As a garage sale browser, you actually have a lot of safety issues you can run into. It's not enough to make you panic or be obsessing over what to do in a given situation, but it's a good idea to be prepared. Here are some potential situations you may face and some tips for how to handle them.
You're casually browsing, minding your own business, when suddenly a dog runs up to you. If you have a phobia of dogs, this can set you off into panic mode and leave you trembling for the rest of the day. You may just dislike dogs or get nervous around them. Either way, the host probably shouldn't have his or her canine friend out and about during their garage sale, so it's perfectly reasonable of you to politely ask the host if they can please remove their dog. Stand perfectly still while you talk in a calm voice, and don't make any sudden movements. Most dogs are friendly and just want to play, and will take a sudden jolt to mean that you want to join in their potentially rough games.
You pull onto the side street where several yard sales in a row are going on. You spot a few things you like in the first one, nothing in the second one, and a potential goldmine at the third. Try to park where you can see your car, no matter which sale you're at. Theft of possessions is not necessarily a big fear in neighborhoods, but the cars of garage sale customers are easy targets even for amateurs. Keeping an eye on your car as you shop and locking your car before you walk away help ensure that you won't return to a missing CD player.
By the same token, when taking stock of your purchases after a stop by a yard sale, tuck anything remotely valuable out of sight. You can leave old plastic animals, that ratty sweatshirt you bought for yardwork, and the slightly used cast iron pot on the chair, but any electronics or collectibles should be stashed under the seat. Spotting something that might pull in a resale value gives would-be thieves more motivation to risk breaking into your car, so removing that temptation lessens the likelihood that you come back to find your new purchases gone.
Your children break away from your side to go investigate the box of 10¢ toys. Suddenly, you hear a familiar cry: your son has tripped and skinned his knee. If you have experienced this before, you made sure to pack a homemade first-aid kit before leaving the house. Collect a few Band-aids, a small bottle of hydrogen peroxide, some gauze and a roll of first aid tape. This will help you mend up any little bruise or bump your child collects.
You pick up an old electronic gadget, and when you set it down, you notice corrosion from the batteries left in for who knows how many years. Or you set down an item momentarily just to have another shopper's child violently sneeze all over it. In these scenarios, it's good to know that you keep some antibacterial wipes in your bag or car for just such an occasion. While antibacterial anything is not a good substitute for really washing your hands with soap and warm water, they will at least keep you from spreading any sort of infection or potentially hazardous material further than your hands. Make sure to wash them well as soon as you get an opportunity.
Come stop by GarageSaleCow for plenty more tips and tricks for your yard sale browsing experience! This fast-growing online garage sale community is chock full of free information about sale whereabouts and even holding your own sale.