Consignment Sales Are Not For Me

October 28, 2013 at 5:17 PM 6 comments

Consignment

Last week I heard about a local consignment sale going on in my area. My son doesn’t need much these days, but for some reason I convinced myself to take a few minutes out of my day to poke around the place. I went alone, (my husband was kindly babysitting), so I had plenty of time to look around without rushing. I was actually a little less interested in buying then I was in scoping out prices. If we don’t have a second child I’ll have a lot of baby items to sell next year.

A lot of the bigger ticket items like swings, strollers and bouncy seats were tagged with prices about 20% lower than what you might find at Amazon. If you want to buy second hand to save the environment, the earth and the landfills than I can see why you might purchase something used, but in my case a 20% discount is not worth buying used. A lot of the items were clearly worn. Since none of the items were plugged in and very few had batteries I couldn’t try them out. I couldn’t see how the swing would move or how much the bouncy seats vibrated. The same could be said for the mound of children’s toys that didn’t contain batteries. If I got one home and decided the item didn’t work, I was out of luck, which is just another reason I wouldn’t buy there.

After looking at used baby equipment I took a look at the racks of baby and toddler clothes. There was a surprising number of boys items available, typically these types of sales have racks of clothes for little girls and almost nothing for little boys. About a quarter of the used clothes were actually in good condition. There was also quite a few items with the tags still attached, but again the overall prices were quite high.  I find brand new items for less, by waiting until the season begins, scouring the clearance section and using coupons.

The average price for a decent pair of 18-24 month pants was between $8 and $10. Some were listed even higher. I often purchase brand new pants for less than that.

This is the first consignment sale I’ve been to, but I’ve seen the same thing when browsing consignment stores in our area. The prices appear to be equal to or higher than the bargains I can find for new items online and in store.

So tell me, am I the only one who thinks consignment store prices are remarkably high? Has anyone ever walked away from these sales feeling like they found good bargains?

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sarah  |  October 28, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    I think you really just have to look and be willing to check things out. I’ve bought Gymboree clothes with tags on them before prices at $3-6 per item. An amazing deal. At the same sale worn items have been priced more. Depends on the seller and what they think/want to make. As for stores, yes I often find the items priced high. I’ve bought them if I really like the piece or am pleased with the overall condition, but I generally find cheaper stuff on my own.

    Reply
    • 2. One Frugal Girl  |  October 29, 2013 at 8:22 PM

      That’s very true. Since every seller prices differently I suppose some could price as bargains and others at unbelievably high prices. At this particular sale I didn’t see any bargains worth grabbing, perhaps they were all taken before I got there.

      Reply
  • 3. Little Miss Moneybags  |  October 28, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    I love these sales! The prices you’re describing sound really high to me – I find baby clothes for $1-2 per piece used, $4-6 brand new with tags. Safety gate $5, toys $1-5, even nearly-new cloth diapers for $3 each (on DiaperSwappers these would have cost me $9+ each). Way better prices than brand-new or regular consignment stores around me, and better quality than garage sales.

    There are five or six sales in my area, and I’ve visited them all at least once. Depending on the town/neighborhood, the prices and selection vary a lot. If there are multiple sales in your area, I’d try out a few more to see if you can find better deals.

    Reply
    • 4. One Frugal Girl  |  October 29, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      I didn’t see anything in the $1 to $2 price range for used or the $4 to $6 range for new. It’s possible that everything reasonably priced was grabbed before I got there. I’m not sure I’ll give another one of these sales a shot, but I do see your point. You never know if the next sale will be better! I suppose it all depends on who is selling and what prices they list their items for.

      Reply
  • 5. Ellen K.  |  October 29, 2013 at 7:35 AM

    You know, I remember going to a couple of consignment sales — moms of multiples club sales — around this stage, when my girls were 2 or 2.5, and I was unimpressed. There were tons of baby gear and baby clothes, but hardly anything for toddlers. Most of the clothing was size 2T and under. The only items I bought were some stick horses, a couple of books, and 2 size 5 Rothschild pink dressy winter coats, which have been hanging in their closet for 3 years. I thought they were a terrific bargain at $20 each and imagined my girls wearing them to go to the Nutcracker or something. For $40 I could have purchased something useful!

    Toddlers are much harder on their clothes and toys than infants, so it stands to reason that the pickings are slim, but I left the sales thinking, “I left the house at 6 am for THIS?” and also “Wow, that was a lot of plastic crap.” So your photo of the rows of bouncers made me laugh!

    If I had gone to a sale when my daughters were babies, or when I was pregnant, I probably would have been more impressed. In more recent years I have managed to find great deals on toys, books, and board games at secondhand stores and garage sales.

    Reply
    • 6. One Frugal Girl  |  October 29, 2013 at 8:27 PM

      I think you might be right Ellen. I saw a TON of stuff for tiny tots, infants through 24 months and not a whole lot in the larger sizes my son wears. I was wondering if this was in part because of the newness of babies. Stick with me on this one. When children are very small people buy them all sorts of cute outfits, but as they age everyone realizes a toddler is going to get mud, paint, yogurt, spaghetti and everything else all over those nice outfits. So you buy less and you worry less about brand names. I definitely could’ve skipped the sale from a buying perspective. There was nothing in there I was willing to pay for. And yes there was a ridiculous amount of plastic crap :)

      Reply

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