There are very few mistakes in life that you can't recover from. This is no less true in the garage sale world, where you can come back from even a seemingly horrendous blunder with your dignity intact. Here are some examples of mistakes you might make as a garage sale hosts, and suggestions for recovering from them.
Incorrectly pricing an item doesn't seem like a huge problem, but what if the customer takes advantage of the unintentionally low price and rips you off without realizing it? If a shopper eagerly brings you an item priced $1 that was supposed to be $10, just stay calm and try to reason with them. Let them know that it was a typo (or whatever the handwriting equivalent of a typo might be), and that you intended it to sell for more. Ask them if they would be willing to split the difference with you -- pay $5 instead of $1 or $10, for example. You may not be able to recover everything, but with a reasonable shopper, you can at least get back some of your losses. If the customer refuses, you'll probably just have to bite the bullet and let them take it off your hands for cheap.
Overcharging a customer is easy to do, especially if you do your calculations in your head. To avoid this, start out doing your addition on a calculator or at least a visible piece of paper. That way, the customer can follow along and point out any mistakes you make. If you do overcharge them and they don't notice, but you figure it out moments after they walk away, be a good neighbor and try to track them down. It's common courtesy!
Misdirecting customers with your signs happens if you incorrectly calculated which arrows to tack up where. You can end up with a host of angry people who finally stumble upon your sale after wandering in circles for fifteen minutes. If this happens, individually apologize to each upset customer, and offer a small discount for their troubles. Thank them for still coming to your sale and take note of where the misleading signs are so you can fix them as soon as possible.
Writing incorrect information on your signs may mean that customers show up at 7 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. If their early arrival is your fault, you should be gracious and let them shop what you have out. Fix the signs at the first opportunity, unless the information doesn't matter anymore (once it's past 8 a.m., there's no need to rush out and change that unless you're using the same times the next day).
Selling something you didn't mean to is one of the worst mistakes you can make. This usually happens when more than one person is manning the sales table, and the seller doesn't know what was supposed to be sold and what wasn't. If the seller is still in sight, run after them and try to negotiate a deal; if not, and you're desperate to get your item back, put out an ad in your community paper or local craigslist in the hopes that they will spot it and be able to get it back to you.
Forgetting to write down whose profits were whose can drive a wedge between neighbors. If this happens, take it upon yourself to estimate how much of each person's items are left over, then estimate how much was there to begin with; this should lead you to a ballpark number of what each person is owed. Be on the generous side for their portion, so you aren't accused of stealing any money.
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