Monday, January 16, 2012

Who Knew Cowboys Had Groupies?

It was a scene pulled straight from Hollywood.  Celebrities exited their limos, walked the red carpet into the hotel, and were met by the paparazzi, who shouted salutations, asked questions, and, of course, took lots of pictures.

Of course, the “celebrities” were western TV stars from 40 and 50 years ago, the “limos” were airport shuttles, and the “paparazzi” were legions of fans who had traveled from all over the country to see their aging heroes.  The red carpet, however, was real.

At the Whispering Woods Conference Center in Olive Branch, MS, just outside of Memphis, TN, organizers for the Memphis Film Festival had assembled an impressive list of former TV cowboys and cowgirls for a three-day meet and greet.  Actors and actresses from such shows as The Virginian, Laredo, and Wagon Train hobnobbed with casual admirers, as well as hard-core, well-organized, extremely vocal, and obsessed fan groups, such as Lancer’s Ladies and the Virginian Posse, who spent lots and lots of money to talk to, sit with, take pictures of, and, yes, kiss their idols from yesteryear.

Who knew cowboys had groupies?

Of course, no festival worth its salt would be without vendors who had no qualms with separating festival attendees from their hard-earned cash.  An impressive array of items were for sale, including CDs, DVDs, pictures, assorted memorabilia, and, of course, books.  Of course, anywhere there’s inventory, I’m prone to whip out my trusty scanning device and/or scour the tables for eBay/Amazon worthy items.

As all of you know, we base the our business on the premise of buying low, and selling high.  Unfortunately, the vendors at this conference had this same mentality. Lots of collectibles were for sale, but few, if any, were priced at wholesale levels, or at least at levels where an online seller can make an honest living.

Except …

OK, it was a stretch. I knew that.  I also knew the book was overpriced online.  But it registered close to $1000 on my scanner. And all for the bargain price of $21, which is much more than I normally would pay for a book to resell.

Flash forward a few months, and the price has plummeted. I mean, it has dropped like a rock.  It’s still a decent price, but a far cry from the $1000 of my initial scan.  And it’s still for sale.  Oh, well.

On the other hand, though, it always pays to “keep your head on a swivel,” as the Redneck Picker on YouTube always says.  Two of the stars from the Virginian TV show had produced a CD, and were selling it, with signatures, for a mere $20.  I shelled out my money, and listed it for $199.99.

And I was more than pleased when it actually sold on Amazon.

Consider that a "woo hoo."

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