Sunday, March 22, 2009

"A sepia tone was added to this photo."

Ah, nostalgia for hard times.

Even now, we feel the need to soften it a bit, adding color to the stark black and white photo's of the era.

I've been wondering if we have so much material in this world, from high end to thrift shops, that we could survive off this stuff for years, selling it to each other, using it, trading it.

I recently bought some used DVD's; and I've been selling them for 5.00. Of course, my store is absolutely packed with material, and I've found myself working on the backstock a bit more, going down and looking through all the boxes of toys and finding some I thought I was sold out of, looking through the back issues and finding sets and singles that I know people have been looking for.

I didn't have time for this before, I was too busy in front of the store.

I probably should get over my aversion to buying used material off the street, because if I'm open to getting deals, there probably has never been a better time. Of course, there is the constant ethical problem of buying at a price that makes it beneficial for me, and yet not feeling like I'm taking advantage of the customer.

I've noticed, lately, that people will sometimes signal that they really just want to unload something, and won't take offense at any offer, and that's when it works best.

I'll explore that option a little more, basically try to ascertain if the customer is realistic.

Realistic isn't some pre-conceived notion of value, or a price guide value, or a value they think they can get on e-bay, or anything to do with what they originally paid. For me, a realistic value is the idea of getting 'something', even if it's just a fraction, rather than nothing at all.

Otherwise, a quick no is better.

Besides, I think my store has been positioned well with inventory to always have something that customers want. I don't really need anymore material unless I get it at such a low price that it makes sense to push aside something I've already paid for.

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

There is a strange satisfaction out of butchering that buffalo, using the horns and the hide and the meat and the fat and every little part of the beast. Instead of shooting the herds by their thousands and letting them rot on the plains.

1 comment:

stusigpi said...

In the Sports Card world, to which I know you are familiar, the battle in the past few years has been "book value" v. "street value" v. "ebay value".

As you well know book value is usually higher than a value that you can get in your store which is higher than what it will go for on ebay. We still have the Beckett disciples out there that swear their cards are worth book value and get mad when anyone suggests otherwise.

I suppose your conundrum of what is a fair offer without insulting the person can perhaps be solved with a historic perspective.

Back in 1988-91 with the explosion of card shops an 84 Donruss Don Mattingly booked for lets say $100. If you took one into a shop to sell or trade, they might offer you $30 or $40 because it wasn't "gem Mint". The owner knew, regardless, that he could sell the card for $100 as many buyers had no other way to get the card and most collectors were unconcerned with Gem Mint. As long as the card looked good the buyer would pay book value.

Now there are 20-30 84 Mattinglys available via the net at any given time. They may sell from $8-25 with a book value of $40.

I think, with all the time that you have been in business, that perhaps your perceive value of the product you are making an offer on is much higher than actual value.

Frankly, many comics, cards, toys that "book" for $20 may be worth $5 or are worthless. I buy lots of cards on ebay where the bv of the lot is $50 and I get it for $3-7 shipped. There may be one card that is actually worth something, but the others are not worth much if any.

I don't know how many graded comics I have bought where the price is less than the cost of grading.

Because it is hard to gauge the person trying to sell you stuff, you might as well make your offer. If they scoff then you were never going to agree to a price, if they question or want to discuss it, then you might be able to agree on a price. Either way, it doesn't change whether the transaction is going to happen. The only way to make sure its not going to happen is to not make an offer.