Monday, October 6, 2014

Best laid plans ...

It was a simple plan.  Church Sale A opened at 7 a.m., or so we thought, and every other sale, including Historic Macon’s annual flea market and Church Sale B (just a half mile away), opened at 8.  The goal was to sweep into the 7 a.m. sale, be out by 7:30; beat a path to the flea market just in time to avoid standing in line and walk right in; and then backtrack to Church Sale B. 

Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and this plan went downhill fast since the advertisements were wrong, and Church Sale A actually didn’t open until 8.  So, after standing in line (yes, there was already a line at 6:50 a.m.) past the presumed 7 a.m. opening, we found out the discrepancy, did a quick mental travel time calculation, and decided to head over to the flea market, about 20 minutes away.

Naturally, there was a line to get in, and we were at the back, with Ella shivering in the 45 degree weather.  When the doors finally opened, the crowd slowly filtered in, and after wandering around in disappointment for about 20 minutes, finding only a few things, we headed to Church Sale B.  I made a beeline to the media section first, and found a series of eight Dungeon & Dragon type novels priced at $5 each.  Three of the books scanned for in excess of $50, and the remainder scanned for less than $10. So, I only grabbed the three pricey ones.  Just out of curiosity, I asked the person in charge, a sweet looking little old lady (sorry, senior citizen) if the $5 tag was the actual price, and she said yes, since the books were practically new, and sold for more than $20 online.  She then said she would make me a deal if I wanted all eight. I like deals, and asked her how much for all eight. After some dithering, she finally settled on $16.50 for all eight.  Ka-ching! Then, she made me feel guilty by hugging me and thanking me for coming to the sale.

Finally, we made it back to Church Sale A, and while there were still shoppers, the place had been pretty much cleaned out.  Again, I made a beeline to the media room, which looked pretty much untouched.  Obviously, any other early pickers didn’t subscribe to my “always check the books” motto.  I found several $100+ books on electrical engineering, and a few CDs and DVDs.

Finally, back on track, our next stop was a sale promising collectibles and comics.  It was around 10:30 a.m. by this time, and as we walked up, I saw a plethora of comic books and various action figures.  Of course, everything had non-picker friendly price tags, and after chitchatting with the seller, I found out that he was an Ebay dealer.  Swell, I thought.  I then saw a box of classical CDs, and scanned a few, figuring they were all penny CDs.  To my surprise, several came up worth decent money, and the seller offered the whole box for $30.  I countered with $20 (the price of one of the scanned CDs), and we finally settled on $25, including the Tinkerbell toy that Ella had picked up.

Figuring we were running out of time, we bypassed several smaller sales, and headed 20 miles up the road to Church Sale C just in time for everything going to half price.  They still had lots of books, and I managed to snag a few sellable ones.  We thoroughly scoured the sale, and wound up spending about $30 for the books and various other knick-knacks that Ella and I picked up, including a bucket of antique drill bits to match my antique drill that I picked up on Friday night.

We stopped at a few sales on the way home, but the law of diminishing returns (i.e., the later it gets, the fewer bargains to be had) was in full effect.  Both me and my wallet were tired anyway. 

We had decided to skip the local auction that night, but after reading its ad on, we had to go.  Last week, in an attempt to lure some buyers, the auctioneer offered free coffee.  Ella told them that if they wanted to entice her, they had to offer free Pepsi.  Of course, they were offering free Pepsi this week, so we felt obliged to go. We were determined to sit on our hands the whole night, but managed to spend about $20 anyway.

On Sunday, I listed the five boxes of books purchased last week; total selling price for all the books was more than $2400. I then listed the classical CDs, and later we took a few items to our booth. By 7 p.m., I was packing the weekend’s sales, and by 8 p.m., I was collapsed on the couch.

Looking forward, there is at least one good sale each week for the next month.  After that, it goes downhill until spring.  Hopefully, like the proverbial ant and grasshopper story, we have accumulated enough stuff to have a good Christmas season, and to last the winter.

Chat with you next week, same Bat time, same Bat channel (and if you understand that reference, you are as old as I am).


  1. Sounds like things worked out pretty well. I've been having a lot of luck hitting the yard sales towards the end lately. My technique is to ask the host if there is anything else they maybe forgot to put out earlier. I've come up on toy bins chock full of Masters of the Universe, some old video games, and a few 'extra' boxes of rock records that, while not valuable in the picking sense, had some great cuts.

  2. What's the best way to scan books while you're shopping? I'm such a newbie but this is something I think that I may be able to do as a stay at home mom to make some income.

    1. It's fairly simple. Just use the Amazon app and scan books using your smartphone.