T.H.R.I.F.T. #2: Seed Kindness, Harvest Money.

Welcome back to the site and to the second issue of Team Hellions Reselling Information & Finding Treasures.  In this edition, let’s talk about thinking ahead while thrifting.

Part of me wants to double title these like the classic 1980’s cartoon C.O.P.S.  “The Case of the Slow Dime, or the Fast Nickel.”

On other social media I recently shared pictures of some huge thrifting hauls.  In case you’re not following me elsewhere here are those photos.


This is two separate hauls a few days apart.  All together there were at least 500 VHS, probably more, plus those faux wood VHS drawers actually sell well.  I spent maybe $50 which breaks down the tapes alone to 10 cents each plus the drawers are a bonus.  I did some research and had two piles, one for eBay and one for a future yard sale this summer.  The yard sale tapes will be either 10 or 25 cents each (I haven’t decided yet) plus deals for buying multiples.  This still leaves me with 100s for eBay at a minimum of $5 each but there are quite a few in here that are going up for $15-$50 depending on rarity.  In other words, its going to take only a couple of sales, which are already coming in, to turn a profit.  Physical media is seeing a resurgence as people realize that not every thing they’re looking for is easily available, if available at all.  Plus, if you buy a new tape or disc player, you don’t have to move your tapes or discs.  They’ll work just the same from the shelf they’re sitting on.  Pick up, and put in the machine.  However, everytime you buy a new computer or tablet there is that inevitable pain in the butt process of switching over your files.

Now, the headline mentioned smiling and that is the point of this issue.  The only reason I got everything for this cheap was because I have been nice to people I have dealt with for years.

I contacted the person selling the lot with the drawers.  We small talked on the phone and I listened to everything she said.  Actually listened.  Then responded in a familiar way.  Turns out we went to the same college, many years apart, but there’s still a connection.  We talked about our families having collections of movies to watch during the summer when everyone spends nights by the lake (and thus, usually, no cable).  Talk turned to generations enjoying the same movies, and how that bonds families together.  My kid was in the car and I brought up the movies my family watched that he is now enjoying.  This trip that was just for tapes now added the drawers and a VCR for free.  All of this because I followed the rules of respect and had a polite back and forth conversation.

The other stack of tapes was 2 1/2 garbage bags full of movies, that I was not expecting yet very happy to be offered.  There is an out of the way and mostly forgotten junk store in the area and I love it.  For the last few years I’ve been making stops when I can, and when they are open, to dig through their movies and other treasures.  Every single time I have been nice and respectful.  If I move a box, I put it back.  Please and thank you.  Complimenting the selection.  A few times when my son was younger, I would push the stroller through and I always made sure that he was safe and that any store items were not damaged.  All of this was done because that’s just how I was raised.  Not because I was expecting some sort of reward at the end.

However, rewards did happen.  The shelves were easy to go through and I started a pile.  Then, turning to where the boxes of VHS were the last time, now there were trash bags.  Full of tapes, but still trash bags.  This just wasn’t worth me ripping through, starting piles on the ground, bagging back up, repeat.  Certainly not worth making a mess for the people who run the store.  I made a comment that next time, with more time, I might dig through some of these bags but I didn’t want to make extra work for any of us at the moment.  I found about 12 items to buy at a dollar each.  If these were things I would be selling for $5 than a dollar is too much but these were good $20 or more finds.  Well worth the investment.  Now is time to pay.

First, there was supposed to be a sidewalk sale but it was raining.  The sale still applied though so my stack is now down to ten dollars.  Excellent.  Then the woman who co operates the store said “its been awhile since you’ve been in and you always buy things, come with me.”  She then hands me two of the giant bags of tapes for free.  Just to get them out of there.  I was floored.  I was thankful.  I was scared to tell my wife I’m about to bring a couple hundred tapes into the house.  But all of this goes back to just being a pleasant person.

We’ve all been in stores where a customers mocks the selection, the location, the employees, the ambiance.  Why would anyone do you a favor when all you have offered up is scorn and ridicule?  Here’s a secret of retail, deep down employees want to feel like they mattered.  A happy thankful customer goes a long way.  Hey, the boss is a jerk and the work is hard and you feel under paid, but there was that one person who came in wanting something and you were able to help.  You.  That person is happy today because of you.  In depressing times, that goes a long way.  Doctors and nurses matter every day, but cashiers and stock clerks constantly feel unimportant.  Don’t go into any of this expecting to get something out of it.  But recognize that brief moments of gratitude can go a long way and matter.  You made their day feel a little less dark and when given the chance to return the favor many of them will be more than willing to brighten yours.

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