Monday, December 15, 2014

All the right junk in all the right places

Because you know I'm all about that booth,
'Bout that booth 'bout that booth, no trouble
 I'm all about that booth,
'Bout that booth, no trouble
 I'm all about that booth,
'Bout that booth, no trouble
 I'm all about that booth,
'Bout that booth.
With apologies to Meghan Trainor for tweaking her lyrics, I’ve had that little earworm in my head for days now, and after spending way too much time shopping for and working on our antique booths, the lyrics just sort of morphed into a relevant little ditty.
I spent a surprisingly busy mid-December weekend humming that tune.   On Friday, Ella and I went to a health-food/vitamin store that was going out of business.   We had visited the store a week or so ago, but prices were still too high for me as a reseller.   This week, though, the owners, in a last ditch effort to rid themselves of merchandise, had “make an offer” signs on everything, including the books.
While Ella perused the essential oils, I scanned every book in the store, and found a tote full of good sellable items, and made an offer of $20.  The owner countered with $30, and we split the difference at $25.   I’ll easily sell them for at least 10 times that amount.
We also went to a few sales on Saturday morning despite the cold.  We didn’t have much luck, but did get intrigued yet grossed out by the pizza in the back of the car at one sale.  Yes, whole unboxed pizzas in the backseat of the car.  There were about 10 of them, some with slices missing, most whole, though.  I wanted so bad to snap a picture, but with the owners standing right there, I thought it would be rude.
We hope our table sells before Christmas; if not,
we'll store it until next year
Our last stop was a little antique shop that had advertised a sale on Craigslist.  Ella had spotted a table with elf legs in the listing’s pictures, and wanted to take a look.  As it turns out, the table was a retired Dept. 56 Krinkles Patience Brewster display table with a $350 retail price tag, and a $300 antique shop price tag.  A quick Ebay search showed that the table was actually selling between $200 and $600 online, so the antique store price wasn’t unrealistic, just out of our financial comfort zone.   However, the shop had all Christmas items at 75 percent off, and after a little discussion, we walked out with the table for an amazing $75.  It went into our antique booth the next day for $275.
Later Saturday, we headed to an auction about an hour down the road.  The ad on made it look like an auction of Coca-Cola merchandise, but they only had the collectibles on display for an auction in January.  Irritated by the perceived bait and switch, we still managed to bid on and win a few sellable items.
Sunday was spent packing Ella’s Christmas boxes for relatives, and packing my weekend sales.  With today being the busiest mailing day of the year, I’m not looking forward to dragging all five big boxes to the post office this afternoon, even if they do already have postage on them.  I hate standing in line.
Since Christmas is only 10 days away, I fully expect online sales to slow down now, and what sales I do have, when possible, I’ll bump up to Priority just to make sure they make it by the holiday.
Unless something extraordinary happens, I won’t be blogging again until the first week in January.  So, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and/or happy holidays, depending on your level of yuletide cheer or political correctness.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

You snooze, you lose

I woke up to this message from a potential Ebay customer:
Would you do a "best offer" on this and let me pay you $50 now? That's all I can spend. Please let me know. Thanks!  Clint :)
Clint was referring to my Mattel Electronics Vintage 1977 Football Game with instructions that I had listed last week for $60.  I decided that it was too early in the morning (4:30 a.m. Eastern time) to quibble over $10, so I changed the Buy It Now price to $50, and sent Clint an email.
Within minutes, the game sold, and I figured Clint had been waiting by his computer for my answer and subsequent price reduction.  I happily packed the game, and took it to the post office on the way to work this morning.
I loved this game as a teen
Three hours later, I received this message from Clint:
Well I guess literally if ya snooze ya lose. I went on ebay first thing this morning to see if you messaged me yet and saw that eBay item number 301414143159 had been sold. If the buyer of that Electronic football game flakes out on paying, please let me know. I'll pay promptly. Thanks!  :)
I was momentarily confused, and logged on to Ebay to see just who bought the game.  Apparently, Jennifer from California was up either real late or real early (1:30 a.m.), depending on your point of view, and grabbed the vintage toy, and I didn’t notice the difference in names when I printed the postage.
Sorry, Clint.
I had the exact same hand-held game in the late ‘70s, and while it’s relatively common to see them at yard sales, it’s rare to find both the original box and the instructions.  Even without a box, these games sell for decent money, so always pick them up.
Speaking of vintage, I write occasionally about my love of old technology.  I grabbed this slide ruler at an estate sale earlier this year for $1, and it finally sold.  I tried one time to figure out how to use it, but decided that using a calculator was less trouble.
I still can't use a slide ruler
I also sold two new in package Betamax videocassettes.  If you are old like me, you will remember the format war between VHS and Beta in the 1980s, which was won by VHS.  Even though the last Sony Betamax was produced in 2002, apparently someone still needs tapes.

Someone still wants Beta tapes
Another BOLO that I run into occasionally is a Minnie Mouse cake pan from Wilton. I found this one buried in a pile of other less valuable cake pans at a recent church sale.  I found Mickey, which doesn’t sell for quite as much, and I kept digging until I found Minnie.
Minnie is still hot stuff
Sales have definitely picked up, and I’ve begun spending most of my evening and early morning hours packing items, not that I am complaining.  Given that mailing deadlines are fast approaching, I’ve begun using Priority Mail for most items, even if it means losing a buck or two on the transaction.
After all, there are only three weeks before Christmas.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

No, that’s MY Little Pony

Throughout the year, Ella accumulates thrifted items to bestow as holiday gifts to her out of state family, and it’s a holiday ritual for me to complain not only about helping to wrap all the presents, but also about shipping the multitude of boxes to Maryland and Ohio, the cost of which usually outstrips the value of the presents contained therein.
Still, it’s a family tradition for Ella, and far be it for me to stand in the way of her holiday cheer.  However, as her designated wrapper, I get to see first-hand all the junk, I mean goodies, heading out of state, most of which I have no memory of Ella picking up.
Case in point, on Thanksgiving, she handed me a My Little Pony toy in a faded and slightly crushed box that needed wrapping.  After checking it out on Ebay, I told Ella that her niece was not getting that vintage pony.  It sold within a day for $60.
I had to steal this My Little Pony from Ella
In other toy news, most people have an over-inflated sense of worth regarding their precious Barbie collection, and try to price them accordingly.  I was in a thrift store last week, and saw an unusual Barbie priced at $20, which is way more than I usually pay for dolls.  It was pretty, though, so I checked it on Amazon, and was amazed to find prices north of $100.  Naturally, I picked it up, and it sold for $100 yesterday to a customer in France through Ebay’s Global Shipping Program.

Aine was too pretty to pass up
I visited the same thrift store the next day, and saw another Barbie in the same series, and thought, cha-ching!  Unfortunately, it was worth less than the $20 price tag.
Talk about fickle.
Overall, sales have picked up considerably since last week across all venues.  Or course, it helps that I actually had time to list over my four-day holiday weekend. 
Over at the antique mall, our booths are doing fairly well, too.  In November, we sold $827 against a rent of $468, for a net gain of $359.  With both booths bursting with holiday items, toys, and collectibles, we hope the coming weeks will prove fruitful as well. 
In other booth news, after humble beginnings (small booth) in the spring and an ambitious land grab (large booth) in late summer, we are expanding into a little nook of a booth, perfect for books, and, if I have my way, all things geeky (my input) with a feminine touch (Ella’s input, obviously).  It’ll be a work in progress in December, unfortunately, but since it only adds $68 to our monthly rent, we hope it more than pays for itself.
Weekend yard/garage sales have pretty much dried up around here so I’m hoping our Grasshopper and Ant philosophy that turned our house into a warehouse will keep our coffers full until the new year.
Happy sales everyone.