Garage sales are an interesting time to both observe and connect with people from many different cultures who have many different reasons for being at the garage sale.
Some of the people are at the garage sale because they really can’t afford to shop in stores. Our garage sale is usually really good for them as we price household goods and clothing below the price at the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Thus, they can shop at our sale and spend less money. We have also been known to give them a very good discount even on these prices if we feel they have no money.
It sometimes requires some excellent observation skills to know which people are truly in need and those that are trying to make you believe they are in need just to get a deal. The two have very different energy.
Of course, there are people whose culture is about bartering. Realizing this is the case is important because they are always going to try to talk you down from whatever price is given. My favorites are those that insult you or your items if you don’t accept their very low price. They give me a chuckle. Connecting with them enough to know what is happening gains you money and saves hurt feelings.
Then, there are those that speak little to no English. We have found that some of them still manage to easily connect with us while others do not. Clearly, fluently speaking the same language is not required in creating a connection. Likewise, speaking the same language and even being quite alike does not guarantee a connection.
Some of our best connections are with casual garage salers. Some of them are out just to enjoy the day, some are looking for something to do and to have a conversation with people, and others just enjoy seeing items people have for sale. These people have time and often want to have conversations. We sell less to them, but sometime the connection and conversation lead to sales of unexpected items. They are probably the least predictable of all groups.
The most predictable are the professional garage salers. They come, look for the specific items of interest, buy without hesitation, and leave just as fast. These people are generally not open to connecting, but are easy to spot.
All in all, garage sales can be an interesting way to observe people. Listening to people, watching how they look at items, and seeing what they skip over tells you a lot about them.
In the next article, we will discuss our experience having a “Make an Offer” Sale.