Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Early Birds




After carting boxes and bags full of our possessions in to the garage ready to drop off at the op shop, we decided to have a garage sale. I was so excited! I've always wanted one but the closest I've ever got was a combined one at my parents-in-law's house about 4 years ago.

I'm not opposed to recycling goods and allowing them to have a second life, which is why I love op-shopping so much and the baby/kids markets. Every few months, I book at stall with my sister and we rid ourselves of some of our kid's excess clothes and toys.

You know what I discovered when planning my garage sale though? I had no idea how serious the dedicated garage sale fanatics are. When placing my ad with the Leader community newspaper and the Herald Sun, I opted to keep my description short and sweet (okay I was too tight to pay for an expensive ad!) so I neglected to write "no early birds". But you know what? I thought that meant if your sale started at 9am, people might come at 8.30am. I soon discovered that "early birds" meant so much more than that.

It began the week before. The Saturday prior the garage sale, I had a man first and then a couple arrive wanting to look through the items for sale and pretending they'd got the date wrong!!
THEN, the week leading up the sale I had another two door knockers requesting to see the goods for sale early and wanting to know what the sale included. I was so busy trying to get my house packed up and the garage sale ready that I ended up putting a sign on my front door asking that people respect that the sale started on Saturday blah blah ... and not to ask to see the items early. Despite this sign on the door I still had a cheeky customer arrive 45 minutes before the sale and ask for a sneaky peak!

Apparently this is quite common. I was still surprised though by the great crowd gathered 15 minutes before the advertised starting time bustling to get in. It was hysterical!

John Romaine from egaragesales wrote a funny article on this very topic. I had such a laugh, I thought I'd post it below.

It usually goes without saying. No matter what you do to prevent people from banging on your door at 5am when you have clearly stated an 8am start, they persist on having absolutely no regard for you, your neighbours or the specified start time displayed within your garage sale ad.

I’m talking about the dreaded early bird.

For anyone that’s held a garage sale, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. You know what time is suitable for you, you state it within your ad, and yet you wake to find people parked across your lawn, lined up on your driveway, hanging off the front gate, some at your door, and others trying to roll the garage door up 3 hours before you’re even ready or had a chance to have a peice of toast and a cuppa.

Whilst the small minority of those who welcome the early bird and see them as a means to make some quick sales and a few dollars straight up, there’s the others who just see them as outright rude, obnoxious, and impatient annoyances. I must admit, I shudder at the thought of being woken up by pesky early birds.

So what can you do to prevent early birds?

Well below are a few suggestions that may help. Whilst these suggestions are totally untested, they may just do the trick and get rid of these annoying people. Worst case scenario they dont, in which case you can always resort to throwing eggs.

The False Start Method

First is the false start method. It works by throwing out your start time marginally. Say you intend on starting at 8am. No doubt you’ll have people ringing on your door bell frantically at 6am whilst you’re still tucked in under the covers. Not good. Okay, so heres a quick thought. Instead of listing your start time as 8am list your start time as 10am. This way you’re more likely to have the early birds show up at 8am – your actual start time! Of course emphasise no early birds in your ad as well. Hey I know, its a long shot, but they may just read it!

The Double Banger Method

Another strategy that works well as a deterrent is the double banger method. Okay I made it up, but it does sound interesting doesn’t it? Well it is! What is it? It simply means that for anyone who may arrive before your start time, that they wont be turned away, but they will be charged double for prices listed on all items. This means that even if they do show up that you will be disturbed earlier than anticipated but you will make a few extra bucks. So in summary, that old toaster you originally had priced at $7 - is now priced at $14 for anyone who shows up before your start time. Cool huh?

The Fortress

My personal favourite and probably one of the most popular. The fortress method is one that can work well, depending upon the actual layout of your home. For this method to be implemented you basically need to be able to restrict access to the property entirely. In a nutshell, the fortress method basically means doing the following to prevent any potential early birds. It’s a little dramatic but can work in your favour – especially if you want to sleep in. To perform the fortress method you need to ,

Draw all curtains and blinds
Lock every possible door and window
Lock and bolt every side gate, roller door and front gate
Turn off any lighting or electrical appliances that may indicate active tenancy. Eg stereos, televisions, and interior lighting
Put a big sign out the front of the property that reads “No Early Birds – Rack Off!”
Release a number of flesh hungry dobermans or rotweilers within the front entrance or yard.
The Secret Squirrel

The secret squirrel is a little unorthodox, however I am told that it has great potential to work. I feel that this one may only be suited for shorter streets within the suburbs. I’m not quite certain that it could work on longer roads, but who knows. If you're desperate for a good sleep in, then its worth a shot, right? The trick with the secret squirrel is to basically advertise your garage sale, showing the start time and suburb, but not the actual number of the residence. This then means that you can open your garage and place your signage on the front footpath exactly when you are ready to start. The early birds can't annoy you if they don't know which house you are right? They can drive up and down the street all day long for all you care. But in the end, you get a peice of mind, and eventually they get their bargains - but when you are ready!

I know this topic makes for an interesting debate, and I'm sure that there are plenty of other ways to prevent early birds, but these are just a few that I am aware of that may just work. Give them a try. As I said, if they dont, well you can always throw eggs.

No, Im kidding....maybe.

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