Monday, May 20, 2013

12 miles

That was the approximate distance between our first stop on Saturday morning at a fire station yard sale, and our second stop at a church sale.  Unfortunately, in between the two stops, there was a rolling roadblock for eight miles due to a 12.5K Old Hospital to New Hospital Road Race, and we were stuck at the tail end.

Ella and I rolled slowly for approximately two miles (30 minutes), getting antsy about missing all the perceived bargains at the church. Fortunately for us, police officers began rounding up the stragglers in vehicles, and removing them from the race.  Also, we finally came to an official detour that got us around the runners.

We made it to the church only about 15 minutes late, and found squat.  It also had started to rain at that point.  Needless to say, we were not amused, especially as subsequent sales not canceled by the rain yielded very little.  Finally, we decided to call it a day.

Upon arriving home, I decided to pursue another avenue of inventory that I had been nursing along for a couple of weeks.  I saw this ad on Craiglist in late April:

Comic Collections:
I have a huge collection of hard back comic books everything from Terry and the Pirates, Superman, Batman, DC Archives collections, Flash Gordon, Little Orphan Annie, Little Abner and much more. Cover price for all together is over 2800.... Im going through a divorce and need money asap! If someone wants to come today Saturday and get today will let go for 450....please call or text or email if you want to look at.....thanks.

Comic books can bring big bucks!

The owner of the comics and I had messaged back and forth, until she finally dropped the price to $350 last week.  So, I messaged her Saturday afternoon, and made arrangements to see the lot.   Ella and I drove to her house (about 60 miles away), and after scanning a few of the books, quickly sealed the deal.  The owner even threw in a couple of limited edition statuettes (Superman and Batman), as well as four large, nicely framed comic strip pictures.  There were approximately 113 books/comic books, which filled up four plastic totes.

When I got home, I had time to list about 47 books, which totaled close to $1200.  With two totes left, I predict a very happy return on my $350 investment.
If you haven’t guessed from reading this and other blog posts, I love buying collections, and large lots. While spending several hundred dollars or more is scary, more often than not, the sum of the parts far exceeds what you initially pay by a very wide margin.

Sunday, as usual, was spent packing weekend sales.  We also went to see the new Star Trek movie.  If you’re a Trekkie, it’s a must see.

Live long and prosper.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My blue feather moment

To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there.

Some of you who have read Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, by Richard Bach, will recognize the quote and the blue feather reference. For those who haven’t read the book, and I strongly encourage you to do so, both refer to the ability to bring things into your life just by thinking about them.

Well, Ella and I had a blue feather moment while thrifting this past Friday.

I wrote in a previous blog that we are hosting an exchange student for the upcoming school year, and since that post, we have had numerous online chats with Duc (pronounced Duke), our “son” from Vietnam, who will join our household in August.  In one of the conversations early last week, he asked if we had spiders.  An odd question, I thought, until I learned that Vietnam has spiders as big as your hand, and that Duke uses an electric fly swatter to dispatch the scary creatures.  Thankfully, we don’t have such big arachnids, and we only have a regular fly swatter, a pink one that we never can seem to find when we need it.  We laughed at the idea of an electrified deterrent for nuisance insects, and then didn’t give it a second thought.  Fortunately, the first thought was enough.

If you had it clear in your thoughts, it is even this moment barreling down on you like a Mack truck.

On Friday afternoon, I got off work early so we could attend the first day of a church yard sale.  It was a semi-lucrative sale for us, with plenty of books and CDs, but what really stunned me was the electric fly swatter (also called a mosquito racket) sitting in the middle of one of the sale tables.   I picked it up, and it felt and looked like a badminton racket, with a little button on the side.  Being the curious sort, I pressed the button and then touched the netting.  Needless to say, the shock was more than enough to get my attention.  After I recovered and my finger had stopped tingling, I decided the hand-sized spiders of Vietnam, or the puny spiders of Georgia wouldn’t stand a chance against me as long as wielded this $3 weapon of mass insect destruction.  It quickly went into my box.
An electrifying solution to hand-sized spiders
Ella had not seen it yet, and as I wandered around, I had the evil idea of giving her an electrified swat on the rear.  Discretion is the better part of valor, though, and since I didn’t want to sleep on the couch that night, I just showed it to her, and explained what it was.  Her eyes got big as she mentally made the connection between our conversation with Duc and the item in my hand.

Most people will chalk this up to coincidence, but I’m not so sure. To quote Shakespeare, there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Or, as the reluctant messiah says:

Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Like ants to a picnic

Let us in, let us in ... it's raining outside
The local Friends of the Library (FOL) Old Book Sale is the social event of the literary season, attracting book dealers like ants to a picnic.  Thursday’s brouhaha was no different, with sellers lining up three hours early, braving rain showers, just to get a low number to enter the building probably no more than 90 seconds earlier than the last person in line.

I was one of those sellers, having arrived around 7 a.m.   My early bird strategy resulted in Nos. 4 and 5 for me and Ella.  By 10 a.m., the line had grown to more than 100+ dealers, and when the doors finally opened, FOL volunteers scurried to get out of the way as the horde of locusts, I mean book lovers, scurried and jockeyed for position among the rows and rows of potential income.

As usual, I headed toward the religion section, seeing as how we’re in the Bible Belt, plus it usually has less competition at first since most dealers head toward the potentially more lucrative business, technical, and computer sections.  Ella made a beeline to the media.  As the room filled up, it became almost impossible to turn around without bumping into someone with a scanner in hand, and by 12:30ish, the check-out line stretched the length of the building, and the place looked like a disaster area.  To their credit, though, FOL volunteers swooped in immediately, and began straightening the mess that we dealers made.

We left around 1 p.m., with two rolling totes full.  I didn’t find any home runs, per se, but left with enough sellable books to make taking the day off work worthwhile. 

This morning, I spoke with an FOL official who said that the first-day total, a benchmark that they always celebrate, was about $1000 less than the first day last year.  It was still good money for the group, though, but I imagine it is still worrisome to them.

On a semi-related subject, while waiting in line on Thursday, I learned that the USPS has started “repossessing” their nice plastic totes from sellers who are using them at book sales.  One seller related the story of being threatened with arrest by an officer at the scene if he didn’t relinquish his totes to the postal official charged with collecting the boxes. Your local post office may have a different attitude, but it’s something to think about before you bring a stack to a sale.

As for the weekend, rain may wash out most of the scheduled yard/garage sales, but there are at least eight church yard sales in the area that hopefully won’t be affected by the wet stuff.  We’re getting a lot of rain lately, and while I shouldn’t complain, it does affect my business.