Economics: Lesson 15
“If the state regulated garage sales, would poor people be better off?”
It seems to me that any time the state or government interferes with something, it quickly goes down hill. This would agree with the Austrian school of economic thought. Garage sales are universal and fairly easy to run and find, and that is what gives garage sales such an appeal to so many people, both the buyers and the sellers.
For the sellers, being able to set up out in the driveway any weekend and try and sell the junk they don’t want, makes most people go and set up one, rather than go through the hassle of taking pictures of all their stuff and posting it on Kijiji or Craigslist. If the state started to regulate when garage sales are on, how much stuff there can be, and the prices of the items, I think people would be turned off from considering setting up a garage sale. People like freedom, and even the slightest regulation can make someone decide against having a garage sale. This could be problematic for the people who rely on garage sales for buying basic items that they need.
Buyers will usually want to visit as many garage sales as possible in one day to see all the options. Having gone to many garage sales myself, I can say that the more the better. Some people are looking for specific items that are cheaper than shopping retail, such as a piece of furniture. If it’s not to banged up and is a decent price, this is a great way to get second hand furniture for your house. Buyers that go to garage sales also like to go for a good bargain. If the state started regulating prices, negotiating a price down is out of the picture, and that is a loss to most people. Someone who is poor knows that they can probably get a cheaper price on an item if they can give a counter offer, and this is the way poor people can get good stuff for cheaper. Therefore, it would not be wise if the state stepped in and regulated garage sales. The sellers would not put on a garage sale, and buyers would not go if there is not enough options.