Sorry to brag, but I believe I am becoming an REI Garage Sale master. My family and I attend them whenever possible, often camping out 24 hours in advance to claim the #1 spot. It really isn’t necessary to show up THAT early, but it is fun! Today I found great deals on a few items, and learned a new Garage Sale trick!
I had no intention of attending today’s sale, primarily because I didn’t hear about it until the night before. I was in the general area this morning for another task, and decided to swing by and try my luck.
As I said earlier, we typically show up the evening before the sale, or even 24 hours before the sale to get first dibs. We never really have anything that we need, but we always find something we want. We’ve gotten smoking deals on things like kayaks, paddle boards, boots, backpacks, air mattresses, bikes, and even a roof top tent.
Today I showed up around 8:15am. The tickets had already been handed out to everyone in line, but I still managed to get a 9:40am time slot. The store opened at 9am and that is when the first wave went in. Each wave is 15 minutes, with 5 minutes in between… so at 9:40am, I was in the 3rd wave. (If you are totally new to Garage Sales, check out my other posts here.)
If you aren’t in the first group, you never really get to see everything that is for sale, but there is always an abundance of gear for those in later waves. The 20 minute waves work well, too, as items the first group grabbed, but chose not to buy, make their way back into the sale in the later waves. So someone in the 2nd group may not get a shot at an item the 1st group saw, but someone in the 3rd group might! Confused? Read on.
You are limited to leaving the sale with 5 “hard good” items, but you aren’t committed to buy what you grab. When your 15 minutes are up, you can enter the store and check out the gear before heading to the register. You’ll find people scattered all over the store, setting up tents, blowing up sleeping pads, even testing out kayaks! If you decide that you don’t want the item after further inspection, simply toss it in the return bin, and the item is brought back to the sale for someone else to consider. This cycle means that the gear in the sale is constantly changing. For that reason, I recommend going through at least twice. Pay for what you want from the first wave and then grab a ticket for another wave.
I went through the sale again at 11:20am. This sounds like a long wait, but time flies at a sale. I had seen a few items in the first wave that peaked my interest, and I wanted to see if the price was negotiable. You see, some items may not sell and they are stored for the next garage sale. Today I learned that, at my store, these items get a blue stamp on the tag, which signifies it didn’t sell at previous sales. I saw a Yakima bike rack that had several blue dots, and I thought maybe they would lower the price for a quick sale. I’m glad I asked, because they dropped the price by 50% off the garage sale price. Score.
Today was a great sale. I had been looking for another Goal Zero Yeti 400 solar generator, ever since I bought my first one at an REI Garage Sale several years ago. Today, I finally found one – like new and in the original box! I also found a Nemo Stargazer chair with a broken part, and I nabbed it for $60. I suspect Nemo will send me a replacement part at no cost. I had also been looking for another bike rack for my travel trailer, and nabbed a brand new Yakima Raptor, in the box and plastic wrap, for $45. I also found a lightweight Eno hammock that wasn’t in the 9:40am wave. We have far too many hammocks, but this one will be great for backpack and bike packing trips! I found a nice Hydroflask coffee thingy, to complement the many Hydroflasks thingies we’ve bought at previous sales. Lastly, I found a Sea To Summit mug which completes a matching set that we have. Overall, I am very pleased with today’s haul. Details and prices are listed below. You can see that we even found a gently used Yellow Lab, although I think this one may be defective.
- Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator, like new: MSRP $449. REI Garage Sale $170
- Yakima Raptor Bike Rack, brand new: MSRP $150. REI Garage Sale $45
- Nemo Stargazer Chair, broken plastic part: MSRP $220, REI Garage Sale $60
- Hydroflask 20oz Coffee Flask, used but like new: MSRP $28, REI Garage Sale $9
- Sea To Summit Delta Mug, missing lid but like new: MSRP $17, REI Garage Sale $6
- Eno Sub7 Hammock, broken carabiner: MSRP $70, REI Garage Sale $20