Did you know that there's an entire etiquette of estate sales? Mostly, I have just gone to small ones, like Janine's, where nothing is priced and the agents just eyeball your selections and hazard a guess. They are usually willing to take less, if you dicker a bit, too, although I didn't learn this until after I had been to a few.
Some people actually watch the paper for estate sale notices and shop there every weekend, buying everything from bed linens to brick-a-brack. At the last estate sale I attended, I met a woman who does just that. She was very chatty and open about her hobby, more than willing to clue in a newcomer.
I met her in line - yes, estate sales usually have a long line of hopeful buyers waiting to get in - and she took me under her wing. You have to get here early, she said, and be among the first to go in. Otherwise, you wait until someone comes out, then the next in line can go in. It makes sense, really - otherwise, there might be the kind of chaos one finds at after-Christmas sales but we waited nearly an hour for our turn.
It's also nice to be tidy, according to my estate sale teacher. If you open a drawer, for example, don't just paw through the contents, but look carefully and replace things nicely. I was astonished to learn that one actually opens drawers in someone else's house; it seems so intrusive and rude. She just laughed at my naiveté, and told me I must open all drawers, look up high and down low, even opening medicine cabinets in search of treasures.
I don't think I'm cut out for the cutthroat world of estate saleing. I felt squeamish opening up someone's drawers and walking through their garden. I did find a few treasures, like the sturdy baking rack pictured above, which holds a full dozen of cookies, but all in all, I think I'm more comfortable with garage sales. I won't be checking Craigslist weekly, as she does. But, I'm glad to know the etiquette should I ever go again.