Bad faith bargainers

Yesterday I did my first sale at the garage. My plan was to post about it here beforehand but I ended up running out of time. I’ve been pretty busy picking these past few weeks, and I’ve also spent a lot of time organizing my jam-packed space in anticipation of the sale, not to mention my move to a smaller garage in July.

Things were pretty good if relatively quiet for the first hours. My friend Sarah was helping and a bunch of fun people came as a result of my Instagram stories. At one point a garbage truck stopped and the workers came and bought a few things. I didn’t tell them that everything was former trash!

I was adding to an Instagram story during the sale, which is why the next two photos have writing on them.

At some point however things got a bit nuts. My friend needed to leave earlier in the day so I had to manage all the stuff (more than I’ve had at any other sale previously) and all the space by myself. Around 4:30 a group of three people showed up, all of whom made big piles of stuff and had no interest in paying anything near a fair price. I tried to be nice and bargain with them; I realized later that this was a mistake. They ended up making bigger and bigger piles and driving harder “bargains” – they seemed to feel entitled to more stuff because they had spent “so much” on the things they actually bought.

At about the same time a couple in a car showed up and started tearing things apart in the back. It was kind of a mess back there to start so I guess they didn’t think it was a big deal to make a bigger one. I could hear a glass thing or two break from my seat on the sidewalk, but since I was trying to dealing with the group of three ladies there wasn’t much I could do. At least those folks paid reasonable prices, but between the two groups my space is now a complete disaster zone.

At a certain point I realized I had lost control over the situation. My solution was to kick everyone out and end the yard sale early (it started raining not long after, so at least the timing of this was good). I was pretty peeved at this point so I wasn’t particularly friendly while doing it! I’m sure those ladies stole a fair bit of stuff from me – at the very least I saw one of them walk off with a nice banker style lamp that she hadn’t paid for – but I wasn’t going to fight them over trash and what is ultimately chump change.

Besides, I think they helped teach me a lesson that will prove valuable in future sales. Occasionally folks will come and feel entitled to pay nothing for quality stuff, and sometimes those people will be extremely insistent. At this sale (and in the past) I tried to be nice and attempt to bargain, but I think by doing so I only encouraged them to push the limits even further. The situation really degenerated once they realized that I wasn’t going to stand up for myself or the value of my items.

One of my favourite aspects about yard sales is getting rid of things. I love junk, but at the same time I don’t like it hanging around for very long. I’m not a minimalist, but having too much stuff definitely stresses me out. So, when people are willing to pay for my finds – even at bargain basement prices – I can console myself with the fact that I’ll never have to think about those items ever again. That, more than anything else is the reason I’ve been willing to negotiate with those who bargain in bad faith.

However, I’ll be taking a more hard-line approach going forward. If I think someone is being unreasonable, I’m going to tell them “no”. If they insist, I’ll tell them to leave. If they won’t leave, I’ll call the cops. I love getting rid of things, but I also have to uphold certain principles and demand respect for both myself and my junk. I can always donate the stuff they wanted to “buy” thereby satisfying my desire to never see it again!

Beyond the unpleasantness I made okay money (800$). I was hoping for more but I can’t complain too much – I’ll be able to pay the bills at least. Cleaning and re-organization that garage is going to be a lot of work though. Fortunately, a couple of friends and followers have volunteered to help.

I might have another yard sale next weekend before I switch garages – I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment! I promise to let you know if that’s a go this time.

Links

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4. Kijiji listings
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Recent sales: May

I was pretty broke for most of May. eBay sales were slow, and I wasn’t able to get a good yard sale in. Fortunately, the yard sale I had in the beginning of June allowed me to pay the bills.

I’m now thinking that my new garage is unnecessarily large, and that I would have been better off sticking with the old one. The 400$ a month is really adding to my expenses, which makes it hard to accumulate any kind of savings. I’m now looking either to downgrade, or to share the space with someone who needs to store their junk. We’ll see what happens.

Anyways, let’s get to the sales!

1. Cornell University New Student Record: On eBay for 25$.

2. Sandisk media player: On eBay for 40$.

3. Jewish National Fund coin bank: On eBay for 30$. This is headed to Israel. Found in Hampstead.

4. Krug promotional ballpoint pen: On eBay for 20$. This attractive pen was made to promote the Krug champagne company.

5. Leonore Doscow silver bracelet: On eBay for 30$. This thing took a long time to sell! I can’t even find a picture of it.

6. Creed sterling pendant: On eBay for 20$. Found in Rosemont.

7. Beats by Dre headphones, for repair: On eBay for 30$. Found in Hampstead.

8. Sansui G-3500 stereo receiver, for repair: On eBay for 80$. Sansui made some quality receivers back in the day. This one had its fair share of issues but was still in reasonably good cosmetic condition. In refurbished condition they sell for around 250$. Found on Cote St-Luc road in NDG.

9. Gold Star of David pendant: On eBay for 35$. The buyer asked for a return saying it was “too small.” The measurements and weight were right there in the listing but I offered her a 15$ discount anyways. I didn’t want to deal with a return, and at 35$ I still made more than I would have scrapping it.

10. Vintage US Paratroopers poster: On eBay for 25$. These things are selling slowly but surely.

11. Vintage medical lot: On eBay for 30$. I’m not sure what people do with this stuff but there’s a market for it.

12. Technidyne Hip Pocket Stereo, for repair: On eBay for 40$. People like their unusual walkmans. This one needed a new belt. Found in Cote St-Luc.

13. Bruce Springsteen 1980s tour shirt: On eBay for 75$. Found in the Plateau.

14. Vintage gold filled pocket knife: On eBay for 30$.

15. Weiss rhinestone necklace: On eBay for 45$.

16. Hermes perfume: On eBay for 50$.

17. Patek Philippe wristwatch tag: On eBay for 35$. I found this with the 18k gold¬†watch buckle a few years back, but only decided to list it relatively recently. The tag wasn’t nearly as profitable, but it’s still decent money for a piece of plastic!

18. Vintage chrome spigots (4): On eBay for 45$.¬†I’ve realized that there’s a pretty good market for architectural salvage.

19. Vintage dresser: On Kijiji for 80$. I finally got this listed after having it sit around in storage all winter. It didn’t take long to sell. Found in TMR.

Total: 765$, 9599.50$ so far in 2018. This was my worst month in some time, but June has already been better.

Otherwise, the warm weather has made me more adventurous in terms of my garbage routes. I had good luck on a Ville St Laurent heavy garbage day last Thursday, and ended up in Anjou on Friday (though there was no garbage). This week I’m thinking of checking out Montreal Nord and Laval, but if I feel lazy I’ll go somewhere closer.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
6. Follow me on Instagram

One-hit wonders

Sometimes a house will provide great trash over a period of weeks or months, but occasionally I’ll find noteworthy junk on the curb on just one trash day. Today’s spots fit into that latter category. Whether I was just late to the party, or whether only a limited quantity of things were purged we’ll never know.

By the time I was done here those bags were largely empty. I also found some nice stuff in the bins.

I saved a nice old set of plates by Simpsons Potters of England that made their way to the curb. A few were broken, but thankfully around 6-7 were still intact and in pretty good condition for their age. They might have a bit of value on eBay.

Otherwise I found several toolboxes filled with various hardware related bric-a-brac. I don’t think any of it is super valuable, but it’s definitely yard sale worthy! I don’t know what some of these tools are for, so feel free to share any insights you might have.

My best find though was a bag of jewelry in one of the bins.

Here’s the cream of the crop. The two irregular brooches / pendants (red stones, colorful pattern) are both Israeli silver. The Star of David is also stamped but I can’t make out what they say. It’s likely silver, however. On the bottom right are a set of mostly silver charms including an Italian horn, another Star of David, a Chai, a hand holding some keys, and and a wooden fist. I don’t know the symbology of the last two, so feel free to fill me in. The most valuable pieces are likely the ones at bottom centre, all of which are stamped 14k gold. For scrap they’re worth close to 300$, but I’ll try to sell them as is.

I thought that piece at top right was nice but I didn’t see any marks on it. Until yesterday that is, when I finally spotted a 14k stamp near the base of the pin. It weighs a hefty 9.75 grams, making it worth around 300$ in scrap. That’s a nice bonus!

I’m lucky to have chanced upon this spot that first night. Since then, I’ve seen nothing of interest.

Another house produced great stuff on a heavy garbage day but very little otherwise. I saved the pieces to an old Raymond sewing machine table, which should be an easy sell at a future yard sale or auction.

These former trees are pretty unusual. I’m not sure what they were made for, but they’d make a nice jewelry display at a yard sale.

I saved a bit of ephemera including postcards, tourist items, and university related papers. It seems someone graduated from UBC as a mechanical engineer in the 1950s.

I found a cookbook that was published in 1877! Unfortunately, someone glued a paper dust jacket to the cover and I don’t think it’s going to come off cleanly.

I found plenty of neat miscellaenous junk, including an old brass ashtray (one of two) made for a Thomas Robertson Company, a glass ashtray from the Monteleone hotel in New Orleans, an antique baby bath thermometer…

… the decorative part of an old orange box, a vintage fly swatter;

… and some old car stuff. I found a bunch of trophies related to rallies and driving (maybe a dozen in total), two Triumph car badges, and one for a 1970s Oldsmobile Cutlass.

I also saved four old car plates from the early 60s. I couldn’t find any reference online to the “Canadian Capers” or the Tulip or Quebec rallies, so let me know if you have any information as to what those would have been. I listed the four together for 100$, we’ll see if anyone bites. It’s hard to price things accurately when there’s nothing out there like them. In my mind it’s better to ask for too much than too little.

We’ll finish with more car badges, which fortunately were relatively easy to price. Both the RAC (Royal Auto Club) and Triumph Sports Owners Association badges sold fairly quickly for 50$ a piece.

I would love to have found more here but so it goes. Vintage car stuff is a great seller.

I’ve recently commissioned my first items at Encans Quebec (Quebec Auctions) after meeting someone who works there and talking with some folks who’ve had positive experiences. I’m hoping that it’ll be a good way to unload things (especially large things) quickly and at low effort while reducing the stress caused by owning way too much stuff. We’ll see how it goes, but I expect I’ll be doing this regularly going forward. I’ll definitely keep using eBay for most items though, I think it’s the best way to maximize value (especially in niche markets).

Otherwise, the warm weather has made me more adventurous in terms of my garbage routes. I had good luck on a Ville St Laurent heavy garbage day last Thursday, and ended up in Anjou on Friday (though there was no garbage). This week I’m thinking of checking out Montreal Nord and Laval, but if I feel lazy I’ll go somewhere closer.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
6. Follow me on Instagram