Just call me the Miss Manners of garage sales. Contrary to popular belief, I believe that a yard sale is not an anything-goes, no-etiquette-needed free-for-all. As in any social situation, there are certain things you do or don't do in order to be polite.
Being avid yard sale shoppers, my husband, Michael and I often run across examples of bad manners, both by shoppers and by sellers. Here are a few faux pas we've seen that could easily be avoided by the simple practice of good yard sale etiquette.
Being an “Early Bird” – If the paper says the sale starts at 7am, don't show up at 5:30am or don't drive by the night before in hopes beating the other shoppers to the bargains. Yard sale shoppers who do this give the rest of us shoppers a bad name.
Not Respecting the Seller's Property – Walking unnecessarily through the yard, reeking havoc on the seller's merchandise displays, and blocking neighbors' driveways are definitely no-no's.
Carrying Only Large Bills – Producing a $20 bill for a 25¢ purchase is extremely inconsiderate. Save small bills and change throughout the week for your Saturday yard sale trip.
Loud or Obnoxious Behavior – Just because the seller is up early for the yard sale doesn't mean his neighbors are. Driving a noisy vehicle or speaking and laughing loudly will not endear you to the seller. Aggressive haggling or obnoxious negotiating tactics aren't welcome, either.
Not Respecting Other Buyers If you want to buy a large item or more items than you can carry, ask the proprietor to mark the item or start a “pile” for you in an out-of-the-way place. It is rude to claim an item as “yours” if you haven't made any effort to let the proprietor or other shoppers know you intend to purchase it.