Getting Along at a Community Sale

Everyone is starting to gather in the designated spot, lugging boxes and bags of meticulously priced items with them.  Suddenly, cat-fights began to erupt as people vie for the prime table space and argue over items they want for themselves.  Sadly, a community garage sale can turn into this kind of mess pretty quickly without some rules in place, so if you're afraid you might run into a similar situation, here are some tactics to improve relationships during a community sale.

People working together and getting along at a community sale.

When you gather the community together to plan the sale, hold a lottery for the prime spots.  Have each person's name placed into a hat, then draw them out, with the random order indicating who gets to choose first, second, third, etc. on sale day.  This tactic will work whether you are providing table space or just allowing people to choose where they set up their own materials.  However, since some people may take up more than one table, you should make sure that the sections are fairly portioned off before you allow people to choose.

Also in that initial meeting, appoint an arbitrator whose word becomes law should they have to step into any issues between community members.  This should be someone known for their ability to be fair and unbiased, and who is willing to listen to any problem, no matter how petty, and pass judgment on the situation.  Clearly state to all that the arbitrator is going to be in charge of stepping in between fighting hosts, and that if they must be called to make a decision, all must abide by it.  If you need to, devise some way to ensure that everyone follows this simple rule.

Decide ahead of time who gets to choose the atmospheric elements -- decorations, music, and anything else that sets the mood.  Some people are more into this kind of thing than others, so you should give them priority (willing hands are much better than forced workers!), but use a first-come, first-served basis for the decorating committee.  Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth, remember, so keep the number of decorators small.

If people want to watch the tables for each other while others take breaks or time for lunch, plan a workload cycle so that everyone has their fair share of work and time to relax.  Have everyone who is willing to watch others' tables and have theirs watched by others sign up for a break slot, and then devise how you'll need to rotate everyone to keep all stations manned.

If you are close with the people in your community, you'll know who fights and who doesn't.  Keep the fighting-prone people separate, by putting them on opposite sides of the area if possible.  That way, you prevent bad blood from stirring up trouble where it need not exist.

To avoid pricing woes, come up with a uniform price system, which people can adhere to if they wish.  That way, no one is undersold on accident or cheated out of what they thought was a bargain they were offering because they aren't sure how to price things at a garage sale.

Have any community sale tips?  Any community sale stories?  Email us at blogger@garagesalecow.com, and then come visit GarageSaleCow.com for more great tips!




Comments (10) -

Beth Howard
Beth Howard
2/23/2013 6:37:25 AM #

Appointing an arbitrator is important to community sales like this. There should be a proper process to hear out and settle misunderstandings and complaints. Everyone should be given due process and not be judged while the problem is still being sorted out. Preferably, the arbitrator should be a neutral party to avoid bias in making decision. Everyone should sign an agreement based on the agreed conditions of the sale and if anyone will break the rule, they can be automatically be removed and worst banned in future events.

Cody Wilson
Cody Wilson
2/23/2013 6:43:26 AM #

HI Beth

I understand what you are saying but I must disagree on one thing, which is that the arbitrator should be not be a member of the neighborhood. Personally, the arbitrator your mentioning should be fair, just and most especially, respected in their neighborhood. Not necessarily that he/she is of high stature or part of a famous clan or family, he/she just needs to have excellent interpersonal, communication and convincing skills to maintain the peace and harmony.

Christian Smith
Christian Smith
2/23/2013 6:50:14 AM #

All of the mentioned tips to have a smooth community sale is not needed if your community is a cohesive and united group. You are already adults, who knows how to act accordingly, most especially in front of your children. Quarrels? Meetings? Arbitrator? stuffs like these are for grade schoolers who are having a project to sell refreshments. I think you could handle yourself properly with all the experiences you had when you were young. You should be role models to your children, not the other way around.

Tyrone Crossman
Tyrone Crossman
2/23/2013 6:56:37 AM #

Plan ahead of time and always check on the progress of the community sale. Have the simple draw lots in the so called "Fish Bowl Technique" to determine who goes where. So it's fair that everyone has an equal chance to be selected in a particular area and no further complaints will be made. The members should freely accept and conform to the regulations of the group because if they have a problem with that, they are free to leave and join another community sale.

Jessie Mutumbo
Jessie Mutumbo
2/24/2013 8:30:40 AM #

It's a great occasion to invite new members of the community. Those who recently moved can be introduced and this sale could be their initiation or introduction to the family. You need to make the environment friendly and accepting to new members. Don't make new families feel awkward, instead you should have the initiative to approach them and get to know them a little better. Assign them tasks they can participate in and after that, don't treat them as strangers but treat them as part of the family. Smile

Felix Matthews
Felix Matthews
2/24/2013 8:34:43 AM #

Promote a health atmosphere for competition. Separate the community into groups and who ever earns the most money will have a reward which is for the betterment of the community. You are all working hard to improve the community, may it be the garbage disposal, renovation of community halls or club houses, or creating parks for the teens to meet up and play sports. You must agree on your goals and set your expectations so that you could check if you truly met your goals.

Hilario Conley
Hilario Conley
2/24/2013 8:40:02 AM #

As a community, you could donate the proceeds to your chosen foundation. You could send the money to an elderly home to provide additional resources to buy basic necessities like toiletries, food, water and shelter. That would be of great help to those private organizations which are also helping needy people.

Richie Davidson
Richie Davidson
2/24/2013 8:54:02 AM #

Assign committees to run each department of the sale into perfection. Have the decoration committee decide on the theme, the decorations and the arrangement of the sale. Decide on the program committee to have a flow of activities if some of the teens in the neighborhood could perform while the sale is going on, it would be an added attraction. Have a logistics committee to monitor how many people have attended and answer inquiries and questions people may have.

Don't forget the advertising committee to gain popularity and create a buzz in the community. Lastly, assign people who are trustworthy to take care of the money raised in the community sale. It's a group effort and you should have the full support and cooperation of your community to succeed.

Luigi Morin
Luigi Morin
2/24/2013 10:15:56 AM #

If any member has a problem or issue towards another member of the community, you should settle it properly. You should resolve it before the community sale to prevent them from compromising the sale. If not, they should agree to set aside differences just for the remainder of the sale for the sake of the community and the cause you all are working for.

Sid McFarland
Sid McFarland
2/24/2013 10:24:38 AM #

If you're the arbitrator, always have an open mind and be fair to all. No one is exempted from the rules and regulations you've all decide upon. Don't judge a person immediately without hearing the other party's side of the story. Don't rush to a decision, review the evidences and testimonies over and over again and make sure you're not favoring one party. You need to set an example that they should all follow laws and you will not tolerate any behavior other than conforming to these rules.

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