Friday, January 9, 2015

Belated Happy New Year

As usual, I’m running behind on everything, and the new year just started. Between trying to get ahead on paperwork, keeping our booths fresh, listing, packing, and working my day job, I’m feeling a tad bit overwhelmed despite having a semi-relaxing Christmas break.
 
I say “semi-relaxing” because while I had 18 straight days off last month, I spent the majority of time getting ready for the holiday, as well as working our online endeavors and the aforementioned antique booths.
 
Because you know “it’s all about the booth, ’bout the booth, ’bout the booth, no trouble.”
 
Sorry, I still can’t get that song out of my head.  I even heard it on the way into work this morning.
 
But, I digress.  Nothing earth shattering happened last month, but I do have a few interesting stories to tell.  So, here goes.
 
During the run-up to Christmas, I was shopping in the local “damn it” store (as in, damn it, I forgot the milk, and now I have to drive to the high priced store near the house), and watched as a little old lady (excuse me, senior citizen), push her buggy laden with groceries out of the store.  By the time I got to my truck, she and her buggy were wandering around the parking lot.
 
Always the good Samaritan, I asked her if she needed any help.  She couldn’t find her truck.  I asked what it looked like, and after checking the parking lot, I couldn’t find it either.  She then casually mentioned that her husband was in the truck, and that he must have left her.  Sure enough, she fumbled through her giant purse, found her phone, and called him.  He had gone home, and left her there.  After she assured me that he was on his way, I left, hoping that he actually showed up.
 
On the Tuesday before New Year’s Day, Ella and I went to test drive Nissan’s NV200 cargo van. My truck gets paid off this year, and we are in the market for a vehicle that can haul a little bit more stuff, and it seemed to fit the bill.  It’s a nice little van and gets good gas mileage.  Unfortunately, I decided against purchasing the vehicle despite the dealership jumping through hoops to get one more vehicle sold before January 1. 
 
My goal, though, is to have enough money saved by August so Ella and I can purchase the van in time to visit her relatives in Ohio, and then follow Highway 127 back to Georgia during the World’s Longest Yard Sale, which covers 690 miles, and boasts “thousands of vendors” every year.
 
Sounds like fun, don’t you think?
 
November and Christmas sales in our antique booths were good, with $827 and $1034 worth of merchandise sold in November and December, respectively.  Rent is approximately $540 per month for all three booths, which leaves a “profit” of $781 for the holiday season.
 
I’m a little worried about this month, though. Since we pulled all the unsold Christmas crap .. uh … merchandise out of the booths, the shelves are looking threadbare at best, and too cartoony (leftover toys) at worst.  We need to fill all three booths, and quality yard/thrift/garage sales are hard to find right now.
 
Therefore, in an attempt to give our booths some street cred, we attended an auction on New Year’s Day that, according to the posted pictures, had a lot of vintage stuff, for lack of a better word.  The morning of, I looked at all the pictures, did my research, and made a list, complete with prices, of the items that I thought would be worthwhile on which to bid. 
 
Unfortunately, I watched with disgust as the large crowd bid up prices not only beyond a reasonable buying price, but also above what I considered a decent selling price in the booth.  After enduring the auction for as long as I could, we decided to leave early, only to find our truck blocked by several vehicles double and tripled parked.  Needless to say, Ella was not pleased that we had to wait until the auction was over to leave.
 
I too was irritated, but was more upset at an Amazon return that I got the next day.
 
I had approved a return from an Amazon customer after Christmas based on her description of a new in package $90 toy being “ripped.”  What I got in the mail was a crushed box, missing pieces, missing instructions, and the toy, which obviously had been played with on Christmas morning only to be broken. 
 
We are required to take returns on Amazon, so I fretted for a bit before calling Customer Support.  They said since the toy was returned in such a bad condition, I could charge a 50 percent restocking fee.  So, I refunded the buyer $45, and she actually thanked me.
 
Since the item only cost me $5, I still made $40 on the deal, so I am not too upset. I am waiting for the almost certain negative feedback, though.
 
Sales were brisk over the holidays, especially since I was able to list a bunch during my time off. In December, I sold 166 items on Amazon, Alibris, Biblio, and Half, with an average price of $16.21. 

January sales continue to be good, including this Gracie Combatives DVD set that I sold yesterday for $107.  I remember the yard sale last year at which I picked it up.  It was priced at $3, and when the owner didn’t have change for my $20 bill, she offered to give it to me.  Obviously, the point of this game is to buy low, and sell high, but I just couldn’t take advantage of her.  So, I offered her the only other bill that I had in my wallet, a lowly $1 bill, and she took it.  I felt guilty and happy at the same time as I left.
 
It’s cold in Georgia this week, so weekend sales are still missing in action.  It’s both a blessing and a curse because obviously I need fresh inventory, but the lull is giving me a chance to catch up on everything else.
 
Have a great weekend everyone.

15 comments:

  1. I've been to the World's Longest Yard Sale several times. Great fun and you will need a big vehicle for sure. Just make motel reservations now so you will have a place to sleep because they fill up fast. Great sales in the booth and online.
    Stay warm it is up to 40 here in NC....heat wave from yesterday's 23!!

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    1. I told Ella that we would sleep in the back of the van. She wasn't impressed with that idea.

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  2. I love that little van. My husband was considering that or the Ford version. He bought a Dodge Grand Caravan instead and it's pretty awesome. The back seats fold down into the floor to make a ton of cargo space. It's really comfortable for travelling too. Not the best on gas, but with prices today, not horrible either. Happy new year Scott!

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    1. I haven't looked at the Grand Caravan mainly because I have a long-standing grudge against Dodge vehicles and dealerships. Just out of college, I purchased a Dodge Colt, and before the warranty period had expired, the transmission started slipping. Not being the cynical person that I am now, I let the dealership string me along until the warranty expired, and, you guessed it, the transmission completely failed, leaving me a $1200 repair bill.

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    2. My only concern with the NV200 are the tires, which, according to buyers, routinely wear out before 20,000 miles. To add insult to injury, the only place to buy the small, specialized tires is the dealership, which jacks the price up to sometimes as much as $160 per tire, according to people on the internet. My local dealership quote me $133 per tire, which is still high for such small tires.

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    3. My Mazda 5 needs new tires like every year and it too requires a special size and they are not cheap! We have no idea why they wear out so quickly. (must be all my racing, lol)

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    4. You wear them out going from sale to sale.

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  3. Poor Granny, I can't believe her husband left her. Geez! We'd also love to take a ride to the yard sale one year. Sounds like fun! Regarding the DVD you picked up..do you search values while you are there at the sale? Or were you familiar with it? Or took a chance for the price? Happy New year!

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    1. I scan most media items before I purchase them, so I knew the value of the DVD set.

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    2. Really? Even at a yard sale? I would fee weird doing that..how can you be discreet? Or don't you care and just do it anyway? Has anyone ever said anything? Just curious. Also, I've been considering the purchase of a scanner, but Amazon now has a seller app that I've been using and it seems I don't really need a scanner (it may be a little slow at times through). Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

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    3. Yes, even at yard sales. Frequently, there is so much activity that I'm not even noticed. On those rare occasions when someone does ask, I just say that I am a collector, and the scanner helps me decide which books (or CDs, DVDs, etc.) that I want to buy. It's not really a lie, and I usually get kudos for being so savvy. I use the seller apps (Ebay and Amazon) for non-bar coded items, but occasionaly find myself in areas with spotty coverate. The PDA and scanner don't need cell coverage to work

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  4. Sounds like Granny's hubby is no prince- geez!! The van looks great, and the World's Longest Garage Sale plan sounds like a lot of fun! Happy New Year!

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    1. Happy New Year to you, too. Thanks for reading.

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