You want to be a great garage sale shopper, right? The kind that hosts will remember as being pleasant, well-prepared, and even helpful. One way to do this is to avoid garage sale taboos that can haunt you as a customer and really hurt or offend your host, and to gently encourage your fellow customers to be aware of them as well.
Nothing is more irritating than the customer who browses the merchandise and unfolds all the clothing, tossing it back onto the table or tarp without a second glance. Especially if there is any significant amount of clothing, it's tough for the host to keep tidying up their display, and if someone comes through without any regard to that hard work, they can become angered very quickly.
You know the expression "you break it, you buy it." Well, it still holds true, even though you aren't a kid anymore -- breaking something at a garage sale means that you pay the host for it. An attempt to sneak off without compensating the host is rude and mean, and you should never even consider it as an option. Should that china plate fall out of your hands and shatter on the concrete, don't just stand there or sidle off -- help the host clean up the shards and then pay them the price on the plate.
Lunchtime might be over, but it's time to find a trash can. Don't dump out your food or drink on the host's property, no matter how tempting it might be to dash your few remaining sips of lemonade into the bushes or flick your sandwich crusts to the base of that tree. Even if the host doesn't suffer direct adverse effects from your actions, the food or sweetness may attract unwanted animal life.
Bringing your pets off-leash is a huge taboo. You may be certain that your faithful Lassie is going to stick by your side, but the uneasy host is not, so please, no matter your pet's species, keep them on a leash at all times. This will prevent undesirable surprises left in the lawn, and your pet will be less likely to fight or bite if they are forced to stick close to you.
Screaming kids are a pain for everyone within a several hundred foot radius. If you think your kids are going to cause trouble or raise a ruckus, maybe you should keep them in the car (with the windows down, of course). If your children do start yelling and fussing, discipline them or at least take them to the car to avoid embarrassment.
It was mentioned earlier that you can gently give your fellow shoppers a verbal nudge if they are doing any of these taboos -- but perhaps the rudest taboo of all is being high and mighty to your peers. Just be nice, and if you have any doubts about saying something, don't say anything at all.
Have you ever dealt with a garage sale taboo, as a shopper or a host? Share with the community here in the comments!