It sounds like a bad idea: limiting your customers at your garage sale charity. But in reality, sometimes this is entirely necessary. For a variety of reasons (which we'll get to in a moment), you may have to keep track of, and keep down, the number of people passing through your charity garage sale's doors. If this is a baffling concept, or you're overwhelmed by the prospect, read on for tips on limiting your customers.
Why would you want to limit your customers? There are a few reasons to do this. If your garage sale is in a building, it will likely have a fire code, and therefore an occupant limit at one time. It's not likely that the fire department would shut you down for a few extra bodies, but if you're significantly over code, there may be a drill. Also, if you don't have enough volunteers, they could be overwhelmed by a high volume of traffic. And limiting how many people are in the line of sight of your volunteers means a lower risk of theft of big-ticket items.
The best way to keep track of the customers is to have two volunteers with counters -- one for the customers coming in, one for the customers going out. So long as the numbers stay a within a certain difference of each other, the people at the entrance can continue to let new shoppers in. However, if the numbers dip too far away from each other, then that means you have too many people still in the building. You'll just need to ask the volunteers to constantly check against each other's numbers
Have someone outside talking to the line of people waiting to get in. If you get really backed up, you may want to send a volunteer outside to keep the waiting people occupied. That way, they are distracted by a speech or a raffle or some other interesting interaction, and won't walk away from the garage sale.
You can avoid having to limit your customers in a few ways:
- Choose a venue without an occupant limit. Outdoors or in a covered area with open walls is fine.
- Organize the sale so that shoppers are funneled through in a specific path; that way each volunteer only has to help so many people at a time.
- Hold the garage sale over a few days, and for each specific day, only advertise in certain places so the crowd will be naturally pared down.
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