There’s nothing more frustrating to a rummage sale hunter than having to squint at a small sign on a post to find out where the sale is. In some cases, the casual shopper won’t even see one that isn’t eye catching. Your advertising attempt might look good up close, but remember that those who need to see it are going to be more than a few yards away and most likely in a moving vehicle. Use large pre-made signs and write your address or directions with a thick black marker. Better yet, buy some large fluorescent poster board. Eye catching and readable are two must have characteristics for garage sale signs.

2. Too many clothes – It’s a catch-22 of the rummage sale world. Most people need to get rid of clothes. Unfortunately, too many clothes can be a deterrent to sale shoppers. Some people are happy to find cheap clothes in their size. Others have certain issues with buying used clothing. In most cases, you’re not going to have the sizes to fit everyone, and many people would rather peruse odds and ends or flip through books than check size tags on used clothing. Some clothes are fine. A small table neatly arranged, or a couple clothes racks with some nice articles are perfect for a good rummage sale. Just make sure you have plenty of other stuff for customers to look at as well.

3. Unpriced items – There are ways to save time on pricing things. Leaving prices completely off in the hopes people will just ask is not one of them. While questioning and haggling is expected in some foreign markets, Americans are more apt to check the price tag, then buy or move on. Whether they feel it’s a waste of time or are just shy, rummage sale customers are going to feel awkward about having to ask the price of everything they’re interested in. Take the time to price things. Customers are more likely to buy something if they don’t have to ask how much it is.

4. Piling stuff into boxes – Especially when time is running out, many rummage sale holders have a tendency to throw a bunch of things in bins or boxes and expect the shopper to go sifting through. Big mistake! The only item this is acceptable for is books, and even then you should exercise some common sense by using shallow boxes for easy access. If anything isn’t displayed for “at-a-glance” shopping, you’re not going to sell it. Even if you’re still setting up when customers arrive, don’t let lack of time be an excuse for being sloppy. Give everything a proper place. You should never expect your rummage sale customer to do more work than you.

5. Not distinguishing between “junk” and “trash” – In the rummage sale world, “junk” is what accumulates in your home over a period of time. Though you might not want it anymore, it’s still marketable. “Trash” on the other hand, consists of things that should be thrown away no matter what. Don’t give your sale a bad look by attempting to get a dime for a torn blanket or a water-logged book. Items with tears, stains, chipped edges, or damage of any other kind need to be thrown away, not placed for sale. No one is going to buy a book that’s not in readable condition or a coffee mug that’s missing a handle.

6. Calling one table of items a “sale” – There’s nothing more frustrating for a rummage sale shopper than to follow a sign that says “Huge Garage Sale” only to find one small table holding a few knickknacks. Use common sense. Even a few tables set up can’t be considered worth a shopper’s time unless they actually have something to look at. If you don’t have enough stuff to have a good sized sale, ask some friends to add some of their things. Or donate it to a local church sale. Anything you think has value will be better sold on eBay if you have nothing else for you customers to look at. Not only will people be turned off to your sale, but for so few things, your own time would have been wasted too.

7. Forgetting your “customer service” skills – Obviously you don’t have a manager looking over your shoulder making sure you do your job right. That doesn’t mean that manners should go out the window. When a rummage sale shopper feels comfortable, they’re more likely to buy things. Greeting people and availing yourself to them are the two best things you can do at your sale. I’ve been to sales where the people running it say nothing. It’s not comfortable, so I don’t spend as much time there as I could. As the host or hostess of the sale, spending too much time on the phone is also rude. If a customer has a question, they’re likely to just not buy something rather than interrupt your phone conversation. Be friendly and available and your service skills will go a long way to a good sale.

If you have any doubt of how well your sale is going to go, use your local market as a guide. Would you shop there if the cashiers were rude? How much would you buy if they piled everything into bins and told you to paw through in order to find something you wanted? By using these tips and a little bit of common sense, you can avoid having a bad rummage sale.

Provided by Associated

Author: Amanda Sposato

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