Are you a Secondhand Rose, or Ross, as the case may be? Buying the pre-owned, the once-worn and the gently used can be a fun-filled festival of savings -- depending on how savvy you are when it comes to secondhand scouting.
All things being equal, where are you most likely to find the best buy on the bodacious blouse?
So, what's the deal with those resale-fashion consignment stores -- the Hand-Me-Downs-R-Us? They're places where poor folk sell the old clothes practically right off their backs, right? C'mon, are we talking tacky or what?
The best time(s) to show up at a yard sale?
Early and late.
Prime time; say mid-day, when the action's hot.
Where can you bargain for a better price?
Yard sale and flea market.
All of the above.
'Course it's hard to bargain when there is no price marked. What's your best bet in that case?
Ask what the price is.
Offer a low-ball figure.
OK -- let the bargaining begin! Let's say you've noticed a slight stain on the $5 shirt you're considering (and, trust us, if you look hard enough, you can find a stain, scratch, rough spot, screwy seam or splinter on anything). So you say:
''I like this shirt, but I'm concerned the stain may not come out. Can you do better on the price?''
''Five dollars for this stained old rag? Please. Here's a dollar -- take it before I change my mind.''
When asking for a better price, it's always best to speak:
In a loud, firm, assertive voice -- let others overhear; you're not ashamed, and it can work to your advantage.
In a discreet tone of voice.
In terms of paying for your bounty, it's best if you bring along:
Small bills -- it's all pretty much small-ticket stuff, on the secondhand side of the street.
Large bills -- less bulk; you want to ''fly'' light.
Personal checks -- much safer, and you're smart enough to bring along two pieces of ID.
Your government is watching out for you. Yes, its consumer-protection arm cautions against buying the following category of goods from yard sales -- with the exception of (not that they are encouraging purchase of goods from the category that's the exception; there are simply no provisos specifically against it):
Old baby cribs.
Old hair dryers.
Children's clothing with drawstring necklines or hoods.
Paintings signed ''Pablo Pikasso.''
What's the CPSC?
The Crummy Product Service Center.
The Conned Person's Service Central.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Consumer Products -- So Called.
-- Posted: April 29, 2002