September 23, 2014

Ways to be a Good Online Yard Sale Buyer

Online yard (or tag) sales are taking the place of the traditional yard sales left and right. Tons of these sites can be found on Facebook. You can sell almost anything to clear out your house and make some money. You'll also find some really good deals on things you need, including kid's clothes and toys.

I've been a member of a few sale groups for awhile and have family and friends who also participate. Right now, I'm seeing what selling is like first hand while selling M2's out-grown clothes. Baby2's nursery furniture, decor and clothes add up and we needed the extra cash to help pay for it. Plus, M2's old clothes were taking up space as I still had everything of hers from newborn to now.

You'd be amazed how many people "forget" they were buying an item, don't read the ad, have you hold an item and then back out last minute, say they have no money yet still want you to give them the items, suddenly have no money after setting a price/pickup time/location yet are buying from others, etc. There were so many emergencies, fires and family members dying that I started to wonder if there was an epidemic I hadn't heard about raging through the area. There are, of course, sales that went off without a hitch and very nice people that I met. It wasn't all bad. I really appreciate those people and hope a good deal helped them out, too.

Armed with the knowledge of what I and others have experienced, I thought I'd share some ways to be a good buyer. Following these rules will help make a better sale experience for everyone. Seriously, none of use want to be one of "those" people, do we? After reading, feel free to comment with some of your own to add. I'd love to hear your stories.

  1. Read the ad. If the ad says where the meeting location is, that the price is firm, lot will not be broken up, etc., pay attention to that. Wasting the seller's time asking a million questions and for more pictures, then telling them, "Oh, that's too far for me to go,"  "I'll give you $1 (when they asked for a firm $10)," or saying you only want 2 of the 10 items in the not-to-be-broken-up lot doesn't go over well. Be respectful of the seller's, and your, time.
  2. Serious inquiries only. If you're not seriously interested in the item and planning to buy it, don't waste the seller's time asking lots of questions, for more pictures, to change pickup location, etc. There's really no point in it. 
  3. Don't low ball. If a seller has a price listed, that tells you the price range they'll take for the item. Knocking off a few bucks from the asking price (if it doesn't say firm) is expected. Offering way below is insulting and the seller probably won't take you seriously. If you're not willing to pay within the range of the listed price, look elsewhere. 
  4. Avoid giving a sob story. Giving the seller a sob story about why you must have the item, at an insultingly low price and have them drive two hours to drop it off gift-wrapped at your doorstep isn't a good idea. If you don't have the money for the item or can't pick it up, don't try to guilt the seller into giving it to you and/or dropping it off. You may have a good reason why you can't spend more and/or can't go to a certain location, but the seller has set that price and pickup location for a reason. Realize the seller may be in just as bad of a situation and selling so they can pay for needed items for their child/sick aunt/neighbor who is on hard times. Guilting the seller just makes them feel bad that they can't help you. And sure as heck don't make it up! I think all but one or two people of about 25 haven't given me a sob story. At this point, it's hard to believe anyone anymore. 
  5. Show up when you say you will. When you agree to a time and location, show up. It's that simple. Don't not show up or show up late, expecting the seller to wait. It wastes the seller's time and gas. The seller likely had to make arrangements to meet you, they have lives, too. If the seller has to try to track you down to find out where you were after waiting, that's not cool. Should you accidentally forget, contact the seller right away, apologize, and offer to get the items in the near future at a time convenient for the seller. You messed up and need to make it right. 
  6. No holds. If you can't pick up the item in a few days, don't expect the seller to hold if for you for a week or two weeks. If they are kind enough to do that, don't then back out last minute. The seller was counting on you and may have lost a sale while you were tying them up. If you can't pick up an item soon, you can ask the seller to keep you in mind if it's still available. Be sure to start out with that, though, don't hide the fact. One woman asked me to hold items for three weeks after saying she really wanted it and negotiating price, pick up time and location!
  7. Buy the items you commit to buying/don't back out last minute. Even worse, don't have the seller have to contact you to find out you've changed your mind and wasted their time. Honor the commitment you made. I've had at least half the people who committed to buying items back out last minute. Only one bothered to contact me, the rest I had to contact. After flaking out once, one person set up another pickup time (a last-minute no notice thing), then tried to guilt me into taking less money when I'd already knocked a lot off for her on top of all the rest.
  8. If something comes up, notify the seller immediately. If you do have an actual emergency (don't lie about it!) let the seller know right away. Not showing up or having the seller try to confirm then you tell them is plain rude. Be sure to apologize and offer to get the item in the near future at a time convenient for the seller, or if you can no longer get it, let them know. Try to make the situation right.
  9. Be willing to meet at the specified pickup location. This goes back to reading the ad. If the ad doesn't say what the pickup location is, ask. If you don't know where that location is, Google it first. If you could meet in a nearby location, it's ok to ask if the seller would be able to do that. Just don't bother them with questions, asking for a lower price, more pictures, etc., then bring up the location issue. It just wastes your time and the seller's. It also makes the seller less inclined to help you since you weren't up front with them.
  10. Pay the agreed upon price. Agreeing on the price then asking the seller to go lower is a big no-no.
  11. Apologize. If you do screw up, apologize. Don't blow it off or act like the seller should just be ok with it.
  12. If you say you'll get back to someone, get back to them. It's already annoying when you ask for possible pickup times, set a location, agree on a price, then say you'll get back to the seller. It's even more annoying when you never do.
This one is so important it doesn't get a number. Treat others how you want to be treated. This is a big and should go without saying. Instead of just thinking of yourself, think of the seller, too. Would you like it if they didn't show up or cancelled last minute? All of a sudden raised the price on you? Wasted your time? Listed an item for sale but can't meet for a week or more? If you wouldn't be ok with it, don't do it to someone else. It'll make the world a happier place to buy and sell.

Sidenote: Sellers need to do their part, too! Here are things you can do to be a good seller.

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