Guest Columnists

Mind your manners at garage sales

Lawrence Wenclawski
Lawrence Wenclawski

With the change in weather from winter to spring comes the start of garage sale season, the season where people search throughout the state, looking for bargains and deals.

I occasionally partake in estate and garage sales, looking for items I can use. Sometimes I see different toys and other items that bring back memories of my childhood. I have talked to people who have held these sales and have found that many of these sales are being held as a result of a life-changing decision or event. Sometimes these sales are a legal requirement to pay off an estate’s debt or even to settle an estate within the family. They are selling off the possessions of the home they or their parents lived in for 20, 30 or even 40 or more years. There is often an emotional attachment to many of these possessions and family heirlooms. Just seeing these items brings back memories.

However, I am continuously amazed at the appalling, ignorant and reprehensible behavior of some people who attend these events. Their behavior could compete with the worst of the Black Friday Christmas shoppers. Some of them think having a handicap permit provides them with additional special privileges. Many park in front of driveways, on lawns or wherever their vehicle fits. Others think it is acceptable to bring pets and leave them locked in a hot car or let them run through the neighborhood. They have no respect for the fact that they are a guest in someone’s home or for the neighborhood. They don’t care about leaving ruts in the lawn or other damage.

People come early, walk around houses and look in windows trying to see what is for sale. Some who come before the sale starts feel they should be first in line even though they were the 15th person to arrive. When a garage door opens, people rush in without asking if the sellers are ready, as many have to set up items outside the garage for safe viewing. When people are asked to stay back or are told the sale has not started, some don’t care and just walk in anyway. People who attend these sales accept this poor behavior and few speak up.

Some shoppers consider items that are fairly priced to be too expensive and they argue and complain about the price — often taking advantage of someone’s situation.

I have to say the young children who attend are very well behaved, but the rudest people who attend these estate and garage sales are approaching or at that age where their family may be having a garage or estate sale in the near future.

There is nothing sold at any of these sales that justifies this behavior. Be polite, respectful, and have fun when you attend estate and garage sales.


• Lawrence Wenclawski, originally from the Chicago area, is a retired member of the community and serves on committees within the Cedar Rapids Community School District.



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