Garage sale strategies

The place I am staying at has some old, excess building materials that need getting rid of.  So, I volunteered to try to sell some on Craigslist.

Normally, used materials wouldn’t mean much but this place is 20,000 square feet and so there is a considerable amount of everything.  Put another way: one can get enough cast-off materials to do a whole small to normal sized house! Furthermore, the previous owner hadn’t really lived in it and so a lot of stuff was used but very good.  And amongst that stuff was a bunch of tongue and groove clear cedar 1×6.  The kind of stuff I can’t really afford new.  But we are selling it for 25 cents a lineal foot or 50 cents a board foot and it is a bargain.

I may even buy some….but it smacks of carrying coals to Newcastle….

So buyers are coming.  And that is good.  It is fun.  But here’s the weird thing…..makes no difference how good the deal is, each buyer feels obliged to bargain.  I just laugh.

“Waddya gonna do?”, I say, “That parcel of 12 planks is $22.00.  And I only count 3/4 of it anyway in case there are splits or whatever.  There’s 28 dollars worth of wood in there and that was calculated at the 25 cents rate.  Bought new it is ten times that.  Ya wanna bargain me down to $20.00 a bundle?  Really?  You should know that the proceeds of this sale go to charity.  We give it to sick children!  But, if you can’t pay that, I’ll just give you the wood.  For free.  Why not?  Maybe you need it as much as the little sick kids.  Do you?” 

But I am saying this with an obvious tongue-in-cheek tone and smiling.  Sometimes I affect an accent, like some kind of middle eastern bazaar rug dealer.

And the buyer says, “Uh, no…I was just kiddn’…no, really…$22.00 is fine.  By the way, which charity is it?” 

“I dunno.  I made that up.  The owner gives money every Christmas to sick kids so I just said that.  I have no idea if it comes from the sale of used building materials or not.  I just said it to mess with ya.  Just bargaining back at ya.  ‘Sick kids’ is always good.  But he really does give money away to sick children so it is not a real lie.  Maybe a little bit, tho.  Fun, eh? So how much do you want?”

“So, no bargaining?”

“Nah.  But now that you introduce the subject, I may try to bargain you up, if you want?  That could be fun.  How about $25.00 a bundle?  You know, for the sick kids….?  C’mon, I’ll even help you load the truck.  Hmmmm….gimme $30 a bundle, waddya say?…going once…?”

“No!  No!  $22.00 is fine.  C’mon, I’ll take ten bundles…sheesh…you are a weird guy!”

“Soooooooooo…could I interest you in a pallet of granite…It’s that fine quality stuff they don’t make anymore, ya know?  Not in North America, anyway.  Sometimes you get some from Europe, eh, but man oh man, that European granite is not cheap, know what I mean?  Not like that cheap Chinese crap granite.”

“Really…well, I don’t know…

“C’mon…think of the kids…and nothing says Christmas like granite, eh?”


3 thoughts on “Garage sale strategies

  1. The under belly world of the grinders looking to flip whatever you sell them. What you sell them will be soon online, at the swap meet etc. What they really want is for you to pay them for their time, their gas etc. I’m surprised that some one didn’t offer you 5 cents a linear foot. The trolls, you are dealing with the trolls.


    • Well, one guy kinda looked like a troll now that you mention it but the other two were cabin-builders, I am sure. We talked manly talk (hammers, mitres, finishes,, etc). Hmmmmm….maybe I am too innocent for this……?


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