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The Attraction to Tag Sales and Consignment Shops WRITTEN BY Darci Hansen | PHOTOS BY Tammi Swanson
Saturday, 7am. Élan Woman’s stylist, Tammi Swanson, is prepared – notepad, measuring tape, and cash. We rolled the car windows down and took in the fresh feeling of the summer’s morn as we headed toward Santa Clara. Century-old shade trees line the main street of this historic little city in southern Utah, providing relief from the desert’s heat. Homes built by the settlers of this quiet community remain as if time had stood still. The assignment? Tag sales and consignment stores. For years magazines have glamorized the ‘seek and find’ adventure of rural picking that always appear to result in valuable discoveries of beautiful things. Really? Not easily convinced, I asked Tammi, our consummate creative forger, to show me the ‘loot.’ The day did not disappoint as we uncovered some wonderful hidden treasures. SUMMER 2011
TAG SALES A tag sale (more commonly known in the southwest as a yard sale or garage sale) was an innovation from the twentieth century as a way to eliminate clutter. These sales of such got their name from the process of ‘tagging’ each item with a price. Tag sales are hosted by individuals or families who no longer have a use for specific items. What can you expect to find at a tag sale? Books, home décor, kitchen items, collectibles, clothing, toys, and furniture to name a few…actually the list is endless. This type of event usually is on a Saturday morning and will be advertised in a variety of ways from an ad in a local shopper style newsprint to simply a sign in the yard.
WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU:
1. Cash – Money talks. Take small bills ($20 or smaller). Checks are sometimes accepted if you are out picking in your own area however a host is usually more willing to negotiate if you are paying cash on site. 2. Empty Car – Once you have discovered a fabulous find, the last thing you want to do is leave it behind…chances are, it will be gone. Empty the car out and be prepared to haul your goods at the time of sale. 3. Measuring Tape – If you are looking for an item that would be placed in a specific location, know the measurements. All sales are final in most cases so make sure you measure an item before you lay down the cash. 4. Packing Products – It is rare for the host of a tag sale to provide something to wrap your purchase up in. Bubble wrap or old newspapers are good for this purpose. 5. Water, Sun Protection, Comfortable Shoes – Once you’ve begun your treasure hunt, you will not want to waste time heading back to your home for simple things. So be prepared for a full day in the sun.
THE COURTEOUS WAY TO NEGOTIATE: Keep in mind that the host of a tag sale will be asked all day long to lower their prices. Bargaining can be an effective tool if handled in a polite way. Consider the following suggestions: - There is always room to negotiate. Ask, “Would you consider taking less?” - A sk if the host has any other merchandise for sale. Sometimes items are held back in the morning and put out later in the day to replace items already sold. - A sk for an overall discount if you are purchasing more than one item. This saves time and prevents ongoing bargaining that can become tedious. - Don’t offer an insulting price. Your opportunity to purchase something you may really desire will end before it even begins.
- Don’t argue with the seller no matter how much you know about their item. Simply listen and be open to the information they provide you. This will assist in building a relationship and lead to better bargaining opportunities.
CONSIGNMENT & THRIFT STORES A consignment shop is a creative way to merchandise items that are no longer wanted by an individual but may be of value to someone else. These items are brought into the store and placed on sale in behalf of its owner. When an item is sold, the consignment shop will take a small percentage of the sale and the remainder goes back to the owner. Quality in a consignment shop is usually higher than what you may find in a thrift store. Thrift stores are typically established by a nonprofit or charitable group. Their purpose is to take in donated items in good/workable condition and resale them. The donor can receive a tax donation, and the proceeds from sales at the thrift shop are most commonly used to support a charity. Carnival glass is inexpensively made glassware treated to have an iridescent sheen. Its eye-catching multicolor shimmer seems to change colors when viewed at different angles. Over the years, it’s been dubbed “Taffeta” or “Poor Man’s Tiffany,” as it was a way for the average housewife to adorn her home with fancy glassware.
KNOW THE LINGO Antique dealers and vintage-good purveyors have a language all of their own. Know the basic terms before you shop to help you communicate through your purchase. - “As Is” – The item marked has a fault and with no attempt to repair. Inspect these items well before buying. - “Buck” – A savvy seller may have their own interpretation of what a “buck” means. Always ask. - “Circa” – The approximate date of an item, usually within a ten year span. - “Firm” – If the price of an object includes the word ‘firm’ it means there is no negotiations on the price. - “Foxed” – This term applies to either a document or print that has blotchy dark appearing spots which are usually acquired through age. These stains would require professional handling for removal. The Charity X-change is a unique non-profit venue in southern Utah. It combines the thrift store concept, carries consignment items, and provides donations to those in need. It was there that we discovered this fabulous travel trunk (a.k.a. wardrobe trunk). As the 20th century arrived, luggage became a fashion statement for the wealthy. The best designers were French and included iconic names such as Louis Vuitton, and Goyard & Hermes. Travel trunks of this era were built with drawers for folded clothes, a hanging section for garments, and a shoe compartment.
- “Hairline” – A thin, fine line crack in the ceramic. Inspect the product well. A hairline could result in the ruin of your product without attention. - “Lot” – Products marked as being sold in a “lot” means you will need to purchase all of the items being sold, not just one or two.
This table was a fabulous find. It is an early 1900’s piece that had it’s original dark cherry stain, but had some smoke damage from a fire. We sanded then painted it a medium toned grey, and finished with a dark taupe glaze giving it new life and function.
It was a grueling task to keep the thousands of servicemen engaged in WWII fed. This set of shallow baking pans, dated 1940, were used for such purpose. New life has been given to these pieces of history and are now displayed as décor.
Our Betty Boop doll was purchased for $2. This doll’s collectible line was introduced in 2000. However, Betty’s historic significance lies in the fact that she was the first female cartoon character. Originally created in 1930, her makeover in 1932 fully represented the femininity of a woman. woman