Sunday, 13 July 2008

Hmmm...secondhand dealers and garage sales...

We held our second ever garage sale yesterday morning. We thought it may be a bit of fun - plus, we needed to clear out the old wooden shed to house the chickens that will arrive in around eight weeks. If you need to get rid of stuff you can either throw it out, donate it to charity (which we did with some) or try and hold a garage sale to see if other people could use things you can't...

Well, to start things off it took us much longer than anticipated to get all of our stuff together. We're talking 'til 4am here. Inside. Outside. Inside. Outside. And we were freezing - it got down to around three degrees, I think. We now think we either a) had a lot of stuff or b) we were really disorganised! At 4am we were satisfied we had it all under control so we toddled off to bed to get up at 5.30am for some brekkie, coffee and to start lugging it out our open garage. The ad in the paper said starting at 8am, but we figured the desperadoes would start at 7am.

Boy - were we wrong. Totally wrong.

At 5.45am - yes, 5.45am - the first van turned up and out popped two dealers with torches in tow. Would we mind if they had a look at our stuff while we sorted it out. We were so shocked we said, "we suppose". While they were rifling through things FIVE MORE VANS TURNED UP BEFORE 6.15am. Sorry for the yelling - but, gosh - how bad is that??? We were still in the pitch blackness of night and I had something like 10 people rushing around the garage, driveway and grass rattling things, talking etc and flashing their torches everywhere like some alien hunters out of the X-Files. All I could do was worry about the neighbours (who later told us they thought we had possums). And I was so peeved I didn't haggle and told them all they could buy whatever they wanted at a price we wanted. 'Nough said - so they all bought up, loaded their vans and drove away. By 6.15am were had some around half of our stock and we weren't open 'til 8am!

The most hilarious offer? A woman rifled through all of the fabric I wanted to sell - a massive box load worth a tonne, even to dealers etc. She hissed and tut-tutted her way through it. I wanted $1 for big pieces and 50c for small pieces - just a token, really. I had secretly hoped a seamstress would wander in and want it. But this woman pounched on it. She came up to me and said in quite a loud voice she would give me $5 for the material as it was all dirty and cheap and it wouldn't sell for the rest of the day. She didn't know what came across her when I calmly told her what fabric it was and if she wanted it she could have it for $10 and to enjoy onselling it at the market. She took it for $10 - a steal! - and stalked away with it all. Sigh.

To cut a very long (and freezing) story short, it was an experience, I tell you. We sold a tonne and were very happy, but my view of secondhand dealers (and I am one myself, as I have to be registered here in Victoria to sell vintage fabric) has diminished somewhat. Do you have to be so desperate to turn up at 5.45am (apparently you can get the paper around here from 4.15am) and just walk on up to people potttering in their garages in the dark, thinking nothing was wrong...seriously, we were dazed and confused with the onslaught of dealers desperate to get stock at good prices.

My parting shot should be shame on you, but as Justin says, that's the life some people choose to live and everyone has the right to earn a living. Yes, I know, I say - but at 5.45am can't people even have some manners??

Have a great weekend all!


  1. Totally agree and it is so annoying for us "normal" folk who get to garage sales at the correct time and there is nothing left.

  2. Thanks for visiting our blog, Cass :) - and, yes, I totally understand. I would never turn up to someone's house at that hour out of respect - but if you pay that respect you don't get anything!! LOL...

  3. Our next door neighbour had a garage sale this past weekend. We watched out the window and laughed at the dealers being held back by the rope she'd strung across her driveway. when she took it down they RAN to the garage. it's kind of sickening really. I love a bargain/treasure as much as the next person but this behaviour makes me feel sick and embarrassed (for them). We have hard rubbish collection here today too... the vans idling up and down our street this past weekend give me the same feeling. I know I should be pleased they're recycling.... but it's just a bit off. I wish I'd seen your fabric.

  4. A rope? Gosh - what a hard way to have a garage sale, but if it keeps the hoards back, then I'm all for it. I don't understand their desperation, either. Surely dealers make a good living and don't have to run and fall over each other to get to a plate??

    I have decided the behaviour sickened me. Not funny sickened, either - sad sickened.

    Don't know if I'll have another one too quickly, either:)!

    and thanks for visiting!

  5. This is a big problem in the U.S. too. It's put me off having garage sales forever!