Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I had a yard sale...

...and it sucked. Seriously.

My friend Gary (you might remember him from my Springfield post) and I hatched a plan to have a sale at my house. I desperately needed - well, still do, really - space in my basement for the new inventory I am finding this summer, so I wanted to take all the things that have been in my stores for a year out and put them in the sale.

It was, of course, a ton of work. It took most of last week to go through the stores and the rest of my house, gathering things up, organizing and tagging them...

I didn't buy a newspaper ad, but I did post this ad on Craig's List:

Hi everyone, it is time for the 1st annual Vintage Goodness Backyard Blowout Clearance Sale! I sell vintage and antique collectibles online at, and I am out of room - everything is priced to sell!!

Friday, July 25th 9am-7pm

Saturday, July 26th - Depends on the weather, I'll post a new ad on Saturday to let you know!

Glassware, Dinnerware, China, Dishes, Kitchenware
Pyrex, Fire-King, Corning Ware, Corelle, Hull Brown Drip & More

Pottery, Figurines, Housewares, Decor

Clothing, Jewelry, Shoes & Bags

Linens & Bedding

Books - from Antique to New, Cookbooks

A whole lot more!!

Pretty good, right? I thought so - but apparently not.

We had maybe 12 people total in about 9 hours, and I sold a grand total of $46, $10 of which came from Will's mom, who felt sorry for us and came over to shop.

We didn't even bother to set up on Saturday, instead I sorted through everything, kept a few things, set some things back to try to sell in lots, and hauled the rest (2 packed full car loads!) to the thrift store.

So, what went wrong? Here are my theories:

1. I live on a dead end street. We put up signs, but just because of where we live we didn't have the advantage of drive by traffic. Parking is also an issue - no cars are allowed to park on the cul-de-sac, which means people would have to park up the street a little way and walk back down to the house - not ideal.

2. I didn't put the ad up on Craig's List until Thursday night. I think I should have put one up early in the week, and again on Thursday night. A newspaper ad might have helped also.

3. The third reason is actually Walt's theory, which makes sense now that I think about it - I shouldn't have put in the ad that I am a dealer. I thought it might attract people, thinking I would have cool stuff - but in reality, maybe it kept people away thinking that there wouldn't be any "undiscovered treasures" or that things would be too expensive. Next time I will just list what I have, and not mention my business at all I think...

Live and learn I guess - at least I got some things out of the house, which I suppose was really the whole point to begin with...


Marcy - The Glamorous Life! said...

That is so sad. Like throwing a party and no one and learn I guess!

Mitzi said...

hehe, yep it was *exactly* like throwing a party and no one showing up! I think I might be scarred for life... ;)

svelteSTUFF said...

I DEFINITELY agree with Walt's theory - 'dealer's sale'= DUDS! - and I personally don't usually bother. It is a BUMMER though that you put ALL of that time and effort into it for so little 8-(. Better luck next time... right?!

Thrifty Miss Priss said...

oh no! I've got visions of doing this is September! I'll use your craigslist suggestion! One thing....where I live a Friday sale is unheard of...but I live in a big metropolitan area and EVERYONE WORKS so could that have been the reason? Maybe you should have held out for Saturday? Glad you stopped in to visit me! I've added you to my blogroll!

Roderick St. John said...

A possible Reason #4

Many of your potential customers are no longer buying.

In the past, they might have come to your sale to buy then to resell on eBay. Now some aren't.

Ebay is rapidly imploding. Prices have been increased, defenseless honest sellers are being damaged by dishonest buyers, auction item visibility is going, going, gone and eBay's customer service is non-existent.

Ebay senior execs seem clueless and oblivious to their disastrous errors.

Mitzi said...

It's true that there are probably fewer people buying for eBay these days - I hadn't thought of that!

And probably the ones that are didn't bother to come because they figured I would only be getting rid of things that wouldn't sell on eBay anyway...

At least eBay announced that they aren't changing the links policy - no need to revise my 600 store listings to remove my email address! *whew*

amodernguy said...

Interesting thing is we have a huge yard sale every year as part of a neighborhood sale and people flock to us, in part, because we are dealers. We do it a bit differently though. As we speciallize in mid-century modern in our shop we usually pick up all kinds of other periods and styles through box lots and such throughout the year - so we usually have alot of pretty interedting stuff.

Sorry yours went bust - I do have to agree with the Ebay comments. From what I see there is a great drop in folks buying for Ebay. That may end up being good for us dealers who stick it out in the long run.

amodernguy said...

Sorry for the spelling errors in the previous comment. I just got this new ergonomic keyboard, that I love, but just haven't completely gotten the hang of yet.

I'll proof better in the future.

Monica said...

I had a sale in July and it bombed two years in a row, just put it in craigslist and put A bunch of signs in the neighborhood, Try again in september......saturday is always a better day, and maybe dont put in that you are a dealer, just put collectibles or even fib and say you cleaned out grandmas, that draws me to a sale!!!

Beth said...

I just found your blog (love it!) and I usually have really successful yard sales but I haven't done one in a couple of years. I think you were right on about not listing that you are a dealer and the parking issue. I might not stop if I had to park far away and I'm a yard sale fiend. The other thing is this darn economy. People are just not buying. I know I'm not. It sucks when you're trying to sell.

We always get a newspaper ad or have a block or neighborhood sale and take advantage of the advertising/traffic. Also, were your prices low enough? It sounds like you didn't get enough traffic to even know, but I am funny about pricing. I have certain pay levels for yard sales, thrift stores, antique shops and ebay. It's silly and definitely a mental thing, but if I feel yard sale items are priced too high I won't buy them unless it's something I really want.

Better luck next time (if there is a next time)!