1. Successful negotiation is a confidence builder. Hanging back and watching your 14-year-old daughter put on her best “sad, hopeful face” is a real treat. Yard sale negotiations make for strong life and business lessons.
2. You must be willing to walk away. And then walk. Even when the seller taps your business acumen when they tell you they can’t sell to you for less than their cost. If they bring up their health insurance bills, you will need to have a good sh!t detector. And if you do a deal, you must come to peace with your decision.
3. If there is a pocketknife with Elvis’s picture on it, haggling is disrespectful to The King.
4. If an old man with massive amounts of salt and pepper colored nose hair that intertwines at the philtrum (look it up) walks up to you while hiking up his jorts (look it up) a little too high, take a break from shopping and listen to his stories. We need to place a premium on human-to-human interaction and listening skills these daze.
5. Storytelling is the best part of any yard sale. Even if the stories might not be true. I was going to buy that $5 box of 8-track tapes even BEFORE I heard the seller tell me that those tapes were played in a 1964 satin silver metallic El Camino. That car purportedly drove thousands of miles across the country playing those exact 8-track tapes on a restless journey, Jack Kerouac “On The Road” style.
6. One woman or man’s trash is truly another’s treasure. I saw a sign that said, “Our Crap Could be Your Crap.” It might be time to reward your office with a dose of Marie Kondo decluttering and joy sparking. I know a dozen nonprofits that would benefit from your kindness.
7. For those in the promotional products field, yard sales are essentially museums for our industry.
8. If they are not at Walmart, they are at yard sales. That said, you are destined to meet some of the nicest, salt of the earth, interesting humans alive. If you are open to what the universe delivers, you might ascend from stranger to friend or … customer. You never know who you are going to meet.
9. There are 3 types of people selling:
- The entrepreneurial hoarder. This person is often a professional collector and they have both crap and wonderful things to sell from attics and garages across the land.
- The reseller of consumer products. These folks are buying en masse from Amazon or The Dollar Tree and reselling at a mark-up, but you will likely get a deal. Be sure to check the expiration dates.
- The artisan. This is the person who is an artist, whether painting, macrame, or hot sauce, they are often magical discoveries. They are craftspeople trying to make commerce and art come together.
RULE: You can always haggle with the entrepreneurial hoarder and reseller of consumer products, but you should never haggle with the artisan. You should pay them more than the asking price.
We must take breaks from our computers and handheld devices and engage in new experiences. If you drive past a yard sale, you have two choices. I strongly recommend the U-turn.
Co-President, Brand Fuel