Of course, if you buy them, then you must sell them. If you sell them, then there will be stories to share. Don't worry, these stories are 100% annoying nerd-free! No, the annoying bits come from customers and other vendors this time.
I've had four long boxes of comics sitting around for a bit, waiting for me to do something with them. Letting your merch sit for too long is never a good thing, but sometimes I get a little lax. Stuff in those boxes was mainly runs from different series that I wanted to just bag together and sell in lots. I kind of have to be inspired to do all that prep work, and that hasn't happened lately. In other words, I've been lazy.
Nothing worse than a lazy junker, let me tell you.
Anyway, I decided that if I wasn't going to actually get moving on creating the lots, then I'd take a couple of boxes to the Peddlers Mall outdoor sale and see what happened. At the spring outdoor sale at YesterNook, I had sold quite a few comics, so it seemed like it was worth a shot.
I placed my Craigslist ad for the sale, making prominent mention of the comics to draw the yard saling nerds and set off. Now, the day before the sale, I sold a ton of comics out of the booth (all to one person they told me), so I decided to check through my boxes before the outdoor sale really got started to see if there was anything I might want to use to refill the boxes in my booth.
Talk about your luck of the draw! The box I pulled was half full of Superman and Punisher specials and prestige one shots that I had forgotten were in there. Those boxes were part of a larger buy that included a box that was pretty much all Superman and Punisher. I had put most of them out, but held a batch back because I did not want to flood my comics selection with them, because how many Punisher comics does one really need in one booth?
I was able to make up a nice round of stuff to put in the booth and still leave plenty for the sale. Which, as it turns out, I didn't really need. I'm guessing the yard saling nerds don't come into the southwest part of the county, because none of them showed. In fact, I only made a couple of comic sales at all.
One of those sales, however, made my day. There was a family wandering through--grandparents, mother, and two kids. The girl was maybe eight and the boy was about four. Grandpa saw the comics and pointed them out to the kids. The kids start going through the boxes and go nuts because the rest of what I've brought is mainly Disney stuff from different eras: Gold Key/Whitman, Gladstone, Disney's own publishing attempt from the 90's and titles that were licensed to Marvel in the 90's.
Mom tells me that the kids love Disney comics and read every one that the can get their hands on. She helps them pick out titles. The girl makes sure that they don't get anything they already have. Grandpa fronts twenty bucks to buy them. And I get so wrapped up in the whole thing that I give each of the kids a couple of freebies. I can't resist comic-reading kids. Especially girls. Especially with supportive moms. We need more of all of that these days.
Although I have to admit, unless they've got another source for back issues, I cannot imagine where these kids are finding Disney comics to read these days. I know I'm out of touch with current comics, but I didn't think there were any being published right now. Of course, Disney does own Marvel, so what do I know? I can't imagine a couple of cute kids like that going into a comics shop, though. There's only one in town that I would describe as "kid friendly."
My other recent comics selling experiences are not quite so charming. At the same outdoor sale, a couple of loudmouths declared that the only thing worth buying was super-heroes, not because they liked them, but because "super-heroes are the only comics worth any money." Thank you blowhards who don't know what you're talking about.
About twenty minutes later, one of them came back over to my set up and made an embarrassingly ridiculous low ball offer for all of the comics. I totally blew him off without a second thought. Like I didn't know he'd had just enough time to look up some of what I was selling on eBay? I'll make four times what he was offering through booth sales. Go away, dude.
The same kind of thing happened at the YesterNook outdoor sale the next week, where I sold exactly four comics to a couple who obviously knew nothing about them, but managed to tie up my whole table looking everything up on their smart phone. This wasn't a case of someone confirming a hunch on an issue. This was a case of people who didn't know how to find exact titles, didn't know how to pronounce titles and didn't know how to distinguish between various series with the same titles. In other words, they knew jack shit about comics and were counting on their phone to tell them.
I should have tossed them out of the booth, but it was slow, I was bored, and they were amusing me. It never occurred to them that I might actually know something about the comics they were looking at.
I did actually kind of toss a book scanner out of my booth at about the same time. I hate book scanners. Another vendor had already embarrassed the poor guy by shouting "Hey! Can this guy scan your books to see which ones his phone thinks are worth buying?" to the seller beside me. When he popped up in my booth, I told him that most of my titles were vintage, meaning that they didn't have bar codes or ISBN's for him to scan.
He declares that "old books are worth money!" Then, grabs a book out of a box, flips it over to the back where the bar code should be, lifts up his phone, looks at the book, then at the scanner, then at the book, then at the scanner, and slowly realizes that he doesn't know what to do if he can't scan the book! So, he puts the book back in the box and slinks out of my area.
Seriously, don't come to a sale put on by a bunch of resellers who work at this week in and week out and make an ass out of yourself. I'm all about the technology and its uses and benefits, but if it's your only tool, if you have no experience or knowledge base of your own to draw on, if you aren't learning things as you go along, then you're doing it all wrong. I have a smart phone and a barcode scanner. I use them to confirm my hunches, not make all my decisions for me.
And this has been your ponitfication moment of the post. Personally, I'd prefer to talk about cute kids reading comics and the mothers who help them. Hopefully, I didn't meet the only ones in town the other day.