Estate Sale Manners

I was just talking to a fellow antique dealer friend of mine who recently attended a local estate sale. His nicely covered pile of leather bound books held for him at the front door were stolen by another shopper. Where have all the manners gone?

I have been attending estate sales for about 15 years now. It never ceases to amaze me the lack of manners and etiquette at these sales. There are some cardinal rules among estate sale shoppers;
  • If any item has a "sold" tag, someone has done the work to find it and is going to purchase it. Hands off.
  • If there is an obvious pile of items in a corner, ask before you rummage. They are probably someone else's gathered treasures that they have set aside because they can't carry them around.
  • Don't push and shove. Courtesy is rule #1.
Objects are just material things and there is certainly enough to go around, isn't there? I've cut back on my estate sale attendance since I've witnessed some of the most horrific incidents including my girlfriend getting knocked down on the ground for complimenting a man on his turquoise jewelry. He was definitely crazy.

Do you have any of your own estate sale nightmare stories to share?

Are there any comments you want to add on estate sale manners?

image credits; 1. Emikokolala 2. Stephanie Moisan 3 & 4. unknown


FrenchBlue said…
All I can say is lack of Courtesy...
As per the dictionary:
1. excellence of manners or social conduct; polite behavior.
2. a courteous, respectful, or considerate act or expression.
3. indulgence, consent, or acquiescence: a “colonel” by courtesy rather than by right.

Manners at an Estate Sale truly reflect the manners of the individual. A persons true colors surface at sales like these. I am never surprised at shoppers behavior but this is one of the lowest I have heard in a long time. I feel sorry that things have become a priority over manners & curtousy.

Great Post Bff!!!
Dear Lynn,
I have never been to an Estate Sale.....I tend to go to auctions or fairs, but I can imagine that this is rife. I think that people have become so selfish and manners and thinking of others seems to have got lost somewhere.
.... and, like you said, they are just material things and I'm sure there is enough to go round.
I think that nowadays, people just think of themselves and don't give a **** about anyone else !
timesavers said…
Hi Lynn - As you know I used your post on my own blog as an estate sale company owner:

Your post was so timely and those of us who work in this business have seen more of this type of behavior lately. We have a network of estate sale company owners and it seems to happen at all of our sales. I am hoping that it is just tied into the poor economy (more people trying to get bargains) and not that people are just more rude and mean these days....but I am not sure. I like to believe that 90% of the people out there are really GOOD and keep that in mind. But those few that act in that manner that you described sure can ruin our day very quickly. Another tip that I like to point out to customers (and will be blogging about this shortly)is that the NICER you are to the estate sale conductors, the better deals you will get, especially if you are a repeat customer. We get people screaming in our face when we don't meet their price demands and they wonder why they are walking out the door without their items....Remember the old saying..."You can do a lot more with honey".....etc.

Owner, Timesavers Estate Sales
timesavers said…
Hi Lynn - As you know I used your post on my blog as an estate sale business owner

Your post was very timely, as we have seen in increase in this type of behavior at our sales in the past year or so.....I would like to think that it might be due to the poor economy (more people fighting over bargains)....and hoping that people are not just becoming more rude than ever. I have to keep telling myself that 90% of the customers we see are nice, but sometimes it is very hard when someone is screaming in your face because you refuse to sell them a dollar item for fifty cents. I have had to ask people to leave the sale due to verbal abuse to myself and my staff and tell them to never come back....that we don't need their business. I try to smile at everyone and be as kind as possible, but sometimes it is difficult. The other thing I wish customers would realize is that the NICER they are to US, the better deals they will get. We won't be giving any great bargains to someone who is yelling in our faces and calling us names and threatening us. You know the old saying ....."You can do more with honey than....." Thanks!

Owner, Timesavers Estate Sales
nuggets said…
Hi Lynn I have an experience to share with you that happened to my friend (a dealer) at a professionally run estate sale. He is a very experienced professional shopper with many years experience.... Well anyway this one particular morning at the pro sale he accumulated a large pile of deer antlers. They were tagged with sold tags and physically covered, as he had yet to pay for them because he was still looking around the sale for more merchandise to buy. Well at one point he realized that someone had uncovered his pile took all his deer antlers, he found her waiting in line with them and promptly took them out of her hands. Dont know what he said to her, but Im sure it was sharp and to the point. A few other long time dealer friends of mine witnessed this as well.

The Dealer who dug into my friends pile should know better to do this as she describes herself on her own website as a" Life long treasure hunter." You would think someone who describes them self like this would have developed respect and manners towards other dealers along time ago. For shame!!
Courage said…
I believe if an estate sale company is running the sale they should be proactive about creating a pleasant shopping experience. A politely worded sign at the entrance (and on their website if applicable) requesting courtesy and respect. In the unfortunate event of either being confronted by, or witness to bad behavior step-up to diffuse the situation.
The atmosphere created by those running the sale influences the "mood". Pleasantness is contagious. Courtesy begets courtesy. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
As a shopper or in any situation in which we feel wronged take a moment before confronting the perceived offending party. It is entirely possible this person isn't aware of their "wrong" doing. Being confrontational without backing the person in a corner is an art. "I'm sorry, I should have made it clearer those items are mine." Leave the person a graceful way out.
Now I've done it. I'm going to have to walk my talk.
Good cheer to all,

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