I was pretty hesitant to go with the girls for two reasons. I went to a JBF sale in Fort Worth when I was pregnant with AG last year and was really disappointed. I had to pay $5 for parking, $5 to get into the preview sale (to be fair, there were free admission days later in the sale) and walked away empty handed. I couldn't buy any clothes because I didn't know if I was having a boy or a girl, so I was mostly in the market for large toys (exersaucers, bouncers, swings) and other large items (extra carseat bases, umbrella strollers). There were quite a few large items, but not as many as I had expected; they were not in as good a condition as I had expected, and they were priced much higher than I had anticipated. Someone heard me grumbling, and explained that a LOT of the merchandise was grabbed up during the volunteer pre-sale. It was obvious the clothes the main event. Tons of huge racks filled a pretty good size conference hall at Will Rogers Coliseum.
My friend had never been to the FW sale, but she told the word on the street was that our lil-city sale had cleaner items in better condition. Plus, I was would be able to attend free of charge as my friend's guest to the new mothers/teachers preview sale. With no money lost to parking or admission, I figured I had nothing to lose. Ailee needed some new pajamas, too.
I walked away from the sale with an Ikea bag loaded FULL of stuff. Of course, I bought everything but pajamas.
The Weatherford/Aledo sale definitely featured items in better conditions than the FW sale. I'm not sure if that's because it was less picked over by volunteers or because our area is higher income. There were definitely less big items like bouncers, stroller, car seats – probably less than half of what I found at the FW sale – and they went quickly. The prices were about the same, but, again, the items were cleaner and in better shape.
I still had sticker shock when I was browsing some of the Weatherford items. I saw a plastic wagon I thought might be fun for Ailee, and couldn't believe it was priced at $20. It was in good, but not like-new, condition.
But I did find plenty of items I was really happy with. The catch about these sales is the items are priced higher then they would be if you were able to find them garage-sale shopping. For example, I have a Leap Frog music table that my mom scored for me at a garage sale for $8. It is in like-new condition. At a JBF sale, it would probably be priced $15 for good condition and $20 for like-new condition. The table is $35 brand new in stores. However, it could take months of consistent garage sale-ing to find a specific item like a music table, and at a JBF sale you might have three to chose from and a ton of other items to look through all in one location. So you are definitely paying for convenience.
While I was there, I looked for only like-new items priced at a bargain because I just couldn't justify paying the higher price for more worn items. Thankfully, AG has been gifted an ENORMOUS amount of second hand clothes and toys in wonderful condition, so I didn't have to rely on a sale such as this to stock up on affording clothing, toys and equipment. I had the luxury of being more picky.
I also kept my iPhone handy to double-check prices and that helped me from making some poor selections out of ignorance. For example, there was a Melissa and Dough hammer and peg set at the sale. It was missing 2 pegs and the original wood hammer was replaced with a plastic hammer from another set. It was priced at $6. I found you can buy the entire set brand new for $10 online or at Toys R Us. I'd be willing to pay $6 for a good or like-new used set with all the parts, but not for a partial set when I could fork over a few more dollars for the new one.
Next, I found a Melissa and Doug car carrier toy. It was priced at $12 and was in like-new condition. That seemed pretty expensive. I looked on Amazon and found I could get a new one for $15. The one at JBF was only marked down $3, but I felt good buying it because it was like new. If I had picked up a chipped or worn one, got home and realized I could have got a new one for $3 more, I'd be annoyed.
So some iPhone Googling or a good knowledge (or former pre-school teacher friend with good knowledge!) of how much these items cost new is really helpful at sales like these. If you are fighting a crowd, grab all the items you like, then take them to a corner, sit down and sift through everything while you research on your phone. Then, return all the items that don't fit the bill.
With all that said, here are the items I took home:
Old Navy Stars & Stripes SwimsuitCondition: Very good (a tiny bit of pilling on the crotch area)
JBF Price: $2
Condition: Very good (there is a teeny, tiny miniscule yellowish dot)
JBF Price: $3 (I was so happy about this one. Smocked items are classics. They're still super in style and they are really expensive!)
Carter's Rain Coat
Condition: Like new
JBF Price: $5 (This was pretty expensive to me, but it looked like it had never been worn. Another mom at the sale said her daughter got TONS of mileage out of her raincoat. This coat is sized 18-24 months.)
|You paid how much!? No way!|
Bummis Super Whisper Wrap Cloth Diaper Cover
Condition: New with tags
JBF Price: $3
This was a steal! New in stores or online these covers are $12-13. This is a size small so it will be for Baby No. 2 (God willing)
KidKraft Bead Maze
Condition: Like New
JBF Price: $6
I know you're thinking that this maze doesn't look "like new." Well, it did when I bought it. That part on the base where the veneer is ripped off happened when I removed the JBF sticker from the toy. Put stickers on the bottom, people! Still, this toy is $20-$25 new online so I was pretty happy.
|Just like Mommy, she missed the nail!|
|Hammering your foot is fun, too.|
Condition: Very good (I would say like new except there is one part where the paint is rubbed off the nail character's eyebrow)
JBF Price: $5
This is $13 new on Amazon. Not my best deal but still happy with it. Ailee has enjoyed it. I was looking for a wooden hammer and peg set like I had when I was little. I'll keep looking!
Melissa & Doug Car Carrier
Condition: Like new (Ailee has already put a little wear on this one! She loves the little cars.)
JBF Price: $12
|Oops, ropes are confusing.|
Pull-Along Wooden Train With Stacking Blocks
Condition: Like new
JBF Price: $5
This was my favorite find! This toy is so cool and of such good quality. I found similar ones online for $35-40
|AG with some of her spoils|