'The Early Bird Doesn't Always get the Worm'
by Lynn Dralle, The Queen of Auctions
Thanks to MayLyn for being the inspiration for this ezine article! It is all about whether you have to be an early riser and hit garage sales or whether you can do just as well at thrift stores. This is an interesting tidbit. I just checked my auctions on eBay. I have bids on eleven auction items right now that add up to over $150.00. Of those eleven items, only one came from a garage sale. See, the early bird doesn't always get the worm!
Now, let's check out the pros and cons of Garage Sales vs. Thrift Stores.
So I walk into my favorite thrift store (sounds like the beginning of a joke doesn't it?) and head to the dinnerware section. It was the day after Volume 2 of the Dinnerware Success eBook had been released. You won't believe what I found! Tons of items I had just written about. SCORE!
Here is a photo of my thrift store scores the day after Volume 2 of the eBook was released.
1. No rush, you can take your time.
As you can see in the photo, I found a set of Mikasa Arabella. Actually, I found two sets all taped together--$14.99 for both. I couldn't believe my good fortune. I had the time to check them out, and carefully carry them to the counter. Not being rushed is a wonderful thing!
Here is an auction for some of that set that already has bids.
2. Great hours--go on your schedule.
Another thing that I love about thrift stores is that they are open for quite a few hours every day and some are even open on Sundays. I like that I can stop off whenever I am in the neighborhood. Really makes this a time and gas saver!
Here is an item that I picked up after my exercise class a few weeks ago. I paid $1.00. You will want to see what this one sold for!
Check out this auction here.
3. Constantly getting new merchandise.
The final pro for thrift stores is the fact that they are continually getting new merchandise. They are professionals at retail and understand the concept of quick turnover. Because of this, they consistently mark down slow selling older merchandise. Here is a tiki mug that I bought when the blue price tag went half price last week. I got this for about 75 cents and there were two of them--so $1.50 for both. Awesome!
Check it out here.
1. Can be overpriced.
Some thrift stores have decided that they are upscale boutiques. Help! These are the ones that we need to avoid. Although, even the ones that overprice don't always know what they are doing. One of my thrift stores had an American Atelier dinnerware set priced at $175.00 and right next to it a Dansk set for $95.00. Guess which one I bought? You might just see the set I bought in the Dinnerware challenge at the end of Volume 3 of the eBook.
1. Your competition can't be at every single garage sale at the same time as you and isn't always looking for the same items as you are.
My mom and I got to a garage sale last Saturday in Indian Wells (well really it was in Rancho Mirage but for some reason I keep saying Indian Wells--maybe because the big tennis tournament is out here this week--yippeee!) at about 8 am. The paper said that it started at 8 am but when we got there they said to us, "You should have been here at 6 am when we rolled open the doors." I hate statements like that!
There was still a lot of merchandise remaining and I bought a lot of books. Then I saw this cute fish pitcher. It was priced at $1.00 and I couldn't read much of what was on the base except for "Boston." I thought I couldn't go wrong with that and even though everyone else had passed it up, I had a feeling it was good.
I was right! This is the one item that I bought at a garage sale that has an auction bid this week--actually MANY bids! You just never know.
See the auction here.
2. Usually very reasonably priced merchandise.
By the time a person has decided to clean up their life and have a garage sale, we are hoping that they are ready to GET RID of Stuff and sell it cheaply. This is usually the case and if you make a huge pile of stuff, most of the time, you can get it all for a great price.
This happened to me at a charity/garage sale last weekend. I made a huge pile and got everything for $40.00. In the pile were these amazing decoupaged plates from an artist in Houston. They are sooooo cool!
This is just one of the really neat designs here.
1. Sometimes the seller has a personal attachment to the items and they are OVERPRICED.
I was at a garage sale and the lady had five Madame Alexander Dolls. I asked "How much?" and she said $45.00. I thought that was for all of them but it was for each ONE. Yikes! I passed on those. Then there was a Tiffany perfume bottle that she priced at $20.00. I took a risk on it and it didn't pay off big, but I didn't lose either.
Check it out here.
2. Too early!
I do not like to get up early. And let's be honest, most garage sales do start early and it is in your best interest to be there when they open. For me this is a huge con to garage sale shopping, but I still do it every Saturday. I try and get out the door by 7:30 am. I am not a 5:00 am or even 6:00 am garage saler. That will NEVER happen. For some of you, this may be a PRO. There are plenty of morning people and my daughter is one of them! She is up at 5:30 am every day.
3. You may have to rush and grab items.
With a garage sale or charity sale, you must be quick. You need to scan the area as fast as you can and start picking up the items that you are interested in buying. I try to be quick without running anyone over. I have always said, that if it is meant to be yours, it will be yours.
My mom and I were at our favorite church charity/garage sale last weekend. We were some of the first in line and I was able to fill up several boxes with the best merchandise (for me anyway) quite easily and without being rude. Try and always be courteous.
Here is one of those items and I hope it sells for a lot! I paid $2.00 for this tray. Can you guess the maker before going to see the item on eBay? I bet "the other Mo" from The Queen's Court can.
After you guess, check out the eBay page here.
I hope that this article has helped you to see that there are pros and cons to shopping at both garage sales and thrift stores. If you can make both of them a part of your sourcing strategy, you can and will be very successful selling on eBay.