Monday, February 18, 2013


Pricing of collectibles on Ebay is difficult for me, even with such tools as Terapeak to help. Case in point, on Saturday, I found a box of Super Nintendo Entertainment System games, and was all but thanked for taking them off the owner’s hands for a whopping $5.  Many of the cartridges were dirty, and some had masking tape price stickers on them.  None had boxes or instructions.

Plus, I had no way to test them, but a deal is a deal, right?

So, I get them home, clean them up as best as I can, take a picture, and list them on Ebay for, well, I had no idea at first.  Some of the cartridges, at least according to my research, were worth in excess of $20, provided they actually worked.  Most of the cartridges were worth nothing, though.  I tabulated the online prices of the worthwhile games, then basically cut the result in half because the games were untested, and came up with a price of $39.99.  It seemed reasonable, and would bring a tidy profit on my $5 investment.

However, literally within five minutes of listing the cartridges, they were bought and paid for.


Ol’ dopey me thinks I should have priced them higher now.

Another sale that made me wonder about my pricing was a small lot of vintage sailing ship books.  These books, which were not in good shape, had been sitting on my shelf for a while, and I finally got tired of looking at them.  After researching the books, I discovered that they were quite common, and not worth much.  So, I priced them at $18.99 for the lot.  They didn’t quite sell as fast as the game cartridges, but were gone by the end of the day.

Meanwhile in Atlanta, my brother, Joey, who has become quite the picker/thrifter despite listening to my advice, related a funny incident from Friday.   He showed up early for an estate sale, and noticed that a Chinese gentleman was sleeping in his car, waiting for the sale to open.  My brother waited by the door.   The man finally woke up, saw Joey, and made his way to the door, insisting that he be allowed in first.  Well, both went in, and while the Chinese guy wandered around, Joey asked about the media, and made a beeline to the DVDs, including pricey Star Wars boxed sets for sale.  When the Chinese man finally made it to the media, he saw that Joey had grabbed most of the DVDs, and got angry enough to start “cussing” Joey out in Chinese.

Joey said he laughed all the way out, and apparently to the bank as well.

Have a great week everyone.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Black Monday

Today is Black Monday, at least for Ella, as the last Blockbuster in town goes into clearance mode, no longer renting DVDs, only selling them in preparation to shut its doors forever. 

Ella not only was a member at the store, but also utilized Blockbuster By Mail, a service similar to Netflix, but which had the added benefit of returning the by mail DVDs to the store, and trading them in for an in-store rental.  She used the in-store trades to view current releases, and used the by mail service to see TV show seasons, older movies, etc.  She had honed her DVD system of trades and returns to an art form, and could get quite irritated when the mail service didn’t deliver on time, or her errant husband forgot to drop off a DVD on his way to work.

She’s in mourning now, so please keep her in your thoughts.

Of course, store closings always present thrifting opportunities, and I have picked up many good deals as area Blockbusters faded into oblivion.  We’ll see what goodies this store has to offer in coming weeks.

Speaking of thrifting, I’ve mentioned before that it always pays to keep your “head on a swivel.”  I saw this add in the Books listing on Craigslist last week:

“Pastoral / ministerial home library. Literally thousands of books. Commentaries, histories, fiction, biographies, ministerial aids, references, and countless other types of books, including a number of antique texts dating to the 1800s. This is a lifetime collection of books by a now-90-year-old minister/missionary. If interested, let me know and we can make arrangements for you to see it. Everything will be included in an estate/moving sale Saturday, but I will be available Friday to show the library. Offers on all or part of the library will be considered.”

Now, I could have waited until Saturday to see the books at the estate sale.  However, I’m a firm believer in the old adage that the early bird gets the worm, and quickly made arrangements to see the books on Friday.  The owner let me scan the shelves, and I quickly found a tote full of quality books, including this one:

I then asked the owner about the rest of the house, and he said everything was for sale, and I was more than welcome to look around.  I found CDs, DVDs, and new micro-cassettes, and probably could have found more if I had not been on my lunch hour from my day job.  I spent $50, and hoped no one noticed that I got back to my desk a little late.

On Saturday, Ella and I had planned to sleep in, but the lure of the yard sale proved too strong, and we got out and about a little late, but still managed to find a few treasures.  I spent Sunday packing and listing books, toys and CDs, and getting two boxes ready to send to Amazon for their FBA program.  I also finally listed my large collection of Happy Meal toys that were just given to me at a sale a couple of weeks ago.

It’s a terrible picture, I know, but it was the best I could do.  I really need to work on my Ebay photos this year.

Have a productive week!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Case of the Missing Hushpuppies

On Friday, I stopped by Long John Silvers (LJS) for a family meal of 8 pieces of fish, cole slaw, corn on the cob, and eight hushpuppies.  Upon getting home, and unpacking our salty, greasy feast, we discovered that they had neglected to include our hushpuppies, arguably the best part of the meal.

So, we grumbled about the unfairness while we ate. I was understandably perturbed, but Ella was actually moved to action.  She tried to call the restaurant, but they wouldn’t answer the phone.  So, she called the toll-free corporate number on the receipt, and left a scathing message about hushpuppies, or the lack thereof.  On Saturday, the manager of the restaurant called, apologized, and told us to come by for the hushpuppies and a free piece of pie.  Did I mention that Ella loves pie?

The moral of the story, at least to me, is that good customer service makes for a happy buyer, or at least a less disgruntled one.   

Speaking of Saturday, it was a bone-chilling 23 degrees when I woke up, so I decided that yard sales weren’t on the agenda.  After the temperature had climbed to a balmy 40 degrees, we decided to check out a mom and pop adult DVD store that was going out of business.  I had been in contact with the owner, and thought that if the price was right, profit could be had via Ebay’s “Everything Else” adult’s only category.   Yes, I know, porn isn’t exactly inventory for polite company, but sex sells, and I can’t afford to pass up any opportunity.  I thought about it long and hard, but, unfortunately, prices were still too high. However, I plan to stay on top of the situation as the store’s clearance sale progresses toward its inevitable climax.

Later, I visited a local thrift store for some more traditional thrifting.  While perusing the book section, this particular book caught my eye:

The book is about W.L. “Young” Stribling, a heavyweight boxer from the 1920s with strong ties to Macon, GA, my hometown.  I probably would have overlooked the book had I not driven across the W.L. “Young” Stribling Memorial Bridge in Macon countless times.  After a check with my smartphone, the book quickly went in my basket.  I also found several other vintage Georgia history books that had value, and was quite pleased with my small, but lucrative haul.

Speaking of books, I’m finding this particular one frequently during my scouting trips now.  It’s not worth a whole lot ($10 or so), but it’s a fast, reliable seller.

I spent Sunday packing and listing, then watching the big game.  Of course, being a student of the media, I always pay close attention to the commercials, and, overall, was disappointed in the quality this year, with a couple of exceptions, especially the Paul Harvey “Farmer” commercial.  Did you see it?

Have a productive week, everyone.