Georgia incident a lesson to yard salers
We like to talk a lot about the best way to word your yard sale ads, and with good reason: You don’t want to promise something you can’t deliver.
Case in point: A Woodstock, Ga., family who advertised an “everything must go” giveaway. Not a sale, but a giveaway of their belongings as they prepared to move away.
Here’s what the advertisement said:
Fairly large, free yard sale. Moving and we want everything to go for free. So come over and take whatever you want and how much you want. Here are a couple of items that will be there: Couch, chairs, lots of household and kitchen items, appliances, a wardrobe, desk, recliner, movies, lots of books, lamps, women’s and teens’ clothing, etc. And also a box of free food with lots of cans. Please take only if you need it. We’re starting at 10 a.m., October 24th, and we’ll finish when everything’s gone.
Unfortunately for the family, crowds showed up early to empty out the place, and rather than do it in an orderly fashion, the family’s house was gutted of practically every item inside — even stuff that wasn’t part of the giveaway.
This is not at all typical behavior of yard sale patrons, who usually are good natured. Instead this can be attributed to the frenzy people whip themselves into when the word “free” is tossed around.
With that in mind, the Yard Sale Secrets team has a few suggestions as the result of this incident.
- FREE STUFF: If you have a large selection of free items, don’t bother with a yard sale at all. Contact your nearest Goodwill, Salvation Army or similar agency. Many of these agencies will offer free pick-ups of large quantities of goods. Additionally, these items will then be redistributed to those in the greatest need or sold at low prices to benefit the non-profit.
- CROWDS: If a large crowd gathers at your yard sale, don’t hesitate to call the police and ask them to come to your house. They would rather disperse a crowd than investigate a crime scene. It should be noted that some criminals have been known to “mob” yard sales in an effort to distract and confuse the yard sale hosts.
- ADVERTISING: Be mindful of your advertising and how it can be read. By all accounts, the above advertisement was just begging for trouble. It offered no restrictions to shoppers. Don’t be afraid to impose restrictions or cancel an event all together if you realize something be interpreted improperly.
- FOR BUYERS: Most of all, anyone attending a yard sale needs to remember to respect the wishes of the host. If something seems wrong — you know, like ransacking a family’s house — then don’t do it.