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Five Ways To Be “Fired” As A Volunteer

Every consignment sale has one thing in common. They rely on a team of people to transform an empty space into a sprawling, bustling pop-up event. Whether people are called a volunteers, workers or team members, their jobs are vital. Confession: Sale owners really love most of our volunteers. However, there are some things that can frustrate even the kindest sale owner. Here’s a list of “Never Should You Evers” for consignment sale volunteers.

1. Behave like you’re in middle school.

Whether it’s being overly critical of someone’s items when you’re checking them for stains or forming a small clique within the group of volunteers, rude and immature behavior can have a very negative effect on the people around you. A sale with tense volunteers is not a happy place to be. Be considerate of others and help create a positive environment at your favorite sale! After all, we are moms helping moms and what is better than that? Sales can be a great place with funny stories, happy memories and new friendships.

2. Take advantage of your sale owner.

It is easy and common to have a friendly relationship with your sale’s owner or organizer. There are no friendships like those formed in the bunkers of sales’ busiest days. Even if you have the greatest rapport, you shouldn’t use that relationship to ask for special favors, privileges or additional perks. That isn’t fair to the consignors and volunteers who are following the guidelines and working their hours.

3. Be present in body only.

If you spend your entire shift talking on your phone, texting and shopping for your family, you are not working. Sale owners depend on volunteers to complete their tasks, be proactive in finding more things that need to be done and keep things running smoothly. If you’re ignoring someone swapping tags because you are too busy checking Twitter, you are letting yourself and everyone else down.

4. Break the rules.

Guidelines for volunteers, consignors and shoppers exist to keep things fair for everyone. They help a sale run smoothly. If you intentionally break the rules, you should be asked to leave your volunteer shift. That covers everything from hiding items that you want to buy after your shift to following a shopper around with a sales pitch for your own consigned items. Make sure you know your sale’s guidelines for volunteers and follow them.

5. Steal from your sale.

Over the years, I’ve heard nightmare stories from sale owners who have caught trusted volunteers and friends stealing from their sales. Stealing is the fastest way to be permanently banned from a sale and may end with time in court and a police record. Resist the temptation to do something illegal or immoral when you are volunteering.
I’ve met some amazing lifelong friends through consignment sales and absolutely love the social aspect of meeting people from all walks of life at my favorite sale. To make the most out of your own volunteering experience, keep a smile on your face, be friendly to everyone and be proactive in finding ways to help make your favorite sale the best it can be! You’ll be surprised at how much joy you’ll bring to others around you.

About the Author

Elizabeth Renfroe has a passion for all things consignment sale-related.  She enjoys coordinating the Children’s Market Sale at First United Methodist Church, Jacksonville, Alabama.

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