Weird Encounter At Garage Sale

United States
March 17, 2008 6:42pm CST
Weird thing happened at my garage sale...maybe someone can enlighten me about something. Well we had everything we didn't sale behind our gate, garage sale was over, and this lady stopped in front of our house and came up to me. She asked if I had any books and I told her yes. I showed her the box of soft covers and hard backs. She asked how much they were I said 1 dollar for hardbacks and 50 cents for soft covers. She asked if I would sell hardbacks for 50 cents, I said yes (since I would just be giving them away if she didn't buy them). Well she took her cellphone out of her purse and there was this weird thing attached to it. And she started scanning the barcodes of the hardbacks...and then she would type something in, and scan another one. I thought maybe it was a calculator or something, and she was just bad at math. But when she was done, she started putting all the books back in their box. Then she said "I'm sorry to take up your time" and then she just left without buying any books! I don't know what happened, but I defeniatly think I was cheated in some way. What was that thing attatched to her cellphone, and why was she scanning the bar codes?
10 people like this
19 responses
@lilaclady (28240)
• Australia
17 Mar 08
I know all books have a number even old books, so maybe they have that number listed in the barcode in these modern days, wonders never cease, she could have been nice and at least bought a couple for your time....
• United States
18 Mar 08
But she made me think that she was interested the entire time she was there. Until she just got up and left. What can she do with this bar codes?
4 people like this
@lilaclady (28240)
• Australia
18 Mar 08
maybe she has the barcodes linked up in some program to either say if she has it already or how much they go for, I know i know a book at a garage sale about a year ago for $1 and I put it up on Ebay and got nearly $300 for it so i guess it can be worth some sort of system...
• United States
18 Mar 08
Wow you got a nice profit. What kind of book was it? Wondering what book someone would pay 300 dollars for! wow! I hope I have a copy! lol. What are the chances she owned every book that she scanned? And I'm sure that all the books were worth over 50 cents! hehe.
1 person likes this
@sedel1027 (17854)
• United States
18 Mar 08
Sounds like she was scanning the books to see if they were worth anything.
3 people like this
• United States
18 Mar 08
I think they were worth at least 50 cents lol. But why would she ask me to lower the price if she wasn't going to buy any of them?
3 people like this
@sedel1027 (17854)
• United States
18 Mar 08
She probably wanted to make sure that she was going to get the best price possible just in case she found a good deal.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Mar 08
I see what you are saying--but I think 50 cents is a great price for a good conditioned hardback. not sure you'd be able to find it much cheaper than that-defeniatly nto enough to be worth going and looking around more.
@barehugs (8986)
• Canada
18 Mar 08
She was scanning the original prices of the books. If she had found one that was an expensive edition, she would have picked it out and bought it. This lady was a professional book dealer. She didn't deal in cheap books but was willing to buy a good one at the same price. Makes you wonder how honest dealers are doesn't it?
@saundyl (9690)
• Canada
18 May 08
Back a few months ago i was reading about selling used rare books on Ebay and found something referencing People who go to garage sales to search out those sorts of books and a program/scanner available that will scan the bar codes of the books connect to an appraisal site via cellphone and tell you what the book is worth. From reading about it at the time it was really expensive and it sounds like thats what the woman was doing. Pretty rude of her to waste your time for all that scanning and not bother to buy one or two books just as a courtesy.
2 people like this
@saundyl (9690)
• Canada
20 May 08
Thank you for the BR
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (104331)
• United States
29 May 08
This is what I was going to respond, or something similar. I have seen it as a work at home job.
• United States
29 May 08
Yeah, this was all news to me! I never heard of anything like that! lol. I thought that little thing she had was weird. I wasn't quite thinking CIA or alien, lol. But it was weird =P
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Mar 08
If that was what I think it is, she just defrauded somebody's survey company. What she has is a scanner that records her purchases, and when she turns the information in, she will get points or money for it. I know this because I used to do the same thing for AC Nielsen. Although my scanner wasn't attached to a cell phone. What I was required to do, was scan all my purchases for any given week. At the end of the week, I would upload my purchases by connecting the scanner to the computer, and letting the website do the rest. You weren't cheated really, because you still have your books, but the company she is doing the survey for, has definitely gotten cheated.
2 people like this
• United States
18 Mar 08
O.o I never heard of anything like that! You get money and points for stuff you buy? Is it worth it?
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Mar 08
I don't think so, unless that company has a better structure than AC Nielsen. There, there was no cash option, and you had to collect a lot of points just to get to the crappy prizes, we won't even talk about the good stuff. That, and the fact that I would always forget to scan the groceries when it was time, was the reason that I left it alone. Its kinda like Mylot I guess, if you are interested in it, its a good way to get free stuff. But if you aren't really into it, its a waste of time.
• Philippines
18 Mar 08
First of all what was this lady look like?I think she had no money to buy your SALE Books. LoL. I don't know if the one she had is a barcode scanner and what is the purpose of that the books are on sale anyway. I think she just wasted your time maybe she had not found what book she was looking for and just said sorry. It is a little weird i think so.
@Rozie37 (15499)
• Turkmenistan
18 Mar 08
I do not believe that you were cheated if she did not purchase anything. Maybe she is a professional appraiser. I have no idea. Maybe she was checking to see if any of the books were stolen. Stranger things have definitely happened in this world, LOL.
@Thoroughrob (11750)
• United States
18 Mar 08
That is strange. Maybe it was something to let her know if she already has them. It does seem pretty weird.
2 people like this
@Savvynlady (3686)
• United States
18 Mar 08
I may be wrong, but I honestly believe that the lady was looking for some books that may have some significant value to them. When she suggested that you sell the hardcovers for fifty cents, that was like the tip off that she was experienced in what she was doing. Folks do have treasures in their homes that they know nothing about. Somehow, this lady does and that's why she did what she did. I will never forget some years ago. A lady sold the Declaration of Independence to another for like $4; she got a call some time later and was told that that document was the real deal and it recently sold for like a couple of million. I know she was like, what? I am sure I have a book in my collection worth a mint; I just don't know which one. My late father left some books over fifty plus years old and to be honest, I or my mother don't know what to do with them, so we just keep them. I know one day something is going to give because we got books by Harry Truman and Winston Churchill and someone's gonna want them.
1 person likes this
• Canada
18 Mar 08
I agree with you. The lady was looking for books that may have significant value. There are collectors of rare books, books out of print, special editions etc. I received a rare book as a Christmas gift a few years ago. It was a rare English edition of a book that was written in French by a Quebec author. My son bought it in a used book store in Quebec for a few dollars. I found out it has significant value because it is the English edition of a book that is long out of print, the French edition of the same book is worth a couple of dollars because there are still so many copies available.
1 person likes this
@Grandmaof2 (7603)
• Canada
20 May 08
I didn't know anything about what your reader is talking about in #22 but my first thought was is this lady someone working through the police and they're checking for stollen goods. Especially if you had a lot of books I guess it would be a good place for them to start but who knows? Number 22 is probably right. Take Care.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
29 Mar 08
Maybe she has the bar codes in memory of the books she does have? Or maybe she has some bar codes in memory of books she's looking for? A lot of people buy books at sales and sell them at Amazone.com or Ebay or their own sites. I would think she would be cheating you if she took pictures of actual pages and sent them to herself. Take care.
@lucy02 (5017)
• United States
18 Mar 08
That was weird! I think its odd that she'd talk you down to 50 cents and not purchase anything. Thats a great price for books, esp. hardbacks.
1 person likes this
@airi75 (50)
• Malaysia
18 Mar 08
mmm....I thinks she didn't know the title of the book but the barcode, and when she scanned it didn't match she didn't take it...
1 person likes this
@dragon54u (31638)
• United States
18 Mar 08
She was probably entering the ISBN numbers into Amazon to see what she could get for them. I buy used books and sell them on Amazon; I'll pick up something at a yardsale for 50 cents and get $20 for it on Amazon! But I don't scan stuff, I just take a chance. That was pretty tacky of her, taking up your time like that and not even buying at least one for inconveniencing you. If it happens again, don't let the person scan without buying. That's really low!
1 person likes this
@Lindalinda (4112)
• Canada
18 Mar 08
I suspect this lady was a professional book dealer. She either had a bookstore for used books or she was looking for rare and out of print books or special editions. If she had a bookstore she probably wanted to make sure she did not have the books already. If she was dealing or collecting rare books she would find out if a particular book was rare. I think though she had no class. Out of courtesy she should have bought at least a couple of books.
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
18 Mar 08
thats just creepy! i wonder what it was that she had on there? hm...i hope someone can help us out as to what it was....
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164468)
• Garden Grove, California
29 May 08
she was probably an author who was checking to see if any of the paperbacks had covers missing which would 'mean that the seller of those had cheated the author out of her proceeds. that was really cheeky of her to do as she could have just told you what she was doing and 'why.
@sivazee (22)
• United States
19 Mar 08
She was most likely a book dealer and she was using a scouting service. When she scanned the bar codes, she was able to see prices at which the books are available for sale. She was looking for a book that was priced high enough to make it worth buying. I don't think there is anything wrong with this practice but I still think she was rude to you. She should have asked your permission first. Also, she should have waited until she finished and then if she wanted to buy, she could barter with you over the price if she felt that was necessary.
@cdparazo (5768)
• Philippines
19 Mar 08
That lady is definitely a buyer or dealer of books. She may have scanned your books to know its original prices and if you have something that is really valuable such as those rare books or out of print books. I wish I have the same gadget as the lady when I browse through the second hand book stores. I may have found a jackpot or very rare books without me knowing about it. Having those scanner would definitely help me identify them. However, I would also be more courteous than that lady. She left you without any explanation and that was really rude.