Yard sale horror stories that will make you better prepared

Yard sale horror stories are not meant to scare you away from holding the next yard sale or buying from the next yard sale. They are a great way to prepare you for how to handle what you might run into.

Posted September 2nd, by Pascale Saliba

What it is it about yard sales that turn nice people into
raging maniacs who are willing to have a fist fight over a $2 item?  Even though there’s thousands of stories
reported, we have picked out the most common ones that
will help you prepare.

Most common yard sale horror stories:

  1. Customers not respecting the yard sale start time

Make it very clear when you advertise your yard sale “8:00 am start time, NO EXCEPTIONS”.  Some people will still show up early.  You can avoid having them rummage through your items by planning properly.
Jeannine, from North Carolina, an avid yard-sale queen, suggests using
the inside of the garage, if possible, and set up items on tables and inside
crates. This will make it easy to pull them out quickly 5 minutes before start time.

2. Buyers that want to return an item they purchased

Amy, in Washington, shared her story about a lawn seed/fertilizer her mother sold in the morning for five dollars, a great buy and in perfect condition. A few hours later, the man wanted to return the item after he used it. Sounds crazy? It happens all the time at local yard sales.  Avoid this by clearly placing a sign that says “THIS IS A YARD SALE, NO RETURNS OR EXCHANGES”.  This sign will avoid any arguments or issues, something clearly used by professional estate sale companies across the country.

3. Shoplifters that try to outsmart you at the yard sales

Possibly the worst kind of yard-sale shoppers are the ones who try to run off with a one dollar item, as if they just scored the Mona Lisa painting from a museum.  I personally always say Karma will get them every time. But to prevent this from happening, stage your items in a strategic manner and make sure you get enough help at your yard sale. There’s always room for an extra set of eyes.  Keep smaller items closer to you at a table, especially high-priced items such as jewelry or fragile crystal and china.

Have you had a yard sale horror story you want to share? Send it to us and we’ll share it with everyone across the country, we’ll also go out and dig deep for tips to avoid these horrors.