Garage Sale Finds: Getting Good Prices By Acting Like a Crazy Person


I called out TETSUO, and people just looked at me funny.  I shrugged my shoulders, and picked up the Akira DVD set that was marked at $5.  It has been quite some time since I have been to a garage sale, so perhaps the excitement of finding something cool overwhelmed me and caused the crazy person outburst.  I asked the woman running the sale if she would take $3 for the set, and she replied with “uh huh.”  I think what she really meant was “Step away from table of junk and back slowly away from my yard, crazy person”.

Today was the first day in a long time that I had the chance to visit a number of garage sales searching for treasure.  Life has been pretty busy so I have neglected the Garage Sale of Awesome, as well as my need to pour through other peoples junk looking for treasure.  Today was as good a day as any: no any huge scores, but I did come home with some fun stuff.

‘V’ DC Comic Books

v dc comics issues

When I first arrived at this garage sale, I didn’t see these right away because my wife pointed out a large tub of LEGO.  I walked over to the LEGO and saw that it had a lot of castle LEGO from the 90s.  I asked the woman how much she was asking, and she told me “$25, because they are vintage castle LEGO from the 70s.” She was pretty confident in her assessment of the LEGO, and I am not familiar enough with the old castle LEGO to tell the difference between the vintage castle and the newer castle LEGO from the 90s. I’m more of a Classic Space LEGO kind of guy.  It was a fair deal, but I just don’t have enough room in my house for more LEGO.

When I came across the ‘V’ comics, I asked how much for all 7. She replied with $15. I gave her the ‘deer in headlights‘ stare and said nothing. This is a technique I learned from my days of a McManager: if you say nothing when you are expected to, the other person will start talking.  The silence was a bit uncomfortable until the lady finally said “How about $12.” It was still no where near what I wanted to pay, but I figured that if I didn’t speak again after this response I would seem crazy.  People don’t like to negotiate with crazy. Instead I replied with “Oh wow.  That is a bit higher than what I would buy those at.” She came down to $1 each and I offered her $5.  She then proceeded to spend about 30 seconds talking herself into making the deal and accepted. Turns out I wasn’t the crazy person: she was.

Akira DVD Set

akira dvd special edition

As I mentioned previously, when I saw this DVD I let out a “TETSUO!” I held back after no one replied “KANEDA!” This was a quick garage sale as I appeared to be crazy, and my kids were going a bit wild.  It was one of those garage sales with a ton of delicate breakable things, which my kids are magnets for.  I offered up the $3 for the DVD and left before anything disastrous happened.

6 Nintendo DS Games

nintendo ds games super mario tmnt

When I saw these I almost walked right past.  I don’t play my DS all that much, and the first games I saw were Nintendogs, and Hannah Montana.  I looked closer and saw TMNT, and the New Super Mario Bros game. I picked them up.  I asked the woman how much she wanted for them, and she told me she would have to go get her daughter. In my mind I thought “Damn, damn, damn, damn…” I don’t like negotiating with kids. Their bartering style is usually very irrational, and often they ask too much for their items. On the other side, I hate countering against them with their parents looming over.  It’s a bit unnerving for me.  The girl said she wanted $3 each, and I could have walked away with the 2 games I wanted for $5, but I like to buy in bulk. I try to run a “zero balance collection” so if I can a buy a bulk lot and sell a few off to break even or profit, then I am happy.  I took a deep breathe and prepared for a stressful negotiation. I offered her $10…and she said “…ummm OK.” That was much easier than I had anticipated.

Keep, Sell, Giveaway?

From here now I have to decide what things I will keep, what I can sell on eBay to try and break even, and of course what things I will add to the list of things to give away for the Garage Sale of Awesome.

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