Monday, August 6, 2012

An exhausting weekend

Saturday started out so innocently.  All I wanted to do was hit a few yard sales, pick up a little inventory, and come back home to catch up on my listing.  Granted, there were quite a few sales on my morning’s agenda, including a church sale, but I was predicting an easy, hopefully productive, day.

However, it was this sale that put a kabash on my best-laid plans:

Estate sale Saturday 8/4/12 8AM – 12PM Furniture, electronics, thousands of books, hundreds of DVDs and music CDs, computer games. Lots of new items in the box.

I arrived early, about 7:30, and the sale was already crowded.  Tables full of books were lined up and down the driveway, with some in the yard as well.  Boxes of books had been shoved under some of the tables.  Two CD stands were full of CDs, and there were totes full of new, in shrink-wrap DVDs.  Did I mention the boxes of new computer games?

Taking a deep breath, I went to work with my scanner, and soon filled a box, then another box, then another box, and finally a fourth box.  The folks in charge had been adding up my purchases per box, and I told them when I reached $110 (all the money I had) to let me know.  My fourth box took me over the top, and I had to stop.  I hadn’t even scratched the surface of the DVDs, CDs, and software, though.

As a side note, a good Samaritan picked up a vintage Commodore computer that had a $10 price tag, and handed it to the proprietors of the sale, saying they should put it on eBay for lots more money.  Thanks a lot, I mentally said.

Upon paying my tab, I asked the proprietors what they were going to do with the remaining media at the end of the day.  They said that they would take offers for the lot, or give it to the Salvation Army.  I made it clear that I was interested in purchasing it, and they told me to come back at noon.

From there, I had to stop for more money, then decided to visit the church sale, and head home to unload the car.  I picked up a few things at the church, but I already was thinking ahead to noon.   There were no other dealers at the sale while I was there, so there was a pretty good chance that most of the “good stuff” would be left.

I arrived shortly before noon, and the proprietors of the sale began negotiating with me for the remainder of the media.   They wanted me to make an offer.  I hate it when that happens.  I opened the bidding at $200, which was low, and they knew it.  They countered at $500, but then started actually counting the remaining DVDs and games, and it ballooned to $1200. I balked at that, and they dropped the price to $850.  I asked how much for just the DVDs, CDs, and video games, since I had been through the books, and got all of the good ones earlier in the day.  They said $600, but I was greedy, and countered with $800 for the whole lot.  After some discussions, they accepted.

They wouldn’t accept a check, so I had to run to the bank.  By the time I got back, they were in the process of boxing up everything, and moving it to the end of the driveway to load in my moving van.  Of course, the only problem is that I didn’t have a moving van, only a Honda CR-V.  So, we loaded the CR-V to the brim, and I took off for home to unload.  I was back in an hour (20 minutes home, 20 minutes to unload, 20 minutes to return) for the second load.  Same process, and one hour later, I was back for the third load, which filled the car without an inch to spare.

I’m fairly certain the car needs new struts now.

Any progress that I had made clearing out our Great Room/Warehouse while Ella was away was lost in the span of a single afternoon.  Two loads actually went into the house, and the last load went to my storage unit.   My laundry room was full, my kitchen was full, and the Great Room/Warehouse, while not full, soon would be.

I was exhausted by that time, but I still needed to sort the books, so I sat on the kitchen floor with my scanner, and checked every book, separating the chaff from the wheat, so to speak. As expected, most of the books weren’t worth much, and I boxed up all the books to be donated (six boxes), put books to be listed in totes, and put aside books that I actually wanted to read.

On another side note, during loading at the estate sale, I had learned that the former owner of the media was only 47 years old when he died.  His tastes in books ranged from religion to science fiction. In fact, I got four or five big boxes of Star Trek books, plus a small box of trading cards, in the deal.

After going through the books, I decided to add up just the new DVDs and computer games to see if they were worth as much as I hoped they were.  So, I scanned each one, and kept a running tally in my head. I lost track after $2500.

On Sunday, I started listing the bounty from the day before, but wanted to differentiate between my first haul $110 and my second haul $800.  So, I listed just the first haul, which totaled just over $1000.  Later, I listed all the CDs from the second haul, and decided to call it a day.

I plan to send most of the new DVDs and computer games to Amazon (FBA) to sell for me. I’m not really sure what I will do with all the Star Trek books.   The Salvation Army and/or Friends of the Library will get the cast-off books.  I also separated two copier-paper sized boxes of nice religious books, which aren’t worth anything online, but probably would mean something to a nursing home or a small church school, etc.  I am researching that.

Oh, by the way, the Commodore computer was in the garage as we were negotiating a price, and I asked if I could look at it.  They agreed, and I discovered that the computer was in the box, but the power cord was not. Obviously, the value of the computer plummeted at that point.  I relayed the bad news to the proprietors, and they later asked me how much I would offer for the computer.  I politely declined.

So, obviously, my weekend was consumed from approximately 7:30 a.m. Saturday to late Sunday evening.  No one can say that I don't put my heart and soul into this business.

How was your weekend?


  1. I love your posts because, like you, I sell used books on Ebay. The difference is that I sell in lots by author. I get most of my inventory from the Salvation Army which sells all of their books $5/box. I got 7 boxes on Saturday morning! I would have loved this sale you went to, though! (I don't have a scanner, though).

    1. Thanks for the kind words. No offense, but I'm glad you weren't there on Saturday. :)

  2. Not only do you put your heart and soul into your business, but your poor back as well! How's it feeling today? Those are some nice profits, so it seems well worth the effort.

    1. Fortunately, my poor back is used to lifting boxes of books. Unfortunately, I'm not as young as I used to be. It's a cliche, but no pain, no gain.