Have you ever shopped at an estate sale? Well, here is some advice to help you get the most out of the experience. Granted, it might also get you banned for life or arrested or beaten by your fellow shoppers, but what do you care! For REAL tips, read 18 Tips.
1. Make sure you get there early! In fact, get there the night before to make sure you are first in line. If sleeping in front of the door isn’t feasible (like maybe you have a really great party to go to and will be too drunk to drive to the house), start a sign in sheet the night before and pin it to the door. If there is already a sign-up sheet started and your name isn’t on the top of the list, toss it out and start another one! Tip: if you forget the sign-in list idea (maybe you got way too drunk) and can’t get there the night before, just bring a list with you in the morning. If others are there before you, wave the list at them to prove that your name is on the top. And don’t worry if the estate sale company has its own way of doing things; rules are made to be broken.
2. Don’t worry about the neighbors. I’m sure the neighbor will understand if you park in front of their driveway. I mean, you have to park somewhere, right? It’s not your fault that those people who got there way too early have already taken all the good spots, so go ahead and park where you can. You’ll only be there for a few minutes anyway.
3. Once you’ve secured your proper place at the front of the line, guard it from all possible usurpers! Don’t let others try to shame you or bully you out of your god-given place; be assertive and stand your ground. Fight for your rights!
4. Get in quickly and grab as much as you can. Don’t worry about whether you grab things you actually want to buy–you can figure that out after you finish shopping. If it looks good, hoard it from other greedy shoppers. If anyone tries to rifle through your stuff, a quiet yet intense threat of violence will work wonders for sending them scurrying away. Once you’ve worn yourself out and have looked through every possible hiding spot and torn through every neatly piled table, then you can go back and sift through your own pile. Don’t waste your precious time putting anything back where you got it. Just toss any unwanted items to the side; the staff is there to clean up after you. You’ve got other sales to rush to and shouldn’t waste any time.
5. It’s every shopper for themselves! Keep an eye on your fellow shoppers because they may find something you might want before you can. If that catastrophe should occur, be prepared to use subterfuge, if necessary, to get the prize. If they have an unattended pile, it’s an easy matter to grab the desired item when they aren’t looking. Otherwise, trick them into setting it down for some reason. Setting their purse on fire might work. Or try grabbing the item from their hands and claim that they had stolen it from your pile. All’s fair in estate sale shopping. They’d do it to you, too, given the chance.
6. If the sticker price is too high, remove it. That’s right, be a sticker picker. You deserve a better price. And they won’t likely remember what they put on it before. Chances are good that they’ll price it lower this time, especially when you utilize the ideas listed below. Of course, in the off-chance you run into one of the many estate sale professionals who DO remember what they priced things at, be prepared to pay more than otherwise because they obviously can’t take a joke.
7. Insist that the cashier give you a lower price than what is marked. You know they are trying to cheat you by pricing way too high. Once they know you are on to their scheme, they will lower their price some. If not, here are some ideas to force their hand:
- Offer them a dollar for the item. This lets the cashier know that you are nobody’s fool and that you won’t pay their outrageous prices.
- Even if the prices are reasonable, offer them three-fourths less (that’s 75% off, in case your math is bad) just to get the respect and low price you deserve.
- Pretend to be buying a lot of items. Many estate sale people will offer a discount if you buy a bunch. Once they offer you a good discount on everything, pick out only a few items and demand the same discount on those.
- Tell them you’ve seen the same item sold at a tenth of their price at the last sale you were at. It doesn’t matter that this isn’t true.
- Tell them you are only going to cut it up or tear it apart to make something else anyway, so why should you have to pay the full price for the whole thing.
- Act like you know more about the item than they, or you, do. If they claim that it is a Fenton carnival glass cruet and they’ve priced it at an inexpensive $15, tell them they’ve been smoking crack because YOU know it’s a cheap glass thingy that you’ve seen for $3 at the local discount store. Offer them a dollar. If they point out the Fenton mark, stand your ground. You can’t back down in the face of facts. Remember, show no fear.
- Point out that you can’t make any money reselling the item at the extravagant price they are offering it at. After all, if you can’t make any money, why should they? Once again, it doesn’t matter if this is true.
- Demand to see the person in charge. The cashier is a nobody that you shouldn’t have to deal with anyway.
- If all else fails, be extra rude and obnoxious. Announce loudly that they are trying to cheat you. Say you know the property owners personally and you know they would be shocked by the way the sale is being run. Refuse to leave until justice is done. In other words, just be your usually self. If you make a big enough fuss, they might give you a lower price just to get rid of you. Whatever works, right?
8. If you don’t get a reasonable price, steal it. Wait until the item has been returned to the display and then slip it into your purse or backpack. Tell yourself that it’s stuff the family doesn’t even want anyway, so why should you have to pay an exorbitant price for it. And you know that it will be given to a charity or maybe even thrown away if nobody buys it, so go ahead and take it. You have needs, too. In fact, why go to the trouble of trying to negotiate with those greedy idiots in the first place? Rip them off before they try to do it to you. Who do they think they are, trying to rob a hard working person like you? They’re probably rich anyway. Right?
If any of this advice sounds good to you, or if you already know all of this but were hoping for some new tricks, then my next advice won’t please you: stay away from my sales! Please! For more serious tips about shopping at estate sales, read 18 Tips for Shopping at Estate Sales.