Mistakes You Can Recover From

There are very few mistakes in life that you can't recover from.  This is no less true in the garage sale world, where you can come back from even a seemingly horrendous blunder with your dignity intact.  Here are some examples of mistakes you might make as a garage sale hosts, and suggestions for recovering from them.

Arrow shot in dart board.Incorrectly pricing an item doesn't seem like a huge problem, but what if the customer takes advantage of the unintentionally low price and rips you off without realizing it?  If a shopper eagerly brings you an item priced $1 that was supposed to be $10, just stay calm and try to reason with them.  Let them know that it was a typo (or whatever the handwriting equivalent of a typo might be), and that you intended it to sell for more.  Ask them if they would be willing to split the difference with you -- pay $5 instead of $1 or $10, for example.  You may not be able to recover everything, but with a reasonable shopper, you can at least get back some of your losses.  If the customer refuses, you'll probably just have to bite the bullet and let them take it off your hands for cheap.

Overcharging a customer is easy to do, especially if you do your calculations in your head.  To avoid this, start out doing your addition on a calculator or at least a visible piece of paper.  That way, the customer can follow along and point out any mistakes you make.  If you do overcharge them and they don't notice, but you figure it out moments after they walk away, be a good neighbor and try to track them down.  It's common courtesy!

Misdirecting customers with your signs happens if you incorrectly calculated which arrows to tack up where.  You can end up with a host of angry people who finally stumble upon your sale after wandering in circles for fifteen minutes.  If this happens, individually apologize to each upset customer, and offer a small discount for their troubles.  Thank them for still coming to your sale and take note of where the misleading signs are so you can fix them as soon as possible.

Writing incorrect information on your signs may mean that customers show up at 7 a.m. instead of 8 a.m.  If their early arrival is your fault, you should be gracious and let them shop what you have out.  Fix the signs at the first opportunity, unless the information doesn't matter anymore (once it's past 8 a.m., there's no need to rush out and change that unless you're using the same times the next day).

Selling something you didn't mean to is one of the worst mistakes you can make.  This usually happens when more than one person is manning the sales table, and the seller doesn't know what was supposed to be sold and what wasn't.  If the seller is still in sight, run after them and try to negotiate a deal; if not, and you're desperate to get your item back, put out an ad in your community paper or local craigslist in the hopes that they will spot it and be able to get it back to you.

Forgetting to write down whose profits were whose can drive a wedge between neighbors.  If this happens, take it upon yourself to estimate how much of each person's items are left over, then estimate how much was there to begin with; this should lead you to a ballpark number of what each person is owed.  Be on the generous side for their portion, so you aren't accused of stealing any money.

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Comments (5) -

Todd Mooney
Todd Mooney
2/21/2013 11:05:15 PM #

With all of these listed mistakes, you can still recover if you just have the right mindset. You approach a mistake with a positive attitude and look at it as an opportunity to improve your garage sale hosting. Apologize if you honestly made a mistake and don't wait for too long to correct that mistake of yours. The important thing is that you should learn from that mistake and make sure it never happen again.

Sean Pate
Sean Pate
2/21/2013 11:09:22 PM #

Incorrect pricing an item is an easy mistake to correct since you could approach your costumer and admit that there has been a mistake and your here to correct that immediately. You could return the excess money they paid or you can let them get another item to compensate for the incorrect pricing. There's no harm done and your costumers would understand because there's a lot going on and you can't always be on top of everything that's happening in your garage sale.

Louis Terry
Louis Terry
2/22/2013 3:35:04 PM #

Don't forget to clean your item beforehand because they gonna sell better if they look better.   Use a pail of water and a cleaning absorbent towel to wife off the dust of the items you've been keeping inside your garage or basement. Just make sure your items are presentable to sell them easily. Happy Garage Sale ^^

Rickey Brown
Rickey Brown
3/4/2013 6:05:40 PM #

If you made a mistake, be man enough to admit it and ask for forgiveness. It's better to correct your shortcoming and making sure you're correcting them. It's useless that you admit a mistake but you don't learn from it. You could commit the same mistake again when you're faced with a similar situation. Mistakes are good because it's an opportunity to change and improve yourself.

Katrina Sawyer
Katrina Sawyer
4/10/2013 11:34:32 AM #

I went to a grocery store a few months ago. I was buying a bottle of pickles and I saw that the price was exactly the money I had in my pocket. When I went to the counter to pay for it, the saleslady punched it saying it was 2.5 dollars and i was like, What??. The list on the stalls says it's 2 dollars. Imagine, I have no money left and it was already punched at the counter. I was so mad at the store for that incident. I told them that it's their responsibility to always take a look with their prices. Fortunately, a neighbor of mine went to the same store and I just borrowed a few cents from here. Thank God!

So, When you are selling something, it's your job to update your prices. They should be the same as to what the tags or pricelist indicate. This doesn't just apply to common grocery stores, but to the garage hosts also.

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