Checking Out

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

Once your Public Sale hours are over, do you mentally check out? I know I do, that's why one of my lead volunteers runs the sort for me. I just can't do one more thing. My brain is fried. Regardless of my mental state, the sort still has to be completed, and it needs to be completed accurately and on time.

I have recently received a rash of emails about the sort from consignors. The biggest complaints are that it's either not done on time and people are waiting around for the sort to be completed so that they can pick up, or it's that there are mistakes with what was picked up.

Now, I know when you are dealing with people, there is always going to be human error. Everyone is tired after a long week. However, it only takes a few more minutes to double check piles to help insure accuracy. One lady emailed me and said there were 50 items in her pile that were not hers. FIFTY! There is no excuse for that. Imagine how angry you would be if 50 of your items didn't make it home, you thought they sold and were expecting to get paid for them! Mistakes happen, but it shouldn't be on that kind of scale. I can understand a misplaced item or two, but there is no reason someone should pick up 50 items that belonged to someone else.

Another email said that there were 10 items in her pile that didn't belong to her, but they were from 5 different consignors! That's inexcusable. There is no reason this should be happening at your sort. I know you're tired, but...

You have got to double check your sort. Its the difference between consignors returning to your sale an not returning. Since your inventory is dependent upon them, do your best to make sure that you are doing everything you can to ensure their unsold merchandise is returned to them.

For more information on starting a sale or how to work the sort, visit

Quality Control

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

I've had the privilege of helping a friend this season participate in some additional sales. All of the sale organizers are great, that much is true. They are all working hard to promote their sales. However...

The one thing that has been quite shocking to me is that not one of the sales my friend has participated in after my sale (6 so far this season) have checked items in. So excuse me while I get on my soapbox for a moment.

Sale organizers across the US and Canada are working hard to promote seasonal consignment sales as upscale events. They are supposed to be quality controlled, which is what separates what we do from your average yard sale.

Because my friend has a lot, and I mean a LOT of stuff, the fact that no one checks stuff in was quite the time saver for me, however it brings down the industry as a whole when "consignment sales" just accept any old merchandise that walks in the door and gets hung on the racks.

As a sale organizer, you have got to inspect the merchandise that comes into your sale. Granted, things are always going to slip through, but when you factor in all the stuff you turn away, not only are you upholding the standards of the industry, you are also not having to re-sort all that stuff back at the end. And then there's the whole "I like this sale because there isn't a lot I have to dig through" word of mouth aspect... and we all know how important word of mouth is!

For the love of Pete, please check your merchandise in. Websites like Nashville's ConsigningTime and National listing sites like ConsignmentMommies are working around the clock to promote your event and the industry as a whole as the upscale event and industry it is supposed to be. Consignors understand if merchandise is turned away. They'll still come back to your sale. Please be a contentious sale organizer and check the merchandise before it comes into your sale. I can't begin to tell you how devastating skipping this step can be not just for your sale, but for the industry as a whole.

Don't Shoot Yourself in the Foot

Written by Jenifer Gifford on .

One thing I love about Consignamania is I hear from a lot of consignors and volunteers around the country who feel like I am voice to help them be heard. This season I have heard a lot about volunteering and in particular, this one topic keeps coming up.

The topic I hear most about from consignors and volunteers is how some sales are using their sales to receive perks for their family. Now that it's vacation season, sale organizers are looking for airline miles, time shares or vacation homes in exchange for early shopping. It's bad enough when you are posting things like nail/hair service, lawn and garden service or sports tickets in exchange for volunteer passes, but vacations? Really?

Sale organizers, hear me clearly when I say that your volunteers DON'T like it when they give their time to shop early and you let someone else buy their way into the pre-sale. Sure you may get takers, but trust me when I say that these things are upsetting your current volunteer force. They use words like greedy, pathetic, and obnoxious when talking about you. Followed by, I used to volunteer, I won't anymore.

Volunteering and bartering for your sale should ONLY involve things FOR YOUR SALE, not things for you personally. After all, if your customers start perceiving you as "greedy, pathetic, and obnoxious" then guess what happens... they start thinking about starting a consignment sale and all of a sudden, you have created your own competition, one who will remember how they perceive you, and will do everything they can to create a better sale than you have.

So keep the perception of yourself as one who treats business as business and personal as personal. You're not here to compromise your business to get a few perks along the way, so stop alienating your volunteer force and start running your business like the business it is.

Copyright Jenifer Gifford 2012. All Rights Reserved.