Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dear Estate Sale Organizers... Price Is Everything.

photo courtesy of Yard Sale Bloodbath

I went to an estate sale last weekend - like a lot of you, it is something I do every weekend. I have gotten to know the companies in my area that organize and run estate sales, and I have my favorites, for various reasons. I also have my Do Not Shop list, mostly for one reason - the prices are too high.

The sale I went to was put on by what I think is a fairly new company - I have only gone to one other sale hosted by them, and that was a month or two ago. I walked out empty handed - everything (and I mean everything) was priced way, way out of my price range. I was actually slightly shocked, if you want to know the truth. But, their next sale sounded good, and wasn't far from my house - so I decided to give them another try.

Once again, most things were priced way too high. But, there were a few things that would be reasonable once everything was half off. This was a change from their last sale - so I was happy, but at the same time just as frustrated... there was so much great stuff that I couldn't even come close to considering.

I went back on half off day - I drove up at 9am on the dot, and there was no one outside. I looked around, checked my directions to make sure I had the right start time, looked around some more... I couldn't believe there wasn't a single person at the door. I decided they must have opened the doors a few minutes early, so I grabbed my box and headed inside.

No one was there. It was unreal - half off day is ALWAYS busy at these sales. I had never in all my years gone in on half off day and had not another single person there shopping! After I got over the novelty, I enjoyed myself grabbing the few things I could, and a few minutes later a couple other shoppers arrived. Just a couple, though.

 photo courtesy of Yard Sale Bloodbath

There was another estate sale at half off that day, so I headed over there to check it out. I hadn't been to it earlier in the weekend, so I had no idea what kind of stuff was inside. I could see the sale from halfway down the street, there were a lot of cars and a long line at the front door. My little universe was back to normal!

It turned out to be a very run of the mill sale - if there had been anything interesting there, it must have sold at the beginning. Yet there was a huge crowd - and the other sale had a ton of great stuff and no one there to buy it!

So, Dear Estate Sale Organizers:

Price is everything.
Price is everything.
Price is everything.

You can have the best stuff, the most organized and well run sale, and if your prices are too high you aren't going to sell anything. I think what you need to realize, if you haven't already (which you probably haven't if you are pricing too high) is that a good chunk of your customers are dealers. Another good chunk are folks who are looking for a deal. If you cut those people out of shopping with pricing that is way beyond reach - well, your half off day is going to be empty. And that is a sad, sad thing to behold.


propriatress said...

Boy you said it! Pricing correctly is as much an art as is picking the right stuff.

Ask the eBay Queen said...

Amen to that!


Sue (Vintage Rescue) said...

I went to one of those 2 weekends ago. Again, they were a new company. Everything was HUNDREDS of dollars. Those spikey flower frogs were $19. Apothecary bottles were $55. I'm hoping they woke up Monday morning, realizing how much stuff they were now stuck with (and having to explain it to the clients). BOO, HISS.

zenhen said...

Gosh, you are so right...come on folks...most of your customers are dealers....

dogsmom said...

I might have been tempted to go back to the overpriced sale and politely ask if they would consider offers on things just to move the merchandise.
Worst case - they ask me to leave. I wouldn't have had to fight a crowd to get out!

The Attic said...

The 2nd to last estate sale I went to, I spent the whole time laughing at the prices. I kept looking for a "Christies" sign! Now the one I went to a couple of days ago was great. There was so much stuff and nothing was priced so I just made an enormous pile and said "give me a bulk price". It worked! While I was checking out, I helped the dealer sell a few things as a thank you!

AlyMae said...

I had to leave a comment because if this were an open letter, I'd sign it!
I'm personally committed to training my kids to understand the "pricing is everything" concept -- training the next generation of deal-finders is crucial ;)
I don't care who they are, no one should be charging $50 for an 80s lunch box at a yard sale, they should try their luck on ebay. Thanks for the relatable story

Gina's Junk said...

Priced right the 1st day will keep me buying, tell me to come back 2nd lower prices on and 3rd day half off .. i don't come back