Monday, June 3, 2013

An educational experience

After much procrastinating, I finally wrote the check, so to speak, for a cap/camper top for my truck, and it was installed on Friday afternoon.  Barry’s Bookmobile was officially on the road, ready to haul all manner of yard sale bounty.  I’m very cynical about things, though, and given how slow both sales and scouting had been lately, I hoped that I would be able to put the cap to good use real soon to justify the expense.

I didn’t have to wait long.

Saturday morning dawned with a plethora of sales, but even with several churches in the mix, scouting was slow, and while I was thankful for what I had found, I was hoping for a big score.  We then arrived at the sale of a “retired teacher.”  Ka-ching.

Boxes of books lined her driveway, a large table held all manner of educational games, and a flatbed trailer contained even more books.  Needless to say, I got to work.  Most of the books were for children and young adults, but were in excellent condition.  I also found and scanned several boxes of teacher resource books.  All told, I spent $45 for a small but lucrative stack of educational materials.

I then had a talk with the retired teacher.

My first question is always “what do you plan to do with all of this if it doesn’t sell?”  As expected, the answer was “donate it.”   Now, donating to charity is always noble, and you do get a tax deduction.   However, cash in hand usually trumps any deduction, so after a little more small talk, I casually asked, “how much do you want for all the books and educational material?”

She wasn’t quite ready to sell out, so I left her my card, certain that I would hear from her later that afternoon when yard sale exhaustion set in, as well as the realization that she would have to move the books since no charity would pick up on the spur of the moment.

As expected, she called a couple of hours later.  Now, in negotiations, it’s always to your benefit to let the other person name the first price.  She asked for $400.  I was thinking more $150.  She countered with $300.  It was still too much for me, so I thanked her for time, and was about to hang up.  She then suggested $200.  I told her that I would be there in about 30 minutes.

When I arrived, she started negotiating again, making comments about how she knew I was going to sell the books, and that I would make good money even at $300.  I was prepared to walk away at that point, and let her know as much.  She then countered once again, asking $250.  It was $50 more than I wanted to spend, but I really wanted to try out my new truck cap.  So, reluctantly, I agreed. 

Then, the fun began.

While I knew there were a lot of books (thankfully, they were in boxes), I had no idea that they would fill up the back of the truck, the back seat of the truck, the passenger seat of the truck, and every nook and cranny in which I could stick an individual book or game.

It literally took me and Ella all day Sunday to process the truckload.  There weren’t many individual “homerun” books, but many, many series of books (both educational and popular reading) and lots of games (most used, but a few new).  I know school just ended for the year, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the fall semester, and these books, I hope, will be perfect for both parents and teachers.

Of course, the only problem is finding the time to list them all.   OK, so that’s not the only problem.  Another pressing problem is listening to Ella gripe, rightly so, about the clutter in our house. 

I guess having inventory to list is better than the alternative, though.

Speaking of inventory, I’ve had a few good sales, including this one:

I also finally sold another lunch bag.  I bought a bunch of them on clearance at K-Mart for $.99, thinking they would sell fairly quickly.  Unfortunately, they’ve been hit and miss.

The week ahead as always looks busy.  I’m thinking that I should lay off scouting for a while to get caught up.

Nah, that’s no fun.

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