12/07/2018 at 1:21 pm #52885InglewoodParticipant
Back in the 90’s, I use to be part of a retro-video game collecting forum (yes, retrogamers were around in the 90s) and we would talk about other “collectors” we would run into at thrift stores, flea markets, etc. and nickname them “Sumguy” or “Sumgal”.
I occasionally will run into a Sumguy or Sumgal when scavenging – and I did today on my lunch break. Near my work there is both a Salvation Army and Goodwill store. My first stop was the SA where there was a guy, similar in stature (6’5”) and age as me in the corner looking up items in his basket on the eBay app. I just thought it was funny because it must be exactly how I look when I do the same thing and I think I’m being discrete as well. This Sumguy also had a similar selection of items that I would choose…
I was just doing a quick scan of the store, bought my items, and went around the corner to GW. A few minutes there and I see the same Sumguy walk in. I got a little bold and asked him how his sales were doing and how the postal issues in Canada were affecting him. He looked shocked! I told him my sales have been all over the place, talked about the postal issues, and he seemed a little annoyed. I paid for my items, and out in the parking lot as I’m leaving he comes running over yelling “hey buddy!”. We had a nice conversation for about 20 minutes about what we are into selling, areas to scavenge (he lived about 1.5 hours away), and eBay in general.
Is it best to talk to Sumgal/Sumguy when you see them, or should you just leave them be? Would you be cool if someone approached you? Just curious as I think I put him off at first, but after he thought it was interesting to talk to someone about what we do.
12/07/2018 at 1:40 pm #52886JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
I usually keep myself as inconspicuous as possible. But when I do decide to ask another scavenger if they sell online, most are happy to talk. Few people around where I live sell on eBay. Usually they buy to sell at flea markets or their own junk stores.
One local guy I know scours for gold/silver and will never meet he resells. Always says he’s buying for his mom.
12/07/2018 at 2:36 pm #52890HistoryNerdParticipant
- Location: PNW
I don’t do it, except for with a few social acquaintances I sometimes run into at thrifts. I guess that’s partly because of my personality, but also because there are tons of pickers in my town, so the shop-talking would never cease. There’s one particular Goodwill in the middle of town where it seems like half the customers at any given moment are looking up merchandise on their phone, and very assiduously not talking to each other about it.
12/07/2018 at 3:27 pm #52894antarestarParticipant
- Location: Maine
I talk to people when I’m at the goodwill bins. I assume at least half of us are picking stuff to resell because I see a lot of the same people over and over again. The same sales people are there all the time and I’m sure they recognize most of us, heck, one guy even straight up asked if I was reselling. Why do you think I’m here on half price night buying 112 lbs of random stuff?
12/07/2018 at 3:58 pm #52897Julie BParticipant
- Location: Georgia
I’m not the type to strike up conversation with people but I would be happy if a fellow reseller approached me and started talking about it (provided it was semi-inconspicuous – I do like to try to keep my flipping business on the down low at certain smaller thrifts). Once I start talking about flipping on Ebay, it’s hard to get me to stop. I’m sure my husband and close friends would love it if I found someone else to talk shop with.
12/07/2018 at 4:00 pm #52898SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
I don’t go to thrift stores much anymore. I find too much good stuff at auctions. I will strike up a conversation with a fellow bidder every once in a while. Sometimes I overhear conversations of folks that appear to be collectors and not so much resellers (although, many collectors either trade or resell what they don’t want). I also talk to one of the auctioneers who I see working both at the place that is about 20 min north of me and another place 35 min south of me.
12/07/2018 at 4:20 pm #52901Retro Treasures WVParticipant
I’ve had exactly two conversations with other scavengers in the wild.
One a guy started talking to me. We had a decent couple minutes talk and I gave him a few pointers he wasn’t aware of.
Another I was standing in line next to for a LONG time (slow cashier). I was wondering if this person might also know of scavengerlife, so after a while I said “If I said the phrase ‘scavenger life’ to you, would that mean anything”? The person said no, so that was the end of the conversation.
I think it would be cool to randomly meet another trash elf in the wild. Other than that I’m not too interested in conversing about reselling. I think most of us here are fairly like minded and level headed. Not everyone out there who does this is that way. Hence why that first conversation was just a few minutes – the guy seemed kind of sleazy in his comments.
12/07/2018 at 6:14 pm #52902bcfol440Participant
I don’t chat up other (what I assume to be) are resellers. The employees at my regular places know me and we always quick visit.
TBH, we underestimate the amount of hoarders and shopping regulars. Most of the reseller regulars I see have booths, and dont sell online from what I can tell. Maybe FB marketplace or flea markets.
If someone is scanning, I know they are selling. I have noticed an uptick in women shopping womens section, assuming more Poshers.
12/07/2018 at 8:11 pm #52906LizParticipant
It depends on my mood. Sometimes I’m happy to talk with randos I see at the store. I mostly like to fly under the radar, however.
Flying under the radar is pretty much impossible if I bring my kid with me, because he will say “SO ARE YOU FINDING ANYTHING GOOD TO SELL ON EBAY, MOM?!” as loud as possible, multiple times. The ladies that the church thrifts are squirrely about resellers, so I try to prep my kid before we walk in “Dont say anything! Just pretend we are regular shoppers, not resellers!”, but it never fails. “IS THIS GOOD FOR EBAY, MOM?!” Ack!
12/08/2018 at 12:49 am #52912ebaymomParticipant
- Location: Ohio
I like to fly under the radar and usually have at least 2 small children with me trying to keep them under control and out of trouble. I don’t have time to talk – I want to get in and get out with the most profitable inventory I can find in the shortest amount of time and I am usually rushing to beat a school bus coming or going. Honestly, I don’t think I look like a scavenger because of my kids – I think I look more like I am doing “retail therapy” or buying stuff for my family. I do run into other scavengers that I will see who hit the same spots daily – and I feel almost an unspoken “competition” with them – as we are both picking the same over-shopped Goodwill and Salvation Army – the good stuff tends to go quick and there isn’t much of it.
Once, when I went to an eclectic downtown thrift and then drove across town to the Goodwill outlet – I was approached by a gentleman who came up to me at the bins and said, “Excuse Me… but weren’t you just at XYZ Thrift-Store?” When I said, “Yes… I was…” he smiled big and said, “Well… you’ve got a problem too I see…” (which felt sort of like he was flirting with me) but we proceeded to have a enjoyable 15 minute conversation about reselling on eBay. That was fun… but darn.. the school bus… I was across town and only had 30 minutes to do my thing, so I had to cut him off so I could get to work.
Liz – I have had to have “the talk” with my older children about this – no ratting mom out – especially at garage sales. They are not allowed to mention the “e” word. Period.
12/08/2018 at 1:04 am #52913ebaymomParticipant
- Location: Ohio
One more story to share – the most interesting conversation “in the wild” was my UPS guy – he was delivering my “eBay Branded Shipping Supplies” and as he was handing me the boxes – said “Yeah – I use the same poly mailers – you must sell on eBay”… so we ended up talking and wow – he really blew me away.. as he told me all about his 5000 item store and how he sources at auctions for pallets of store returns (like Target). He has an amazing business – and has a storage warehouse full of inventory which is mostly NWT items from department stores. In addition to his full time delivery job (which is kept because of the benefits, mainly health insurance for his family) he does eBay and said he grosses $150k a year in sales, but it has taken 5 years of very hard work to get to this level. He comes home at night and immediately starts packing – his wife helps him photograph and list all day. So inspiring … I enjoy following his store – his business model is so different than mine – but it was really awesome to meet someone like this at random, literally in my own front yard and “talk shop” with!
12/08/2018 at 2:30 am #52915Antique FrogParticipant
- Location: Leicester
I see other resellers in thrift shops, easy to spot ‘cos they’re either looking at stuff in a certain way or they’re Nigerians with a huge pile of consumer electronics and toys. Don’t tend to have conversations with either group because they start looking a bit twitchy and scared when they notice me.
The local thrift shop have a reseller as a volunteer- it works well ‘cos they get overwhelmed with donations, he pays extra for things and does local deliveries of furniture, also he’s not interested in the kind of things I’m interested in 🙂
12/08/2018 at 8:32 am #52918cmtellaParticipant
I make it a point to talk to other resellers. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve bought things from them. Sometimes they get a big score and can’t handle everything they get do to time or storage constraints. Sometimes they have something I specialize in but they don’t know how to sel or have the right customer. Sometimes they want to quit and liquidate their inventory. Sometimes vice versa! It’s always helpful to network.
12/08/2018 at 9:22 am #52919Retro Treasures WVParticipant
Oh! I forgot about a conversation I had back in September. I saw a microscope on Facebook yardsale that was free for pickup. I came and got it. While there, the guy had a ton more stuff. He started offering other things that I happily took. He started talking about his eBay reseller business, which is when I said I resell too.
Ends up he was relocating to Florida and wasn’t wanting to take all of his inventory. He hooked me up with a trunk load of stuff and we chatted about our stores for a bit.
He said he might have more stuff in a week or so and would contact me to pick up more but he never did. Oh well.
12/10/2018 at 11:28 am #53018auntbeaParticipant
I have one of those pleasant older lady faces that belies my inner voice. It doesn’t matter where I am, people come up and start telling me their deepest secrets. (Yes,it can be a burden) I have met many good people that resell in my local thrifts and at auctions. Some have become friends. It’s great to know someone to call when you are out of flat rate priority padded mailers!
- This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by auntbea.
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