Monday, October 22, 2012

Garage Sale Etiquette--Or Not!

Lindi here.
Okay--I tried the world of garage saleing this weekend. As the one selling the items.

Or maybe. You tell me.

It was Friday morning, and I was still in my bird-feeding clothes. Don't ask, just picture an old pair of pj pants, tucked into dirty white socks, not so very clean tennies, and and old Las Vegas long-sleeved t-shirt which covered my pajama top--(hot pink flannel with leopard-printed high heels on it.) Fortunately, and by the grace of God only, I had ditched the hot pink hat that covers my hair and ears.

I was down at the street with the garage sale items because a. it was slightly before nine o'clock, the garage sales opening hour, and b. my hubby had gone back to the house to get one more load. (our driveway is 600 feet---we hauled the items down to the street in our car.)

This car drives up and an older man gets out and starts perusing. Meanwhile, I"m perusing the driveway praying for my hubby to come along in a hurry. The man starts chatting with me and reveals he's a retired pastor. He picks up a pair of red cowboy boots my husbands ex-wife gave me. They were marked 5 dollars. With the swiftness of the way he picked them up and tucked them under his arm I questioned my pricing skills. His jacket had these words embroidered on the back--"I'd rather be at an Estate Sale."

Ah--so I ask him, "Do you think my items are priced okay? Do they look high? Low?" To which he replies, "In my opinion, there's no better person to decide what your stuff is worth than you."

 Okay. That makes sense. I had a little section marked "Everything's a dollar." He picks up a plaque with a nice saying a couple of birds on it. He starts reading it. It's then I see the back of the plaque. Written in pen it says, "For Lindi" in my grandma's writing.

 My grandma gave me that?

 How didn't I know that?

 My heart starts beating faster as he tucks the plaque under his arms with those 5 dollar boots. So I speak up. I HAVE to!! "Sir, I"m sorry and I know you'll think I'm weird, but can I have that plaque back? I just realized my grandma gave it to me. I didn't know." He smiles and hands it back. Meanwhile I add, "she's passed on now," like that will make a difference. And yes, she 'passed on' in the 90's but did the nice man really need to know that?

So what do you think? Should I have asked for it back? Was that bad garage sale etiquette? Have you ever done that? Or have you had something taken away from you while you were at a sale? Tell us your craziest garage sale story!


  1. Lindy, you're too funny. No, it wasn't wrong of you to ask for the plaque back. It was your merchandise after all so you get to choose whether or not you'd sell it. Think of it this way: how much worse would you feel if you had remained quiet and let the man buy the item?

    What I'm amazed at is that your start time was nine am. I grew up in a community- and was forced to go on many a yard sale trek- that began between 6:00am-7:00am. My mother's motto was that every that was worth going for was bought before 8:00am.

  2. I went garage saling with my grandma when I was a little girl. She and I picked out a tiny dragon tea cup. Many years later, someone tried to claim it was theirs and actually took it from me. I found it on a shelf a few years later and demanded it back. Purchase price? .25 cents but because it was a beautiful memory, priceless. In this case, and yours, a lost memory is restored.

  3. Lindi, that's so funny!! I think he probably thought it was sweet. And that it's probably happened to him before. :)

  4. Dianna--I was kind of surprised at the time, too. A lady in our neighborhood, who has sales quite often, organized it--she put the ad in and told me what time to start. Of course, I was fine with it.

  5. Ang, way to go on getting that cup back.
    I have the plaque right here on my desk now. :)

    Missy--yes, he was a really nice guy. I wonder who he bought those boots for. Hmmm...

  6. My mother and I pooled our "treasures" and had a yard sale quite a few years ago. Over 2 days, she made $100 and I made $10.
    I've never had a yard sale again. :)