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9 Types of People You Meet at Yard Sales

You already know that yard sales are a great place to find a good deal. During the spring, you’ll have many chances to take a drive on a Saturday morning and find deals in front yards all over town. You might even want to host one yourself.

But before you head out or staple that first sign to a telephone pole, you need a game plan. And part of that game plan should be knowing your competitors and potential customers. These are the shoppers who might snag that $3 garden gnome out of your hands at the last minute or convince you that your $100 television is only worth $20.

So while you’re out and about this spring, look out for these nine types of yard sale shoppers.

1. The Negotiator

The Negotiator has one goal: to break the will of the yard sale host. "This candlestick isn’t worth a dollar," the Negotiator says. "I’ll give you 60 cents. Final offer.”

2. The Early Bird

Your signs and your online ads all say the yard sale opens at 7:00 a.m. But as you step out into the morning dew at 5:30 a.m. to set up tables, there sits the Early Bird in his car next to your driveway.

Related: 9 Things to Never Buy at Yard Sales

3. The Latecomer

On the flip side, there’s the Latecomer, who shows up at 1:00 p.m. just as you’re boxing up the last of the Beanie Babies set of tigers. “Got anything on special?” she asks. Here’s your chance to avoid a special trip to Goodwill and sell her everything you have for a discounted price.

4. The Complainer

The Complainer attempts to wear you down with his negativity. “These jean shorts have a stain!” he says. “You can’t sell jean shorts with stains for more than $4. This is outrageous!”

5. The Professional

The Professional is in and out of your yard sale in three minutes—and that’s whether she buys something or not. Your house is hosting just one of 22 yard sales she’ll be attending today, so be happy your humble little front-yard display was worthy of her appearance.

6. The Collector

Did you see the scene in Toy Story 2 where the toy collector shows up at a yard sale and wanders off with Woody? These guys exist. If you think you have a valuable item or an antique, it never hurts to do a little research ahead of time so you don’t end up getting gipped.

7. The Neighbor

Your neighbor has 12 cars parked in front of his house and a pack of three-year-olds currently running through his front lawn. So he steps outside to see what all the fuss is about. He might politely browse through your stuff for a minute or two, but he’ll eventually get around to asking, “So when you wrapping up here?”

Related: Yard Sale Tips

8. The Wild Family

The door on the minivan opens, and out of it descends nine wild children and two parents with dazed looks on their faces. The children scatter everywhere. Their goal is to pick up, touch and possibly drop every single item in your yard sale. Keep an eye (or nine eyes) out for the Wild Family. They might need to be tamed.

9. The Barterer

Bartering—it’s the old-school way, and the Barterer wants to make sure it never gets outdated. If you’re up for the challenge, go right ahead and barter with him. Three Hot Wheels and a blender for that mangled copy of Gone With the Wind? Why not!

Related: Yard Sales: 5 Pros and Cons You Need to Know

Whether you’re hosting a yard sale or heading out on a yard sale tour this spring, keep your eye out for these folks. You need to know what you’re about to face.

Whether you’re buying or selling, use the envelope system to organize your cash.

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.