Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Rambles

Drumroll, please!

We have a new record!  I had my total highest booth sales ever in June, 2014!  Despite the summer doldrums, somehow I managed to sell into the


for the first time ever!

I've gotten into the upper threes quite a bit over the years, but have never broken that four digit mark, until now.  I'm still shaking over it, honestly.

Now this is gross sales, before the rent and commission comes out.  My check will be considerably less, but will still be one of the biggest I have gotten.  I've always felt that I needed to grow my gross sales to a certain level, then work on the net, which is really just growing the gross some more, but don't spoil my convoluted business theories.

Actually, one of my goals for my sales was to be in four digit gross by the end of 2014.  Since I had to take additional space to accommodate a store closing, I figured that I needed to make it pay.  I just didn't expect it would start so soon.  I've only been operating at my current level for two months, after all.

The challenge now is sustainability.  It doesn't do me any good if this is a one time event.  No resting on the laurels here!  I have to start working on my next goal:  the four digit net.  I've set a deadline for that one of December 2015.  We'll see.

I just can't believe I wasted all that time trying to have booths in other stores where it clearly wasn't working.  I thought that was the only way to grow my sales totals.  If I had spent the two years I wasted doing that on growing my base at the Peddlers Mall, I could have hit this level a long time ago!

Ah, hindsight!

Moving on to other topics:

I am off work this week.  Today is a stay at home and play day.  Or rather rest a bit.  Clean a bit.  Organize the shed a bit.  And maybe read some comics a bit.  Tomorrow is junking with my uncle and work on the booth day.  Wednesday is more booth day.  And Thursday will be about organizing my storage at the booth.  Friday, I'll probably chill and eat chili dogs.  (See what I did there?)  Saturday is closing day at the thrift downstairs from the booth, so I'll make a stop there.  Won't be much yard sale action, anyway.  Sunday, I'll go the big flea.

And then next Monday, I'll return to work, so I can get a little rest!

Actually, my work hours are weird right now.  Even though summer has officially just begun, our summer session is over.  When I go back to work, it will be on severely reduced hours--about half my usual total.  That goes on for two weeks and then we start back on regular sessions (ie the "fall schedule") on July 21.  

No Mazda shot this week.  Wasn't really that full.  No drama in a piddly Mazda load.  I'll have some finds picks later in the week.  My main stop was an estate sale run by my favorite company.  I would have been there regardless, but they also had comics!  Yay!

Finally, I word about that double post on Saturday.  I was trying to save that glamour shot for this Tuesday and thought I was scheduling it for then.  Instead, I accidentally set it up for last Tuesday.  (Does senility start at 49?)   I didn't realize it until your comments started showing up in my email.  Since it had already hit your feeds, the surprise was spoiled, so I didn't want to take it down and re-post it on Tuesday, so I just moved it to Saturday, for the sake of smooth posting continuity.  I was also afraid that someone might think it was an old post if I left it on the 24th and not see it.  What is the point of getting dressed up in your tropical finery if people don't get to see it because of a silly techno-user glitch?

Have a good week!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tales from the Pavement

As last week's sidewalk sale fades into happy memory and preparations start for the next one (July 12 if anyone happens to be in the area), the time has come to share the stories from the sale.  Anything that involves people, money, and bargains will inevitably create stories.  Stories, by their very nature, were meant to be shared, so pull up a seat, grab your favorite beverage and read along, as I recount these "Tales from the Pavement" for June 21, 2014.  (A sidewalk is a pavement.  Get it?)  I'll be telling these Clamco style, with headers and dividers.

I know that every good tale is enhanced by pictures, but I was so busy all day long that I had no chance to take any.  It's hard to run the whole show by yourself and photo document everything all at the same time.


Very early on, I had an attempted shoplifting--of a very ugly straw hat.  A hat so tacky that I had not even priced it.  I would not even let it sit on the tables with the other goods.  It was that bad.  I laid it underneath one of the tables, intending to move it up to the top if something else sold and made room for it.

I was helping a couple of ladies when another woman came along, scooped up the hat, put it on, and started walking off with it.  I didn't even notice, but one of the ladies I was helping did.  She started yelling.  "You better get over here and pay that man for his hat!"  She was really loud, to boot.

Since she'd been caught, the woman kind of sheepishly sidled over to me and gave me fifty cents, which was honestly 25 cents more than I would have charged for the ugly thing.  Seriously, that's what you want to steal?


Another woman and her daughter were going through a stack of enamelware pot lids.  She ended up buying all I had, but when she got to one that was in really rough shape, her daughter said:  "Mama. That one's all beat up!"  Her reply?  "Baby, that's what makes it primitive!"


There was this older couple who kept coming back to my tables over and over again.  She'd pick up a couple of items, and we would negotiate a price.  She'd pay me, then hand them to him, and he would start walking off to the car to put them away.  After about the fourth or fifth round of this, he looked at me and said:  "She's in charge.  I'm just along for the ride."  I could tell they had been following that same routine for many years together.


By now, you should know what a kick I get out of kids at sales.  (Well, not the ones that make messes and break things, but we didn't have any of those this time around.)  This little boy and his mom picked up a toy off the table that was marked a dollar.  They talked back and forth for a minute, then he came and asked me, with a very serious look on his face, if I would take 90 cents for it.  I don't know if that was all the money he had or if that was all he could get from his mother, but it kind of tickled me a little.  I mean he was so serious about it!  Then he opens his palm and shows me his 90 cents.  I took two quarters out of his hand and told him I would make him a really good deal on it.


I got one of those types through in the afternoon.  You know.  Someone who is always right about everything and knows everything and is going to tell everyone all about it.  For the most part, I ignored him.  He kept passing through my area, but showing no interest in anything other than himself and his own opinions about stuff.  How he'd do this.  How he'd do that. Blah. Blah.  Blah.  (by the way, he'd never just sit around on a Saturday trying to sell stuff.  He said so.)

Finally, he picked up an item out of a box that was marked "$2 for all" and offered me $3 for it.

I took the three dollars without a word.  Who am I to correct someone who knows how everything is supposed to be?

Plus, it made him go away!

I can be evil when you annoy me too much.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I told you all

That I could totally rock a coconut bra.

From the sidewalk sale at the Peddlers Mall.  It was luau-themed.  The theme for the next one is circus/carnival.  Not sure if I'll wear anything yet.  It might be pretty hot.

PS The coconut bra is now for sale at my booth.

I have a feeling....

That whatever it is

This guy

Gets what he wants!

Friday, June 27, 2014

How to sell something

About ten years ago, I was planning a vacation to San Francisco to attend APE.  I had saved some money, done some extra house-sitting, and cashed a couple of savings bonds, all in an effort to scrape up some extra money for the trip.

A couple of weeks before leaving, I cleaned out my closets, comic book collection, CD's, and bookshelves and loaded up the car with stuff, which I took around town to sell.  This is ages before I ever even thought about having a booth, so I hit every place I knew that would buy stuff.  A few stops later, I had 500 more dollars for the trip!

I didn't sell everything, but I sold most of it.  The big money came from the comic shop, because I selected what I wanted to sell very carefully, picking things I knew they would want.  The other stuff was more of a shot in the dark.  Two bookstores bought a few things, but I learned that one of them really preferred hardcovers.  Most of the books ended up going to Half-Price Books, which doesn't pay that much, but I had enough of a quantity (along with comic books that I knew the comic store wouldn't want and leftover CD's) that I got a decent payout from them.  I would never go to HPB to make serious bank, but they're great for squeezing a few bucks out of your leftovers.

I learned a few things about selling stuff along the way, and, even though things have changed a bit since then (namely the economy), most of those lessons still hold.  When I started reselling seriously five years ago, I also started picking up more tidbits about selling that I added to the list.  When you've got a booth or do eBay or whatever, you eventually become a target from someone with a few boxes or a basement or garage full of stuff to sell.  Since I've already talked about how not sell something, I thought I would balance it out with something a bit more positive, so here are some ideas and points to help sell your stuff.

We are going to assume, for brevity's sake, that you are going to be dealing with a reasonable and fair reseller/dealer.  Most of us are.  For every asshole, there are dozens of us who treat people with respect and integrity.  If you need help finding the right people to work with, ask around.  If you do find yourself in a bad experience, walk away from it.  A better one is probably just around the corner.  You should be treated with respect and decency.  If you are working with one vendor, but you cannot seem to come to terms, ask them who else you could take your stuff to. 

You are trying to make a business transaction.  Remember that and act accordingly.  This means pushiness is OUT.  Politeness is IN.  If you want to do this kind of thing regularly, you need connections (relationships).  Someone who has already had an unpleasant encounter with you will not be so willing to deal with you again.  Even if no sale results, treat the encounter as an opportunity to build a relationship and learn about your prospective buyer and what you could do to make the transaction go better next time.

The person you are dealing with probably knows more than you.  They may or may not know more about your items, but they definitely know a lot of things you don't know:
  • How well this type of item has sold for them in the past
  • How many they may have in stock or in reserve at this moment
  • How appropriate your item is for their venue
  • What the market is for this type of item
  • How much they can get for your item
  • What their expenses will be in selling your item
They will use this information to make a buying decision about your stuff.  You need to listen to them and let them.  They're also going to know what they are talking about.

I once watched a guy coming back to a store at the end of the day to try and accept an offer he had rejected that morning.  He had driven his stuff all over town trying to get the better offer he knew was out there.  Turns out the one he had rejected was the best one he got all day.  The first words out of his mouth were:  "You all were right."  The next thing he said was:  "I am so sick of trying to sell these damn things."

It's not personal.  Your buyer is making a decision based on your item, not you personally.  If you take it personally or get offended, then they will most definitely make their next decision about dealing with you a negative one.

You are dealing with someone who does what they do to make money.  If you come in expecting top dollar, you're probably not going to get it.  If they pay you the top of the line price, then there is no room for them to make any money.  If they cannot see making money, then they won't buy.  We all like the things we sell, but profit is what keeps us in business.  Don't begrudge your buyer their livelihood.

Know who you are dealing with.  If you are dealing with a store, call and find out when and how they buy.  Some only see items by appointment.  Others may not be interested in certain items.  You might have to drop things off and come back for an offer.  (Be sure to keep a list of your items if you do this.) If you are consigning, know the policies, especially the timeframes for an item to sell.  Also, if you are dealing with a business, they may ask for ID or have you complete paperwork verifying that the items you are selling are yours to sell.  (I don't have the space here to tell you the stories about why this step is necessary.)

If you are selling to someone with a booth somewhere, check out their space and see what they sell.  If you are not offering the kinds of items they are selling, they're probably not going to buy from you.  Nothing annoys me more than someone wanting to sell me clothing while talking to me at my booth, where there is no clothing in sight!

Have a realistic price in mind for your items.  One of the first things I ask someone trying to sell me stuff is: "What do you want for it?"  Most, if not all, resellers do this as a way to gauge what the seller is thinking and how the deal might go.  If the response is:  "What will you give me?" then that's a sign things might not go well.  You're entering a negotiation.  Come prepared.  The person you're trying to sell to is giving you a chance to own the negotiation.  Don't blow it.  If you leave all control in their hands, then there's a higher chance you are going to feel disappointed with the deal.  Remember, you want to build a relationship here so you can do this again.  You do that by actively participating.

You need to have a realistic (more on that in a minute) opening price and a bottom line price in mind.  You may not always get your opening price, but you need to know how low you are willing to go before it becomes not worth it to you.  You're trying to make some money too. 

No one is going to reach into their pocket and give you some other seller's eBay asking price.  My response to people wanting the eBay money is to put the stuff on eBay.  Do that work.  I am not your substitute online auction.  I know what I can get for an item in my limited market, which is a flea market in Louisville, KY.  It's most likely a lot less than what someone can get in a global market like eBay.  You have to be able to see that difference.  If you can't, you're going to be frustrated and disappointed.

Do your homework, but be smart about it.  Despite what I just said, there's nothing wrong with you looking things up online to start forming your price ideas.  Just do it smart.  If you go to the first auction you find and decide that what that person is asking will be your price, you've cut a corner that will bite you in the butt.

For my money, a good online search:
  • Knows the difference between a completed auction with an ending price and one that someone just put up with no bids.  (If you do not know how to look up completed/sold items on eBay, GET SOMEONE TO SHOW YOU!)
  • Looks at sales over a period, rather than one or two auctions
  • Looks for sales patterns
  • Compares the items in the sales to the ones you have
  • Checks for condition
  • Looks at other sites besides eBay--especially collector's clubs, which may have information about rarity and history
  • Takes sellers asking prices with a HUGE grain of salt
  • Knows that you cannot find completed sales on sites like etsy and Amazon
This is where realistic pricing starts.

Examine your connection to what you are trying to sell, both current and future.  If you have any attachment to an item that is going to make you regret selling it for any price or feel guilty if you don't get top dollar for it, the DON'T SELL IT!  You're not going to be able to think clearly enough about it to negotiate.

If, on the other hand, it's some stuff you picked up at a house clean out, you also need to think about what you're going to do with it if it doesn't sell.  Do you really want to keep hauling it around or leave it sitting in the garage?  That needs to be a factor in your negotiating.

If you're dealing with a large lot of stuff you want to sell all together, the more organized you are, the better!  When a dealer looks at a room full of boxes and crap, they immediately start deducting money from their offer based on how much work they are going to have to do to get everything moved out, cleaned up, sorted through and sellable.  Lots of us run one-person shows.

If you have cleaned out the trash/broken stuff/dirty stuff/nasty stuff  and maybe arranged things in a little bit of order, you've lessened the load on your buyer and they'll see that.  If you just want to make it all go and have someone do the work, that's fine.  Just know that the offer you get will reflect all the work the buyer is going to have to do.

It's okay to stand up for yourself and negotiate.  Nothing I am saying here should be construed as you doing everything the buyer wants, taking what they offer and getting the hell out of Dodge.  I'm talking about creating a win-win for both you and the person you want to sell to.  You want stuff gone and to make a little dough.  They want to be able to make a little dough off what they buy.  You can both do this, plus have the kind of experience that guarantees repeat deals, with a little awareness and respect.

How do you make this happen?
  • Respect and politeness
  • Listen to each other
  • Play fair
  • Be reasonable
  • Do your homework
  • Have your shit together
  • In other words, everything I've been saying this whole post!
In the end it's your call.  Final responsibility for making or breaking the deal lies with the seller.  If you cannot come to terms, it's okay to walk, but leave the door open for future dealings.  If you decide you want to try your luck with another buyer, that's okay too, but make sure that you can come back and get the same offer from your current buyer, just in case things don't work out elsewhere.  In other words, don't burn bridges.

I know people who make their reselling money by reselling solely to other resellers.  I've done my fair share of it in the past.  Even if you only have that one load of Mama's dishes to deal with at the moment, you never know what the future may hold.  What if you end up as sole inheritor of Uncle Pembert the Horder's mobile home of stuff?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cancel the Alert!

Great Big Bertha has been found!

Turns out she's been in the Peddlers Mall this whole time.

Recall the search party!

Call off the hunt!

Cancel the posse!

Put the bloodhounds back in the pen!

Unsaddle the horses!

And someone tell Long Tom to bring his credit card.

She's been shopping! 

(For goodness' sake, don't forget to call Lulabelle!  
She's been worried sick!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Well, okay then...

Nothing wrong with being polite.

Hello Robotz!

(Geez.  I hope they're friendly robots and not the kind that want to take over the world and wipe out humanity.  Politeness is one thing, but I really don't like that kind of robot.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When thrifts close...

...Junkers cry.....

.....But only until the Going Out of Business Sale starts!

The thrift downstairs from the Peddlers Mall starting a going out of business sale last week.  Kind of took everyone by surprise.  The story seems to be changing daily, but as of now, their last day will be July 5.  I am expecting a biiiiiiig markdown blowout over 4th of July!

I've always thought that Louisville is thrift poor for a city of its size, so losing another one kind of bums me out.  This one was extremely convenient for me and had frequent sales.  On non-sale days, their prices could be a little iffy, but the selection was always super-fab.  I'm going to pick up a couple of shirts for me next week some time.

I stopped into get the lay of the land (and check out the sale) right after they made their announcement last week.  The prices are awesome!  Staff are on a mad tear to clean out their over-stuffed stock room, so they are making all kinds of lots and sets, which is something that they never did before.

For example, I got ten of these in a set:

That's the 12 apostles on the left and St Michael the Archangel on the right.  He's my patron saint, since my first name is Michael.  Those are Monastery Icons, which are high quality religious images, some of the best that you can purchase.  In my set there were all four Evangelists, the Archangels, plus this group Apostles piece and Mary Magdalene.  Nice stuff.  Even nicer price.

Whoever previously owned these was seriously devoted.  On the back of each icon, they wrote the feast date for the saint depicted.

This is the back of the Apostles.

I also got this great big martini glass:

Seriously, it's huge!

Another clothespin for the collection:

An example of corporate sponsorship gone too far?

Seriously, what is this about?
Lastly, a cool Indian trophy.

That sucker is solid metal and very heavy.  It's the kind of thing that makes me think:  "This would make a perfect murder weapon in an Agatha Christie novel."

I think it's got a really cool look.  It some kind of advertising award for Brown-Forman from the 80's.  I'm leaving it as is for the moment, since the local BF connection might help it sell, but I think I could pretty easily remove the chief from the base and sell it that way, if I have to.

Stay tuned for more as we get closer to the closing date.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Rambles

I'm still pretty wiped out from the weekend, so this will be more of a short run-down bullet type list than an actual post. I hope you'll forgive me.  More substantial content coming in a few days.

Spent most of last week at the Peddlers Mall--every afternoon and all day on Friday--getting the booth cleaned and stocked and ready for the big sale day.

Did not get everything I wanted done, but I got a lot done.

Had way more empty spaces in my booth that I realized.  Fixed that.

Still need to fix the comic area.  The layout there is problematic.

Managed to totally screw up my storage even more than it already was.  Need to fix that.

Got most of my layout issues worked out.  Booth has better flow now.

Pulled many items from booth for the outdoor sale.  Marked them way the hell down.

Brought over a van load from the shed at home for outdoor sale, mostly stuff from my uncle.

Planned to set up nine tables outside, but ended up with only seven after deciding not to pull two tables from the booth.

 Made and posted signs for my 20% off sale.

Arrived at 7 on Saturday to start setting up outside.  Sale officially started at 10.  Was ready by 8:30 to greet early birds, who all turned out to be really jerky flea market dealers.

Sold. Sold. Sold. Sold. Sold. Sold. Sold.

Had a really good day outside.  Did better than any previous outdoor sale.

Have a couple of stories to share from sale.  That will come later.

Sold a ton of stuff.  Had two tons to begin with.  Still had ton left.  Did get rid of large booth clunkers.  Happy dance.

Sold half of leftover ton to another dealer in bulk lot.  Left with just half ton of stuff to deal with.  happier dance.

Leftover half ton will be this week's restock at booth.

Set one day sales record for booth inside.  Nearly passed out when I saw the total!  Happiest dance.

Think I may have sold every Bible in the booth.  Need to find more Bibles.

Very very happy with indoor and outdoor sales on Saturday.  More happy dancing.

Also very tired.  Stumbled home and crashed.

Woke up Sunday with sinus headache.  Took meds and crashed.

Not going to booth today.  Mini-break. Will start back tomorrow.

Going to thrift after work instead.

And eat Mexican food.

This is last week of work for summer.  After Thursday, will be off until July 7.

No sales email for Sunday = no sales on Sunday.  Sad dance.
UPDATE:  Sales email went to Spam folder for some reason.  Never happened before.  Strong sales Sunday = Close to record month to date = more happy dancing!  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

How not to sell something

So, the other day I was working on the booth when the mall got a call from someone looking to sell some stuff.  This happens a lot.  Some folks don't realize that the mall is made up of individual vendors and think that the store is going to buy their stuff.  Others know the drill but figure they'll get more bang for the buck, since there are a lot of vendors that might buy their stuff.

The reality is that these calls get handed off to whoever is in the store working their booth at the time. If no one is there, then sometimes nothing happens.  Sometimes messages get taken and passed on, but  lot of times the call just ends there.  I've gotten a couple of messages, but if it's not stuff I'm particularly known for selling--like the religious stuff--I don't always look into it.

This caller was trying to sell some "old dishes."  Since I was there working (and was up by the register at the time of the call), the staff asked me if I was interested.  I said I might be, depending on what the dishes were.  I was told that it was a "very complete set" of "really old dishes" in "great shape" that were "really valuable" because they had been "looked up" online.  We'll come back to those terms in quotes in a minute.

When I indicated tat I might be interested, before I could qualify anything, the next immediate question was:  "HOW MUCH WILL YOU GIVE ME FOR THEM?'

So, I had to explain some of the basics of selling to this person, namely that I was not committing to a price on anything that I had not seen, handled, and checked out.  "Might be interested." is not the same thing as "I'm going to buy these dishes."  Honestly, no one is ever going to commit to buying something on the phone based solely on a seller's say so.

The caller told me they would be over that afternoon with their "five boxes" of dishes.  That kind of took me by surprise.  I figured they would lose interest when I would not commit to a price right away. I had already decided that I wasn't going to make an appointment for a visit with them to look at the stuff.  The course of the phone call to that point made it pretty clear to me that it probably would not be worth my time.

I went back to work on my booth and in about an hour or so, I got a page that they were here.  I went out to meet with them and got the whole story.

According to them, they had bought the entire contents of a woman's estate for one lump sum out of a family member's garage.  They said it was a lot of stuff that they bought without going through things and now they were trying to sort things out and make some money.  (Sounds to me like someone has been watching too much 'reality' TV.  They even used the term "picking" at one point.)

They also told me they had looked some things up "online" and saw big prices, but they don't have the "savvy" to "do eBay."  Total red flag for me right there.  First, eBay isn't that hard to do, in terms of the tech knowledge involved. Second, Kosh only knows what they were looking up and where they were looking and what they saw.  Third, eBay is a frikking global marketplace!  More on this in part two of this post.  (To come in a few days.)

So I go down to their car, get hit on the head, stuffed in the trunk, and ferried off to work in the salt mines in Utah dressed only in a loincloth and coconut bra for the rest of my life and was never seen again* and take a look at their stuff.  It's time to employ the Eddie's Real Life Junkometer Translator (™) to some of those phrases above.

Old Dishes:  I'll give them this one.  The dishes were vintage, but not necessarily really old.  Certainly not antique treasures, which was what they were implying on the phone.

Complete Set:  There were five boxes of dishes:  A bunch of plates from one set, along with some coffee cups and saucers.  A few bowls of another pattern from another set.  And a whole lot of odds and ends, including some decorative plates that would have hung on the wall.  Not anywhere near a "complete set" of dishes, which could run to over a hundred pieces!

Great Shape:  Of the first ten pieces I pulled out of the box, seven had major chips in them.  Major chips.  I pointed this out to them and was told:  "Well, they aren't all like that."  No, but if you remove these seven pieces from your already incomplete set, it becomes that much more incomplete.  And, do you really want me to keep digging for chipped pieces?

Really Valuable:  Do I really need to spell this one out at this point?

Looked Up:  See a couple of paragraphs up.

They kept pressing me at this point to name a price or else tell them how to sell their stuff (really?).  I suggested an eBay broker to them, if they really wanted to go the online route and did not think they could do it.  I also suggested waiting until they had the whole lot sorted out, the trash cleared away, and then make a plan.  I told them about all the different ways I knew of to get rid of a lot of stuff, including getting their own damn booth.  But I politely declined their offer to buy their chipped unmatched dishes.

So they showed me a bag of dolls and toys that were soaking wet (!) and asked if I wanted to buy them.  When I pointed out that the whole bag was wet, they seemed totally clueless about it.

In the end, I bought three decorative plates and a really cool vintage owl figurine from them.  I took their number to pass onto someone else, who declined it after I told him the whole story.

I did feel kind of sorry for them.  They'd clearly bitten off way more than they could chew.  They had sunk a lot of money into this buy and had no plan and no clue how to monetize it.  I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, but it's not as easy as it looks.

*That would have been way more interesting and way less painful than what actually happened.  Plus, I look good in a coconut bra.  (No need to thank me for that enduring mental image.  It's on the house.)


Saturday, June 21, 2014


I have a collection of over-sized plastic clothes pins.

I was blissfully unaware of this fact, until I was straightening out the booth this week.

I highly suspect that some of you out there will not be surprised in the least at this fact.

Have I achieved "Eccentric Old Man Junker" Status yet?

I must be getting close.

Maybe I need more bed pans?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Identity Crisis!

Who am I?

What am I?

Am I a turtle?

Or a candle holder?

Marine life?

Or knick knack?

I just don't know any more!

Please help.

Seriously.  How did this damn thing get on my back?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Helpful Tips for Resellers You Won't Find in Any Other Guidebook #387

Get to know the people who work at the mall where you have your booth.  I don't care if it's an antique mall, an indoor flea market, or a vendor mall, if you really connect with the staff, it has great benefits for you as a seller.

For one thing, you have a built in buying audience.  At some point, during just about every day, a staff person will be wandering past a booth on some kind of errand and something will catch their eye.  They'll make a note of it, and return on break to check it out.  BOOM!  You've got a sale.

Just about everyone collects something.  Finding out about the hobbies and interests of the people working in your mall lets you pick up some things you know have a good chance of being quick sales.  In fact, I'll unpack something, clean it up, price it, and take it right to the front instead of putting it on the shelf.

Besides the obvious sales benefit to this approach, you'll also be deepening your relationship with the people who are there all day long watching over your stuff.  You'll probably also find out that they're really neat people to boot! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I should have had this one for Easter...

I love the artwork in this kids' book I found at a church sale.  It is highly stylized and highly dramatic.

There's something about those heads turned at such odd angles looking straight up like that.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finds For ME!

My junking used to be very Eddie-centric.  It was either for me to use, for me to wear, for me to read, for me to watch, for me to put in the house, or for me to give as a gift to someone from me.  It was that way for years and years, until that fateful day I opened my first booth.

Right away, hitting the sales was less about me and more about the booth.  I guess an argument could be made that we are kind of one and the same, but I think that we are two separate entities--or mindsets at least.  Somewhere over the last few years, I stopped buying for me almost entirely.  I'll still pick up a keeper now and then, but those instances are becoming fewer and farther between.

Typically, when I do get something for me any more, it's a practical/useful kind of thing, and not something for a collection.  For instance, I did recently pick up this awesome backpack for me ($1), because I really needed one.  I've carried it every day since I bought it!

I also got myself a couple pairs of shorts (.50 each).  Again, I really needed these!  I got the "Melanoma Sucks" button at the cancer center last week.  By the way, I got the "all clear" again!  Another scan in three months.  I'm just about one year off chemo now, and everything is going fine.

Somehow, though, I fell off the wagon recently and have bought quite a few things for me that are going right into the comic boxes, after I read them, of course.  Honestly, I'm feeling a little guilty about it.  I'm not talking three or four comics here.  It's more like three dozen!  For me!  Seriously!  I feel like a little piggy.

Keith is trying to convince me that it's still okay to be a collector from time to time, but I actually went over budget at  comic shop sidewalk sale on Saturday because of everything I bought for me!  I did get some things for the booth, but I busted the weekend yard sale budget on me!  Not good.  Bad junker!

To assuage my guilt a little bit, I'm going to turn my finds into a series of posts for the non-comic savvy junker.  Instead of getting all nerdy-geeky-yay-rah-whee about my finds, I'm going to try and share some history and information about what made these things special enough for me to pick up.  Hopefully, that info might help someone if they are ever confronted with a comic or two for sale.  I'll also be mixing some personal nostalgia in with the information, just to keep things interesting.

I'll be calling these posts "Comics Junking."  I hope some of you will find the idea intriguing enough to check out.   I'll parcel them out one a week over the next month or so.

Please be aware the you might encounter some odd-looking marine life.

Yes, comics from certain eras can be freaking weird!  Why do you think I love them so much?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Rambles

I forgot to get a "What's in Mazda?" shot on Saturday.  We were busy trying to get unloaded fast, because Keith was supposed to go camping.  He needed to make his own Mazda load!  I did get some pics of the large items after I got them put out.

I can now cross one of these tables off my hunting wish list.

Never met a school desk I did not want.

Ignore the background. Admire the foreground.

Something about kids' furniture.

More school desk love.
Most of the above came from a pre-school that is closing.  They were having a "pick what you want and make an offer" sale.  The school was run by one of the older churches near downtown, and the older pieces came from the basement.  They wanted me to look at the riding toys down there, but it was the table and desk that caught my eye.

I also got boxes and tubs of games and toys, but I haven't had time to go through them, so no pics yet.  Great combination of educational games and toy cars, though.  Good, good stuff.  Interestingly, I was the only one there for a long time and we got there just after they opened.  Some dude did come by and made them an offer of a hundred bucks for everything in the building.  They said they'd need to have a little more than that, so he left.

I did go to a couple of other sales, including a church sale with old lady ten-cent pricing and vintage Christmas!  I've been having a vintage Xmas drought for the past couple of years, but it really seems to have lifted this year.

As you can see from the above pictures, I'm having a little bit of a space layout issue.  I've spent so much time worrying about having enough items (and larger items) in the space, but the layout has taken back seat.  Now I feel satisfied with what I have in the space, so I need to work on how it's placed.  I've pretty much just been putting things in empty spaces up to now.  I have an idea, but I'm not sure how it will work.  We'll see, I guess.

I'm holding off on putting any new smalls out, because I'm having a 20% off sale this weekend.  Since I'm not going to be focusing on restocking, I'll be looking more at arrangement.   I have to confess that I have an unhealthy admiration for the old junk shop owner with stuff crammed into every nook and cranny with no rhyme or reason.  I have to find a way to modify that with a little customer friendliness.  I never had these issues when all I had was an 8x10 booth!

My other task this week is to get ready for our next sidewalk sale at the Peddlers Mall on Saturday.  A lot of what I got from my uncle last week is going into the sidewalk sale--old tools, tons of vintage smalls,  jars, bottles, and a bunch of fun stuff.  I'm also going to have comics and manga, small furniture, and a ton of books.  I'm planning on having eight tables worth of stuff.  Go big or go home baby! 

If I remember, I'll get some pics throughout the week and of the sale.  Content will be pre-planned and somewhat light this week (think bad jokes) due to all the activity.  Have a good week.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Let us sing of unsung finds....

Here are a couple that fell through the cracks, because I forgot to take a picture at the time.  I've been intending to get to them in the intervening weeks and have just had so much to do at the booth that I kept forgetting.

But no more!

These are sacramentaries, basically the books the priest uses that have the rituals and rubrics for the different sacraments.  They can be pretty costly, depending on how ornate they are.  This stack used to be a little larger, but I've sold several of them already.  I went to an estate sale for an Old Catholic priest and bought a hunk of his library.

The books sit on the same shelf as this antique altar candle holder from a local church.  It's ornate and heavy and detailed and lovely!  I found it at a different sale on the same day that I bought the sacramentaries.  Short of finding the Holy Grail in someone's front yard, I think that one day may be about the best religious item scores one could hope for.

Days like that make you forget all of the duds and downers.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Behemoths that can tear tanks apart with their bare hands really should not be so darned cute!

Every junker has an item or two that ended up in an odd place, instead of getting placed right out for sale.  I found these bad boys in the bottom of a bag that held a couple of vintage serving trays and an Ironstone pitcher.  Not sure how they got there, since I was convinced they got placed on a shelf in a booth right after I bought them.

Totally convinced.

Over a year ago.

Man, I have got to get organized.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Why, yes.

Yes, it does!  Passion also lives in a mobile home, apparently. Never knew that part.  I did know about the lips, though.  Best not to say much more.

That's one of a pair of wine bottles I found with labels based on old trashy pulp covers,

I bet the Cycle Buff Beauties could kick Passion's ass, red lips or not.  In fact, it probably already happened on some cheesy cable movie!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

So what else was in Mazda?

Finally!  here are some of the highlights of Saturday's finds that I didn't get to photograph earlier.  Mazda outdid itself for sure!

Two vintage Playskool hammer toys and a bunch of NIP games and puzzles.  I did get the hammers for the cobbler's benches, but they got separated in transit.  This is about half of the games I got.  I always hop on NIP games and toys when I can get them cheap.  They're sure sellers.

Floor lamp.

Vintage croquet mallets and holder.  No balls in this set.  (Insert juvenile joke here.  C'mon.  You know you want to.)

Enough percussion instruments to form a rhythm band.

Enough toy animals to start a zoo.  These suckers are big!  The 'gator in front is almost two feet long!  The elephant and tigers are still in the baggies, because that's where the prices are written.  This is less than a third of what I got.

Bag of assorted loose toys, parts, and what not.  Some vintage some not.  Lots of popular characters, like the Ninja Turtles.  I was looking through the toys at a yard sale and the woman there tells me they have a whole room full of boxes of toys in the basement.  They're trying to sell everything in order to sell the house, so she gave me a bag and told me to knock myself out.  It was a large, chaotic mess.  Nothing was organized.  But I dove in and filled my bag.  I was tempted to make her an offer on the lot of them, but I do not possess near the patience to deal with that level of mess.  (That's one of the traits I admire in Lorraine of We Are Clamco.)  Not to mention the fact that there were so many armless, legless, headless, and otherwise trashed toys in the lot.  I contented myself to stuff that bag with everything I could find that I know will work for me at the booth.  That still ended up being quite a lot.

Handmade rocking horse.

Two of the largest clipboards I have ever seen.  Seriously!  Those suckers are HUGE!

Hello Kitty pinata, because...well...Hello Kitty!  Duh!

 Pogo stick.

Wicker lamp.  I cannot decide if this is hideous or not.  I've really never gotten wicker, but others seem to like it.

Bedside table--nothing special, but solid.  I'm riding this small furniture gravy train until it stops.

Vintage wooden folding chair.  i have a little bit of a thing for thee, especially when they have padded seats.  I need to tighten the seat on this one.

Play fridge.  Heavy as all get out, just like a real one would be.  Reminds me of my days as a nursery worker.  I need to scrub some magic marker off of the inside.

Two of the best condition Fisher Price toys I have ever seen at a sale.  Not a crack.  Not a mark.  Not a chip. Every single sticker and label intact.  Awesome.  There was also a school bus in similar condition.  Just for a moment I was four again.

I keep seeing a lot of these 70's stuffed footstools around.  I'm not sure if they're becoming a thing or not, but just in case, I'm there!

My fave find of the day was this sushi playset.  It's got over 50 pieces! It even has chopstick rests!  I think I would have died if I hadn't bought it.  Yes, I know how lame that sounds, but as soon as I saw it at the sale, it was all I could think about.  It's just about this most awesome thing ever.   

You could see one of these end tables in the original Mazda pic, but I wanted to show that there was a pair.

There was a ton more small stuff, but I try to keep these posts from going on forever, believe it or not.  It was a really good day, all in all.