When I lived in the Boston area, I could never grasp the idea of yard sales! Why would I want to buy something that was close to being thrown out? But there are a lot of people that swear by them. However, there are some hidden problems that you should be aware of when you are purchasing items from a yard sale.
• First off please park legally. Don’t leave your vehicle in the middle of the street because you noticed a deal. Also, don’t leave your vehicle running; it could be gone before you get back to it.
• Be careful what you purchase. Make sure that it’s not a recall item, especially baby goods. Items such as clothing, bedding could be infested with pests, so check for these issues if possible.
• Make sure that the yard sale is in a good area of the city.
• Don’t buy food items.
• Don’t buy the yard sale staple, the treadmill (better known as a clothes hanger). I have hung three pants, two shirts, and a dirty sock on mine. Then you have the bike. You say it’s a good time to exercise, and it’s a great deal. So you purchase it , and then you sell it at your own yard sale a year later.
• Check electronic items for frayed wires and make sure they work.
If you are running the yard sale, there are a few tips that I believe could avoid problems.
• Have one person handle the cash.
• If you have a dog, keep the dog in the house or tied up. You don’t need a person saying they were bitten while on your property.
• Mark all your items clearly
• Make sure that household items are clean
• Always have a family member or friend help; you will need more than one pair of eyes to help keep thieves from stealing.
• If you are being robbed don’t be a hero. Give up the money and try to remember what they look like.
• Do not bring a stranger in your house, it could be a set up to rob you later.
• Keep a cell phone handy so you can call the police if needed.
• If possible have small children stay with a friend or hire a sitter to watch them. You don’t need to lose focus on the people at your house because of children running around.
I don’t want to sound negative about the yard sale. There are some good deals to be had at these events. I know of people that drive around like panthers on the hunt for prey, ready to pounce on a yard sale. It’s like an addiction. They look at the paper to see when and where they are and then plan out a strategy on how and when to hit each one. It’s the HUNT. It’s every man for themselves with these people. They will stop on a dime without notice when they see a yard sale. They will park in the road, get out of the car, and walk into moving traffic as if they are in a trance, so be careful. At least there are signs posted most of the time letting people where these events are being held and at what times. Avoid these areas if possible if you don’t want to get caught up in the yard sale frenzy.
By: Jim Doyle, owner of Madison Security Group
203 Us Highway 31 S, Athens, AL 35611