Tag Sale Tips: Find the Alpha Dog

Buyers mulling over a tag sale.
Tag sale advice: find the alpha dog to bargain with. Always bargain.

In Deerfield yesterday, it was Tag Sale Day. I decided my garage was full enough to make it sale time. The night before I blew off my plans for socializing to focus on the task–I had to get all of this stuff out of the garage and clean off the dust if I was going to sell any of it.

Undaunted, I got it all out of the garage bay so I could retrieve the giant blue tarp underneath it. It felt like if I placed this junk on top of the nice blue tarp if would look better, and I also put out some very long tables to put small stuff within reach of browsers.

I dragged everything I could find that I haven’t used or looked at in a few years–I was merciless. Even the beloved snow sleds would be fair game.

At seven the next morning, I was looking out my windows for early birds. None showed. I decided I didn’t need price tags because, honestly, everything was negotiable, and I cared more about it all leaving my driveway than how much I’d get for it. I was glad that I didn’t’ have any partners in this show…hey, I would set my own low prices and live with it.

Bargaining is required…be prepared for people to lowball you all day long. As time ticks, it gets even more drastic.  There’s a certain protocol that’s observed nearly every time one visits a tag sale. FIrst, when people walk up to a sale, they look around to find someone who looks like they’re in charge. Some times this is the woman with the lumber yard waist pouch full of change. Customers want to know who to bargain with, so they look for the alpha dog.

The second is when a seller gets a twinge of seller’s remorse the price goes up. I had this with a leather satchel that I bought in Italy. How much did I want for it? I paused. Then I did what you do when you really don’t want to sell something–I answered $25.00. Sure to stop any tag sale-er in their tracks. No sale.

Another rule of tag sales is that they start and end early. By 10 am it felt like I had made all the money I was going to. By 12 it was just a few stragglers, making the old tag sale no-stop–A cruise around the piles and no stopping, no picking up anything. Skunked. After the sale was over, and I began putting stuff away, trying to figure out what would pass muster at Salvation Army and what would need to be dumped.

A last rule of tag sales is that if you don’t have a pick-up truck, the end of a tag sale would really suck.