Consignment Sale Etiquette?!?!


Consignment season is upon us once again. I love it! I always get great deals and laugh at the prices of other items. Today I went to a sale and was relaying my experience to my husband when I got home. He thought I should write this post, so here it is. All of the seasoned pros, well most of them should know the etiquette for shopping although some ignore it or the newbies haven’t realized there is an unspoken code of conduct. People, like myself take time to tag, hang, sort, inventory, and some even iron the items that they will be selling. This takes time. Sometimes a lot of time! Not including the hours you may volunteer to get in early and/or lower consignor fees. We do this to either make a little extra cash or like myself to sell and hopefully make what I need to spend on my children’s season appropriate clothing.

Let’s start with the simple stuff.

1. If you volunteer please don’t bring your little kids in with you to rip off the tags, leave the toys on, or lose an article of clothing in an area not designated for that item because they wanted to try it on or play with it. This causes someone to lose out on money. It may not seem like much but every bit counts and I noticed this happening my first year of volunteering. Now we get to spend even more time sorting, hanging, and tagging.

2. To the stain inspectors. Seriously, we aren’t recruiting Marines. We are looking at used clothing. Have respect when looking at a garment. Don’t make rude comments. They may be standing inches from you and I’m sure your child has ruined a garment or two at some point in their time. If you are unsure about if a stain should be allowed and you are new or haven’t worked that position before just ask. They do not want your chocolate milk stained white boutique dress however a slight discolored spot or something that appears could be washed out they usually allow. At least at the sale I have worked over the past few years.

3. Don’t pull your stuff to the top of the pile. It will all get tossed around eventually anyway and it’s just rude.

4. DO NOT put and item back so it can be bought at a reduced rate later. This unfortunately happened to me last year and luckily between volunteering and my SIL volunteering we were able to catch it and the sale rewrote my check for the entitled amount. It was a big difference not a mere dollar. This is just rude and should exclude you from working the sale for a designated period of time.

On to the shoppers.

5. When you are shopping I realize we are all pulling baskets, kids, or have our hands full but please use your manners. Today at a sale my children, ages 9 & 3 were saying “excuse me” and “thank you” but I can’t tell you the number of adults who just pushed right past with no concern what so ever.

6. When you are searching through items obviously there are many others doing exactly the same thing and in the same vicinity as yourself. There is a way to be able to search without being that rude person shoving. Say you are looking at a section of clothing, you notice someone approaching where you are from the side of the rack you are making your way to and you are fixing to collide into one another. Easy. You make eye contact. I know some think this is absolutely the worst thing ever. But just try it. Then you get to a point where you are both just a handful of items away and you swap spots. Simple. I usually even accompany it with something like “ready to swap” if they appear to be cordial or  “do you need over here” if they seem to be a little on the stuffy side. Then you switch spots and pick up where you left off. Today we were going through homeschooling books. I had a lady on either side of me. The lady to my right was headed down the line as was I. The one to my left was headed in the opposite direction. Neither of these ladies knew etiquette or even bothered to look up. Not only were they blocking the bins they were finished looking in but going through the one I was in without even a simple “excuse me” Needless to say most of the reason for this post! The expression too many cooks in the kitchen comes to mind. Too many hands in the books.

7. Sorting is what you do at the end of your shopping excursion. Today the sale I was at actually had a sorting area with tables and racks for items that needed to be returned. It was great. Now the sale I normally shop doesn’t have this. You pick a spot as far away from the crowd as possible which usually isn’t but maybe a good foot or two and you go through what you have, pick out your favorites, return the others and usually add up your total. The items are usually left on the floor till the volunteers come around and resort these items. If they don’t have a sorting area obviously just make do but if they do use it.

8. NEVER take items out of someone’s basket, cart, buggy, stroller, etc unless they have given you permission. This WILL start a feud if it’s my basket but you might be unlucky and get one of the ones that punch first and ask questions later.

You are finally finished. Now what? Head to the exit. It is time to wait in line. It may be mere minutes or a good hour. Either way be prepared.

9. Simple grade school rules. Don’t cut the line. It’s annoying and childish. You can have someone hold your spot and come back. We don’t mind seeing that but line cutters just suck.

10. Be prepared and courteous at check out. If paying by check have as much filled out as possible. Don’t have your purse in the bottom of your basket and have to dig it out. Also these people are usually volunteers ringing you up and are tired too. They may not have been standing in line with you but I’m sure at some point they will be in that line.

So basically just use your manners. Think. You don’t have to socialize just be nice.



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