Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cosignment Sales

Let's talk about consignment sales for children. Huge bonus for buyers...sucks for sellers. Maybe.

There is a semi-annual kids consignment sale in my town which I've patronized the last few years. I've always gotten great deals on toys, furniture and clothing. So much so that this year, I decided to become a consignee to make some extra bucks as well as receive a pass to the early bird sale.

At the early bird sale, I totally scored on a solid pine dresser and a few pieces of clothing, some of which still had tags attached. On collection day however, I'm grateful I didn't open my envelope until I got in the car.

Going in, the terms were pretty fair. Consignees paid an $8 fee to the handlers and received 65% per item. However, fair didn't seem to translate on paper. Most of my items didn't sell, even though I thought they were priced to move. My total sales (most of which happened on the last day in which items are discounted 50%) totalled $8.78. (No, that's not a typo. It reads eight dollars and seventy-cents.) Less the handling fee, my whopping take home bonus was 78c.

This bothered me for a while, until I thought about the trade-off. For the cost of a few maternity outfits plus a baby positioning thingy, I got first access to a roomy solid wood dresser which I love, but still have to refinish, as well as several outfits for each of my kids, all for $45.

What's the lesson here? Unless you have a truckload of baby stuff priced dirt cheap (think yard sale cheap), eBay or Craig's List are probably better options for recouping a fraction of the origial sales price, after handler fees. However, if your sole motivation for participating in consignment sales are for early bird passes, enter a few things you wouldn't mind losing in return. It's actually a fair deal in the end.

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