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Is theft a problem at your garage sales?

Offline Travis

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Is theft a problem at your garage sales?
« on: November 08, 2012, 12:03:14 PM »
Is theft a problem at your garage sales?  

I had some problems with this family that used to come to my garage sales. They would gather up a ton of stuff and the kids (little scheisters) would put the more valuable merchandise inside of other things. I finally caught them doing it when I noticed a few pairs of Versace dress shoes were missing off of my table. Then I found three 35MM cameras and expensive lenses stuffed into jacket pockets. If you have garage sales, be on the lookout. Some of these people will try to rip you off when your back is turned.

On a more positive note: When I was buying several units per week, I didn't have time to go through everything with a fine tooth comb. One day, this guy walked up to my tent holding a small jewelry box and said "you probably didn't want to leave that out there did you?" I opened the box and it had several gold/diamond rings inside. The guy was actually a gold reseller and he made me an offer on the spot.

He could have easily put those rings in the pocket of a pair of blue jeans, given me a couple of dollars and then left without me ever knowing. It's nice to see that there are still some honest people left it the world.

Offline Cobia

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Re: Is theft a problem at your garage sales?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2012, 12:33:14 PM »
I wouldn't say theft is a big problem at my garage sales but I am sure it occurs from time to time. I have a pretty good memory so I will notice right away if an expensive item is missing. If people want to steal a few items I'm only selling in the 50 cent to $2 range, I'm not gonna sweat it. Sometimes I do have to kindly remind people "It's not all you can carry for $5!" or "It's not buy the first item for $10 and every other item after that is free!"

I've actually have had similar experiences where I have not been able to go through everything and someone will bring me something valuable and they will say "how much for this?" Typically I just blame my wife or kids for putting it out and say it wasn't supposed to be sold. LOL.

You probably know how it is when you get a bunch of storage units and you got them for a reasonable price, if your customers stole 10% of the items for sale you would never know it and probably still make your money back.

Question? Why do some people at garage sales/flea markets think that once they have spent $20 or around that amount that everything else they can stuff in thier arms should be discounted to free?

Customer: "I just spent $20 and bought this and that!"
Me: 'Thank You, and I knocked $5 off the price of what you bought, and now you have another $10 worth of stuff in your hands."

Offline Millertime

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Re: Is theft a problem at your garage sales?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2012, 07:01:38 PM »
I'm sure theft happens, but we do a couple things that I believe helps minimize it. First is to always have at least 2 people working the sale. My wife runs the checkout and we put jewelry and more valuable items close to her to watch. I walk around straightening stuff, talking to people and keeping an eye on things.

Second is our setup. We set up our garage with tables in a horseshoe shape and tables in the middle. This creates a walkway that takes people past all our stuff. The garage holds all misc. items like electronics, dishes etc. Outside the garage we have tables in the driveway in a big rectangle that hold clothes and shoes. Two big hanging racks sit in the middle of the rectangle. There is one opening allowing people to walk up driveway and enter the sale.

This allows only one way in and out as well as making sure people move past everything for sale. I keep a couple tubs of toys outside the setup to occupy the kids. These toys are marked 25cents but I give alot away to folks who buy stuff.

If you are having theft problems maybe this can help.


Offline money4nothing

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Re: Is theft a problem at your garage sales?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 08:50:35 AM »
@Millertime that is kinda what we do. But we are in a parking lot, live to far back in the woods to be at the house.  ;)

Haven't had much a theft problem but I don't sell my high value items at a yard sale. Use other venues for that stuff. Our yard sales are strictly that cheap get rid of the stuff, before it hits the trash.

The only problems we will really have is husband handles the man stuff and never puts prices on anything.  ;D So if he takes a break someone might try and take advantage of the situation. But if it is an over $20 item I will know that.

Offline Millertime

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Re: Is theft a problem at your garage sales?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 09:37:15 AM »
We price every item. It is a lot of work up front but makes sale days so much easier. Very little haggling goes on and it would drive me crazy to be asked " how much for this" a thousand times. Most of our stuff is 25 cents to 3 bucks. We average about 250 people over 2 days. I stress out setting up and very relaxed on sale day and my wife is exact opposite. I guess that makes for a good team. :)

Offline Travis

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Re: Is theft a problem at your garage sales?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2012, 11:13:08 AM »
I never priced a single item, I just told people "if you see anything you like, just make me an offer." Sometimes that would work out great because they would make an offer much higher than I would have asked for the item/items. I had a lot of people trying to bundle items. They would pick out several items and then make me an offer on all of them. I also had a several people that would arrive at the end of the sale who were looking for specific items in bulk. They would gather up all of the shoes, clothes, etc. that didn't sell and make me an offer on all of them. I would much rather get $50 for a trash bag of shoes than a tax write off.

Offline Leota

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Re: Is theft a problem at your garage sales?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2012, 09:30:26 AM »
I was once told that you can expect at least 5% of your items to walk away at garage sales and flea markets, so we have the better items up front for the garage sale and the items we don't mind walking away towards the street. Flea mkts, we just try to watch what we can but if the crowd gets large at one time, there's not much we can do to watch them all. Mostly what walks are small tools and dvd's and cd's.

Re: Is theft a problem at your garage sales?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 08:31:23 PM »
My garage sales in the past have been rather small, last summer I had a big sale and had a camera system set up. Everyone made jokes about it being lame, but it worked rather well. I had a lot of people want to purchase the camera system, it was fun.


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