Thursday, July 21, 2011

Speaking Out

I am a regular at garage sales, auctions, flea markets and just about anywhere else that I can purchase items to resale. I work almost incessantly. I'll leave the house at 4:00 in the morning and come home at 1:00 am. I work in freezing cold, pouring rain and blistering heat. I do this because I know just how difficult it is to survive in this business. Others do the same thing. It is after all "The early bird gets the worm.". Today I am home mostly in anger, partly in disgust and mostly because of my lack of belief that people really are this &*cking stupid.

I came home early so that I can tell you about the 97 degree heat that we are having here in Youngstown today. I am home to tell you that I really didn't find too much today. I am home to tell you that I just witnessed a garage seller leaving an infant child in the backseat of her car, which was sitting in the sun, to peruse a garage sale for approximately 10 minutes.

Ten minutes, I know this because she was there ahead of me and I was there for 10 minutes. In ten minutes time the temperature in my open windowed truck rose to around 110 (just a guess but probably pretty close). For 10 minutes a 4-5 month old sat in a closed windowed car, that was sitting in direct sunlight, while her caretaker attended a garage sale.

When I first arrived at the sale I recognized the caretaker from a prior garage sale today. I initially passed the car without thinking or looking at it, there was absolutely no reason for me to give it any notice. I wandered around this particular sale a little longer than normal because it was border line interesting. I half payed attention to the other garage salers only noticing that the person who had left the car ahead of me was purchasing a candle and a chair. Not seeing anything that I wanted to purchase I headed back down the driveway.

As I passed the car in front of mine I thought that I heard a crying sound. After glancing at the car, I saw a small crying child strapped into a car seat. Stunned at first I looked to see if anyone else had noticed. It appeared as though the person parked on the other side of the car started to get out to say something to me. Too late. I was already on my way back up the drive.

On my trek back up the drive I was torn between saying "the hell with this person" and calling 911, or saying to them "are you really that stupid?". I went with the "are you really that stupid?". The answer is "yes, she is". After my speaking to her she immediately left the sale, of course carrying the important load of candles and a single chair, to attend to her protege. He appeared fine and with an angered look on my face I left her to her ways.

I really wasn't sure if it was a momentary lapse in judgement or if she should be put into jail. I truly hope it was a momentary lapse. Lets not forget about the poor women who just plain forgot about the sleeping baby when she bought doughnuts for work. Accidents do happen.

In my opinion garage sales and auctions are not the place to take infant children. This person should have stayed home and watched Sesame Street with the baby instead risking its life so that she could buy a candle.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gone! The Lincoln Departs Us!

Sadly, my short lived cruising days are over. After 3 weeks the Lincoln sold today. Other than the fact that it took up a huge amount of space its good to know that large items like this can be sold. I purchased the Lincoln for $1,000 and with a little selling expense it sold today for $1,500. Not bad. If someone told you that you could make an additional $500 (less income taxes of course) with very little effort, would you do it?? Most people would say yes. Paying attention at auctions, any type of auction, can payoff for you. Full credit for this one goes to my wife Stephanie. If she hadn't kicked me in the butt and said "Do you see how cheap that car is?", I may not have gotten it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Last of The Storage Locker

When I began this particular blog my goal was to give everyone a "what its really like" feeling about purchasing storage lockers. The week that I chose this particular locker to write about I had actually purchased a total of four lockers and two automobiles at the storage sales. I chose this locker to write about for one reason; it was completely full. In my mind completely full meant that there would be a cache of hidden treasures, things that I could tell you that I made hundreds on, I wanted to show that the hard work could be worth it.

I was wrong.

This storage locker turned out to be a total disaster. In total I spent close to $1,000 to purchase and clean out the locker. I made 11 trips to Akron from Youngstown, each trip measured over 100 miles in total driving distance. I spent more than 3 hours after arriving working on the mess, in mostly oppressive heat inside of a tin building. There were times that I felt like Cool Hand Luke when he was locked up in the tiny metal building doing penance for his wrongs. All of this suffering was done in the name to make money, or in this case to not.

I took a total of 22 loads of dirty clothing to the local Goodwill to be turned into rags. I took an additional 8 loads to the local charity to hopefully be redistributed to someone in need. My total take out of a 10' x 20' storage locker, one, even with the truck bed load that I managed to sell for $600. Pretty lucrative. The good news is I did make money on the other units that I bought. Not a great amount, but it was enough to offset the loss on this unit and still enable me buy a bag of rice to feed us with this week.

The end summary is as I stated long ago and far away, "Storage units are high risk.". You can make money on them, but you can also loose money on them and to make matters worse, you just can never tell which ones are truly good, and which ones are truly bad. It is like being Ladigo Smith (movie Support Your Local Sheriff) and putting all of your money on red 23 in the hopes that the roulette Gods will appease you. So, for those of you with a sense of adventure, this manor of making money may be just for you.

I would strongly recommend that those of you who don't have a good distribution structure to get rid of things, or those of you who own Honda Civics and think that it couldn't possibly be that hard to clean out a locker, STAY AWAY! It is far easier to go to the local auctions where everything has been cleaned and laid out for your viewing. Lockers are a tremendous amount of work and can be either great, or in this case damaging to your business.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Over ten feet and still counting. The snow this year just doesn't want to stop. I thought that last year was bad when we had over 30 inches in one night. This year is a different story it just seems to be snowing continuously. Today when I woke up 8 fresh inches coated everything from my car to the fine antiques and collectibles that were sitting on the back of my trailer.

The first two hours of my day is being spent relocating all of this snow. Two hours on the driveways (mine, my neighbors (because I'm a nice guy), my mothers, then Uncle Joe's). Uncle Joe's always takes the longest because shoveling the snow just isn't enough. Afterwords, I must talk to him, then talk to his wife, then talk to the care givers, then take him to Dunkin Doughnut's. I really don't know who's crazier, him or me.

After the snow comes the trip down to my storage building to unload the trailer. I really should have done it last night but the minus 15 degree temperature and 20 mile an hour winds convinced me that morning would be better. Wrong again, its still minus 15 the wind is now 3o mph and of course 8 inches of snow. Oh yeah, the building has no heat or electricity. It is however a bargain to rent. The added bonus is that the mice know that good nesting materials are avialable in the barn and they take advantage of it.

Now that I am sufficiently frozen I'll start the next part of my day, warming up. Since my wife works going home isn't really an effective option so I head to my favorite hangout, McDonald's. The golden arches supply me with a decent cup of hot chocolate. This along with the outstanding help (tattoo's covering every part of their body, unusual odors, greasy hair and dirty clothing) make it the perfect place to "warm" up.

The next part of my day will be spent going to a couple of local "weekly" auctions. Today's fare is typical of this time of year, lawnmowers, kids toys and broken furnishings fill the buildings. Unfortunately, everyone has the same problem, the people of the state of Ohio go into hibernation in the winter time. The only active ones are the finest antiquers in the world, the garbage can pickers. Their motto: "No Hefty left unopened!", is proven by the quality of the merchandise that shows up at these auctions.

Finally, home again. I'll watch TV, pet the dog and maybe drink a glass of wine. Winter is GRAND!

Moral of the story: Quit complaining about how hot it is.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Billy the Kid Photo $2,500,000

Just short of two million five hundred thousand dollars.

Just short of two million five hundred thousand dollars.

Just short of two million five hundred thousand dollars.

Just short of two million five hundred thousand dollars.





Is how much a photograph of Billy the Kid sold for. For those of you keeping track;

You could purchase (at 20 cents a piece) 12,500,000 photo's of me.
You could purchase (at $3.59 a gallon) 696,378 gallons of gas.
You could purchase (at $8.25) 303,030 tremendous 12's at Perkins for breakfast.
You could purchase (at $2000) 1,250, 1979 Lincoln Continental, Mark 5, Bill Blass Editions.
You could purchase (at $1.29) 1,937,984, 16 oz bottles of Coca Cola.

Or you could purchase one photograph of Billy the Kid. Killer, cattle rustler and participant in the Lincoln county War a worn out photograph is worth $2,500,000.

I love the antiques and collectibles business and I am truly appreciative of the fact that so many people have a passion that sometimes seems to exceed good sense in their collecting fields. It just seems to me that two million and five hundred thousand dollars for a photo of a killer is a bit excessive. I have not included a photo this time because I am afraid of being sued for copyrite infringement. Anyone who would pay that kind of money for a photograph is probably going to protect it with a team of attorney's.

This is another example of you should look at every single item being offered for sale. Although this particular photograph was sold by the family of the original owner great things can sometimes show up in unusual places. So keep your eyes open and never quit looking, $2,500,000 may be in the next box lot that you don't look in.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Son Your Going To Drive Me To Drinkin If You Don't Stop Drivin That Hot Rod Lincoln

Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen said it all and today guess what I'm Drivin? That Hot...Rod...Lincoln!

What I do for a living is just plain fun! I go to auctions, garage sales, flea markets and just about anywhere you can imagine seeking out...well just about anything that I think that I can sell. On Monday I went to a small sale in Warren, Ohio, and look at what I came home with, a classic 1979 Lincoln Continental, Mark V, Bill Blass Edition automobile. Oh yeah, just for the record I bought a GMC pickup truck too.

This thing is a blast! It is like driving a tank with a marsh mellow ride. My wife and step daughter went for a short ride with me in it tonight and absolutely loved it. My step son told me that I'm not allowed to get rid of it, and people everywhere were just plain in awe of it. It comes complete with 1979 power everything that includes a Cartier clock and a Quadraphonic Eight Track player. With any luck I'll find my Meatloaf, Bat Out of Hell eight track to play tomorrow.

But, alas I'm in the business of finding and selling things. Tomorrow morning it will be up at the corner for sale. For anyone interested give me a call it is bargain priced and runs great!