Friday, February 14, 2014

Nothing Zaxby's wings won't cure

Last night, Duc and I had a discussion about Valentine’s Day.  He was semi-upset that Ella and I were going out without him, and had posted on Facebook about staying home with the “two old dogs,” and that he felt like the “third dog” in our family.

As we talked, I learned that Vietnamese do not celebrate Valentine’s Day, but do celebrate International Woman’s Day, which is a national holiday, on March 8.  On this day, men give their due respect to womanhood with bouquets of flowers, especially roses, much like men do in the U.S. on February 14.  Even in Vietnam, florists make a killing from our love of women.

Duc does understand Valentine’s Day, though, and I think he was just missing his friends back home, and fretting about being bored and by himself on a Friday night, which is completely understandable.   However, our house is a virtual entertainment center, with hundreds of books, DVDs, and CDs, plus Duc enjoys unlimited Internet access, so he should be just dandy.

Still, while I can’t totally alleviate his boredom or loneliness, I can bribe him with the promise of Zaxby’s sweet and spicy wings for dinner, which put a smile back on his face.   “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” apparently is a universal truth.

In other heart holiday related news, the one and only Valentine’s item in my inventory failed to sell again.  I bought this belt from Goodwill two years ago, and gradually have reduced the price, hoping it will sell.  Alas, I think it’s destined for the thrift store again.

Somewhere, some lady needs a Valentine's belt to compliment her holiday attire
During our yearly inventory in January, I de-listed most of my VHS tapes.  They don’t sell well, and really aren’t that profitable.  I did keep a few, though, including a $30 Shirley Temple tape that sold after she died this week.
Last December, I wrote about purchasing a box of new Swiftach guns, which attach sale tags to clothing.  I thought that retail stores would purchase the guns, but Lynn, who runs Lynns Little Shop on Etsy, commented that sellers working consignment sales would purchase a few as well.  She was right.  In January, I received an email from a local seller who was getting ready for a consignment sale, but had broken her gun, and wanted immediate local pickup.  That was a quick sale.  Last night, another Ebay seller purchased two.  Cha-ching.

My other big sale for the week was a group of Story Keeper DVDs.  I bought a complete set of 13 DVDs for $10, and sold them for $75.

Tonight, I’m taking my Valentine, Ella, to a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater with a wild west theme.  She’s dressing up in her best cowgirl attire, and might even persuade me to wear a cowboy hat.


Have a productive and lucrative weekend.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dodged a chilly bullet

The “unprecedented” and potentially “catastrophic” winter storm that swept across the South, in general, and Georgia, in particular, caused barely a whimper in my area. I had to stand out in the sleet and rain on Wednesday afternoon to defrost two of my heat pump units, but other than getting a little cold and wet, I felt very little impact from the weather. 

As the storm slides up the East coast, it is leaving behind temperatures in the 50s and 60s for the weekend.  Yes, this is the only part of country where you can wear snow boots and flip flops in the same week.  Saturday promises to be mostly sunny, too, so I hope a few more good sales pop up.

Speaking of popping up, I received an email from Janelle Elms, who runs a website called OSI Rock Stars, offering me a free two-day pass.  The site has been described as “… like Disneyland for Entrepreneurs. It is a place where you can ask questions of top professionals, listen to successful entrepreneurs and receive insider information about the latest tools and techniques of the online business world. There is no other site like it. It is pure platinum.”

I got the pass, and spent two days looking at and listening to the library of webinars about selling on Amazon, Ebay, etc.  It’s a huge amount of wonderful information, and there was no way to absorb it all in just two days.  So, I thought I would join the site to continue my education.   However, all the air went out of my balloon when I saw the price.

$197 per month.

OK, so much for that.  Still, I did learn some things, and downloaded enough webinars to keep me busy for a while.  If you have mucho disposable income, check it out.

Unfortunately, I have very little disposable income since sales are still anemic.  Amazon is dragging its feet, and I don’t even want to talk about Ebay.  With little to pack, I've had time to list, revise, and surf the web.  I know, surfing the web is not the most productive use of my time, but I do like to read everyone’s blogs, which, I’ve convinced myself, is both fun and educational.  I also constantly check such sites as Craigslist, Auctionzip,, among others, and usually bounce from link to link picking up information like a snowball rolling down a hill.

Get it? Snowball …winter storm … never mind.

Anyway, I ran across some interesting links if you have an Etsy store:

I also like finding funny Craigslist ads, like this one:

I am wanting to trade my 42" vizio tv for a laptop. The tv has something wrong with it but I'm not exactly sure what it is. When I cut the tv on the back light comes on but no sound comes on and no picture comes up. The vizio logo lights up and there is a backlight. Other than that the tv is in really good condition. Just wanting to trade for a decent working laptop.

So, let me get this straight.  He has a 42-inch TV with no sound or picture (but, other than that, in really good condition) that he wants to trade for a working laptop.

Gee, that sounds like a good trade to me.

Like I mentioned previously, Saturday is shaping up to be a nice day, with several sales already scheduled, including one in the Area 41 parking lot next to the UFO.  Don’t ask.  I have no idea, but it’s just quirky enough to check out.

Until next time, hammer down.  OK, I still can’t make that work.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Are you kidding me?

Exactly two weeks after much of this area was paralyzed by a snowstorm, Wednesday night and Thursday morning are forecast to be another icy/snowy mess.  Granted, some of my readers are saying no big deal, but for Georgia, back-to-back cold white stuff is unprecedented, in my humble opinion and rapidly fading memory.

At least this past weekend was reasonably temperate, although a no-nonsense garage sale proprietor did raise my blood pressure just a tad when I showed up for his sale 15 minutes early.

I’m not pushy, but I do live by the old thrifting adage that the early bird gets the bargain, and I’ve learned that “no early birds” is more of a guideline than a rule.  When I show up before the appointed starting time, I always apologize for being early, and most sellers are more than happy for me to start pawing through their stuff.  Besides, if you advertise an 8 a.m. starting time, and you aren’t ready by 7:45, you are running late anyway.

But I digress.  The seller in question was working in his garage when we walked up.  He looked at me, and said that he specifically stated no early birds, and that the sale would not open until 8.  Fine, I said, looking at my watch.  7:45 a.m.  I then asked if we could just stand outside the garage and see what he had to sell.  No dice.  He wanted us to leave.  And we did, and didn’t come back.  

Apparently, his “no early birds” rule was more important than potentially making a sale.  His loss.
Felix the cat
The wonderful, wonderful cat
Whenever he gets in a fix
He reaches into his bag of trick

Because this seller wouldn’t let us view his wares, it caused us to be early for our next sale at a nearby church.  A lady was still putting out items, but she was more than happy for us to begin browsing.  She didn’t have much for sale, but I did find this Felix the Cat bag, new with tags.  Sorry for the picture quality; I will take a better pictures before listing it.  I paid $5, and hope to sell it for at least $25.

Earlier on Saturday morning, we visited another church, and found some odds and ends, including a Lookbook wireless E-book reader for $5.  I may have wasted my money on this item, because it powered up at the sale, but for some reason, doesn’t seem to be charging properly.  If it finally charges and works, it’ll sell for at least $25.

Another RAD robot!
At a Humane Society sale, I picked up this RAD robot for $8 while Ella was busy petting the puppies. I already have one that Ella keeps bugging me to sale, so now I have two, much to her chagrin.

Our last stop of the day was an estate sale that I had picked clean, media-wise, on Friday.  I was hoping that the sale had gone to 50 percent off, but it had not.  Still, I had noticed a bunch of snapback caps, for 50 cents each, that I wanted to look at more closely. A recent podcast over at mentioned selling caps, and while not exactly my bailiwick, I decided to give it a shot.  I found two Jack Daniels caps, which have a high sell-through rate; a slightly dirty Oakland Invaders cap (defunct sports team memorabilia always sells); a Tuskegee Airmen hat; and a Green Jacket cap.  The Green Jacket was one of Macon’s premiere restaurants, visited by most celebrities when they happened to be passing through the city.  I think it might have enough historical value to sell for a buck or two.

Are caps a good addition to my inventory?
Sales over the weekend again were anemic, with most of my sales coming from Amazon.  I’m still nowhere near my goal of $100 per day in sales across all venues.
On a somewhat related note, I’m toying with the idea of renting a booth at the local antique mall.  I talked with the managers last year, and they were adamant about keeping flea market-style inventory out of the mall, but upon looking around the place, their idea of antique was open to interpretation, and they couldn’t/wouldn’t explain how a booth featuring nothing but new bed sheets fit the image the mall was trying to project.  Still, Ella and I probably will have some vintage western memorabilia leftover from our vendor booth at the Memphis Film Festival in June that will fit the bill.  I actually think Ella would enjoy decorating/merchandising a booth, especially since it is only minutes from our house.

Does anyone have any experience or words of wisdom that they can share about this?

Have a great week.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Slow shipper

On Saturday, I won an Ebay auction for an action figure for my brother-in-law, who collects such toys.   I paid on Sunday, including Priority Shipping, and promptly forgot about it, sure that the seller would fulfill his end of the deal, and get it to me by today latest per Ebay’s estimated delivery schedule.

Yesterday, my brother-in-law stopped by, asking about his purchase.  Obviously, this jogged my memory, and I checked Ebay.  The shipper had not marked it as shipped, nor provided a tracking number, which automatically set off alarm bells in my head.  So, I promptly emailed the seller, and within an hour, I had a tracking number.  Cool, I thought, and checked the number on the USPS site, which yielded the infamous “Electronic Shipping Info Received” message.  Obviously, the seller had just prepped it for shipment, and created his shipping label after reading my message.

Had the seller forgotten about my item, or was he just lazy?  I checked his feedback (6759), and he was at 99 percent, but did have several negative comments about not answering emails or actually sending items.   I emailed him again, asking about when my purchase was shipped, but he never replied.

Assuming that I actually get the action figure next week, does this seller deserve negative feedback, or at least a ding on his DSRs?  I’m thinking so, but I always hate to malign other sellers. 

Jumping from purchases to sales, I decided to put several items up for auction, including eight boxes of Magic The Gathering cards that I had picked up from Goodwill for $12.00 per box.  I knew that I needed $96 to break even on the deal, so I put a $100 reserve on the auction, and watched nervously as the bids hovered around the $40 mark for much of the seven-day period.  Thankfully, a buying frenzy ensued on the last day, which pushed the winning bid to $122.50.  I guess a small profit is better than no profit.
The other auctions were for two sets of vintage Dungeon and Dragon magazines.  One set, Dungeon Magazine, sold, but for some reason the other set, Dragon Magazine, garnered nary a bid.  I relisted the unsold set with a Buy It Now price, but may send it to auction again just to get rid of it.

I also sold a pair of cargo shorts, and two pairs of thermal underwear on the same day.  I guess that shows the weather extremes across the country.  In addition, on the same day that I sold a mini-Cabbage Patch Kid, I got one returned in the mail for being too small.

The weekend is finally shaping up, with a both a church sale and an estate sale in my sights.  It’s supposed to be raining, again, but to paraphrase the post office, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these thrifters from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Monday, February 3, 2014

What a difference a week makes

This time last week, we were preparing for a snowstorm.  Today, it’s 70 degrees.  Climate chaos, I tell you.

Saturday morning, though, was cold, not frigid, but apparently chilly enough to keep would-be yard sellers inside where it was warm.  As such, pickings were again slim, but I did stumble across some good stuff at an estate sale while Ella got her first ever massage, thanks to my Valentine’s present to her last year.  Yes, last year. 

Anyway, the estate sale promised the usual assortment of odds and ends, and since I was going on the second day, near closing time, everything was half price.  I figured all the good stuff gone, but I was wrong, thankfully, because it turned out to be a fruitful trip.

The book selection was limited to a few cookbooks, which I usually don’t even bother with.  However, on a lark, I decided to scan them just for grins and giggles, and I sure did start giggling (OK, maybe only on the inside) when I scanned Ninja Cooking Easier, Healthier & Better, Ninja Cooking System.  Used copies of this book were selling for more than $50 on Amazon.  Naturally, I kept that book, and scanned the rest.  The rest of the cookbooks weren’t worth much, but I was happy at the moment.

OK, everyone, say it with me. ALWAYS LOOK AT THE BOOKS.

I then found a new in shrink-wrap puzzle worth $14, and really started giggling when I found and scanned the 10 Minute Solution Fitness Ball Kit, also new in shrink-wrap.  There were only two copies on Amazon, both selling for $430, and both selling from outside the U.S.   Cha-ching for me.

All told, I spend $17 at the sale, and should make a tidy profit for my efforts. 

Ebay sales over the weekend lurched and stumbled along, with only a couple of sales.  Amazon wasn’t much better, and I only managed to make barely 50 percent of my daily goals for the weekend. 

With January behind us, spring can’t be far away, despite what Punxsutawney Phil said yesterday.  With spring, comes sales, including the first book sale of year later this month. 

It’s time to get back in gear.

Oh, by the way, Ella loved her massage.