You guys have made clear that we shouldn’t talk about politics here. Makes sense. But can we agree on one thing? The Baby Boomers and their parents sure have a lot of stuff. Where’s the proof? Stop by any auction and see all the piles of possessions being sold each and every day.
After WWII, the US experienced a wave of expansion and productivity like the world has never seen before. While the government made an incredible investment in infrastructure, scientific research, and the university system, the Baby Boomers and their parents built the US into a powerhouse of design and technology. Getting an excellent college education was inexpensive, and even high school graduates could get jobs that delivered an upper middle class lifestyle thanks to advanced factory jobs.
While we can argue why this system has come apart, we can agree that those particular days are gone. Not every member of this age group found riches, but when you go to an auction, you can see evidence of the great accumulation of wealth that the Post War generations enjoyed. So if you’re skipping auctions, then you’re really missing out on a lot of great scavenging. And because younger generations have much different buying habits, we may never see this opportunity again. Some people have multiple houses to store their stuff, or rented storage lockers for the stuff they can’t keep in their houses.
Think of auctions as a mix of an estate sale (selling off a whole house of stuff) and a yard sale (cheap prices!). What’s incredible is that the stuff in auctions is what the families don’t want. Think of what they’re keeping! But even the left overs are super valuable if you have imagination. There’s always a mix of practical, useful items plus kitschy, old-fashioned decor, along with truly valuable antiques.
Going to an auction gets you to the source of where stuff comes from. This is why you’ll mainly be competing with dealers and collectors because they have always known that auctions are where it’s at. Many independent thrift store owners and flea market sellers get their inventory at auctions. So why buy marked up inventory from them when you can go straight to the source?
I know online auctions have become extremely popular in the last couple years. Some of our favorite local auctions have closed down because they’ve gone online. While it’s certainly convenient to bid on your couch, there is nothing like being at a live auction bidding on carloads of stuff for cheap. It’s a carnival atmosphere with the heavy scent of glorious excess capitalism.
Anyway, in this episode we talk about the barriers that some sellers say exist to auctions, and how we strategize as a team. Showing up early, looking through all the boxes, do quick research over a meal, pay attention the whole time, know the prices we’re willing to pay, learn who likes what, dedicating our whole day. We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.
We also discussed these links in the podcast:
TSATT shared a link to an interview with an eBay employee talking about the coming Guaranteed Shipping Program: http://www.scavengerlife.com/forums/topic/scavenger-life-episode-304-do-a-little-bit-today-then-do-a-little-bit-tomorrow#post-15981
Julie B share a link to the trailer of a new Netflix show. It tells the story of an eBay seller that built a multi-million dollar clothing brand: http://www.scavengerlife.com/forums/topic/ebay-the-netflix-series-sort-of#post-15972
Steve List reminds us that getting negative or neutral feedback isn’t the end of the world. You can always leave a comment on that feedback to let future buyers know it was just a misunderstanding: http://www.scavengerlife.com/forums/topic/scavenger-life-episode-304-do-a-little-bit-today-then-do-a-little-bit-tomorrow/#post-15953
Tare shared the 5 stages of the scavenger’s life. I know we followed these exact steps: http://www.scavengerlife.com/forums/topic/the-5-stages-of-the-scavenger-life
Hope you had a great week!
Our Store Week April 2-8, 2017
Total Items in Store: 5,487
Items Sold: 71
Cost of Items Sold: $166
Total Sales: $2,322.46
Highest Price Sold: $700 (Burberry coat)
Average Price Sold: $32.71
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $550
Number of items listed this week: 0
Sold 0 items for 0
Total Items in Store: 1377
Items Sold: 18
Cost of Items Sold: $250
Total Sales: $677.26
Highest Price Sold: $100 (Apple iSight)
Average Price Sold: $37.62
Number of items listed this week: 30