It’s always funny to hear why people shop when they do. Everyone has their own interpretation of when the best deals are. Truth be told, I am at the sale from the time we set up, to the time the sale ends from 8am until at least midnight every night. Every day, items come through the sale, that I never laid eyes on. Never saw them until they came through the check out line! It goes without saying that any day at a sale, great deals can be found. Let’s go through the busiest and best times to shop a consignment sale based upon your shopping style.
The pre-sale is broken down into 3 different sales on the same night. Typically, children are not allowed at this sale because of the craziness of this sale. Think of this as your Black Friday shopping event.
The volunteer pre-sale is the first opportunity to shop. It is the first dibs, best selection and the best prices. The sale has 3 cozy coupes in similar shape. The first one is $5, the second is $8 and the third is $20. As a volunteer, you get your choice of cozy coupes, and you can potentially save the most money if you choose the $5 coupe. You shop with a handful of people, versus the rest of the pre-sale crowd.
This is the Black Friday crowd. You still have an amazing selection and great prices, but depending on the size of the sale, there can be lots and lots of people. This is why we call this the Black Friday crowd. It’s busy and you can expect lots of hustle and bustle.
New Mom Pre-Sale
This pre-sale is for new and expecting mothers. Expect lots of pregnant women and a large crowd of people. If you are looking for equipment or baby gear, you want to be in this pre-sale, as most of the pack and plays, high chairs and swings tend to go during this time. Notice I said “most” but not all. You can still find gear left over during the regular sale.
This is the first opportunity for the public to shop. It always makes me laugh when people think there’s nothing left after the pre-sale. Well, if you are looking for a high chair, you might be right, but other than that, I can’t even tell that we’ve sold anything! So yes, you can still find lots of amazing and affordable items at the sale. Expect it to be busy.
After 1pm of opening day, things slow down. Still lots of great items, only without the crowds.
Second Day Morning
This is the day people who don’t like to shop with crowds shop. It’s also the day where people who find themselves easily overwhelmed by the amount of choice tend to shop. It’s a nice easy pace, with a nice overall selection of items.
½ Price Pre-Sale
About 10% of the pre-sale crowd attends the ½ Price Pre-Sale. Some people tend to wait to shop the sale until the ½ price pre-sale or the ½ price sale. Remember those cozy coupes we talked about earlier? The $5 and $8 ones are gone, but the $20 one is going half price. By waiting until the ½ price sale to attend the sale for the first time, you have actually paid more for a cozy coupe, than if you had purchased one earlier in the sale. Sure… at half price, it’s only $10, and still a great deal, but you paid more for it than the other two. My point being is that, if you wait until half price to shop for the first time, even though something is going half price, you can actually pay more than if you had paid full price for one a day or two earlier.
I always shop the half price sale because you never know what is going to pop into your hands. Once things get down to the $1/$1.50 range, I tend to pick up a few extra things for friends or for organizations that are looking for certain items. Plus, the selection is still relatively decent and I am not overwhelmed with choices. My favorite shopping strategy is to buy what I need during the pre-sale or opening day and then come back to see if there’s anything else I can’t live without for half price day.
Because only about 10% of people shop the ½ price pre-sale, I always ask friends for their ½ price pre-sale passes. Most of them aren’t going to use them, and I get to hit the half price deals before the public.
½ Price Day
Half price morning is going to be busy. Everyone has big piles of stuff! This is the day that most grandparents shop because they aren’t really looking for something specific, just a few fun things and books for when the grand babies come to visit. Pre-schools shop on half price day as well to fill in items for their toy and book rotation. And families who have been promising the Littles that they can come shop to pick out a few things, shop then as well. There are still lots of good items available.
In the afternoon of the half price sale is when I, for the first time, actually notice the racks are looking a little thin, and table space is starting to show. But there are still lots of great deals to be found! It’s going to be slower than in the morning, but expect a steady flow of people in and out of the sale.
By the afternoon of the half price sale, approximately half of the inventory that we started with is gone. That’s right. Only half. So when you hear people say, there isn’t anything left after the pre-sale, know that’s not true! There is always a good selection and lots of great deals to find no matter when you come visit your favorite sale.
To find a consignment sale to shop near you, check out our Consignment Sale Calendar.