Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Art of the Deal Part Two

Eddie-tor's Note:  This was intended to be the second part of a two part post I started back in June.  Due to circumstances, it did not get finished, so I'm wrapping it up now as part of my January Blog Tidy Which may Stretch into March (JBTWSIM).  If you want to refresh your memory, the first part is here.

Continuing on our theme, there are two sides to every bargain.  We've talked about the buyer, now it's time to touch on the seller.  I think yard sale deals fail because of the seller's mistakes as often as the buyer's.  I say this as both someone who sells in an indoor flea market and as someone who has held several very successful yard sales.

The biggest mistake people who hold yard sales make is misunderstanding their goal.  A whole lot of people seem to think that their primary purpose in having a yard sale is to make money.  They price things too high and refuse to deal with buyers, and, at the end of the day, they're hauling most of their stuff back in the house, wondering why it didn't sell.

The goal of your yard sale (unless it's a fund-raiser--which is a different beast) should be to get rid of stuff.  You have too much of it, after all.  You want to get rid of it.  That's why you've piled it all on your front yard for a bunch of strangers to paw through.  To get it gone, you need to offer it at prices people want to pay.  Otherwise, they'll be on to the next sale. 

Which isn't to say that you can't make money doing a yard sale or that there's anything wrong with making money.  Making money is always a good thing, and you can make money at a yard sale.  You just have to keep it in perspective.  You make money at a sale by offering good, useable stuff people want at prices that they want to pay.  In other words, by having bargains.  Good prices means lots of sales, which in turn means lots of money.  You make your money in volume, not by high prices.  Keep that in mind when you're first starting out and your sale will be that much more successful.  You'll also be in a better frame of mind when it comes to bargaining.

Now that we've got perspective out of the way, let's look at the other things a seller can do to take part in deals that are a positive experience for everyone involved.

Price your stuff. (Or at least have prices in mind.)  It's a huge mistake to set stuff out without pricing it.  A marked price is a starting point for buyers to think about and for you to work from when you get an offer.  You mark the banana dibbler at ten, but they offer you five.  Now, you've got parameters, high and low, with which to bargain.  Better yet, both sides know them.  It's a level playing field as far as bargaining is concerned.

If you don't price stuff, then buyers are left having to ask about everything, which not everyone is inclined to do.  For me personally, if it's not extra special, I'm not going to bother asking.  I'll be on to the next sale.  No prices sends a message that everything in the sale is likely to be too expensive to mess with.  It also sends a message that bargaining is probably a bad idea.  The seller has way too much leverage when the prices aren't known.

Don't ask the buyer what they'll pay.  It's lazy and it gives all the leverage to the buyer.  It's also asking to be low-balled, which means you are more likely as a seller to end up feeling insulted or cheated and won't sell the item. 

Again for me personally, I take it quite literally when a seller says "What do you want to pay for it?"  My response is almost always:  "One dollar."  When a seller gets upset at that, I add:  "Well, you asked me what I wanted to pay.  And that's what I want to pay.  Now, will I pay more?  Maybe, depending on what price you set.  So, let's try this again.  How much is this item?"  It may seem kind of smart-ass, but I think of it as a teachable moment.  I want to see sellers succeed, so there will be more yard sales.  Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don't.  And, on occasion, I've actually gotten the item for the initial dollar offer!  Never hurts to try.

(I have a similar response whenever Keith asks if I want to do a particular chore, like take out the trash.  My answer is always:  "No."  Then I add:  "I don't want to do it, but I will do it, if you ask."  Over the years, he's learned to ask.  Teachable moments.  Yes, I'm a pedantic, literal bastard.  I'm also lazy.  But, I'm willing to cooperate, if asked properly.)

Remember, a good price is subjective.  Your lint baller may seem like a bargain to you at twenty bucks, but if my total yard sale budget for the weekend is only one hundred dollars, I'm not likely to see it that way.  If I know the typical going rate for lint ballers is four bucks, I definitely won't see it that way.  On the other hand, if I'm overwhelmed with lint that needs to be balled, I very well could be willing to pay anything for a good one.  You never can tell what's going on in a buyer's head.

Focus on value.  Sentiment ("That was Granny's nose flute.  She played it every day.") and nostalgia ("I had a corn husker just like that when I was a wee lad in County Meath.")  are not the same thing as a fair price based on an item's value.  If your attachments to something are preventing you from seeing it for what it is, you're better off not putting it in your sale.  You're just not ready to sell it.  And if anyone does make an offer on Granny's nose flute, all you're going to hear is the old gal rolling in her grave.  It's better to hold on to it for a little longer and play nose flute symphonies on the back porch.

Don't take it personally.  Someone offering a lower price is not a reflection on you, your stuff, your ability to price things, or your outfit.  The less time you spend feeling insulted and taking offense, the more stuff you'll sell and the more money you'll make.

Don't treat every buyer like they're trying to rip you off.  People offer lower prices for a variety of reasons, which I'll cover in a post later this week.  Acting like everyone is out to cheat you out of an extra twenty-five cents on your Etruscan snoods isn't fair and won't encourage them to spend money with you.

Which doesn't mean that they're aren't jerks and assholes out there trying to take advantage of sellers.  There are and they should be treated accordingly.  But don't treat me like I'm some kind of underhanded fiend, just because someone else is.  I don't want/need your snood that badly.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I am more than willing to put an item (or items) down and leave without buying anything if I don't feel that the hassle (whatever it is) is worth it.  I can (and have) walked away from anything, no matter how much I wanted it.  I'm not the only buyer that will either.  There are other sales out there. 

Listen to what the buyer is saying.  I was at a sale one time where a woman was looking through a rack of shirts.  She had three in her hand, as if she wanted to buy them.  She asked the seller how much they were (see first point).  He said:  "Two dollars each."  She asked if he would take five dollars for three of them.  He replied in a real condescending way that they were two dollars each.  She put two of them back and gave him two dollars for one.  If it had been me, I would have put all three of them back.  After witnessing that exchange, I opted to leave the sale.

Even when I think about it now, I still cannot believe how he totally missed what she was saying to him, which was essentially this:

"I have five dollars that I want to give you.  Can I get three shirts for it?"  The possibility also exists that she may have bought more than three, if he had been willing to deal.

All he heard was:

"I want to give you one dollar less for these shirts."

Use your listening skills!  Is five really that much less than six that you're going to:  A) turn it down and B) be rude about it?

Don't babble. If you can't/won't accept an offer, fine.  Just tell me so.  I don't need to hear that it's the Tsarina's pearl-encrusted doily which was carried over to this country by pigeons in the 1890's.  I don't need to hear what it would bring on eBay (see below).  I don't need to hear that it's new in the box, never been opened, stored only in a temperature-controlled dim closet and only taken out to be lovingly stared at for fifteen minutes on third Fridays in months that start with "M."  I don't need to hear what it retails for.  When I'm standing in your front yard, I really don't care about any of that. And none if it will change my mind or offer.  Just tell me if you'll take one buck instead of two or counter with one fifty.

Stay pleasant.  Your attitude, even when you're turning someone down, can make a big difference when someone is wanting to buy something.  There have been times when I was willing to pay full price, if my offer got turned down, that I didn't just because of the way the seller responded to me.  And there have been others, when the seller was so nice, I never even made my offer.  I just paid the full price and left.

Remember, you don't have to accept any offer. It's still your stuff and your sale.  You don't have to take an offer.  But don't turn it down flat.  Counter if you can.  Be nice, even if you can't.  One of the worst sales I ever went to involved a seller who kept screwing up her nose and going "Ewwwwwww!" every time I made an offer on one of her un-priced (ahem!) items.  Offers that she asked me to make, mind you.  Finally, after about three "Ewwwwwww!" responses, I said "Look.  You told me to make an offer and I did.  It doesn't mean you have to take it, but it does mean that you need to stop being rude. Say 'Yes' Say 'No.' Make me a counter-offer.  I don't care, but stop saying 'Ewwwww!' every time I make an offer."  She didn't get it.

Be prepared to counter-offer.  Negotiation doesn't mean you price it at ten, they offer two, and you turn it down and end the discussion.  It means you politely offer eight in return.  Maybe they'll come back with four, and you can offer seven as your lowest and you'll both be happy.  If you close things off after the initial offer, then the buyer will most likely just walk away.  If you counter and keep the discussion going, then they may end up paying a little more than they initially offered.  You'll have a little less money than you planned on, but more than they originally offered.  And, most importantly, the item will be gone.

Mean what you say.  If you say that you're taking offers or willing to negotiate, then people are going to expect you to deal.  Again, you don't have to accept every offer and it's perfectly okay to counter-offer, but acting offended that someone would make an offer is not.  I once walked into a sale as the lady running it was loudly annoucing that she was making deals and taking offers.  I offered a dollar on a CD that was marked two bucks.  She looked at me and said "Don't think I don't know what that's worth."  I left and spent my dollar somewhere else.

For god's sake, do not bring out the eBay print outs.  My biggest pet peeves are the folks who can't tell the difference between a worldwide market and their back yard.  If you want the eBay price, put the damn thing on eBay!  Of course, that involves a lot more work and a little bit of knowledge and it takes time and you have to pay fees--which is why these bozos won't do it.  Beyond that, most of them don't know how to look up a completed price, so the print outs they've plastered all the Victorian Dibble Doodlers with aren't accurate anyway.  Geez!  That level of ignorance doesn't inspire anyone to make an offer.  Hell, it won't even inspire me to stay in your yard and browse.

Remember, this is a yard sale.  Bargaining is part of the game.  If you're not prepared to do it or feel you shouldn't have to do it, then you might want to consider some other way of getting rid of your junk.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Rambles

Trying to get completely back on track here.  Or, at least, as back on track as I am capable of getting.  I've pretty much realized that getting back on track is a lifelong endeavor for me, so I might as well get used to it.  And that's today's philosophical, nature of life musing.  Tune in next week when we ponder the innate state of being of fava beans.

Okay, so Keith and I are driving along one of the most beautiful tree-lined streets in town yesterday, when--all of a suddden--this huge tree branch falls right in front of us on the street.  We had absolutely no time at all to avoid it, so we barrelled right over it.  Thankfully, it was large, but not thick and it pretty much shattered.  The car was only scratched--no other damage.  But it freaked us the hell out, for sure.

This is a snippet of our dialogue immediately after the incident:

Jesus Christ!"
"Mother Fuck!"
And so on...

It was a good five or ten minutes before either of us could do more than just exclaim profanity.  Then we decided that we were so traumatized that the only recourse we had was to get strawberry shakes at McDonalds. If we had hit a deer, we probably would have had to go to Waffle House. 

By the way, McD's shakes have gotten a lot better since they started the McCafe thing.  Which is kind of ironic, because most of their specialty coffees suck.  But the strawberry shakes actually have little bits of strawberry in them now.

Well, tax season has finally hit the resale market in Louisville, and not a moment too soon!  My January sales were lagging everywhere!  A really nice weekend helped too.  I've been hauling tons of stuff into the Peddlers Mall to get ready for the sales to come, and they finally hit on Saturday!  I had my highest sales in months--almost 100 dollars!  Yay!

(Of course, this means I'm going to have to haul more tons of stuff out there to replace the stuff that sold.  It's a never-ending cycle!)

Whenever I have a really strong day like that, I like to look at what's sold and see if there are any themes or trends.  Saturday had several:

Warner Brothers Characters
Coffee Cups

What fun!

As for YesterNook, I had my best day there ever on Saturday. Went there Sunday with the intent to do a major rearrange, which kind of hinged on one particular shelf--which sold about five minutes before I got there!  So the rearrange turned into a kind of a punt.  I reshuffled some stuff but didn't make any major changes.  Did get some restocking done, though.  I've got to bring a little more stuff over at some point this week.

Sunday was good at both venues, too--not as good as Saturday, but good.  I knew YesterNook would be lower because I was working the space.  There's not really enough room for folks to check things out when I'm working, so they pass it by.

Sunday themes at Peddlers Mall included lots of books, scarves, and religious items and Charlie Brown figures.  The scarves means my small basket of linens is a mess and the religious items means that my religious display is getting sparse.  I'm running short on Jesus and Mary!  And the book run means that space is getting sparse too.  Good thing I have a huge tub of books ready to go this week.

Overall, I'm ending the month pretty well at both spots.  This has turned into my highest YesterNook month ever.  The Peddlers Mall is still off a bit, but has bounced back nicely.  One crappy week is keeping my total about 100 bucks off.  But, we are definitely hip deep in the resale busy season.

We took Kosh to the vet Saturday.  He doesn't at all like going to the vet, but he was well-behaved--although he did express his anal glands at one point.  Pee-yew!  My little boy is an old man of nine now.  Where does the time go?

There weren't any yard sales at all over the weekend, despite the nice weather, so we hit the thrifts.  I was mainly looking for large items, since I had a spot at YesterNook to fill.  I found what I was looking for:

It's gorgeous, solid, and hand-made.  The windows are missing a lot of the frames, but otherwise, it's in great shape.  Someone is going to love this baby.

It's supposed to be a beautiful week here, so I'm looking forward to riding my bike to class ever day.  My schedule gives me most of the afternoon free this time around, so I usually grab a cup of coffee somewhere and read a bit before heading home. It's kind of relaxing and then I get home in time to work on booth stuff.  I'm trying to get the backstock that has taken over one room of the house together and organized.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

This is one of Keith's favorite Robert Earl Keen songs

So I guess that this one is for him!

When my hair gets long he calls me "Eddie with the long hair hanging down."

He's kind of goofy that way, but I love him anyway.  And love is all that matters in the end.  I hope you and your Jesse with the long hair hanging down are having a good weekend.

 I think I was originally holding this one for his birthday, but that's not until April, so I've got plenty of time to find something else.

By the way, isn't REK awfully young in this one?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

So what? I still like it!

Yes, yes, yes. I know that the whole Star Trek slash thing is waaaaaayyyyy overdone and most of it is pretty poorly overdone at that.

And I know that there's nothing tireder than pulling about bunch of clips out of context and assigning some sort of subtext to them.

But, I still like this video.  It's a great song by a great band.  And, for what it is, it's very well put together.

Friday, January 27, 2012

In an Internet FILLED with Emmylou Harris Videos....

How can one (not so) young man possibly pick a favorite?


Just choose the one where she buck dances!

I mean, seriously, is that not just the best thing, ever?  Even with the lamentable video quality.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday Rambles

Okay, I know it's Tuesday, but this is still a Monday Rambles.  I finally switched to the new Blogger interface the other day, and I'm still getting used to it.  So much still getting used to it in fact that I accidentally deleted my 95% complete Monday Rambles post and cannot get the damn thing back!  That's the price I pay for late adapting--I guess.  Either that, or Blogger just hates me.  Either one works for me.

Finally started feeling better last week.  I took a few days off and did nothing but rest and that seemed to help.  Now I'm trying to get caught up. 

Never, ever make sales predictions about your booth.  No sooner did I start thinking that this was shaping up to be a good month, and sales tanked everywhere.  Now I'm scrambling and hoping against hope I can still make my sales goals.  The really frustrating thing is that the tanking started around the time I finally got my booths straightened up and well-stocked.  I should have left well enough alone, I guess.  Who knows?  The only real predictable thing about this business is that nothing is predictable.

I hit the first sales of 2012 over the weekend.  Nothing spectacular.  One was a fundraiser at a local college that has been pretty good in the past, but this time around was just "Meh."  I did buy a couple of things, but nothing to write home (or blog) about.  The other sale over-sold itself on Craigslist and turned out to be nothing but over-priced junk.

I'm going to try and finish up some posts I've had in the works for a while and get them up this week.  We'll see what happens.

Friday, January 20, 2012

One thing that makes my heart go pitter pat...

...is songs about Emmylou Harris!  (Or rather songs that mention her.)  Especially when they are as wistful and tender as this one.  I love the vid!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Not a one man band, but a five person guitar!

Neat concept and quite well executed!  Enjoy!

The guy with the beard on the end looks a little bored throughout, but he does some nice harmonies.  The first time I played this, it startled me when the guy in the middle started to sing. What a voice!  Anyone else have the same reaction?  They all look so relieved in the end for it to be over!

Friday, January 13, 2012

And then there was the time that Emmylou Harris sang a Stephen Foster song

This is the first Emmylou video of the year, and that's a perfect sentiment to start the year off with, I think. Maybe this will counteract the effects of the first Friday the 13th of the New Year!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

December Sales Recap

Okay, I'm relapsing a bit here.  Been pushing myself too hard this week to get the mess in my booth at the Peddlers Mall cleaned out.  Been working out there every day this week until closing time.  When I woke up this morning, my head was packed with crap and my throat was raw.  Geez!  I want this cold thing gone!  If I can get that booth to a certain point tonight, I'm planning on spending the weekend in bed, hopped up on NyQuil and, if that doesn't do it, then next week, it's off to the doc.

I was kind of shocked once I got all my shelves condensed and the last bits of Xmas all pulled to see that I'm like 2/3 empty there.  Wow!  And there wasn't a lot of Xmas to pull, so that should give you an idea of what sales there have been like.  It's kind of impressive to me that my space has looked like hell all week, yet I've been consistently strong in sales. 

It makes me hopeful for a couple of things:

1.  I'll burn through quite a bit of the backstock I've got built up at home during the off yard sale season.  (Although as warm as it's been, there may end up not being an off season.  Maybe I'll just declare a buying moratorium on smalls for a few weeks.)

2.  Tax season should be really good.  I'm already planning on pulling some larger pieces in.  I'd been keeping my furniture stock for YesterNook at the Peddlers Mall until I needed it, and most of it sold from there.  It's giving me ideas.

So, about December.  It's a hard month for a re-seller.  Unless you do new goods, most people don't look at you for gifts, which means your sales could lag.  I shared yesterday one way I get around that.  Another way is to try and have a wide variety of collectibles of all sorts on hand for those who are shopping for loved ones who are collectors. Finally, it never hurts to have a lot of good quality second hand Xmas items, expecially vintage items.

The month started off very well at both sites and was strong throughout the month.  YesterNook's open house on December 3 was a good day, and I sold lots and lots of vintage ornaments throughout the month.   I started increasing my selection of books in the middle of the month, and that seemed to be well-recieved as well.  I had very high hopes for the month, but sales pretty much tanked for me the week after Christmas.  I experienced my first sale-less days of the month in that week.  It just never recovered from that.  You can have a good head of steam, but a few slow days will always kill your forward momentum.  In the end, I did about the same thing as I did in November.  The really interesting thing is that I didn't sell any furniture at all in December, and still ended in about the same place.  I think my future really does lie mainly in smalls.

The Peddlers Mall was pretty awesome all month.  There was a slight slowdown after Christmas, but only a day or so.  December 26 is usually a good day there, but I think that it being on a Monday hurt.  They also did a special sale day on December 31 that ended up being really good for me.  Not only was my small furniture stash selling, but lots and lots of other items did as well.  As the stock started dwindling down, some of my long time shelf sitters started to go too.  That's always nice!  I ended up with one of my better months there, and probably my fourth or fifth strongest of the year.  It was definitely the best one since September.

And that fact got me to thinking.  Ever since YesterNook opened, I've spent way more time focusing on that space and giving second shift to the Peddlers Mall.  As a result, my November was 100-150 lower at Peddlers than it should have been, and even that fantastic December could have been about 50 higher, if I had focused on re-stocking as I should.  I don't necessarily think that what I did was wrong--you do have to nurture your new baby after all--but I think it's time to start giving Peddlers alot more attention and TLC.  It's my clear money-maker, for sure.

The challenge for 2012 will be to keep Peddler's well fed and growing--I have great plans for that space--while getting YesterNook up to the level it needs to be at to be viable for me.  I'll keep you informed how it goes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Importance of Post Xmas Shopping

Well, my schedule got tossed about a bit right after I finished yesterday's blog and the tossing continued right into the afternoon.  I realized that I needed to turn in a timesheet, so the planned morning to YesterNook got canned.  Then my Free Friday got unexpectedly turned into a Wednesday With No Plans.  The end result:  I'm making the YesterNook stop today, then going to the Peddlers Mall, where I am going to finish 2012 booth re-do.  Today.  For good.  Come hell or high water. Done.  Finito.  I mean it.

Seriously.  I am getting tired of looking at the cart of Christmas junk I just pushed out of the way so I could get started.  And I'm even more tired of customers asking if I'm moving out!  (Usually it's just jerks looking for a markdown, but sometimes it's one of my regulars.)  Still, despite the chaos and the length of this project, I have had really good sales there so far this month.  I think because it's gotten a little sparse and things are moved about a bit. folks have been noticing some of my shelf sitters and they've been moving out the door.  Which is great, because part of the re-do was to mark those suckers down and move them along!  This way, I've made more money and I still get rid of them.

As a purveyor of quality second-hand goods, I have to work really hard to keep December sales up, since people prefer to give new items as gifts at the holidays.  One way I do this is by waiting until after the holiday and stocking up on decorations and such when they are 75-90% off in the stores.  I get a couple of tubs-full from various locations and store them away until the next year.  There is always someone looking for affordable decorations for their first Christmas, so I'm pretty much guaranteed sales.

The other thing I do is hit clearance sales at stores throughout the year and get new, in the package and shrink wrap items, for 75% or more off and hold onto them.  I also buy new, never-used items at thrifts and yard sales when I can.  Then, when holiday shopping season hits, I make a special table at the booth with signs pointing out that these are new items at bargain prices.  I usually have a good sell-through.  I had to re-stock that table a couple of times this year.  If you keep your eyes open, there's a lot of stuff like this to be found.  You just have to be careful not to overdo it.  And make sure you keep your re-sell price below retail.

Part of the trick is waiting for the right moment to buy.  The day after Christmas, the markdowns on holiday merch begin, but they start at 50%.  This really isn't enough of a bargain for reselling purposes.  There's no point in hording something all year long if you're going to have to sell it at full retail to make some money.  People won't buy it if it's the same price they could get it for in a regular store.

I swoop in when the markdowns hit 75%.  The selection is usually still pretty good, and the items can be resold later for less than full retail and still make a profit.  So, imagine my consternation this year when I got sick right as the 75% markdowns were coming!  It was even more frustrating than not being able to complete the booth re-do.

When I could finally get out again (Saturday), we made beelines for the stores.  Thankfully, at most of them there was still a good selection left.  The exception was Target, which had already gone to 90%.  Now, I love a 90% markdown, but at that point all you're left with is a couple of Santa mugs that say "Kitty" on them and a faded felt stocking.  And one of the mugs will be chipped.  Not exactly prime resale material.  Since I really prefer Target goods for the quality, this was a bit of a blow.  But, I just got a few extra things at some of the other places and let it go.  In the end it's all a crap shoot, and you do your best and hope it works.  The most important thing is to get enough stuff to carry through the holiday season, without having a lot of leftovers to store.  Usually 2-3 tubs worth is fine, and I was able to get that.

But next year, I'm crawling out there on my belly if I have to!

While we were out Saturday, we also stopped at Goodwill to drop a box of donations off.  We pulled out into the alley the runs behind the neighboring stores, and Keith spotted something Christmassy peeking out of one of the dumpsters.  It turned out to be the most marvelous bag of vintage plastic holly garland!  Gobs and gobs of it.  Long stands.  Short strands.  Little bits and pieces.  Some if it was a little sun-faded, and there's a bit of decades-old masking tape stuck here and there, but mostly it's in beautiful shape--a fine relic from the days when this country produced the finest plastic holiday geegaws and nick nacks the world has ever seen!

I've already stashed it away for Christmas 2012.  My plan is to find the coolest, most awesome baskets I can this year in all sizes and sell it by the basketful as decor.  You've always gotta have a plan.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Let's Break It Down!

There's a very peaceful feeling this in the house this morning. Not sure why. Just feels very....calm. I kind of like it because it's going to be a busy-busy, rush-rush day that will include stops at both booth locations. I'm getting back on the bike for the first time since I got sick. I hope that's not a mistake.

I think it might be so calm because Chiquito is still asleep. Hmmm......

Damn! Just remembered I forgot to charge my camera battery last night! Can't take pics for CraigsList without it. Be right back!

Double damn! In the course of finding the charger, I roused Chiquito! So much for calm!

Welcome to my life! It ain't always pretty but it's real.

Anyway, I just wanted to quickly lay 2011 to rest, Eddie-torial style and then get on with 2012.

I didn't hit my 100 posts for 2011 after all. As I kind of feared, my dog-sitting foray, followed immediately by our trip to Arkansas just blew my rhythm all to hell. Still, I got close. And isn't 100 just a number anyway? Maybe I can do that this year. It works out to one blog every three days or so. Surely, even I can manage that!

We had fun in Arkansas. I love Keith's mother to death, and it's always good to see her. It was a total whirlwind trip though and I really wish we'd had one more day.

(Chiquito wants attention. What have I wrought??)

I did get a little bit of thrifting in while I was there. Nothing too special though. I read monkeybox's blog about all of her delicious vintage finds in the little community thrifts of Arkansas and had visions of wonderment dancing in my head and found....well...exactly none of that! I must have been in the wrong corner of Arkansas!

I did find a cute little vendor's mall with some amazing stuff though. It was in an old ice house and the owner was this charming older lady. I only had about a half hour to shop, but I managed to find a few things. She wrote my entire purchase up by hand! I wrapped my stuff and bagged it to help her out. She was amazed when I told her that I get email reports about my sales every night.

Of course, the best finds in life are the unexpected freebies you encounter. Keith's mom surprised me with an old steel ten-gallon milk can that someone had given her. She said that when she saw it, she thought of me and my booths. It's amazingly wonderful and so is she!

Before I got sick, I hit the big flea market at the fairgrounds for New Years. It's kind of a tradition dating back to my college days. Very little in the way of comic books this time, but the special antique wing was really nice. With the economy still so weak, lots of dealers who travel to shows are making incredible offers. It's not uncommon to find tables overflowing with stuff for a buck each or less. It's kind of a digger thing--not real fancy or organized--but I always manage to find some treasures. And at that price, it's easy to resell and make a profit.

The only drawback to the whole deal is the parking cost at the fairgrounds which is an outrageous eight dollars. (!) Kind of undercuts the whole purpose of a "free admission" flea market. We get around this by having Keith drop me off at the gate with my granny cart. I walk in and then text him towards the end of my shopping and he picks me up.

On the way to the flea market, we stopped to get drinks and avoid the food costs at the fairgrounds. I ended up picking up eight rolls of Christmas paper--several of them foil--for a quarter each on clearance. They're all nicely stowed away now for Christmas 2012.

The post-Christmas clearance sales are vital to have a good holiday resale season. I'll have more to say about that tomorrow.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Recuperating Monday Rambles

Well, I've still got a bit of a cough and a lot of snot.  (How can one average-sized head hold so much mucus?)  But I seem to be well on the road to recovery.  The cough is worse when I lay down at night, so I'm still taking NyQuil in the evening, which I don't like.  It makes me kind of groggy the next day.  I'd like to get back to just sleeping normally, but that may be a few days yet.  I've been taking Mucinex during the day, which certainly helps with the cough, but it's had the odd effect keeping me awake at night.  So, I'm actually a groggy insomniac!

Chiquito has the adorable little "Ack!" sound he makes when he wants attention.  I just got two of them from him.  I think I'm being neglectful....

I guess the goal for this week is catch-up, since I'm now waaaaaay behind!  I like to let my Christmas stuff sell through the end of the year, and then spend the first week of the year packing it up and freshening with new stock.  It's also my time to majorly clean and rearrange.  Traditionally, in the indoor vendor mall business, the middle of January through the middle of April is the busiest sales time of the year because people get their tax refunds and come looking for the bargains.  You really do have to be prepared to do well at this time of the year.  Last year was the first time I really put any effort into it, and it paid off big time for me.  So, it really kind of screws me up to have missed three days out of last week due to illness.

I did spend several hours there Saturday and made some progress, but I'm nowhere near where I want to be just yet.  It'll take most of this week to get caught up, since the part-time job is starting back this morning.  Fortunately, they've redone the hours a bit, so I'll have most Fridays off, but still get the same amount of hours.  So, I'll head there this morning, do my thing, then head to the mall for the rest of the day.  A junkman's work is never done!

One of the things I have to do this afternoon is move some shelving from another booth to my area.  I bought a couple of shelves that were part of a booth vacated by an exiting vendor.  They're screwed into the walls that they built in their booth.  If you build walls or fixtures, you can leave them when you exit the booth, and the mall will try to sell them for you.  They had a good price on the walls and everything, but I don't really need or want the walls, so I checked and they sold me the just the shelves.  Now, I'm not the most handy person, but I do think I can manage to get them unscrewed and moved without any major problems.

I'm going to use one of them for an endcap on my existing row of shelves.  I'll move my small, but growing, selection of household doodads and small electronics onto it.  Then, I'll take the freed up half-shelf that they're crowded on right now and move it over to my religion section to free up some space there and replace a pair of unsightly milk crates, which are getting on my nerves and proving woefully inadequate to the task at hand.  I'll take those over into my book booth and use them to help organize some magazines that used to belong to my mother.  I just put them out on Saturday and don't really like the stacks.  Once the magazines have sold, I'll put the milk crates back under one of my tables until I need them again.  (The mags are really only temporarily there.  In a few weeks, I'm going to recycle whatever is left of them,  I only put them out on a lark.  There was a stack of them left from when my brother and I finished going through Mom's things, and I thought "What the hell?  I'll try to sell a few.")

The other shelf I'll use to replace a baker's rack that I took over to YesterNook on Sunday to fill in a spot left by a large piece of furniture that sold.  I'll put the things that were on the baker's rack on it.  Currently, they're temporarily residing on a neat wheeled shelf I got off a departing vendor a couple of weeks ago.  Once it's cleared off, I'm going to roll it over to the spot left by the half-shelf in the paragraph above.  That will create another endcap effect at the end of my other row of shelves, which will nicely mirror and complement the other newly-created endcap, which it will face across the entrance to my booth area.  I'm going to move my Pyrex, Fire King, and other Anchor-Hocking stuff onto it, and then redo my kitchen and glassware shelves with new stuff.

Whew!  You gotta have some sense of vision and some kind of a plan to do this.  The end result will make my space look totally new, in time for the tax-time shopping rush!

I've still got more I wanna say, but I'm exhausted after typing up everything I've got to do.  Come back tomorrow for more!  And get well wishes to my pal, Roger Green, who shared his own health news in my comments last week.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Feeling a Little Under the Weather Today...

Yesterday, about mid-day, I started getting stopped up on the left side of my head.  By four, I was developing a sore throat.  By evening, I was feeling flat out crappy.  This is so not what I need during the critical "get the booth ready for the New Year" week in January.

So, I'm taking today off, resting, and imbibing NyQuil, in hopes of beating this thing off before it gets any worse.

I'll be back in the groove tomorrow, I hope.

Pic from here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Back to Business!

Well, sort of.  Never can tell what "business as usual" is supposed to mean around these parts, anyway!

Hope 2012 is ringing in well for you all!  I've got a lot to chat about, so I'll be on quite a bit this week with some updates and such.

In the meantime, I'm off to to the Peddler's Mall.  (One of my New Year's Resolutions is to finally figure out and remember where that damn apostrophe is supposed to go, if there even is one.)  It's time for my traditional first week of the year de-holiday and re-stock. I'll try to remember and take some pics.

In the meantime, since you can't say it too much, I'll say it again:

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Thought for a New Year

Taking the day off to go to the New Year's Flea Market.  Will be posting a bunch in the next few days.  I've got some big plans for this year and am dying to share them.

In the meantime, have some excellent food for thought for the year just begun:

Thanks for sticking with me for another year folks.  I hope 2012 holds good things for all of you.