leadership dot #2520: deal or no deal

I found it interesting to witness the varied approaches sellers used when hosting a garage sale.

For some, it was all about getting rid of things. These sellers had many items that were marked “free” or would initiate bargaining conversations: “If you don’t like that price, name another.” They had made the effort to declutter and as one seller said: “Nothing out here is going back into the house.”

Others were holding their sale strictly to make money. When I asked if a set of items sold as a combination could be split and sold for less, the answer was: “you can split them, but you still need to pay full price.” This seller wouldn’t negotiate to $120 on a $150 vintage item and would not accept negotiation on anything.

Many fell somewhere in the middle – they may have lowered the price if asked but seemed content to keep anything that did not sell. While they would have liked to have sold more, they couldn’t quite bring themselves to part with possessions at a significant discount. The items still represented value to them, and they retained hope that they could obtain that value at a later date.

What is your philosophy when conducting transactions?

Do you operate from the perspective that the past is the past? You believe that if the item is paid for, use obtained from it, and now it no longer serves a purpose, it is better to receive nothing than to be burdened with the possession. Your focus is on the present where retaining it has negative implications.

Or are you more likely to focus on the future and be willing to wait to receive what you believe is due? Even though no one may be willing to pay your price, you hold on to what has potential.

Both approaches have merit given different circumstances. The key is to know which path you are following before you hang out your shingle.

 

leadership dot #2519: vintage

Last weekend our town held its city-wide garage sales and I was struck by how the event has gone from a highlight of the spring to something barely noticeable. It used to be that hoards of people would walk the main streets, going from house to house hunting for treasures. This year we practically had to drive between sales because they were so few and far between and the buyers were even more sparse. It was a bust.

I hypothesize that eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and other sites have diminished the allure of a garage sale. Families no longer need to rely on the annual event to unload their unwanted items; they can post them daily and garner some pocket change without the work required to host a weekend-long sale. I was talking with one of the lonely sellers about the phenomenon and she had two other thoughts on why the enthusiasm around sales had dulled: 1) people today are minimalists who don’t want shelves of knickknacks or lots of possessions without a purpose and 2) people are much more mobile, thus purge with each new move instead of accumulating generations of possessions in the family attic. They just have less to sell and have a waning interest in buying something that isn’t the latest and greatest.

Whatever the reason, it is sad that another community-building event seeming has reverted to an online transaction with no personal connections involved. While it may be more efficient to buy and sell via an e-commerce site, there is joy in spending a spring day wandering the neighborhood gathering bargains and treasures for a quarter here and a dollar there.

When you think of “shopping small” think of your local garage sales in that vein. You’ll keep someone’s castaways out of the landfill and amass your own eclectic collection of treasures for a bargain.