Friday, March 30, 2012

You know you're a junker when...

According to the part of the state where I was raised, I should be wearing lots of blue and screaming about how the Cats are gonna stomp Louisville on Saturday.  According to the town where I live, red should be my color of choice as I call out for Wildcat blood.

Yes, it's a historic match-up.  Yes, it's a classic collegiate rivalry.

But, me?  I'm reading the paper these days, shaking my head, and saying:

"Damn!  Another Saturday of low booth sales!"

Yep, I'm a junker!

However, I do wish that I had a stash of UK and UL items to put out for sale right now.  That stuff is popping up everywhere all over town!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Revealed At Last! My Deep, Dark Secret!

Well, one of them at any rate.  If I let them all out of the bag, I'd probably then have to round up the seven or eight of you who actually read this blog and have you eliminated or something.  Can't be letting all our skeletons dance out of the closet now, can we?

And what is this horrible secret?

I read girly manga!!!!!

Oh, the humanity!

This is what happens when Sailor Moon is the show that turns you on to anime.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Junkin' Memories

Junkers aren't born.  They're made.  And not instantaneously, either.  It takes a lifetime.  I see so many people come and go from vendor malls because they didn't have it in them to stick it out.  I've seen some people online fretting because right now every auction, yard sale, and barn seems to be overrun with wanna-be American Pickers and their little flashlights.

These idiots are getting in the way of people who actually know what they're doing, driving up prices and acting like asses because they've watched a few episodes of a TV show.  Worse yet, they're copying and trying to ride the coattails of the more experienced junkers around them.

In the end, though, I think they're going to be a momentary frustration.  Once these insta-junkers see how much real work there is for how much little actual return, they're gonna jump ship.  They don't have it in them.  They never gave a thought to second-hand goods before they started trying to be junkers, and that is the crux of their problem.  You become a junker over a lifetime, not by watching TV shows.

I'm still a relative newcomer to the selling end of things, with only about three years under my belt, but I bring a lifetime of buying secondhand to the table.  My parents sort of got me into this, although they weren't really as serious about it as I became.  Still, it's thanks to them that I learned about flea markets and thrift stores and such. 

So with that in mind, I've decided to start sharing some of my early junking memories from time to time.  I've been realizing since both my parents are gone now, how often I did secondhand shopping with them, both as a kid and as an adult.  Neither one of them got to see my booths, but I think they'd be proud of what I've done.  And I've had many significant friends and others who have played a role in my junking past as well.  I'd like to pay tribute to them with a few posts along the way.

Shara has a great expression in the masthead to her blog:  "Sometimes it's about the journey.  Sometimes it's about the junk."  To that, I would add:  "Sometimes it's about both."  That's what this series is about.  I hope you'll join me as I look back on some of those memories of junk gone by.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What Can One Dollar Get You?

Since Kosh had a vet appointment Saturday, we only had time to make it to one church sale, and we didn't get there until the last twenty minutes or so.  As we walked in, some guy was announcing it was "Fill a bag for a dollar" time!  In other words, we were just in time!

 Unfortunately, the place was also overrun with little old church ladies packing leftovers at light speed, which made filling a bag a little bit of a challenge.  Nonetheless, I managed to do it!  If I had a few more minutes and a few less church ladies, I probably could have gotten another one.

It's kind of hard under these kinds of circumstances to be very discriminating in your choices, but I got some decent stuff.  Nothing truly spectacular, I'll admit, but everything is sellable, and I'll make a lot more than that dollar back, so all is good.

So, what does one dollar get you?  Take a look:

(I decided to do this kind of spur of the moment while I was going through the bag, so some stuff hasn't been cleaned up for resale yet.  You'll also need to pardon the messy desk in the background.  It's kind of the dumping ares for everything these days!)

Five pieces of stone fruit and a pig in a dress

Three coffee cups, an IU bowl, and a juice glass

Sweet boy and girl pics

Two metal candelabras and  a votive holder with lots of petals

An Avon decanter, a shot glass, and a set of Opryland salt and pepper shakers

One 1918 calendar plate

And, last, but certainly not least--one happy chicken puppet!

Like I said, not spectacular, but you can't beat it for a buck.  And you know what they say:

"Quickie yard sale shopping is better than no yard sale shopping at all!"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Rambles

Well, it got hot enough last week to qualify to be called "Summer in March."  I'm talking 80's and 90's.  And it killed sales!  When it starts to get that nice, people blow off inside shopping for the parks and the lake.  To be able to do that this early in the year is unusual, so the shoppers have been pulled away.  Couple that with the fact the landlords and building managers got cought off guard and weren't yet ready to test and prep AC systems, and you end up with lower than normal sales.

I did however sell a china cabinet last week.  Happy dance!

I also set a personal bike riding record to one of my job sites across town.  I made it in 20 minutes on Wednesday!  Tour de France here I come!!!!!

I made the decision last week to move to another booth space in YesterNook.  My sales there have been somewhat less than spectacular all month and I am just tired of trying to fight the long, skinny layout to create something customers want to come into and shop from.  I'm going to be in an upstairs booth starting next month.  While I am dreading the hike up the stairs with merch, the new space is a little bigger and, more importantly square-shaped!  There is also overhead lighting in the room I'm going into, so I won't need my own lamps any more.  All the way around more pluses than minuses.  Hopefully, it will get my sales to the level I want them to be at and keep them there!

In the meantime, in prep for the move, I'm trying a 20% off sale in the booth for this week.  Maybe it will give me less to schlep upstairs on Saturday.

Just a little over 20 more posts to beat 2005!  Woo hoo!

We had to take Kosh to the vet for a recheck on Saturday, so there wasn't a lot time for yard sales.  We managed to make the end of a church sale, though.  More about that one tomorrow.  I did do some thrifting through the week, but nothing special.  Went to Goodwill and didn't even get called a fucker.  We did make it Half-Price Books again yesterday with our 50%-off coupons.  I picked up some more clearance comics and manga there too.  I didn't find anything I wanted for me, even at 50% off, so I used my coupon to get one of the books Keith was interested in, so he got two half-price books! 

It's nice to share!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Special Mission Sunday

Welcome back to Sunday Services here at First Ed-boro Episcabaptecostalicterian Church of God in Jehovah Jesus Christ of Saint Margaret-Mary-Vladimir-Athanasius-Bartholomew in Eternal Holiness and Mercy!  We're glad to see you this morning.  Today we're going to focus on a very serious problem that is plaguing our world.  In fact, this problem is so serious that the church elders have decided that we are going to embark on a five year mission to eradicate it.

The work will not be easy dear brothers and sisters, but I promise it will be rewarding.  It will require much effort on our part here at FEECGJJCSM-M-V-A-BEHM.  Some of you will be going out on special mission teams. Some of you will undergo training for the field.  Some of you will endure many trials and hardships for this very important task.  And the rest of you will be called on to support the effort financially.

Yes, sisters and brothers, this will not be an inexpensive mission to which we are called.  There will be special offerings and fundraisers.  Some of you will bake cookies and serve meals.  Others of you will volunteer for the rummage sales.  And some of you will simply write checks.  Big checks.

And I am convinced that once you all learn of the gravity of this problem, dear brothers and sisters, that you will want to be a part of the solution.  You will want to go.  You will want to work.  You will want to pay.  I know you will.

For no one can look upon the shocking horrors that I am about to show you and not be moved to compassion and action.  No one can see the need and injustices crying out for correction and turn a deaf ear.  You see, dear family, this world is being corrupted by an evil so atrocious that it almost should not be named.  But name it we must, for by naming it we can begin to drive it out into the light of day and confront it with the power of truth and love.  We can only begin to have a better society for our children and their children when we deal with this evil in our midst.

Which evil am I referring to?  Why the persistent plague of....


Here, see for yourself the degradation and depravity of these creatures:

It starts with simple rock larceny in the first degree, but we all know where this is going to lead.  Next thing you know, we're dealing with costumed super-villains!

For the sake of our society and civilization, we simply cannot let this happen!  That is why, dear brothers and sisters, I am announcing this day the formation of our newest mission:  The Penguin Outreach Opportunity Program!

Through the POOP, we will make every effort to intercede with these waddling, flightless miscreants before they sink any further into the depths of their depravity.  Our aim is to show them the way to fulfillment as upstanding, law-abiding semi-aquatic avians.  Together, we can make a difference.

Won't you join our effort?  Won't you be a part of the POOP? 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I had to do this one too!

But, if you've been around here a while you already knew that.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Of Giants and Kids

When it comes to music, there are two kinds of people--those who get They Might Be Giants and those who don't. Me?  I get them.  More than that, I love them.  I've been a fan for years.  So has the little guy, it seems:

My newest all-time favorite TMBG songs is this one:

It's kind of funny how all of their songs have a way of turning into my all-time favorite TMBG song!  I played that one for Keith, and he looked at me like I'd lost my mind.  Maybe it isn't the best thing to show someone first thing on a Saturday morning?

One of  the things I appreciate about the band is their versatility.  Not everyone can make a kids album that not only doesn't drive adults screaming from the room, but also scores so well with the regular adult fan base that several of the songs become featured at many concerts?  I've seen them perform this one a few times:

Isn't that catchy?  I wanna go to West Xylophone for vacation!

Now, try to get this little ditty out of your head:

And, now that I've provided the soundtrack for your day, I'll take my leave.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eggstra Special!

I normally try to reserve Thursday as an off day for the blog and not plan any content, but I had to share this pic.  It's a set of vintage egg cups I bought at a sale weekend before last.  Aren't they cute?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


So, I bought these at a church sale the other day.

In and of themselves, they're not very special.  Just the typical lower quality religious statues you can find at the dollar store.  Usually, I pass them up, but they were only a quarter each and I already had a big box of stuff from this sale, so I tossed them in.

Does anything look strange to you?  Like maybe something is missing?

Look again.  A little closer this time.

What are the pointing at?  Where are their hearts?

If you don't know what I'm talking about, consider that most images with Jesus and Mary in this pose typically look like this:

That would be the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the left, with the Sacred Heart of Jesus beside her.  Image from here
Both of these are very traditional Catholic devotions, and one of the reasons I became fascinated with religious art years ago.  So I'm pretty used to seeing Mary and Jesus with hands on chests, pointing to their hearts.  Hearts that are missing on my two little statues.

Now, I've seen this kind of thing before.  Protestants don't share these devotional traditions, so manufacturers will block that part of the mold that has the heart in it and run some articles that they can sell in the Protestant market.  It's cheaper than making a new mold for a new product.  And you get a perfectly sellable version of Jesus and Mary pointing at, well, nothing.

I bought these at a Protestant church, so I guess there is a market for them.  But when I was growing up Southern Baptist, what religious art we had tended to be more like these:

You had your classic Jesus profile with subtle halo.

You had your Good Shepherd.

You had your Jesus at the door.  (Now I've got cheesy Paul McCartney songs running through my head.)

You had your praying hands.  (It's fascinating how many pics of tattoos come up in a Google image search for this one.)

And, other than a Ten Commandments plaque or a pic of the Bible, that was about it.  Oh, there were a few homes with a Crucifixion scene or a Last Supper, but no one that I knew anyway had "Protestant-safe" versions of the Hearts anywhere.  Wonder when someone got the idea to start trying that.  I mean, I bought it at a sale, so someone else obviously got it somewhere.  Still, the idea of a non-Catholic home with any kind of an image of Mary--heartless or not--just strikes me as odd.  My grandmother would have had none of that, let me tell you.

One of the things that appealed to me about Catholic themes in religious art is a combination of the drama and the kitsch involved.  The religious art I grew up with just seemed so plain to me in comparison with pictures of the Twin Hearts. 

Now, I know that life doesn't always fall into neat little categories.  In reality, there were and are plenty of Catholic homes that have copies or versions of everything I've listed above.  There's nothing about any of those images that brands them as "belonging" to any particular kind of church.  I just tend to think of them as "Protestant" because that's what I grew up with and how I was raised.

Take another look at my little statues:

With no heart showing, but hands still kind of clutching their chests, doesn't it kind of look like this is what they're thinking?

Just sayin'!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This is How We Do It: Management Relations Edition

This is part two in an ongoing, semi-regular series about selling in a vendor mall.  You can find previous posts under the "this is how we do it" label.

If you are re-selling stuff in a location where a hundred (or more) other people are doing the same thing, that means you have a lot of competition right under the same roof.  Standing out from the crowd takes a lot of skills and work.  Some of it is obvious--stocking, cleaning, and rearranging are ongoing processes that have to be done, week in and week out.

But, there are other, more subtle things you can do, as well.  These involve the so-called "soft skills" that employers look for, especially the ability to build relationships.  One of the most key relationships you can build is with the management and staff of the store where you have a booth. 

There are over 100 vendors at the Peddlers Mall and over 30 at YesterNook.  That's a lot of people vying for the attention of customers and store staff.  The better the impression you can make on the folks who work in the store, the better for you as a seller.  As they get to know you, they get to know your stuff.  As they get to know your stuff, they realize you carry flim-flams and dong-doodlers. Then, when a customer comes in and asks if anyone carries dong-doodlers, they can point them right to your booth.

It's not something that's going to happen right away.  Staff have a million and one things to do, and being surrounded by booths and stuff all day long makes it easy to tune it all out and focus on the job at hand.  You have to work to make the impression in their minds.  Remember, they're the ones that are there all day, so they are the ones who are your ambassadors to the customers.  Placing yourself on their radar will help them guide customers to you.

Here are some tips that can help build this important relationship:

Talk to them.  Take a few minutes when you come in to chit chat just a bit.  This helps them put a name to a face and get to know you.  Don't talk shop.  Don't gripe about business.  Just have a friendly greeting and a little small talk.  For one thing, it will help them realize how often you come in to work your space.  Vendors who show some commitment to their booth always stand out.

Spend some time at the register.  Taking a break?  Go up front and chat a sec.  You can always stand to know a little bit more about the folks who work in your store, and they can certainly always stand to know more about you.  Bring in goodies from time to time.  Offer to go get a snack.  If you have something really cute or unique to stock, show it to them first. One of the cashiers at one of my stores collects ceramic eggs, so I gave her an extra one I had that I wasn't going to sell.  She loved it. 

Help out if needed.  If you see the line backing up, jump in if you can!  You can't work the register, but you can call out tag information or bag and wrap stuff.  Help customers get large items out to their cars.  When you sweep out the booth, do the aisle around your area too.  Direct customers to things if you can.  The little things you do to help make everybody's experience a little more pleasant will stand out.

Let them know you're there.  I really can't repeat this often enough.  Let staff know when you come in to work!  They count on you to keep your area fresh and presentable.  Every mall has a few too many vendors who only show up to collect their checks and then grouse about how small they are.  When they see you work, it shows how dedicated you are.  I always make sure to wheel my new load past one of the registers and say "hi" to everyone.  Then, the next thing I do is stop at both registers and collect my returns.  Bingo!  Everyone working knows I'm here!  (And collecting your returns when you come in is another way to help out.  I've been told I'm the only one who does this at one location.)

Sell a variety of unique, eclectic items.  All booths start to look the same.  Sell items that are different from other people and you'll have folks noticing.  Staff like to come by my area on their breaks and see what's new.  During one of our special event days, they were announcing booths with discouts and telling people what they might find in each area.  When they got to mine, the first thing said was "Some of the neatest stuff at the best prices you'll ever find,' followed by a pretty good run-down of the stuff in my booth.  No one else got a description like that.  That's when I knew they were paying attention to me.

Sell a lot of a particular type of item.  Ask anyone at the Peddlers Mall what I sell and they'll say "Jesus and comic books."  While I sell a lot of other stuff too, I know for sure that when someone comes in looking for either comic books or religious articles, they get directed right to my booth.

Don't ask for too much.  Minding your booth is your responsibility.  Don't try to pass that over onto staff.  That includes making sure you have the necessary supplies--things like price tags, tape, and such--to do the job.  Everybody forgets something now and again.  I do it myself, from time to time.  It's okay to borrow, just don't make a habit of it.  If you can't cover basic expenses like this, you're not doing something right.  And if you do have to borrow, try to bring in some extra next time to replenish what you've used.

Be yourself.  If you're a nice, easy-going kind of person with a good sense of humor, then let it show.  People like you for a reason, after all.  If you're an unpleasant asshole, fake it.

Take part in store events.  Open Houses.  Special Sales.  Holidays.  Management notices who's there and who isn't.  Successful events mean lots of sales for vendors, so every little contribution helps.  Even on days when I can't be there for an event, I make sure that I've provided some refreshments, my booth is clean and stocked and that I'm running a sale.

Volunteer to do a couple of things, if you can.  At the Peddlers Mall, a couple of vendors have been working a couple of days a week staging empty booths with furniture so the place looks cleaner and fuller.  It's really making a difference.  I helped with publicity for the YesterNook Open House and got a Mayoral Proclamation naming that day as "YesterNook Day."  Another vendor got her husband to play Santa for the event.  Everyone has a skill or a connection that they can put into play to help out from time to time.  Just be careful not to overextend yourself and to deliver on your commitment.

Gently correct mistakes.  At the Peddlers Mall, we have booths numbered 62, 162, 262, and 662.  I happen to be one of those.  It's inevitable that someone is going to make a mistake and key a sale to the wrong booth.  It happens a couple of times a month.  Usually it gets straightened out in a day or two.  No one does it intentionally.  When I need to, I point it out to someone and then laugh it off.  Accepting people for who they are, even when they screw up, is part of building relationships.

Accept that some things are beyond their control to influence.  There will always be customers who break stuff and then put it back on the shelf.  There will always be some level of shoplifting.  Store staff do their best to prevent this kind of stuff, but they can't be everywhere.  These kinds of things are expected risks in any kind of retail environment.  Yelling and bitching at them about it doesn't help the situation.  I try to let them know about things, especially shoplifting, but I also recognize the reality of the situation.

Honor the terms of your contract.  Know what you can and cannot do and don't try to do the things you shouldn't.  If you're not sure, ask.  You've got a copy of that document, so refer to it, use it, and don't try to push it too much.  Seriously, staff have more than enough sellers who try to get away with things and claim ignorance.  Keeping yourself off that list is a point in your favor.

Listen to them.  The people running stores have a lot of experience in the business, for the most part.  Some started as sellers themselves.  Others have been managing places like these for a long time.  They know what they're talking about.  That doesn't mean that you always have to do things exactly the same way they would, but taking their input under consideration sure isn't going to hurt you.

Building a good relationship with your store staff really doesn't cost you anything, but it brings you a lot of benefits.  You may only see them face to face a couple of times a week, but they're with your stuff all day every day. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Rambles

Last week was so nice, that it was a crying shame that the only day I could ride my bike to work was Wednesday.  However, since Wednesday is the only night that Keith has class that I don't have class, I took the opportunity after class to ride and ride and ride and ride!  I rode to Goodwill.  I rode to YesterNook.  I rode to get a cup of coffee.  I rode to talk to my boss.  I rode to Minneapolis.  Okay, maybe I'm joking on that last one.  However, I seriously did not want to get off the bike.

I have this unerring knack that whenever I leave the house to walk down to the bus stop, I'm going to be a block away right as the bus is pulling away.  It's a gift I've honed for the past two weeks.  I'm not sure how I got to be this blessed with talent, but I'd love to pass it on to someone else.  This week, I can catch the bus that runs in front of my house in the morning.  Hopefully, I'll have better luck with that one.

Had a meeting last Friday to talk about my new assignment.  I only have two weeks left of my current run, and the new one starts a couple of weeks after that.  I'm hoping to use a little down time to get caught up on things around the house.

I have to admit, I'm a little intimidated by this new gig.  I'm definitely outside my usual comfort zone.  But I'm excited at the same time.

I'm closing in on 2005!  With less than 30 posts, I'll be past that total!  Actually, I've got something like 49 drafts stored in Blogger.  If I could just stop starting new posts and finish some of those that are half done, I'd be waaaaaay past that.  Some of those drafts are so old, I don't have any idea what I was thinking at the time I started them.  Maybe I can get some cyber-cleaning in with the house cleaning.  Actually, I used one of the old ones on Saturday, so I'm already making headway.

Went to one of my favorite church sales Saturday.  In fact, this one may just be my all time fave, although there is another one that comes pretty close.  They always have massively massive amounts of stuff with great prices, and they always do half off at the last hour.  There's always a ton of stuff left, so we don't even show up until then.  We filled up the car, let me tell you.

We also dropped in on a couple of Goodwills and Half Price Books.  We've got HPB coupons that start today, so we were kind of getting the lay of the land and spotting out stuff for the coupon use.  I also hit their clearance racks, since I'm really low on comics.  I was hoping they might have a flat or box for sale, but they didn't.  I've gotten lucky with that in the past.

I did get a few good items for a buck or less, which is always nice.  And I found what I'm going to use my coupon on (and it's just for me):

Image nicked from the good folks at Amazon.  Which reminds me, I still have a gift card from them I need to use.  Maybe it's time to treat myself?

Been a slow week at the booths.  Had sales every day at one and almost every day at the other, but nothing record-breaking.  We were supposed to have a special sale day at the Peddlers Mall on Saturday, but they postponed it because of the NCAA tournament games.  Basketball is not a sport in these parts; it's a religious denomination.  Shopping during the game would be akin to blasphemy--especially with so many local faves playing.

Sunday morning, Keith looked at me and said "Oh my God, you'll be 48 this year!"  (Tell me something I don't know.)  He continued "You're almost 50!" (Is there a point to this??)  Then he says: "You're looking pretty good for an old man!"  (Sometimes I don't know whether to throw a pillow at him or kiss him.  Honestly.)

And, on that thought, I'll scoot!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Singin' o' the Green!

The best St Patrick's day post I can imagine involves music--music made by Irish musicians, accompanied by the Goddess of Music herself:

Isn't that just heartwrenchingly lovely?  They sound so good together.  I know Emmylou could harmonize with, well me, and make it sould good, but when she's paired with vocalists of the caliber of Mary Black and Dolores Keane, the results are stunning.

Seriously, this is a trio that I would definitely stand in line to get a full album of their music.  Who do I have to bribe to make that happen?

Anyway, from this son of Ireland to all of you who might stumble upon this:

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Belated Slice of Pi

Wednesday was Pi Day, but I managed to miss it.  Have a belated slice on me:

Never, ever forget that, under this cool exterior, I am one great big nerd!  And nerds totally ROCK!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

February Sales Break Down

I just realized that I hadn't done an analysis of last month's sales!  Usually, I start a draft at the beginning of the month, so I can have it done in a couple of days, but this time I totally forgot!  Which is really odd, given that February was a record-setting month for both sites!

At YesterNook, I had a big upswing in smalls and furniture, with some large things selling within a week of being set out.  It definitely caught me off guard.  Yet, in the midst of that, I still managed to have several days of less than ten dollar sales and a couple of no sale days.  That still frustrates me.  I don't like the feeling of having to pin my hopes on a large ticket item to pull a whole month together. 

I'm having to admit that this market is harder to crack than I thought it would be.  I just don't have the handle on my customer base that I want to.  I did bring in a lot more books to my booth there, and they seem to be selling well, so maybe I am on to something.  I don't want to sound like I'm upset about a good month, because I'm definitely not, but I like to think about things analytically, and this place just defies analysis.

Over at my other booth, things just exploded!  I was putting out four tubs of stuff at a time for a while.  I've had massive runs on books comics, CD's, Disney, Warner Brothers characters, you name it.  Not only has keeping the stock up been just about impossible, so has keeping the place neat!  But that's the kind of challenge I like, so I'll keep taking it on!

I almost broke the elusive four digit total sales record there, but didn't quite pull it out.  Still, it's exciting to be that close!

Sorry this one isn't as detailed as past reports have been, but I've pretty much filed away the reports and stuff, so I'm working from memory.  I'll try to remember to get right on this next month, while the info is still fresh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Encountering the nemesis again

She's started turning up a lot more frequently.  In fact, I'd almost swear she was stalking me.  That is what nemeses do, isn't it?  If it's not, it ought to be.  It is a suitably nemesis-like thing to do, after all.

I've encountered her twice in the mall since the first of the year.  Once was even within the sanctity of my very own booth.  That's kind of like the Joker making his way into the Batcave!

The first time she was at a register checking out when I was getting there.  She had several books, which is natural, since she is the Book Lady.  I could only imagine the stacks of her rejects sitting in booths all over the mall where she had scanned them and left them laying in piles on the floor.  I disliked her before she got that damn barcode scanner.  Since she got it, I dislike her even more.

Anyway, she was giving the cashier a hard time over the price of a book.  Seems she had gotten it off a shelf with a sign that said books were 58 cents, and the book was marked 1.49 in the front, so she was protesting the extra 91 cents.  Seriously.

In a place like a vendor mall, the cashiers have to go by the price that is actually on the item.  It's all they can do.  That book could have come from somewhere else in the booth she got it from and been laid on the 58 cent shelf by a customer.  It also could have come from a totally different booth and been left there by a customer.  No one--not vendors, not cashiers, not managers--has control over where the customers will leave merchandise.  It's part of the game.

I can tell you with all certainty, however, that if the dealer had intended that book to be 58 cents, it would have been marked that price.

The Nemesis would have none of it.  She wanted them to call the dealer and verify.  She wanted the book for 58 cents.  She wanted them to call the dealer and have them come out and change the sign.  She wanted them to go take the sign down, since it was "misleading."  Of course, no one was going to do any of these things, so she paid for the book and left.  (For the record, if an item is over 50 dollars and a customer wants to make an offer, they will call us.  Otherwise, they won't.  If that rule was not in place, we'd get calls all day over 25 cent items.)

I was able to roll my eyes and walk away from that episode, feeling sorry for the cashier.  I couldn't get out of the next encounter quite so easily.

I was working in my book booth, when she popped up in the middle of it.  Now, mind you, this was after a couple of days of HUGE book sales for me and the place was a wreck, which was why I was cleaning it.  So, she kind of pushes past me, kicks some stuff around and says "It's a bit of a mess."  (Uh, hello, I'm cleaning up here!)

Then she says:  "Is this your booth?"  (No, I clean random book booths for fun.)  When I told her that it was, she kind of grunted and said "Interesting."  (Which means what, exactly?)

Then she tells me that she's spent "quite a bit of money" on my stuff (which I doubt, since I've never seen her spend "quite a bit of money" anywhere.  She usually just leaves messes.)  However, she doesn't any more, since I don't have all those Catholic books.  (Which is not true.  She was standing right by several of them.)  I pointed out the ones I had in the book booth and also showed her where I moved the prayer books and Bibles over to my religion wall.  She walked away in the opposite direction!

Curse you, Nemesis Book Woman!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Rambles

Last week seemed to go on forever!  I started off tired from the weekend and just never caught up.  Everything seemed to just draaaaaaaaaaag ooooooonnnnn aaaaaannnddd ooooonnnn....

Chiquito caught a mouse the other day.  That's one of the joys of being a cat owner--trying to rescue small furry mammals.  I thought he had a toy, and then I realized we don't have any cat toys that are that realistic.  I got it away from him about the time Kosh noticed and was trying to take it away from him.  We don't need any cat fights over mice in this house, for sure.  I think it was still alive, so I put it outside to escape.  Poor thing.  Maybe he'll take the story of his encounter back to his friends and they'll give our house wide berth for a while.

The weather, except for the snowy Monday I mentioned last week, was quite nice all week.  I didn't even mind the rain on Thursday.  Okay, I minded it a little, but it was still warm.  Too bad I can only ride the bike on Wednesdays.

My WTF thrifting moment of the week:  There's a stack of Shonen Jump manga at one branch of my fave thrift.  I got all excited when I saw it, because this is a regular strong seller for me.  Then, I saw the price: $3.50 each!  Are you kidding me??  So later in the week, when I saw another stack of them at a different branch of the thrift, I was slightly less upbeat.  But these were .50 each!  So of course, I bought them all.  It's not the first time I've seen such a pricing inconsistency between two branches of the same store, but it does boggle the mind.

However, I was in the downtown branch of this thrift last Thursday, when I saw them hauling out another bunch of AnnaLee mice.  Apparently, these got missed during the large batch they put out at all three stores last month.  And they were pricing them really well.  And they were calling people who had left numbers in case they got any more.  So I hopped right over there and, while remaining very polite and staying out of the way of the workers, grabbed a bunch for me.  Timing is everything in this business!

Finally had a decent score over the weekend.  With four indoor sales, it was kind of hard to go wrong, but it has been known to happen.  My goal was four good boxes of stuff, and I ended up with six, so I think it can be called a success.  Among my finds:  a green enamelware pot with lid, four darling vintage wooden egg cups with faces painted on them, and a huge mound of 60's and 70's karate and kung fu magazines.

One of the sales we went to was held at a fire department.  When we went in, I was commenting on how odd it was to have a sale at a firehouse when there is a community center next door.  Then we walked into a room full of sellers and tables piled with stuff.   And then we walked into another room full of sellers and tables piled with stuff.  And then we walked into another room full of sellers and tables piled with stuff!  I do not know how I've managed to miss this one over the years, but it is now on my list for sure!

Oh yeah, I encountered the Nemesis at the first sale I went to.  She's been popping up a lot lately.  More on that tomorrow.

Of course, having bought several boxes of stuff means that now I must sort, clean and price it all.  Sigh!  I guess there are worse fates!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Goodwill Hunting

Okay, I know that's not the most original title.  Probably dozens of junkers have used it in the past.  Still, it fits.  I was at one of the local GW's this week, and it occurred to me, for some reason, that I ought to just do a blog post on the whole experience.  Not really sure why I am thinking this, as it was a pretty typical downtown GW day, but nevertheless here it is.

One thing about this particular Goodwill is its randomness and unpredictability--especially as far as pricing goes.  You can literally go in one day and find everything priced at 50 cents, no matter what it is.  But, if you come back the next day, everything will be 7.99!  Seriously!  I've done this before.  I've bought nice furniture in there for five bucks before, and seen horribly ratty pieces priced at twenty-five!

On this visit, however, I seem to have caught them in the transitional phase. Everything they were placing out at the moment had the outrageous prices, but what was already on the shelves was reasonable.  I'll never understand it, so I go with the flow. 

Late afternoon is always a good time to get to this store, because they start hauling out racks of newly priced stuff to restock the shelves with for the next day.  And they don't care if you grab things right off the rack!  One time, I scooped several MA Hadley plates, cups, and bowls right off the rack!  It was during one of the good pricing phases, and those suckers would not have lasted five minutes at what they were marked.

One of the things I like about thrifting is the people watching.  There is some serious fun to be had if you're at all into taking in the passersby and the drama.  One of the games I like to play is "Who's the Dealer?"  Re-sellers have a particular aura about them in a thrift.  If I can spot a really obvious one, then I try to note all the behaviors they are exhibiting that I don't.

Another good one is "Spot the Hoarder."  "Find the Slumming East-Ender" is also good. She'll be the one who drove her Mercedes over from the ritzy part of town in search of designer duds at a steal of a price, yet she's afraid to actually touch anything in the store.

And then there's "How Much Polyresin?"   Try to guess how much cheap, chipped made in China crap you'll find in the nick nacks section.  But of course, everyone's favorite thrifting game is the one I was there to play myself:  "Find the Treasures."

I didn't see any slummers this time around or any other dealers, but I did spot two I was sure were hoarders, even though one was trying to do it on a budget.  The answer to the polyresin question was the same as it always is:  Too damn much to count!  And, yeah, I found a couple of treasures, including five hardback volumes of a Better Homes and Gardens sewing series from the 60's and 70's.  I also found a Palm Loom!

I have to remind myself when I'm in public sometimes that not everyone shares my sense of humor, and not everyone appreciates a total stranger coming up to them in a thrift store and making smartass remarks.  Oh, but it can be difficult.  There was a woman in the kids clothing holding a pair of jeans that looked to be for a 5 or 6 year old girl.  She was holding them down to the floor, as if she was trying to visualize her own child and where they might come to on her.  It took a bit of willpower to keep from walking over and saying something like "Honey, I think those are going to be a little short for you."  It's times like these I really miss my mother. 

The real fun this time around started in line.  I stayed probably ten minutes longer than I planned, because I was trying to let the line die down a little.  When it became obvious that wasn't going to happen, I jumped in.  I ended up behind the budget hoarder and in front of a woman on her cell phone who loudly exclaimed into her phone:  "I may just leave this shit here!  I only got two things and these fuckers in front of me got carts full of shit!"  I felt like turning around and telling her:  (1) "This fucker in front of you can hear you talking about him. (2) This fucker in front of you is generally polite and would most likely have let you go in front of him with your two items, but won't now because (3) you just called him a fucker!"

Instead, I decided to see if she really would leave her stuff behind, which she didn't.  In the meantime budget hoarder was offloading stuff out of her cart to stay under her limit.  She plopped a whole pile of stuffed animals on the counter and said she wasn't getting those, so I scooped up a couple of myself, resisting the urge to taunt the woman behind me.

Then the woman in front of me said something about the leather bag she wanted to get wasn't in her cart any more.  The cashier said someone probably took it out of her cart when she wasn't looking.  She also said that happens a lot in that store.  So I started thinking about the ton of wicker doll furniture in the other hoarder's cart.  If only I really had the nerve to be that rude.  (Not really.)  It also occurred to me that if there was cart-jacking going on, then there had to be another dealer in the store!

Anyway, the rest of the check out went smoothly.  The cashier is a relatively new one, and I like her a lot.  She's a tad slow, but thorough and friendly.  And she seems to be pretty unflappable.  Nothing really seems to rattle her, not even women screaming about fuckers on their phones.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Everything's Coming Up Rosaries!

It's not really that unusual for someone who collects Catholic religious objects (which I do) or for someone who sells them (which I also do) to come across rosaries from time to time.  Actually, it's one of the things you hope to do.  But here lately, rosaries have been popping into my life in quantity.

Week before last, for example, I was at the booth doing my usual restock and clean up, when I noticed something on one of my shelves of religious articles that didn't belong there.  Now, things that don't belong to my booth seem to make their way to it all the time.  It's part and parcel of the business.  Customers will carry an article around for hours, then look at it, decide they don't want it and lay it down on the nearest flat surface, never really caring if that is where it belongs or not.  A good chunk of my restocking time is spent rounding up strays from other booths and taking them to the front for staff to return.  I take a few back myself, but only if I know where the booth is.  Every couple of weeks, I take a spin through the mall looking for my own goodies that have not made their way back to me yet.  It's time-consuming, but like I said, it's part of the game.

And then you have the hiders--those customers who want something, but don't have the money for it right then, so they take the item and hide it somewhere in the store (usually another booth) intending to come back and buy it later.  Hiders really work my nerves, partly because they mess up displays to stash someone else's crap in my booth, and mostly because I don't think any of them ever really do come back and make the purchase.  Either they forget to or they forget where they stashed the stuff.  Or what it even was that they stashed.  In the meantime, I'm left wondering whatever happened to the hippity hoppiter I used to have.  Usually, about six weeks after I've given it up as lost, it will turn back up in my booth.  Someone was giving their booth a thorough tidying and found it.

I had a bunch of matted Disney prints disappear out of my booth last year.  I mean just vanish.  Into thin air.  I looked high and low all over the mall for them for weeks.  I finally found them in my own booth when I was cleaning and rearranging some books.  Someone had taken them and slid them behind everything on that shelf.  Obviously a stash.  And equally obviously one that never got claimed, since it was months after the fact and I was finding them.  Of course, they sold as soon as I put them back out, so I was doubly pissed.  All that money tied up in the things unable to generate any income because they're stuck in someone's hiding place. 

But, I seem to have digressed a tad, haven't I?  Well this stuff wasn't hiding and if it belonged to another booth, I couldn't tell.  It was a pile of unpriced rosaries.  Just sitting there, happy as you please, on a Sacred Heart of Jesus plate.  I asked around but never found out where they came from.  It's almost like they were a gift from Jesus and Mary.

So a few days later, I'm at my favorite thrift, and they have a bag of rosaries on the counter.  It's  all taped up and there is a 50 cent price tag on the bag.  I ask the cashier if that's the price for the whole bag and she says that it is.  So, of course, I bought it.  (Duh!  Who are we talking about here?)

There was a whole mess of rosaries in the bag.  I mean, just a pile of them.

I straightened them out and counted.  There were twenty all together.  Nothing antique or vintage, or even really that special, but I'll make much more than that fifty cents back.

There were plastic cord rosaries.  These are the kind that are usually made by little old lady rosary guilds and given away for free.

There were metal link rosaries with plastic beads and crucifixes.  These are the next step up from the cord rosaries, but still likely made by a guild for free distribution.  I love the colors on these beads.  I may make them part of an Easter display.

There were three light blue plastic rosaries.  I think these are kind of sweet.  I almost wish I had some pink ones to go with them.

And then there was this patriotic number.

There were some that can only be described as, well, tacky.

Out of the whole lot, there was only one that needed any repair work.  It also happened to be the nicest one in the batch.  This is an easy fix, once I find my needle-nose pliers.

And, finally, the most unusual one of the bunch.  Instead of a crucifix, this one ends in a medallion of the Holy Face.  It's probably a chaplet, instead of a rosary.  Not the best photo of the medal, I'll admit.  My little camera is not the best of tight detail close ups.

I haven't run across any more for the past few days, so it appears that the tide of rosaries may have stemmed for the moment, but who knows what might lurk around the next yard sale corner?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Nothing Much to Say...

Don't really have anything to blog about at this moment in time, so I'll just point a couple of things out.

First, I'm not sure what happened with the Maru video I posted last week, but something glitched there.  I didn't notice it until a couple of days ago, but I did fix it.  Go back and check it out.  It's so cute it'll make your teeth hurt.

Second, I'm working in an awful hurry these days and using several different computers to boot, so it seems like more errors are creeping in past my proofing.  I do apologize.  As I catch them, I fix them, no matter how old the posts are.

I guess it is a bit ironic to do a post about the importance of proofing under those conditions, huh?  Irony, thy name is EDDIE!

See you around!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

This is How We Do It: Craiglist Edition

Welcome to the inaugural "This is How We Do It" segment, where I'm going to spout off and pontificate on a variety of subjects related to selling in a vendor mall.  Now, I don't claim to be a see-all, know-all guru-expert.  But I have been doing this for a couple of years now.  I've made a little money and I've learned a few things, which I'd like to share here for anyone who might be interested in pursuing a booth some time in the future.

I'm going to address topics either as they arise in my life or as they occur to me, so there really isn't any kind of order here.  You know how I do things here.  It's pretty much spontaneous and as they pop into my little head.  Still, if there is something you would like to know about, leave me a note in the comments, and I'll address it in a future post.

A couple more caveats and then we'll begin.  First off, while there are certainly some principles that do crossover into other types of reselling, I am a dealer in a vendor mall--not an antique mall, not a flea market or swap meet, not online.  There are some concerns that sellers in those other environments have that I don't and vice versa.  I'm planning on doing a post one day soon that outlines the differences between those different kinds of establishments.

Secondly, this is what works for me as a seller in my malls in my city.  You may have different experiences.  If so, I certainly want to hear about them.  You may have opposite opinions.  Again, I'd like to entertain them.  I'm not claiming any kind of omnipotence or special knowledge here.  I'm jut a guy doing the best he can to get by in this tough, old world.  This has worked for me, so I thought it might work for someone else.

I offer it in that spirit.  Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

I chose Craigslist as the inaugural topic, because it's one that comes up in conversation a lot for me. I make use of Craigslist frequently, and it has led to a number of sales for me.  Some sales I can credit to CL, because I was in the store when someone came in to get the item, and they asked about the item and mentioned the listing.  At other times, the item sells within a day or two of being listed.  While I cannot directly link that kind of sale to my posting, I've got a pretty good hunch that it usually is related.

It's pretty standard around here for vendor outlets to encourage posting on Craigslist by their dealers.  Some will even do it for you.  I prefer to do my own, though, because I like for mine to have a specific style and consistency.  I want to promote myself, my booth(s), my outlook, my philosophy and all of my items, not just the one that the ad is focused on. I also want to promote the venue where I am selling, though that is a secondary concern.  If I can create strong, well-crafted listings, I can create a favorable opinion of both me and my wares and, by extension, the place where I am selling.  It's great free advertising, all the way around, which makes everyone a winner.

Despite all the advantages, though, I know a lot of vendors who either don't know how or don't take the time to do a CL post.  I know others who do them all the time, but aren't making the best impressions with them.  Here are some things to consider when doing a post to promote your wares on Craigslist.

Again, while I don't consider myself to be that much of an expert, I do have a record of sales from my postings.  I also have several other vendors and the management of one store I'm in complimenting me on them.  I take all that as a sign that something I'm doing is working. 

Set up an account.  You don't have to have an account to post on CL, but having one helps you with little things like editing posts, deleting sold items, relisting things, and just all around staying organized.  Besides, it's free.  So what have you got to lose?  All you need is an email account.  And I don't think I've gotten one bit of unsolicited email from them since I opened my account.

Delete your posting when the item sells.  Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than to come to a shop and find out the item they came specifically to get has been sold.  Most of them can be understanding if it sold earlier the same day, but not so much if it sold three days (or more) ago.  And the next time you list an item they might be interested in, they're not going to take a chance on it.You set up that account for a reason, so use it.  I try to get mine deleted the same day I get the notice that an item sold.  The next morning at the absolute latest. 

Stay classy.  Talk yourself and your stuff up.  Don't talk others, be they other dealers or other stores, down.  It only reflects poorly on you as a seller and, indirectly, on the store where you sell.  You'll turn off a lot more people than you'll draw.  Remember, the junking world is small.  Bad karma and bad news travel fast.  Dealers shop from other dealers, so don't cut off your nose.

Take a good photo.  Seriously.  It's not hard.  Point and shoot.  Take several photos from different angles that highlight features and flaws.  And take each one several times, so you can have a choice of possiblities to use.  Honestly, if I see another listing with a photo that's blurry, dark or overexposed, I'm going to scream.  This is your business here.  Do right by it.  When you go through the pics later to choose some for the listing, use the best ones.  If you have any that are blurry, washed out or dark--DON'T USE THEM!!  It all speaks to your professionalism and attention to detail.

Stage your photo.  If you're like me, your booth is overflowing with all kinds of goodies for sale.  it has to be, since that's how we get sales--by having full booths.  Photos of full booths, though, can come off looking clutered and uninviting.  Worse, they can distract from the item you are trying to sell.  If a buyer cannot tell what you are listing, they're not going to come and buy it.  Pull it out from the everything else to photograph it or take the pic before you take the item to your booth.  It will display better and attract more attention that way.  If your item is a flat surface, like a table, remove other items that you may be displaying on it so that buyers can see all of it.  These little touches make all the difference.

Edit your photo.  You don't have to be a Photoshop genius to make your pciture better.  Find a simple free photo editor.  I like Picasa, which is very easy to use.  Crop out all distracting elements and make your photo focus on the item for sale.  Straighten the photo.  Adjust the contrast and brightness.  Just use the automatic settings in the software for this.  It usually works just fine for me and makes the items look so much nicer.

Include information about the place the item is located.  Store name.  Store address.  Store hours.  Store phone numbers.  Your booth name/number.  Your location in the store.  These are the key bits of info the buyer may need to get to your item.  Use the store name in your listing title for the location.  Promote!  Promote!  Promote!  There are always going to be tons of people who have never heard of you, your booth, your store or anything else.  Target your ad to those readers.  One way to do this is to create some boilerplate language in a word processing program that you can copy and paste into the end of your ad.

Make it clear that this item is being sold by a dealer from a store.  Craigslist is mostly about people dealing with people one on one to make transactions.  That means that users are used to making arrangements, like meeting somewhere, to buy and sell their goods.  As a busy person with at least one booth, you don't really have time to do that sort of thing, yet you may still get requests for it.  Try to cut those requests off before they start by making sure the info listed above is clear and prominent.  It's best to try and keep folks from asking with good up front information.  That way, you don't have to come off like a jerk by telling them they have to come to your booth to get the item.

Describe your item well.  Back your good photos up with good text.  Colors.  Brands.  Materials.  Dimensions.  All of this info up front can help a buyer make a decision from your posting.  They'll only ask you for that stuff later anyway.  Making a trip to your booth only to find out your item is too large for their space will turn a potential customer off of your future ads, so get out that measuring tape.

Include the price!  So many Craiglisters plop "1.00" in the price field for the header as a ruse to get people to look at their listings that many folks searching for goods on the site automatically disregard whatever is listed in the post title.  Be sure to repeat your price in the body of your post.

Write in short paragraphs or bullet points, but don't skimp on the info.  Reading on a computer screen is a little harder on the eye than reading on paper.  Remember to add more white space.  Short paragraphs and single lines or bullet points can get your point and information across, while still staying easy on the eyes.  You don't want the buyer to miss an important detail.  Being succinct is a learned art, one that I struggle with daily, as you can tell.  But, in the end, it's worth it.

Put it in the right category.  Craigslist is full of pedantic followers who delight in flagging anything they feel is out of place.  If your ad gets removed, no one can see it.  And, I have to admit, as someone who regularly looks through the CL ads, I get tired of seeing individual items listed for sale in the garage sale category, where they don't do anything but clog the place up.  Annoying potential customers is never a good idea.  If you don't know for sure where to put you ad, then do a search and see where similar items have been placed.  The right category also gets you more views, which means more potential customers.

Don't have anything particular to push this week?  Do a general listing!  You're not always going to have special items worthy of a posting in themselves.  That makes it a good time to do a post pushing your booth in general, or some special aspect of it.  For mine, I sometimes flog my books or religious items--two specialized categories that can bring in specialized shoppers.  Just remember the importance of good photos.  Wide angle shots of well-stocked booths can come across as cluttered.  Focus on one shelf in your photos or one or two unique items.

Respond to emails.  Truth to be told, a Craigslist post will generate a small amount of spam for you.  But mixed in with that will be customers trying to get in touch with you.  Honestly, I've never gotten more than an occasional spam, even when I have several active postings.  Just flag those puppies and go on.  Don't cut yourself off from potential buyers over it.   

Don't overpost.  One category per post, please.  And remember, just because you have a booth full of stuff doesn't mean that every little item is worthy of its own post.  If you've posted an item a couple of times and it hasn't sold, retire the posting for a while and focus on something else.  Bring it back in a few weeks, if it still hasn't sold.  Flogging the same item over and over makes it look like you don't have anything else to offer in your booth.  I've found that bringing something back after a few weeks of rest can result in a sale, whereas bringing the same thing up over and over just makes it look tired.  Make sure that you aren't sending wrong messages about your booth and stock

Edit if you have to.  Once you put an ad up, you might realize that a couple of tweaks or a better photo would dramatically improve your ad and chances of selling.  Well, that's easy to do!  Just a few clicks and you've just made your ad a little better.  Don't be afraid of improving on your work, if it'll bring you sales.

Don't get discouraged.  Some things you post won't sell.  Some will sell, but not right away.  Don't give up on Craigslist right away.  Give it time.  Keep posting and hone your skills.  Look at your ads for things that haven't sold.  How can you improve them?  There's no such thing as easy money.  Your return will always be equal to your effort, so keep plugging.

Promote yourself and your booth in your listing.  You've got more than just that one item in your booth, right?  At the end of your listing, throw in a line like "Be sure to check out the rest of our seclection of unique and eclectic items at bargain prices. New small porcelain figures just arrived this week!"  The buyer is going to come in kind of tunnel-visioned on the item in your listing.  Gently breaking them out of that rut may earn you an extra sale or two.

Keep your booth stocked and neat.  No matter how much they want that harpsichord, if they can't get  into your booth for the clutter, they can't buy it.  It's that simple.  You're inviting the world into your booth space.  Make sure it's ready for them.

Be regular.  Don't list every teacup and doily that comes into your space, but make an effort to have something worth listing ready every week.  If you're serious about your booth, you'll be making a point of trying to bring the best possible merch in anyway.  Some of that will be worth the time to do a listing.  Your secondary goal, after selling the item, is building a customer base.  Some people will hop on your bandwagon after that first CL find in your booth.  Others may take some reminding that you are there before you become a regular stop for them.  Keep listing until you win them over.

Proofread.  Badly worded, poorly punctuated, and haphazardly spelled ads reflect badly on you and your store.  There are people who don't want to deal with someone who seems to take so little care in their work.  If your attention to detail is that lax, how do I know that you haven't "overlooked" a huge scratch on the top of that coffee table?  Proofing will also catch missing info and make sure your formatting is consistent.  If you're not good at catching your typos and errors, let someone else do it before you upoload the listing.  Print it off and let them look at it, then make changes as needed.

Look at your listing a few hours after you load it.  Give yourself a little space away from your work and then look at it with new eyes.  Think like a customer would.  Ask yourself:  "Based on this listing, would I call or drop by this store to check this item out?"  If your answer is anything less than a "Yes!"  (and that includes a qualified "Maybe"), then edit that listing.

It doesn't take much to do a Craiglisting.  That's why there are so many of them.  It also doesn't take much more to do a listing that's going to stand out and promote you and your products well.  Take the extra step.

As I was working on this post last week, I got a call from one of my stores telling me that an item I listed that very morning had sold.  It does work!  Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some more listings to prepare.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Monday Rambles

The weather turned positively lovely last week.  All bright and sunshiney.  Put me in a good mood all week, let me tell you.  And then, toward the end of the week, we had lots of thunder rumbles and tornado scares.  We missed most of it here, but folks to the north and east were not so lucky.  And then, last night, we got three inches of snow dumped on us, and it's spent most of the day rapidly melting away in prep for 60's (!) tomorrow.  Ah....Spring in Kentucky.  March has definitely roared in like a lion--a lion with multiple personalities!

I also had a chance to thrift just about every day last week.  Through that, I was able to pull a small load together for a re-stock, without dipping into my dwindling reserve.  There are three (!) major indoor sales scheduled for Saturday, so it looks like the long winter is over!  One of the sales is one of my favorites, as well.  Last year, it was down a bit, as were most all the sales that followed.  I'm hoping that it's back to true form this year and serves as a good omen for things to come!

I went to one sale this past weekend.  It was another of my favorite indoor sales.  It was down a little bit, but I walked out with a good box full of stuff.  But it has changed a bit.  In the past, nothing was priced.  I'd fill up a box, take it to the cashier and they would say "How about a dollar?"  Not so this year.  It was all priced and they made sure to total it all up.  Ah, for the good old days!

There have been shake ups at my favorite thrift.   I hadn't been to their downtown store in a while, but I'm working near there right now, so I got to stop in.  My favorite cashier of all time has been moved from there to another store.  She's been replaced by the former manager of the downtown store who has been bumped down and replaced by the person who used to be in charge of the donation room at the store nearest my house.  I think it will be a good change, honestly.

I had strong sales in the early part of the week at both sites, then managed to end the month with my lowest day ever.  Seriously.  How low was it?  Try 42 cents!  That's right I said forty-two cents.  Oh the vagaries of this business!  Actually, it was a 10.42 day, but that's the day they take out this stupid 10 dollar fee the city the mall is in charges, so it turned into a .42 day after that.  Grrrr.

Still March has started off pretty good at both sites.  And. even with a 42 cent day, I had the best sales month for both sites that I've ever had.  So, I'm happy.  Still can't crack that elusive four figure total sales though.  Have to work harder at that.  Oh, and my rent went down at the Peddlers Mall by 30 bucks!  I'll take it!

Happy birthday this week to Roger Green and Gordon Dymowski--nice guys both!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Cat Philosophy

Sometimes staying inside the box is more fun than thinking outside of it.

If you are at all a cat person, you have to check out Maru's vids on YouTube.  If you're not a cat person, then Maru will cure of that affliction.