Procrastinating Consignors

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

If there is one thing that will drive a sale organizer out of their mind, it's consignors. We love them, but unfortunately, we expect them to be like us (the sale organizer) and that's where the problems begin.

As a consignor (and now a sale organizer), you were probably the one who signed up weeks in advance. You mapped out your strategy months ahead of time: which sales you would consign with, which sales you would volunteer with and which sales you would attend as a guest of a friend. You reviewed each sale website so that you were compliant with all the rules and regulations of each sale, and immediately began tagging after you signed up. Once you arrived for inspection, you understood that items would be rejected and didn't take it personally. Maybe you helped put items away if the volunteers were backed up. You brought any and all potential problems to the sale organizer with suggestions on how to fix the problem. That's why you ended up as a sale organizer.

But let's look at the typical consignor. They wait until the last minute to sign up, because quite frankly, they don't know if they are going to have enough stuff and probably haven't cleaned out their closets yet. Once they decided they have enough stuff to consign, then they put it off until the weekend before to start tagging. It's not uncommon for consignors to call and push back appointment times because they are still tagging the day of drop off.

For whatever reason, most consignors wait until the last minute. I don't know why. But it is a problem that every sale has. Everyone waits until the weekend before. As sure as I am sitting here, I can tell you that the weekend before the sale all of my friends start posting on their social networks that they are dragging stuff out of the closets to get ready to tag. My lead volunteers included! It's just the way it is.

My point is that you need to relax. Quit hovering over your inventory system and watching your item count that has been added to your inventory. It will drive you mad. Most of your consignors are going to wait until the last minute. You'll be better off once you understand that consignors procrastinate, and quit hovering over your inventory system.

Problems with Consignors and Volunteers

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

br /> One of the reasons that I choose to not automate my sale is being able to determine who can't participate in my sale. I know it sounds odd, but there are people out there who make my job as a sale organizer incredibly difficult. Examples:

Consignor A: I was warned about her my very first sale by another sale organizer. And has been confirmed by just about every other sale organizer I have talked too. Her offense? She's a thief. She stashes items for half price day, so that she can pay half price for them instead of full price. She's been caught cutting the No Discount off consignors tags. She takes items from the lost and found that aren't hers. She has been caught taking items from other consignors piles and putting them within her own stuff. I asked one sale organizer why she allowed this person to participate and she said "well she sells $3000 worth of merchandise, how can I ask her to leave?" I don't know about you, but I don't allow those types of people to participate in my sale. If I have to have designated volunteers to watch her every movement, it's not worth it to me. This lady has been blacklisted by so many sales that she has now changed her name and is using an alias! But she has the same phone number and the same consignor number. And she keeps calling me to consign. So how do you handle someone like this? I tell her that I don't have a place for her in my sale. It's the truth. Keep the personal out of it.

Consignor B: She's been with me for a while, but her stuff is really funky. Incomplete toys, old clothes. We reject more items than we take in. She tags everything wrong. How do you handle this situation? We are instituting a new policy. A rule of 3rds. If within 30 items, 10 of your items are rejected (wrong tag format, incomplete, old, stained, out of season, not in order), you need to reinspect your items. If the second time you come back we reject another 10 of 30 items, your inspection time is done. As a sale organizer, you can't have your volunteers spending all their time checking in people who are bringing you junk. If you are rejecting large volumes of items, you need to weed out those consignors. It's not an efficient use of your volunteers time.

Volunteer C: This is the lady who does an exceptional job while volunteering, but has a really bad attitude. You get constant complaints about her mouthing off, stashing stuff early and in general thinking that she is better than everyone else. You are caught between a rock and a hard place, because she is otherwise a good volunteer. How do you handle this situation? Gather your facts first and make sure that it is not a personality conflict issue. Ultimately, you can't have conflict within ranks, so it's time that she can no longer volunteer. Again, you need to keep it factual and not personal.

Consignor/Volunteer D: This lady likes to argue about what you are accepting and not accepting. She brings adult items, when you don't sell adult clothing and likes to argue that the kids like to wear their items big and long these days. She likes to price her things high... 10 mismatched plastic hangers for $6. Used books for more than the new price. And as a volunteer, she spends her time taking care of her things, rather than everyone elses. How do you handle this situation? The bottom line is that while you have no control over how consignors price their items, you can't have people talking about how high priced things are with items such as $6 hangers either. How do you handle this situation? You require them to attend your tagging class before they can consign again, but as a volunteer, they can't come back. You can't teach them work ethics, and it will take more effort on your part to keep them straight.

When you first start your sale , you will think that you are desperate for help, but the bottom line is that if you have problem consignors and volunteers, the staff you have will have to work much harder than if these people didn't participate. You need to decide if they are worth the trouble they are causing you. It's not worth it to me. I want the people who participate in my sale to be happy to be there. I don't want thieves. I don't want problems with attitudes and I certainly don't want to unfairly burden my good volunteers because of issues. Fire those people who cause you trouble. Your sale will be better off in the long run.

Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.