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The Loneliest Yard Sale

yard sale

Do you like yard sales? I know that some people do. The few times that I've participated in yard sales there were always eager shoppers there BEFORE the announced opening time. I've even seen a man (who was extremely well-dressed for yard sale shopping) carrying a map with all of the local yard sales marked, numbered in the order of starting time and access. He was looking for extreme bargains, with some very specific items in mind (he had to have boundaries, he was making the circuit on his bicycle.)

Some people love yard sales. The bargains, the sudden finds, the thrill of the hunt. I do not enjoy them as much, because some have an air of desperation: please buy this crap that I don't want anymore.

It's not all crap. But, some is.

One particular yard sale that wore me out and sucked the joy out of them for me was set up by my significant other at the time. It's the yard sale in the picture above. That's it, just about -- the whole yard sale. Do you see anything that you'd brake a car to get out and look out? Me, either. It was what was left after many previous yard sales.

To be fair she also had a garage full of merchandise. You can't see that in the picture, and you couldn't see it from the street.

After setting it up, she went back to work. Since she owned her own business, she was of course multitasking, leaving me the lonely job of sitting and hoping that people would show up. Or hoping that they wouldn't, so that I could read a book. But, they showed up just often enough that I couldn't really read. Just wait.

And of course they would bargain over prices that were already rock bottom. If you don't want to pay 25 cents for something, why not spare the indignity of bargaining a lower price. Move along. Does that sound cynical or jaded? If you try to sell enough 25 cent items on a hot and dry Saturday I think you'll get the picture.

Products have value. Customers will buy just about anything if it is priced correctly. But, they also won't respect anything priced far below its value -- or anything that clearly HAS no value. Customers will tell you what they think, even if it hurts your feelings.

High performance leaders coach their teams to offer products and services of value. If they do not substantiate more than a drive-by look, something is missing and that missing something will suck the very life out of your team. Yes, you must build your team -- AND you must make absolutely certain that they are offering something of very high quality in return for  someone else's business.

Because when you do, and when customers can't wait until their next encounter with your team, you can stop working the loneliest yard sale. We're all better than that.

-- doug smith


  1. Hence ...I call Goodwill,Amvets or some other charitable organization!


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