Difficult Garage Sale Hosts

While most garage sale hosts are friendly, inviting people who just want to sell you their stuff and have a peaceful day hanging out in the sun, you will sometimes run into others who have a less positive attitude for their customers.  You may find yourself running into one of these personalities while shopping -- but you can deal with them!

An angry woman at a garage saleThe Grouch

Glares at dogs and kids, snatches your cash from your fingers, and snarls, "Do you need a bag?" when you're wrapping up the transaction.  The Grouch is probably the most common problem-host you'll encounter, but they're also the easiest to deal with.  As long as you approach them with a smile and be as friendly as you can, they can't really hold anything against you.  And many of them will crack, if you squeeze in a good joke or witty phrase while dealing with them.  Sometimes, the Grouch only exists because he or she has had a long weekend of preparation and just wants everything to go smoothly.  Help that dream along, and you won't have a Grouch on your hands much longer.

The Perpetual Straightener

Follows behind you, tutting loudly and shifting every item you touch back into its "proper" place.  The Perpetual Straightener thinks he or she has set out the perfect garage sale, and isn't ready to see some stranger destroy that.  A Perpetual Straightener may be an irritation, but they generally aren't going to bother you, unless you really mess something up (in which case, you might get yelled at!).  So just put everything back where you found it, and ignore the hovering presence over your shoulder.

The Tightwad

Refuses to budge a penny on prices, won't bundle items to help you save, and definitely won't let you use the bathroom without first forking over some dough.  The Tightwad is a barterer's nightmare, and also sets his or her prices high, so it might be good to test the waters if you suspect you're dealing with one.  Listen in as the potential Tightwad deals with other customers; if you're the only shopper there, try to barter on a small, inconsequential item (one you won't mind taking home, but you wouldn't be heartbroken leaving behind) before you get too attached to their other high-priced merchandise.  If you show enthusiasm for their items, you might be able to make a Tightwad budge, but don't count on it!

The Cold Shoulder

Ignores your questions and comments until there's money in your hand.  The Cold Shoulder prefers to show off their mean streak as if they were proud of it, and you can suffer for it.  Cold Shoulders are similar to Grouches, but they are more persistent in their silence, so you're better off just keeping a low profile until you're ready to pay, and choosing items you're willing to pay full price in case bartering is a silent auction from the Cold Shoulder host.

The Chatter

Patters around after you, regaling you with tales of his or her adventures in garage saling, world traveling, and breakfast eating.  The Chatter isn't a bad host, per se, but if you're just out for a peaceful afternoon of yard saling, you may find him or her extremely irritating.  If you really want to get a Chatter to stop, act disinterested in what they have to say  -- but realize that you still have to deal with them at the payment table!

Come visit GarageSaleCow.com today for more useful tips.  And if you've ever dealt with a difficult host not listed here, share it with us in the comments and let us know how you handled the situation!

Comments (1) -

Leslie Gilmore
Leslie Gilmore
3/5/2013 10:22:15 PM #

That's really true. Dealing with people's attitude is a problem of different people with different professions. You may encounter somebody whose very friendly, talkative, carefree and worst is those who are quite rude.

As somebody whose hosting a garage sale, I Think you must really try to work hard with your attitude. I'm not telling that you have to be plastic but at least try to interact with your customers. Who would like yo buy into a garage sale to a person who is distant, or somebody whose absolutely silent all through out? Remember, you have to sell something. As a host you also deal with different attitudes of customers. The thing is, YOU must adjust yourself to how customers are and not customers adjusting to YOUR attitude.

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