Thursday, May 3, 2012

To buy or not to buy...

Selling on Etsy and at an antique mall (and the buying that goes with it) has definitely been a learning curve.  Each new experience teaches me something.  Like the one I had today...

I have lots of people ask me about selling on Etsy, and I often help them out with it.  I had been writing my email or cell phone number over and over, so I finally had some business cards made up that had all the important information.  The mall lets us put cards up in a central area for customers to take, so I mine there, too.  Because of this, I get lots of calls from people who want to sell things to me.

I think everyone who likes old stuff or who has old stuff has seen Antiques Roadshow, Pawn Stars or American Pickers.  AND they all think they have the next hidden treasure!  They seem not to notice the part where the Pickers tell the seller they have to 'leave some meat on the bone' so they can sell it at a profit!  Anyway, most of the calls I get are for fancy glassware, upscale Victorian items or expensive appraised jewelry, none of which are my thing.  So I always thank the caller and politely decline.

Secretly, I'm relieved that they have things I don't want -- how's that for being a smart business woman!  I'm so afraid of cheating someone, though, or offending them or hurting their feelings, that I've been a nervous wreck just thinking about these meetings.  Last week I got a call from a lady who had 50s kitchenware.  Really?  I couldn't pass that up and went to see her today after work. 

The kitchenware she had was, indeed, from the 1950s.  It was NOS (New Old Stock) from the gift shop of her grandfather's motel up north.  It had never sold and he couldn't throw it away, though her grandmother begged him to.  The seller told me she wanted to get rid of it because 'it's just gathering dust' (I'll add:  and grease and grime, too)!    I have to tell you that I prayed my way to her house, asking for wisdom and that I a) wouldn't offend her and b) wouldn't get taken and spend more than I should because I felt sorry for her or was embarrassed!

I liked what I saw and I offered her what I thought was a fair price for her and me and purposely left some wiggle room for her to sweeten it (so she'd feel like she got me to pay more).  She came back with a significantly higher amount, which I countered by upping mine a little.  Well, I bought 4 pieces. The lesson I learned is this  -- start lower!  If the seller is going to come back with the moon & stars anyway, you may as well start lower so you only have to go up a little at a time!  That's for next time...

Here's what I bought -- what do you think?
Enesco 'Made in Japan' Humpty Dumpty oil shaker (from a vinegar & oil set), a Humpty Dumpty Cookie Jar and a Humpty Dumpty Teapot -- all never used & all grimy
A Stanfordware corn teapot -- never used and really dirty!
 On the way home from her house (which was about 15 miles away  -- on my gas, which PROVES that I'm a smart businesswoman!), I stopped at 2 or 3 garage sales and picked up these things:
An Argus camera & case
A little (4") white dog figurine that, though damaged, was just too cute to pass up.  Thankfully, he was priced right!
A sewing machine drawer with some interesting old-man-added features
So, that's my adventure in private buying!  I went, I saw, I bought and I lived to tell about it!  Do you think I did okay?

6 comments:

Perfectly Printed said...

You did very well!! I love the Humpty Dumpty pieces, and the dog is very special!!!

chris

PoetessWug said...

Looks like you did okay to me!...But what do I know. Nothing you bought was crocheted. :-)) That's "MY" specialty!

~~Carol~~ said...

That's a tricky situation, going to see someone's things, because I would almost feel like I HAD TO buy something from her! Sounds like you did really well with the haggling. Love the Humpty Dumpty pieces and that camera!

De tout, de rien said...

Love the cute Humpty Dumpty set!!

Greenmare said...

okay now I am curious, what are the old man added features??? and the sale you went to must have made the whole trip worth it! I had that exact camera in college. sigh memories.

The Chickens' Auntie said...

'Reply' doesn't work on my blogger design, Greenmare, so I'll reply via comment: the old man added a metal 'shoe' to the drawer (you can just see it at the front on the bottom) and the big knob, which looks like it came from a chest of drawers. The part of the knob you can't see, though, is the heavy metal pad behind it and the HUGE screw holding it in. I don't know what he thought was going to try to wrench it out of the drawer...

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