Safety for Yard Sales

A friend and I had a yard sale. We were set up inside my friends garage which happened to be located on an alleyway. After several hours and massive crowds, we had settled into comfortable lawn chairs at the back of the garage. Suddenly, a very loud car rolled up and 6 people poured out. One person was a very old woman. The entire family scattered all over the garage but it was the old woman who held our attention. Suddenly, she fell! Just fell. My friend and I in a state of shock, stood up but we did not move. There was something that was off. The family rushed to the old woman’s side and helped her back to the car. And then, they were off. My friend and I looked at each other and both said “That was weird” at the same time! The next Wednesday both my friend and I got phone calls from an insurance investigator. After answering many questions about our garage sale, we were told that the woman was trying to collect insurance from her fall for over $100,000!! We were in shock … again. After a few months, the insurance investigator called again to tell us that the case was now closed and the old woman wasn’t really that old. She and her “family” were making their way across the state, stopping at garage sales and falling! They would make a claim against the people putting on the yard sale. Sometimes they actually collected money. This time they did not.They were all arrested for insurance fraud. But, my friend and I learned a valuable lesson. Take extra care to set up your garage sale so that there are absolutely no chances for falls or other safety issues!                                                         

There are basic precautions that can be taken so that everyone is safe. First, lock the doors that go to the inside of your home. You don’t want to suddenly realize that a complete stranger went wandering into your home to use the bathroom and look around your place! Even if you are going in and out yourself, lock the door between times. It just takes a split second for someone to get inside and possibly steal!

If you have set up your garage overnight to get ready for the sale the next morning, check to make sure the garage door is locked. Early bird garage salers can sometimes throw open an unlocked door before you are ready!!

If your sale is laid out on the lawn and the driveway, protect yourself from the sun! It is going to be a long day and you forget that the hot sun and all those rays are shining on you! Set up an umbrella table or a tent so you have some coverage. And,,, drink lots of water.

Invite a friend to share the yard sale with you. It is always safer to have two people working the sale. Not only is this more eyes on the crowds, but it is company! If you have to run inside for a minute, there will be someone else right there to watch and help. A single person running a sale is easy prey for someone to steal or play funny money games. You don’t want distractions.

Keep your cell phone nearby and keep it charged. If someone wants to haggle prices, you can look up the item on the internet or if there is a problem, you have 911 right there on your phone..

Really good advice is to not use a cash box. Keep all your money right on you in a fanny pack or in your pocket. You don’t want any cash unattended as an enticement.

Kids and pets are great, but make sure that their parents are keeping them under control. Things can get hectic at a garage sale and you don’t need kids or dogs crawling around under tables and knocking things over and possibly breaking them. This rule goes for both the shoppers kids and pets and your own!

It is best to keep shoppers outside unless your sale is inside the house. You don’t want to allow wanderers who could possibly be casing the house out. Keep everyone happy and outside! Bathrooms are at the corner carry out.

If you are selling anything that needs to be tested with electricity, have those items placed near a plug. Try to not run electrical cords anywhere someone is going to walk. If you have cracks or uneven places on your garage floor or driveway, lay down large pieces of carpet to cover them up and avoid someone tripping and falling. And keep as many items as you can on flat ground. You don’t want people walking up and down steps.

The bottom line in safety at a garage sale is to be very aware of anything that could possibly harm someone including yourself!

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