They buy more if you feed them. (At a price, of course!) Garage sale shoppers know they have to get up pretty early in the morning to score the biggest deals. If that means they have to skip breakfast, so be it. One surefire way to get shoppers to linger at your sale (and buy more) is to sell cookies for a quarter each. Putting your younger kids in charge of baking and selling the cookies is a great way of getting them involved. Last year my daughter collected the quarters and we donated the cash to our local food bank. They don’t have to be gourmet, they don’t even have to be hot. Hungry shoppers will happily pay a quarter for a sugar rush that will get them through the morning. Sometimes I see people selling hot coffee, but personally I don’t want to take the risk of someone burning their tongues or spilling coffee on my stuff.Set the mood with “nostalgic music”. I remember going grocery shopping with my mom when I was a kid and noticing that the supermarket always seemed to be playing music from the 50s and 60s, which my mom would unconsciously sing along to while she shopped. Pay attention next time you shop at your local supermarket-bet they’re playing ‘80s music! That’s because environmental psychologists discovered many years ago that evoking a sense of nostalgia encourages people to relax their inhibitions and buy more than they otherwise would. I’ve experimented with this principle at my garage sales and it’s true! When I’m playing ’80s pop music people hang around longer and buy more than they do if I’m playing contemporary music.
People pay more for clean stuff. Here’s another “dirty” little secret: garage sale people like me are not afraid of a little dirt! We know that if a coveted item is dirty or tarnished, we can probably haggle the seller down to the rock-bottom price. After all, if you couldn’t take 15 seconds to run a damp sponge over those wine glasses, they can’t possibly be that valuable now can they? If you take just a moment to clean off any surface grime or polish a tarnished item, you’ll fetch a firmer price for it during your sale. It doesn’t have to be sparkling, just a quick clean will make a huge difference in your earnings at the end of the day.