How do Consignment Shops work??

netshoundJuly 23, 2006

OK, I'm new at this whole thing! I was thinking about weeding out some items I really don't use or need and was wondering how Consignment Shops work. Does anyone have any info?

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Many deal only with the most popular designer labels. You get a (small) percentage of the final selling price, which is marked down every week or so.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 6:09PM
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Do I just bring the stuff in and they tell me what they will mark it at and what part of the sale is mine and what is thiers to keep? When the item is sold do they call me?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 6:12PM
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Yeah, that's basically it. The actual rules vary from store to store, but typically you own the inventory until it is sold and then they split the sale with you based on some formula.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2006 at 10:31PM
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Call ahead and make an appointment. I don't know of any that allow you to just drop junk off anytime. It's not Goodwill. They don't want you comming in during their busy selling times. They won't drop everything they are doing just to look at your stuff. Also there is usually only one person who makes the decision one what they wish to keep in the store and that person may not be there all day, every day and may not be there if you decide to just pop in.

What they will do is go through your stuff and sort it into two piles. One pile is what they will try to sell and the other pile is what you have to take back with you.

You don't get to have any input on what they are going to price things at, and they won't tell you what the prices will be when they sort. So, you may end up getting more than you thought you would for some items or a lot less. After a certain amount of time on the rack they start reducing the price of an item. Some people do not like this practice as you must just take the store's *word* for it on what they sold the item at.(Unless you plan on popping in everyday to check on your stuff.)

They will probably set you up with an *account* with your name and code word. You may be required to show ID when you drop stuff off. At the end of a selling *season* you come in to pick up a check and also take back any unsold merchandise. They will not pay you piece by piece as they are sold. You may have to option to keep your account open and have any purchases you make just deducted from your account. Some people sell their clothing but then wish to purchase other items such as children's clothes. It is very common that a woman brings in her pre-pregnancy clothes that no longer fit and decides to purchase some baby and toddlers clothes while she is in the store. No money exchanges hands but they do keep records just so you know. You *may* have to pay personal income tax on items you sell at a consignment shop - even if you only bartered your items. Probably not though but, my advice is to save copies of all your transactions, just in case. There have been cases of the IRS going after people who have *too many* rummage sales and define them as a business, owing income tax on what they sold.

Hint: Only bring in 'in season' clothing. Do not bring in shorts and sundresses in winter and wooley sweaters in the summer. They put things out on the rack right away and will not store them for you for 'later'. If they like an item but it is out of season they will probably ask you to bring it in at another time.

When they do not accept an item they proably will not tell you the reason WHY they won't take it. Telling a person WHY they won't take an item usually invites a rebuttal from the person and some people get very defensive and hurt when they are told that something they just wore last week is ugly or out of style or too worn out and ratty looking. The clerks just don't have time for an argument or defensive retort. You won't change their minds by trying to convince them, just waste their time. They will just hand the item(s) back and say "We can't use these" and leave you scratching your head as to the reason why. I've had things refused that have *never been worn* and were only one season old. Some things refused at one shop will be picked up by another shop. It doesn't always make sense.

Unless the shop advertises itself as a petite store or a large size specialty store they probably won't take an odd size. They want size 10-16 mostly.

They aren't looking for TEEN clothes either, just women and children's. Teens tend not to shop at second hand shops unless it is one of those trendy 'vintage' type stores.

What they are looking for in consignment shops is going to vary regionally across the US and even from one side of town to the other. The shop closest to where you live may not be your best bet to sell at. Stores located downtown and around campuses are not usually looking for children's things, for instance.

I personally have found consignment shops to be too muh of a 'hassle'. The percentage of money you get in the end and the time you have to put into it do not make it worth it to me. I would rather have a rummage sale and keep 100 percent or just give it all to charity and be done with it.

The clerks at all of these types of stores always seem surly bitter. It don't know why. It must be a very draining job.

These shops are usually privately owned and as such have their own individual rules. I am only relating my own personal experience and it may differ greatly from others.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 1:56AM
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Oh, and to answer the question in your second post - No they won't call you when your things are sold. They are hoping you will forget. :)

If you let too much time go by before getting back to them they will claim they held your check for you, but gave your unsold stuff to charity and you won't get your unsold stuff back when you pick up your check.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 2:03AM
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Yea....we used a consignment shop once and never saw a DIME. We put lots of stuff there and they didn't answer phone calls and eventually moved. They are not all like that I'm sure, just watch out.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 3:20PM
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Netshound - You will probably be better off donating to the SA or GW or homeless shelter, etc. and getting a receipt for an income tax deduction. It's a lot less hassle. Generally, you make your list and figure out the values. The agency just acknowledges the receipt of items, not placing any values. I've given up on garage sales; donate everything I can. Most accountants recommend donating and taking the deduction. Do a Google search for "donation value". There are lots of lists from different agencies you can use as general guides.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 1:41PM
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Or, you can do what I do - find a place that keeps track of what your donated stuff sold for and gives you an IRS-approved document of value at the end of the calendar year.

Nothing for me to keep track of... one form at the end of the year... at least $1000 each year in charitable donation.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 9:39AM
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May I ask which charity does that? It seem like an awful lot of work and the charity does not derive any benefit from that type of system.

I've got a bunch of stuff from a deceased relative, nice stuff, dishes and furniture, but I can't use them, and I want them out of my attic.

It sounds ideal, but I have never heard of a chaity that does such minute record keeping with their donations.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 3:22PM
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It is the YWCA Thrift Shop the next town over.

I do not know if ALL YWCAs do that, or even if all YWCAs have Thrift Shops... but THIS one does, and that is why it gets all our stuff!

It saves time and effort on my part. Yesterday I had to go into that town for other things, so I dropped off a boxful. Sealed and labeled with name, address, and "tax donation". That's all I gotta do!

Hope you can find something as easy!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 11:35AM
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Cool. Thanks. I'll check it out.

The Y in my town does not have shops but I'll check out other obscure donation centers.

I'm so tired of tripping over the stuff in my attic I'm thinking about just setting it out on my lawn and putting up a *FREE* sign. What ever is left over I'll just call Purple Heart and have them pick it up.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 4:23PM
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Good luck!
I am grateful I have this option as we have NO options of anyone doing a pickup (like Purple Heart...)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 7:46PM
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We have a couple of nice resale shops. As was already stated they are particular in what they will take and also don't want things out of season. They want everything clean and wrinkle free so they have hang it as is. There is a certain day of the week they take clothing and certain hours. Also, as stated above, after a period of time they mark things down. It is posted that if your items are not sold within a certain length of time they will do away with them. I guess you could tell them you'd like them back at that time but am not sure.

Our Salvation Army has a thrift shop but it's just garbage that they have there. Our Goodwill is really good but they only handle clothing and small household items like dishes, toys, books, suitcases, etc. There is a Humane Society Thrift Store that benefits animals and it is in 2 buildings and is pretty nice.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 2:35AM
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I've donated to Thrifts and sold a few things on Ebay. If your items are good quality, you could put them up on Ebay and then the buyer pays the shipping cost.

I've also recently used Freecycle and looked at Craigslist. Both of these you can "google". Freecycle is where you can give away things free that are too good to throw out. There are local "chapters" of both of these in most major towns.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 12:36PM
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Our local consignment shops accept clothing and household goods on certain days and times. I've never figured out how they do the who would like to haul in a dining room table only to be told that it isn't acceptable? Usually it's a 50-50 or 60-40 split with the store. They want things clean and drycleaned if necessary, and often you can't even re-coup the cost of drycleaning. The shops near us call if your stuff isn't sold, and if you don't pick it up, it's given to charity, but you get a receipt. I agree with eBaying special pieces. OTOH, I have purchased from consignment shops and gotten great deals. Still, you have to be careful; there may be stains or rips not evident on first inspection. Also, be sure to try everything on. I find consigned things run even less true to size than store-bought clothing. I've purchased lots of household things: my dining roon buffet, a night stand and dresser for my bedroom, and the piece de resistance, 8 sterling julep cups for a song. For what it's worth, I've had clothing rejected by a store and taken it back on another day and had it accepted! I think on the whole, they're better for buyers than sellers.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 3:57PM
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For large items and furniture they will come out to your house. Not consignment places, but resale shops that buy and resell.

Be wary though...........The way this works is they look at your stuff and offer you a price for the whole "lot" of goods. If you have a lot of stuff they do not price anything individually. At least not the ones I've delt with. They are very high pressure trying to give you the lowest price possible so they can resell it for maximum profit. Nothing wrong with that - but be wary.

I called one place once to get rid of a lot of very nice furniture that I inherited but had no room for. They said they would send someone over to give me an estimate. They sent four guys with a huge semi. They started opening the back and getting the ramps and quilting all ready like they were ready to take everything away. When I said that this was just for an estimate I got a "Yeah. Ugh. Sure." The offer they made was paultry. They kept pressuring. They acted like they went through a lot of work getting the truck there 'for nothing' and left in a huff. I was warned about their high pressure tactics by someone else who used them and sold their stuff to them for a very low price and later regretted it.

I've ended up just giving most of the stuff to charity and saving the rest in the attic and then giving it to people I know who need something. Less hassle and I know that I am doing something good for someone.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 8:43PM
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I consigned a very fine cherry desk to a local shop before moving out of the area. Never got a check. Called to inquire and was told I did not send them a self addressed, stamped envelope and that voided my contract. Sure enough, in very, very fine print there was the stipulation I had to furnish an envelope.Didn't matter what I said, the woman would not budge. So, read your contract carefully. But, I can not imagine many people would be like this one was.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 9:18PM
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Hi southern magnolia,

I wonder what the "lady" would have said had you visited her shop the next day with a bottle of used motor oil and wondered how she'd like to clean it up after you'd accidentally spilled some on some of her nice goods?

That said ... often times we neglect to read contracts before signing (or after, for that matter: in this situation, "after" would have sufficed).

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 7:48PM
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Wow. You guys are really against consigning aren't you? Have you really had that bad of experiences becasue what you say here is a little unfair to those shops that do treat their customers right.
1.Yes, it is a 60-40 split deal where you get 40 percent of the selling price but not all price out the items as a lot.
2.Not all lowball you so they can make tons of money on the item.
3.Not all have you contact them, or hope you don't contact them for your money. They don't contact you becasue they don't have the time or the employees just to make those phone calls. Unfort, for you yes. But I guess maybe it is fortunate for them becasue they are busy trting to keep track of everyones items that are sold.
4.Not all continue to mark down your items and then just give them away without your approval or knowledge.

You really shouldn't knock these businesses because they too are trying to make a living just like you and your family. More and more biz go out....economy loses, doesn't it? Think about what you may say before you say it next time. just a thought.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 4:59AM
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"You really shouldn't knock these businesses because they too are trying to make a living just like you and your family."

So they should LIE about their experiences?
I don't think so!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:35AM
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