Lifestyle Magazine

the Estate Sale from Hell

By Schoolofvintage @schoolofvintage
I debated over writing this post and actually calling out the company that ran this particular estate sale. At first I thought, well, I don't want to hurt any feelings, then I realized that I owe it to people to be honest about my experience. I will NEVER attend an estate sale run by this company ever again, and for good reason.
This is what happened:
I woke up early to drive about an hour north to hit up a sale whose pictures boasted vintage clothing, mid century furniture, and boxes and boxes of unpacked 'old' stuff! Sounds like a diamond in the rough, no? Well, it was enough for me to wake up early on a day off to go check out their loot.
First mistake, they didn't have enough numbers for everyone. Paul and I got there about 15 minutes before the start and we were already numbers 44 and 45. There were a LOT of people who thought the same thing as me apparently. So I sized up my competition and decided that no one was vying for the closet of vintage dresses. At least I hoped they weren't. There were piles and piles of junk everywhere, all of which was for sale. Nothing had a price on it, which wasn't too alarming considering it was in piles outside. I did take note of the fact that a couple people had approached the woman at the door about a few things (some she admitted having no clue what they were), and she was not budging on her prices (that she literally spewed off the top of her head..still not knowing what things were).
I decided to wait anyway, I was determined to get inside. It had been about a 1/2 hour at this point waiting for my number to get called. In the meantime, I witnessed an old man with a cane get verbally berated by this horrible woman* (she'll make a re-appearance later) telling him to get a number and not to cut in line, while hurling insults at the poor guy. This made my stomach churn. The woman at the door was very haphazard about number calling, so when it was finally my turn, people were basically letting themselves in ahead of me, even though they didn't have a number, and they hadn't been waiting for 30+ minutes at this point.
OK, so I get in and notice their pictures online did no justice to the horrible condition of the house. There was shit everywhere. There were people everywhere, it was impossible to move. I finally made my way to a small closet, grabbed a couple vintage dresses and hats, trying not to notice that they priced one fur coat at $495!! I made my way to the bedroom and to the closet of hell. There were clothes piled on the floor, which were walked on, and shoes thrown in a corner. All amongst tables of other stuff, bedroom furniture, and piles of unknowns. With the help of Paul I loaded up on some more dresses and a couple coats and made my way to the main room to ask for prices. NOTHING was priced! (well, except for a $495 fur coat) While I was waiting, I witnessed a verbal fight between a woman working there and a customer* (the horrible woman from before). I also kept hearing them yell at people for 'crowding the jewelry table'. There was more yelling for the homeowner to come in and help them. Then more yelling at customers. And finally my favorite: "People! this is an estate sale! not a garage sale!"...whatever the hell that means...apparently I wasn't the only one not ok with their pricing.
Finally, the homeowner came over to Paul and I and asked if the people running the sale had been mean to us. I answered no, but we'd like some prices. So she asked one of the women running the sale to please help us. Fast forward 5 more minutes, another altercation with a kind customer just looking at some jewelry. "Put it down unless you're gonna buy it!", she yelled at her "that's $25!". (for a string of crappy beads)
She came up to me and started pricing the armfuls of dresses. "This one is $10, this one is $10, this one is $35, this one is $35.." So I asked her again how much because I swear I thought I heard her say "this is $35". And she did, she absolutely did. I didn't even let her get to the coats because Lord knows they would have been at least $50. I told her I can't pay $35 per dress, she responded (loudly and unkindly) "they are vintage!!". So I said I knew, but they aren't worth $35. She yelled at me then, saying "these aren't $5 dresses!!". So I calmly responded that they aren't $35 dresses either. She yelled at me again, "THAT'S YOUR OPINION!!" So I walked to the corner, dropped the clothing on the floor, walked out, and drove home empty handed. I immediately called Jeannine and unloaded everything that happened out of sheer disbelief.
Here's my issue: besides all the yelling and rudeness, this is an estate sale. It is a glorified garage sale. I know it's run by a company that takes commission, so prices are expected to be slightly higher than a sale run by the homeowner. All vintage is not valuable. The items she wanted $35 for were just vintage dresses, no designers, some were better than others, and she didn't even check the condition. I grabbed them from a pile that was walked on. They could have made a cool $60 bucks or so for two armfuls of dresses if they weren't greedy, but they made nothing. It's an all too common issue that has been getting worse and worse, thrift stores being just as guilty.
Everything nightmarish you can imagine about an estate sale happened in the course of 40 minutes. All in all, I can laugh about the experience now, because it was so bad it was almost comical. As for Paul, I bought him breakfast.

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