Welcome back to another installment of Team Hellions Reselling Information and Finding Treasures. THRIFT. The place where I, a top rated eBay seller, discuss finds and failures within thrift shops, pawn shops, yard sales, and more.
Today’s file: On the floor, and under glass.
One of the local thrift stores is usually a great place to find VHS. I’ve come out of there with stacks for under a dollar each and easily made money back. The usual lesser made genre titles that people are looking for. Horror, wrestling, cult, etc. I head right back to where they are with a cart and start making piles to research. Then, I politely put everything I’m not buying back on the shelf. Nice and neat. Always be polite in your thrifting. It will get you further.
However, this store installed a new manager recently. Who decided to fall into the same trap I see nation wide. Raise prices to eBay levels. Focus on what’s “hot” and discount or throw out the rest. There’s a problem with this though. These stores are not the bastions of high end fashion or current trends. They are places to get rid of the stuff you don’t want and hope someone else might. Along the way some of these stores, like this one, also provide resources to those who need it. Even if that resourse is a job, it counts. Thus maximum profit is not the way to go when people are dumping trash bags of clothes at the side of the building. Throw an under $5 price on it and get it out of there fast because there is a bag of other things waiting to take that same place as soon as an item is sold. Also, an eBay listed price is no where near the same thing as a sold price. I can put up a dirty tissue for 10 grand, doesn’t mean it’s worth that amount.
I enter the store to look at what VHS treasures have been donated since my last trip. Alas, the entire run of shelves tapes are usually on is gone. Nothing in its place. Just, gone. I check the books (where I go second anyways) but no tapes. Years ago while in a pawn shop I noticed a sign “we no longer accept VHS, it is a dead format”. Could my local donation depot be on the same path? No! With yet another turn, I discover them. In disrespect and disarray.
This was it. My precious wall was degraded into this tote unearthed from a neglected cellar. Two things about stuff dumped into a bin like this. In any store. One, these are only done for items that the store sells but really does not care about. Two, the psychological theory is anyone who spends the time digging through such bins will feel self obligated to buy something in order to make it appear the time was worth it. See also the Walmart cheap DVD bins.
I was not about to be thwarted. I dove in, setting aside keep and toss piles. Down to the very bottom where pennies, beads, and dead flies reside. In the end I found 3 tapes, plus a couple other finds around the store. I spent $5 total and when everything sells I’m hoping to settle around 50 bucks. Not too shabby for the dead media on the floor to rise again.
Maybe I was too harsh though. Maybe there is a place for tapes still at this store. A place of honor. The standard and sanctified glass display case.
What treasures lie within? Dear reader, you already are perceptive enough to realize there will be a tape inside. What could it be? A Wizard video big box horror film that can sell for over $100? A little released WCW pay per view that has hit as high as $400 sold? No, no. Nothing so big, so grand, so… titanic.
Are you kidding me?! This was I believe 8 dollars. It’s faded in the picture. But that Star Trek V sealed VHS is very clearly $9.99.
I stood there in stunned silence. I felt cold like Rose was about to pry my fingers loose from the door and let me sink into the antiquated home video abyss. Yes, these tapes are sealed, but that only adds value if the title is rare to begin with. Titanic is one of the biggest movies of all time and at the time of the VHS coming out it was THE biggest movie of all time. Which means there are literally, no exaggeration, millions of copies of this movie available. If I recall correctly at one point they were given away free along with air.
To be fair, I’ve been wrong once or twice before. Maybe there’s some variant, some typo, some reason for this to be worth money. So I went to eBay and used it correctly to look up sold prices. Let’s take a look.
One dollar. Sealed. Same thing. I wish this was one dollar with free shipping. Then the seller is actually paying to get rid of it. Even at a dollar, there’s very little money if any being made. After printing, packaging, even the use of tape.
Even better, I took that picture months ago and still the tape sits in the glass case. Most of my complaints have been solved. The tapes are back on the wall. The books are correctly priced. Most merchandise is back to donation thrift store level once again. Yet here lays this unwanted tape. A remnant of a time when this store reached for a brass ring only to discover it was costume jewelry.