by Chris McGinty
Nathan posted about his recent trip to Bedford (I must not have been home and he came and hung out with my dad and sister for a bit) and while he was over here, he went to Goodwill to buy som-a-dat cool junk. He be all like, “I’m gonna pop some tags, only gotta a debit card in my pocket, cos I’m ca-ca-cashless, lookin’ for a come up, this is fucking awesome.”
What struck me about his post was near the end, and I’m going to quote this directly, he said, “I’m gonna pop some tags…” Oops. Wrong direct quote. He said, “So basically you go there and get junk and sell some of that junk to pay for the junk you kept… but it’s NEAT junk!” NEAT is an acronym for Not Exactly… I got bored trying to write that joke, moving on.
Nathan echoes something I’ve thought for years (or if he thought of it first, technically I’m echoing it). One of the perks of outlets like eBay and garage sales to sale your junk is you can shop, get good deals on bulk items, sell what you don’t want, and keep the stuff you do. It’s the basic flipping game that sellers have done since the dawn of money, but that’s not so much what I’m talking about. Let me explain with a recent garage sale find that even my dad was pretty impressed by.
I stopped at a garage sale about a month ago, and I noticed they had four huge boxes of DVD movies. My dad estimated it at 500+ movies, when he and my sister went through the first box. When I was at the garage sale, I asked the woman how much for the DVDs to get a baseline on what they were trying to get overall. If someone says a dollar per item, I quickly figure out what 50 cents per item would be if I bought everything – or if they say 25 cents each what they would be at 10 cents each, etc. She made my job easy though. She said, “I’m selling them for 75 cents each, unless you want to buy them all, in which case just give me $70.” I only had $55 on me, so after a super frustrating trip to Wal-Mart to get some cash back, I went and paid $70 for 500+ movies.” I can make that back easily on eBay or if we hold a garage sale sometime in the future.
In the meantime, I told my dad and sister to go through and find anything that they wanted to watch, and keep anything they wanted. They kept a few and even found some movies in there that my mom wanted. They have movies to watch for weeks now, and I also have these options.
I’ve already seen a couple of things in there I’m likely to keep that I didn’t consciously know that I wanted. I’ve found a couple of things to watch that I might not have known to seek out otherwise. In a way, because I wasn’t going through 500+ DVDs at a garage sale trying to make decisions on the spot, I can now go through them at my leisure and then sell off what I don’t want. It’s like I rented 500+ movies with no due date for $70, and will get cash back for them when I return the ones I don’t want to keep.
What I’m talking about is still just flip selling. I may be trying to make it bigger than it is by describing it differently, but I’d like to tell you one last story about something that occurs rarely but is super cool when it does. I’d like to tell you about a surprise find.
When Nathan and I had a space at an Antique Mall, I was constantly out buying things for the business. My neighbour, two houses down, was having a garage sale, but I was super busy that weekend. I kept telling myself I would get over there when I had a moment, but never seemed to have a moment. Saturday afternoon, I pulled into my driveway and I saw them going through the early stages of cleaning up. I realized that if I didn’t go now I would have to wait for their next garage sale.
I strolled over and greeted them (we vaguely know each other) and asked them if they minded a last minute shopper. They said sure and told me to just make them an offer on whatever I wanted and they would honor it. They had a box with about 20 music CDs in it and I said, “Will you take $2 for the box? That’s about ten cents a CD.” They were like, “Absoulutely. Do you want to buy a whole bunch of old VHS tapes too?” Funny enough, I declined because our next door neighbour on the other side had recently just given us a whole bunch of VHS tapes and we were still going through them.
I went home and started going through the CDs. I’m into a lot of music from numerous genres, but even I was looking at the 20 CDs in this box realizing that most of it was going to the Antique Mall. Then right at the bottom was a sleeved EP by a band I’d never heard of called Dream 6.
To understand why this was a surprise find, you have to know that ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been a huge fan of a group called Concrete Blonde, and my dad also became a fan through me. My dad and I saw them open up for Sting in 1991. It turned out that Johnette Napolitano and James Mankey had released an EP under the name Dream 6, before changing their name to Concrete Blonde along with hiring a new drummer.
This was not only a CD I was unaware existed, but had I known it existed I would have been willing to pay way more than $2 for it. And since the business sold a couple of the other CDs, I basically got it for free. As Nathan said, “…but it’s NEAT junk!”
Chris McGinty is a Concrete Blonde fan who also happens to be a blogger. He once found some Los Angeles underground at a garage sale. If he’s selling on eBay, and he finds something you need, maybe you can… I’m bored with this joke, moving on.