my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Monday, August 04, 2008

Paying for a DS Lite with pennies

G has been wanting a Nintendo DS Lite for about a year now. I looked at them last Christmas and was just turned off by the price. $130 for something small enough to be broken or lost is just intolerable to me. So he was stuck with his GameBoy Advance SP that I got him second-hand (and, it turns out, is cannibalized: it has a silver screen-half and a black base, and our local Play N Trade says they were never made like that).

So he saved up his birthday money and allowances, and enthusiastically helped me clean out the basement of sellable items (recycling discarded paper and throwing away tons of unsaleable stuff) to prepare for last Saturday's garage sale.

Things learned:
1. 9am-3pm is TOO LONG. 9am-2pm next time, and that will be a long day, too.
2. Pack sandwiches. We got really hungry and you can't easily leave your garage sale to eat.
3. Create shade. It got really hot in the afternoon.
4. My method of pricing things at a reasonable price, for which we'd take half of that posted price, worked well.
5. Good attitude is good for me, too. Saying "Have a good day!" to folks who browsed and walked away kept both of us from thinking resentful thoughts. And there were plenty of browsers.
6. Lots of tables is good--people like to look at things at that height. Boxes of toys on the ground are good, too, for kids who can't easily see onto the tables.
7. Giving stuff away feels good, too--we had bought a "PomPom Animals"-making set from Costco. G had made one animal and then was done. I gave it away to a sweet little girl who admired it and she was really appreciative. (And one more thing gone.)
8. Furniture is a great thing to sell. Put it out by the curb and, next time, I'll ask that the buyer (who didn't have her car with her the first time she came) leave it till later--even as a sold item, it would have brought people in who might have bought more things.
9. Most people, surprisingly, paid the price shown. Bargaining is a lost art. (Except for the guy who wanted to pay $4 for a remote-control Hummer H3 that I was only asking $8 for. Puhleaze. I wish I knew how to say "It's a good price" in Spanish. I did get lots of practice for my Spanish and remembered more than I thought I could.)
10. Wow, you can really make some bucks. We made over $140, and quickly boxed up the rest and dropped it at Salvation Army (and the library, for leftover books)--everything gone!

Anyway, G took his $150 in dollars and coins to the Play N Trade to buy his precious DS Lite... only to find that he hadn't listened carefully enough on the phone. The $130 price wasn't for a package deal, as he'd thought, but it was as part of a package: you had to buy an accessory and a game with it to get that price. So the total was about $162, of which I fronted $12. The guy said he'd never had anyone pay with exact change for a DS Lite before (piles of quarters, dimes, pennies...). That made me kind of sad, honestly. No kid has come into the store before with his pile of hard-earned money to get a DS Lite? I do hope some of those parents who charged it had taken the cash and pulled out the credit card for simplicity.

And G is so damned proud of himself for earning it. And deservedly so.

(And I'm tired. Glad we didn't do two days!)


At 12:45 PM, August 04, 2008, Blogger Dharma said...

Garage/tag sales are hard work. Long and can test one's patience. Shorter is better for sanity.

Great work G-man! Give him a hug from his Aunt Dharma.

At 10:56 PM, August 05, 2008, Blogger snarfdog said...

Way to go - both of you.


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