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Thread: Jumble Sales...

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    Jumble Sales...

    Right...

    So we have a Jumble Sale, its like the coal-fired power station of our fundraising in so far as its dirty, very labour intensive, smelly, dusty, probably not good for our health but does provide us with a base load of cash for the year. We do other fundraising and its coming along nicely, but it has a distance to go before we could ever stop doing our Jumble Sale. We used to do two a year (Easter and October), but we stopped the October sale because they are awful and one sale is approximately still one too many.

    The thing is, we take anything and we're now basically a free uplift for people's crap they no longer want. We say on our flyers we can only take things that are working/complete/not broken. We say we can't take old CRT tellies, mingin' disgusting sofas (seriously, some of the things people have tried to give us - SERIOUSLY some of the things some of our volunteers have accepted...)

    Our sale is the bottom level of a recycling industry. We stack it high and sell it cheap (although not as cheap as we used to, some of my Explorers take no prisoners...) Its incredibly busy and very well known across the south of Scotland, people come from far and wide. Also, our village is thought of as being quite well to do, so there are occasionally some surprising things that come in.

    The thing is:

    Its hard to say no to stuff which is being donated.

    There is a massive difference between volunteers and what they think is suitable - one will basically take anything (he is pathologically unable to say no), all the way to another who will happily leave things at the side of the road that householders have left out, leading to screeches of complaints from people who thought they were being 'generous' - (they weren't, they were basically chancing their arm at a free uplift...)

    We skip - I reckon - 30 to 40% of what we collect, now we no longer have the skip, we hire a box van with a tail lift and do on average four or five trips to the local recycling centre, we also have another two vans, one towing a high-sided trailer. On a good year, they'll let us dump without sorting in to skips, we basically toss it out the back of the van in to very rough piles in a warehouse (which can be quite therapeutic). But on bad years they insist we sort into skips with other civilians - on those years, we're basically at it for a day and half - it takes hours and hours.

    So, how would you suggest we say to people: we can't take rubbish. How do we get past the quantity over quality paradigm that we currently deploy. And how to do we (tactfully) say to volunteers to be discriminating about what they accept from people who are donating stuff.

    Also, Jumble Sale stories are always entertaining to hear, I have very many...


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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    Being a Scout, I would have a fire going out the back of the hall as stuff arrives... if its not sellable but is burnable it goes on the fire.

    Alas i'm sure someone will complain about burning waste!

    In seriousness, a bit of a "guilt trip" in the requests for stuff... maybe point out that it costs you money to get rid of rubbish?

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Right...

    So we have a Jumble Sale, its like the coal-fired power station of our fundraising in so far as its dirty, very labour intensive, smelly, dusty, probably not good for our health but does provide us with a base load of cash for the year. We do other fundraising and its coming along nicely, but it has a distance to go before we could ever stop doing our Jumble Sale. We used to do two a year (Easter and October), but we stopped the October sale because they are awful and one sale is approximately still one too many.

    The thing is, we take anything and we're now basically a free uplift for people's crap they no longer want. We say on our flyers we can only take things that are working/complete/not broken. We say we can't take old CRT tellies, mingin' disgusting sofas (seriously, some of the things people have tried to give us - SERIOUSLY some of the things some of our volunteers have accepted...)

    Our sale is the bottom level of a recycling industry. We stack it high and sell it cheap (although not as cheap as we used to, some of my Explorers take no prisoners...) Its incredibly busy and very well known across the south of Scotland, people come from far and wide. Also, our village is thought of as being quite well to do, so there are occasionally some surprising things that come in.

    The thing is:

    Its hard to say no to stuff which is being donated.

    There is a massive difference between volunteers and what they think is suitable - one will basically take anything (he is pathologically unable to say no), all the way to another who will happily leave things at the side of the road that householders have left out, leading to screeches of complaints from people who thought they were being 'generous' - (they weren't, they were basically chancing their arm at a free uplift...)

    We skip - I reckon - 30 to 40% of what we collect, now we no longer have the skip, we hire a box van with a tail lift and do on average four or five trips to the local recycling centre, we also have another two vans, one towing a high-sided trailer. On a good year, they'll let us dump without sorting in to skips, we basically toss it out the back of the van in to very rough piles in a warehouse (which can be quite therapeutic). But on bad years they insist we sort into skips with other civilians - on those years, we're basically at it for a day and half - it takes hours and hours.

    So, how would you suggest we say to people: we can't take rubbish. How do we get past the quantity over quality paradigm that we currently deploy. And how to do we (tactfully) say to volunteers to be discriminating about what they accept from people who are donating stuff.

    Also, Jumble Sale stories are always entertaining to hear, I have very many...

    or from another angle, with any fundraising... is it worth it?

    how much do you raise... does it bring the right people together?

    could you just bung a fiver on subs per term and organise a camp instead?

    but to be more positive... is this you? http://www.oscr.org.uk/search-oscr/c...umber=SC002346

    well done... looking good
    Last edited by big chris; 21-11-2016 at 03:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    Being a Scout, I would have a fire going out the back of the hall as stuff arrives... if its not sellable but is burnable it goes on the fire.

    Alas i'm sure someone will complain about burning waste!

    In seriousness, a bit of a "guilt trip" in the requests for stuff... maybe point out that it costs you money to get rid of rubbish?
    We've thought about suggesting to people that if they have obvious rubbish they just want rid of, then they could make a donation and we'll pick it up. I mean, how do we say; we don't do house clearances (because sometimes that's basically what it is) - because we'd miss out on our bread and butter items. How picky can we be without offending?

    Also, if on our flyers we start asking people to be picky about what they give us, is there not the chance that we might not be given things that they don't know will actually make us money? Its a quandary for sure.

    Its like a many to many relationship (databases). Bear with me, we have many people donating all sorts of stuff to many people. No one person (on either side of the equation) is able to say yes to that but no to the other - so we end up having to accept everything. The other variable is what people buy, good grief, the stuff people go out the door with is sometimes unbelievable... We think 'no one will ever buy that' but sure enough...

    The fire is a fine idea, I have in the past burnt a lot of old furniture, but people playing tennis get ornery with the fumes. I used to find it entertaining, but I'm a member of the tennis club myself, which is embarrassingly middle class really...


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    Senior Member recneps's Avatar
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    So... if the issue is one of time to clear the rubbish, perhaps price up how much a commercial waste removal would cost?

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    or from another angle, with any fundraising... is it worth it?

    how much do you raise... does it bring the right people together?

    could you just bung a fiver on subs per term and organise a camp instead?

    but to be more positive... is this you? http://www.oscr.org.uk/search-oscr/c...umber=SC002346

    well done... looking good
    Yup, that is us.

    We've thought about this; is it worth it? On the one hand the answer is no, its a total ball ache, its very labour intensive. However, on average, our sales raise close to 4k a pop, so its valuable base funding.

    There are also other pluses, everyone knows its our sale, its our most high profile event. In those circles its quite highly thought of. I mean, I loathe it but grudgingly love it too (can't believe I'm saying that, its not even as simple as that, its complicated). The kids think its a total blast and a lot of people turn out to help... Its a real community endeavour...

    But it is so loathsome...

    This the most recent development...

    We put a phone number on our flyers for people who have large items for pick up. Otherwise, we're all out knocking on every door in the week before the sale. What's happening now is, instead of waiting for the knock on the door, people are phoning for a pick up, the van and trailer arrives and its a poly bag of books.

    GGGGRRRRRRRR!!!!!!! NO NO NO NO NO no....

    So the vehicles that usually go round methodically with Scouts, Explorers, Cubs and Beavers (no one escapes) collecting items from the kerb side are tied up doing silly pick ups that we'd get to in good time anyway... What also happens is; people phone up, leave a message about stuff they're going to leave out saying "can you get it on Tuesday?" The answer was no but they stick it out anyway. We don't pick it up and they complain because its out over night - and its not even anything large.

    See above Grrr

    People can be very dim at times, they don't read things properly.

    (But we really really really appreciate your jumble, natch...)

    Another scout group hand out fluorescent flyers, if people have jumble, they just put it in a window visible from the road and the collectors know to knock on the door. They collect over two night, we collect over 4 (if we get a lot of people out). Our village is about a quarter the size of their small town. (But they don't make anything like as much as we do...)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by recneps View Post
    So... if the issue is one of time to clear the rubbish, perhaps price up how much a commercial waste removal would cost?
    Its a lot of money, it would render the sale more or less pointless.

    If we could just find a practical way to not accept things we wouldn't sell. The problem being, we just don't know if it won't sell until it doesn't. We skip a lot of stuff that would sell on another day. (We store a fair bit, I sell it on line, but its not practical... Space is a bit tight... And its yet more work...)

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Never underestimate the ability of people to misunderstand something.

    What doesn't sell? Exercise bikes. Everytime.

    I dig where you're coming from with the love/hate of jumble sales. I love the group ethic of getting it done, but I hate the whole dusty smelliness of it. I swear our scout hut only smells like it does because of the jumble sale. Might be the carpet mind you. And yes, getting rid of the waste. Awful, currently left out the front under a tarp hoping someone will nick it. Fat chance.
    Ian Wilkins
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    I think if you are making 4k a go, it's almost worth grinning and bearing it.

    Maybe you need to reorganise your pick up, you are doing a valuable community service there. Why not charge a one-off pick up fee. This might help to concentrate the mind of those who have a carrier bag of books although, I'm not sure how it would work exactly.

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    Slightly devious but what about asking people to register before hand and be issued with a set of (easy peel) labels that have their name and address on - under the reasoning that you'd like to be able to claim gift aid on their donations (which is what charity shops do). Firstly that might bring in a bit more cash - secondly people might be a bit more wary of lumbering you with utter tat if its traceable! You'd need a bit of a system so that on sale the labels are peeled off and stuck on a record sheet with the amount the item went for next to it. Even if you don't actually get the gift aid back on it you'd hopefully deter some junk. Wouldn't be that hard to create a quick Excel database of contributors and then print off some sheets of labels for each person.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Yup.

    We do need to streamline how we collect, to think we used to do it over two weeks twice a year... Now only have one sale and we're usually done collecting (if we're on the ball) in 3 or 4 nights - our record is 2 nights, but we had a lot of vans and estate cars turned out...

    Currently there is rather a lot of grinning and bearing - the money means we don't have to scrabble around with lots of micro-fundraising, its done in one foul (literally) swoop.

    The stickers I don't think would work. There is the perception that we do take anything, so people wouldn't be deterred by being identifiable (well most folk wouldn't...) I think it would just take to long to track it through, and often, with the number of people collecting, it just wouldn't be practical. One of the issues we have is, people who volunteer to collect don't listen and no one person is in charge. I've tried but people still do their own thing - on the day of the sale, we have to be strict because there are safety issues, we've had kids verbally abused so we really need adults to be on the ball. I often end up doing 'security', frog marching people out the door if they misbehave - and some do...

    Its really something when you turn up to a pick up, on the door step will be a beaming old couple - quite proud and happy to be able to donate. They'll say "we have this sofa, its in very good condition..." We think, well okay... Then they say "whats great is, the covers are removable so you can machine wash them..." (Still smiling away, proud of their largesse). Meanwhile, we're beginning to think they're softening us up... "Its been in the garden for a few days..." they say... And we sigh... Its flee bitten, has mice in it, is mildewed... I'd say no to it (and some how cope with their faces falling), others would still pick it up. But we don't even put it out, it just sits to one side waiting for the tip run.

    I think we might have to just bite the bullet on what we collect, but if we could be more efficient at collecting - that would be helpful. And for things that are very obviously crap -like garden furniture that wouldn't even burn... People need to say no.

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    I think you need to learn the art of saying no thank you.

    The little elderly couple are using you as rubbish collectors. Why not offer them a trip to the tip for a fiver?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    And yes, getting rid of the waste. Awful, currently left out the front under a tarp hoping someone will nick it. Fat chance.
    The last couple of times our partner group ran a jumble sale several years ago (thankfully not repeated since......) they came to an agreement with a local secondhand/scrap dealer that he took anything and everything left over at the end of the sale. No money changed hands either way so what he recycled, resold, or scrapped was entirely up to him. There were a few whinges that the group were not getting anything out of it until it was pointed out that if it hadn't sold during the jumble sale, it probably still wouldn't sell at the next one, and in the meantime it would be cluttering up the stores and generally being a nuisance. And yes, there is a distinctive jumble sale smell

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbb View Post
    I think you need to learn the art of saying no thank you.

    The little elderly couple are using you as rubbish collectors. Why not offer them a trip to the tip for a fiver?
    I would be VERY careful about offering that.

    If you are being paid to transfer someone elses waste then you would need a waste transfer license.

    It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbb View Post
    I think you need to learn the art of saying no thank you.

    The little elderly couple are using you as rubbish collectors. Why not offer them a trip to the tip for a fiver?
    I've suggested this in the past, but there is little direction during a Jumble Sale, back in the day, our cub leader - who was also Police Inspector grabbed the whole thing by the scruff of the neck and streamlined it. But as you might imagine, with different personalities involved and no one really wanting to push the point, it just flops about. Personally I do just say no, while I try to tell other people to do the same... Imagine, on a Monday night, we don't send the Beavers to stranger's doors (obviously), so their parents go with them - they have no idea what we collect (yes, I've tried to school them - it doesn't work). Its; if in doubt, accept it.

    Jumble Sales are weird, we could have as many as a hundred different adults during the course of the week collecting, we just can't get round them all to tell them what we accept and to use their judgement, and their judgement is all different anyway...

    I'm all for going round the village with a bucket, there are around 800 or 900 houses? If we got a fiver from each one (a bagatelle really), then we needn't even do the jumble sale... Plus, they get to keep all those quality items we're pestering them for...


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    I'm still astounded you make 4k from a jumble sale. That's a hell of a lot of 20p bric-a-brac.

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    Ian Wilkins
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