Garage Sales & Goofballs At WorthamWorld…Wendy & Cindy Estate Liquidators Of Texas Twins Events/The Pawning Planners
Everytime Cindy Daniel and I have ever had a yard sale, we always say we won’t subject ourselves to it again and yet months later we do. You see we forget how much work is involved and we forget what a hodge podge of unique customers we will meet. Yard sales are a lot of work and no one gets rich quick cleaning out their closets or their garages ya all. Texas Twins TV
WorthamWorld is the best location we’ve ever had to throw out a sign and get a lot of traffic at. I’m always amazed that cars start stopping at the first sign we put out and they keep right on pulling up.
Whether it’s an estate sale, yard sale or garage sale, over the past thirty years we’ve had a few unforgettable “customers” from California to Texas that got under my saucy sisters skin with their repeated haggling or negotiation tactics. Once in Califirnia, Cindy got so agitated at an orientsk family throwing clothes into a bag and then saying $5.00 that she closed the garage and called it a day after carefully pricing each and every item with the designer and the price. We stopped proving anything years ago because we recognized that yard sale shoppers don’t care what you’ve marked the item, they will ask how much anyway.
Often, Cindy and I are sitting in my classic set of 1950’s fold up aluminum lawn chairs barking out prices like a couple of auctioneers. This technique has proved useful over the years because even if it is marked- everybody is going to ask what you are willing to take for it and we save hours of labor by not bothering to price each item too.
Ironically, we both know what everything is worth and since we are out in the heat trying to “hit a lick” we are far more receptive to the friendly type of negotiator than we are to the offensive or demanding one. Occasionally, we have the luxury of a good visit with a retired person or neighbor strolling by to break up the monotony.
Often we wind up giving left over items away to the stragglers that wander up while we are packing up after getting flooded by customers early in the process.
I’ve learned not to put my Texas Twins Treasures Inventory out at a garage sale because everybody wants it for nothing and while you are dealing with the “how much? Are you kidding?” Client you are missing the group that are there to buy and deal with you “straight up.” The thing is- everybody saw the same thing that made them stop, get out of their car and walk up the driveway. If I have one item everybody wants and nobody is willing to pay for- I either sell it quickly or bring it back inside to keep from dealing with the same group of “you’re never going to get that much” folks who don’t understand that “I know what I have and I also know the quality consumer will understand and appreciate the quality and the value of high end merchandise.” Normally, I never put furniture worth thousands of dollars into an estate sale for these reasons and garage sale folks have no idea that if you haven’t seen it before- it’s expensive!
Which is why I realize up front that putting expensive merchandise on the driveway will bring anyone and everyone who can’t afford it into the “mix” of arguing with you regarding the cost of the item. I’ve been selling high end furniture sine twenty years and therefore realize the value of what I’m selling and understand that a garage sale is not going to bring a savvy consumer who shops high end up the driveway. Garage sale folks are more along the line of Walmart shoppers most of the time and they all want something for nothing while buying $1.00 of merchandise and paying with a twenty.
Today’s “hot item” was a three piece solid wrought iron patio set that I had refurbished and knew the value on (as usual).
No less than 20 cars stopped immediately asking the same question “how much?”
I had several watchers on eBay and needed space in my work room which is why I went ahead and pulled the set out. This set sells at high end patio furniture stores for $350 and up so, I proved it to “move” at $125.00 which was a very good deal of you knew what you were looking at but, let’s face it most consumers buy junk and replace it year after year on their patio thinking they made a good deal. Walmart, Sams, Lowes, Home Depot all of the “big box” stores stock import junk patio furniture that will last one season with cheap fabrics and the inability to find replacement parts you are getting it cheap for a very good reason- you get what you pay for. Solid aluminum, weather resistant fabrics and replacement parts offered on true outdoor furniture aren’t cheap but, they last for years and years and this heavy duty set was one of them. An elderly lady drove up and told me she had at one time owned this set and paid over three hundred dollars twenty years ago. You see, she knew what she was looking at and understood the value. Immediately commuting to the price of $125 without haggling, the only caveat was that I load it into my SUV and deliver it to her several blocks away as she was a widow and only owned a car. I loaded the set up and followed her home while my saucy sister dealt with all of the “watchers” driving back by and asking where the set was. Cindy is quick with whit and answered “she sold it” while a few asked for how much and she told them “exactly what she was asking” to their I don’t believe it my hilarious sidekick popped off “the lady knew what she was buying- you came back didn’t you?” They knew what they had lost by low balling around ya all- show me the money.
A four hour garage sale to get rid of everything we had? You bet! We don’t good around with the goofballs- we throw it out and throw it up on our huge following of social media and get the party started!
We both have our moments of arguing when I lowball an item that I don’t want to get stuck keeping and Cindy tries to buy it off the customer for more- yes it happens!
Occasionally, I need to remind her that we are out there to sell this stuff and not to keep it in order to stay “on track” if I’m low balling the item, I’m ready to see it go ya all!
I had a lady looking at these barstools modestly priced at $40 for the set and she told us point blank she didn’t have $40 as she had just moved and was very short on funds but needed a place to eat at her bar since she didn’t have a dining set so I loaded them up with Cindy and we gave them to get as a gift. The unsold clothing items of Little Pawners, Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney were given away to for a family that had children with them that we knew could wear the clothes.
These unique solid brass candle holders caught the eye of another woman who only had $5 but told us they reminded her of her father who had played the horn, so we sold them for $5 knowing the actual value was far above that price and could easily “flip them” on Ebay for $60 and up. If we like you and you’re friendly, we work with you because we believe in giving back to help others.
Another lady came by to look at a wagon I’ve had several years, a Little Tykes and asked how much. I told her twenty dollars and she answered “oh, you know what it’s worth don’t you?” Yes, I did because you can’t effectively make any money at selling if you have no idea of the value of the item. Cindy and I often appraise trades for services and product knowledge is essential in the “pawning process.” She had only $10 and was honest about her budget so I loaded it up and took the $10. For three hours cars kept coming back looking for the three piece patio set and for three hours we told everyone it was gone finally giving away what little was left to the last shoppers of the day.
Exhausted, sweaty and tired, Cindy and I “hit a few licks” while helping a few folks and got everything done in a very small window. My elderly new friend is having a birthday party and we will be helping with this Dream Event and taking the rattan set she no longer needs from her porch in exchange for services next month at this 90th birthday party. She’s absolutely thrilled with her “new set” to drink coffee at while watching the joggers and dog walkers on her street.
For all the other folks that assumed simply because it was a yard sale and they could get that set for $20, I was never going to take a nickel less than $125 because I knew what I had and if you’re buying junk it’s junk that won’t last. I only sell things that are made of quality materials for a very good reason- you buy it once and it saves you money in the long run. You snooze and you lose my friend but, a yard sale will never be the place for home furnishings that I’ve spent thousands on to refurbish and repair and I’m well aware of that. Part of the art of selling is knowing your client base and yard sales bring the good with the bad.
While having the yard sale today my eBay customer came to pick up a rare item I refurbished with a velvet medallion tapestry from Dubai and everyone stopped to ask him what he had paid for it lol, he smiled and told them “I got a great deal on this by making a $500 offer and my wife is thrilled because you can’t find fabric like this anymore, we’ve bought several things from Wendy but never at a yard sale, we shop her storefront Texas Twins Treasures!”
Funds from the purchase of this unique vintage accent chair will be used to cover expenses of refurbishing my pet project chair and paying eBay fees along with my web designer and parade expenses for TCGPWA among other things. You see, previous clients realize and recognize that they are buying a long lasting item that can be handed down to their children and, they are buying it once.
This chair will be refurbished with a portion of the funds from the sale of the medallion chair and will sell for several hundred dollars because it is a very rare antique. I’ve painstakingly repainted it and selected the fabric to reupholster it with and will share the finished product in an upcoming blog.
I buy, sell and trade treasures not junk and so does Cindy when we barter for something we recognize what we will need to invest for a quick flip or the “long haul” on my end for fabric and labor. Not knowing what you are buying or selling is a mistake made by the average “Joe” who thought he was getting a great deal buying patio furniture at the grocery store that broke within months or the fabric bleached and then tore. My patio furniture will outlive me because I bought quality with Sunbrella fabric that doesn’t stain, fade or tear. In fact, I can pour bleach on it and the color won’t change because I knew what I was buying when I bought it. Value is knowing you have a long lasting product and I’m continually amazed at how many folks haven’t figured it out yet.
My new little friend with the upcoming birthday did and she was “pleased as punch” that she saw that set heading to Starbucks for her afternoon coffee today. All is well that ends well, we helped a lot of folks who didn’t have a lot of money and we made a few bucks in return- I would call that a pretty good day and I had the fun of spending it with my sister who can always get a few laughs out of me to boot! #Cindyism “you can’t profit from the harvest of you don’t plant the crop!”
Wendy M Wortham