My Story: Garage Sale Scams

contributed by Mickie


I just had a yard sale and with it an unusual experience. We ran an ad in the newspaper and had a good turnout.

A middle-aged woman came and asked if we would sell her all of our cosmetics at a lower price. We gave her a discount but not as much as she asked since the items were already marked very cheap. She filled a large cardboard box with the items and asked if I would load it on the back of her pickup because she could not lift it. She then left.

Another lady, very elderly, came and started buying all our household items, such as a sewing machine, dishes and glasses, china, kitchen items, Christmas items, etc. She also asked for discounts and we accommodated her slightly. She bought so much it filled the back seat of her car and her trunk completely. This woman was very bossy, actually rude. She demanded that I get her bags and boxes and that I lift these boxes and load her car. I was glad to see her finally leave.

These two women were obviously dealers. They were very decisive about what they were looking for and were very keen on scrambling the items to make it hard to calculate. They boxed items before we even saw what they had, and we took their word on some of the items. I am sure we were burned a little, but all in all, we were glad to sell it.

However, the fun was just beginning. We had quite a few customers looking at the remainder of our items when the first dealer returned almost two hours later. She headed straight for me and claimed that she did not get a bag of perfumes that she had paid for. I watched her pack it into the box that she had me load on her truck. She stated that she was out $10 because I did not give her the perfumes. I explained that they were not left. She said that someone else must have gotten them because she did not get them. She left and we agreed among ourselves that we knew they were in the box with all her other items. We found this situation so strange.

About 30 minutes later, the elderly dealer came flying back and parked in front of our house. Again, in front of a large crowd of customers, she accused me of not putting her box of plates in her car. I told her, "I put everything that you purchased into your car." She said, "I did not get my plates and now I lost $5 on the deal." I then informed her that she was the second person to pull that stunt today and it would not work. She accused me of selling her item again to make double profit, which caused me to lose my temper somewhat. I proceeded to tell her that she was lying. She held fast to her story, but eventually she left.

Both of these women, while arguing, proceeded to look through all of our items again. One of the customers said, "I noticed that she was looking for some more items. If I had been mad at you, I would not want to buy more items." I told them that I noticed that too. I am certain that these two women were actually coming back to see if we had any more interesting items. I figure they were hoping to save $5 to $10 on their next purchase because of this scam.

It did not work for them, but it gave me a real life story to tell. And I certainly will tell it. I hope I can save some people from this type of scam.


"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to MyStory@stretcher.com

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