Author Topic: My life as a thrift store scrounger, a memoir by Rock Head  (Read 201 times)

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Offline Delmar

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Sat May 1, 2021, 03:13 PM
Star Member MineralMan (137,608 posts)

Are Thrift Shop Resellers Getting Rich?


There's a thread today that claims that people who buy and resell stuff from thrift stores are all rich yuppies who are "gentrifying" the thrift store business. Nope. They're not. Like everything else, Reddit is a good place to check to see if side-hustles of all types are reliably profitable.

Here's what Reddit users say about thrifting clothing to sell on Poshmark:

Browsing Reddit, most users report making anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per month. Most Reddit users specified they%u2019re working their boutique or closet very part-time.


http://tightfistfinance.com/make-money-on-poshmark/#:~:text=Poshmark%20is%20actually%20a%20really,or%20closet%20very%20part%2Dtime.

I spent a couple of years buying and selling used and vintage items of all kinds. I shopped thrift stores, estate sales, yard sales, etc. for the goods I sold. I have some remarkable stories I can tell about fantastic profits for specific items. For example, a 75 cent pocket knife found in a box at an estate sale brought me $227 on eBay. Cool, huh?

But, here's the reality of doing this. Over those two years, I calculated my hourly net earnings. How much did I make per hour? About $7.50. Net. See, the thing is that you have to go and find the items to sell, and there is heavy competition for such stuff everywhere. Every morning you can see the resellers in Goodwill and other thrift stores, frantically searching for profitable stuff. Mostly, they find very little, but spend an hour or so looking in each store.

Or, they go to estate sales, where prices for most items are too high to be profitable to a reseller. Or, they spend hours going from yard sale to garage sale, usually finding nothing at most of them. Instead, you have to look for unusual items that go unnoticed by most resellers, and focus on those if you hope to make a profit. That's a tricky thing to do, really.

But, finding the stuff is just part of the problem. Then, you have to process it for sale. If you sell online, you have to take very good photos of items and skillfully write descriptions that will bring you top dollar. Remember, there are many people selling similar stuff on eBay or wherever, whatever the items are. You have to compete.

For the truly high-profit items, you have to research the item. For example, I took a chance on that early 20th Century Barlow Knife when I bought it for 75 cents. I spend a couple of hours researching the item to see whether it could be a real money maker for me and to help me write a description that would attract bids from knife collectors. It was, and did score an outstanding profit. However, many of the items I resold returned a far lower profit margin.

Then there is fulfillment. Once the thing sells, you have to package and ship it. More time spent, and your customer feedback depends on how well you do that. If there is not a lot of profit in an item, your earnings per hour go down very quickly. Then, there's time spent tracking sales, checking tracking numbers, dealing with customer issues, keeping accounts, and acquiring boxes, etc. to ship things in. (Hint: reusing old Amazon boxes does not get you good feedback on eBay.)

Then, there are mistakes in purchasing items that turn out not to be profitable. Lots of them. You might get your money back, but you won't earn much that way. In the end, it's a lousy way to make a living.

Bottom line: I stopped doing that as a side-hustle. I would have made more money working in the local liquor store for $12/hr. So, I found something else to do and stopped reselling.
https://www.democraticunderground.com/100215391360

He thought his discerning eye and shrewd powers of judgement would lead him to riches, but he failed--it was too much like work.

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Response to Vinca (Reply #15)Sat May 1, 2021, 03:56 PM
Star Member MineralMan (137,608 posts)
18. Yes. The hunt is great fun.

I specialized in early technology items, and did pretty well. What looked like an old radio or calculator to everyone else was something I recognized as having historical and collector value. I have a very good memory, so I recognized things that had significance to collectors, and bought that stuff.

Another of my huge successes was a $10 find at a garage sale. It was the very first AM/FM radio receiver produced by Philco. Amazingly, it still worked, so I didn't have to do any electronic restoration. I recognized it, based on my early interest in radios and electronics as a child. I knew what it was on sight. Sold it to a collector for $1000.

I lived for that kind of find. There are people out there who collect first examples of almost everything technological. If you can find them for cheap, you can do very well. Problem is that most of them ended up in a landfill at some point.
This story is starting to sound like something you'd hear coming from some shabby old drunk on the barstool next to you--telling you what a big successful man he used to be.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #17)Sat May 1, 2021, 03:57 PM
Star Member MineralMan (137,608 posts)
19. Yeah. Thrift store reselling is a lousy business in the end.

It just doesn't work out.

It's a cutthroat business--thrift store scrounging--and Rock Head just didn't have what it takes.  Womp womp.
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Joe Biden told reporters, “[Gianna] threw her arms around me, gave me a big hug and wanted to sit on my lap.”

“My wife would kill me — we gave her some ice cream, she had some Cheetos, and I think she had some chocolate milk,” Biden said.
https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/05/biden-says-george-floyds-7-year-old-daughter-wanted-sit-lap-wife-kill-gave-ice-cream-video/

Offline franksolich

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Re: My life as a thrift store scrounger, a memoir by Rock Head
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2021, 08:06:23 PM »
If youtube had been around at the time, and Minnesota Moses watched it, he would've seen lots and lots of guys making good money driving around collecting scrap metal, like what slayer over on hide5 does.  It requires only any old pickup truck--but one with a big bed--and one's set to go, early in the mornings of garbage collection days, two or three hours before the professional sanitation men begin their rounds.

There's opportunities to collect some things for re-sale, but one has to be careful to not pick up so much of it that he spends more time selling and shipping such goods than picking up scrap metal.  That can be a drag and a waste of time; better to just go for the quick pick-up-and-sale scrap metal
apres moi, le deluge

Offline franksolich

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Re: My life as a thrift store scrounger, a memoir by Rock Head
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2021, 08:13:21 PM »
It's a cutthroat business--thrift store scrounging.....

The primitives in this business like it because they can avoid paying income taxes, by not reporting some or all of what they make, or they can make money while on the disability gravy train without losing any of that welfare.
apres moi, le deluge

Offline landofconfusion80

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Re: My life as a thrift store scrounger, a memoir by Rock Head
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2021, 08:42:47 PM »
The primitives in this business like it because they can avoid paying income taxes, by not reporting some or all of what they make, or they can make money while on the disability gravy train without losing any of that welfare.
Its the only way to get that next fix from what I've seen since most reputable employers do drug tests
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20. absolute bullshit. the cave is unspeakably vile.

I don't know how any of you can live with yourselves.

:)

Offline Zathras

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Re: My life as a thrift store scrounger, a memoir by Rock Head
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2021, 09:09:33 PM »
After reading that tall tail I wonder just how much of that $12/hr gets taken home as liquid courage.
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Offline SVPete

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Re: My life as a thrift store scrounger, a memoir by Rock Head
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2021, 08:46:22 AM »
If youtube had been around at the time, and Minnesota Moses watched it, he would've ...

... tried to create a PBS TV show, "Thrift Shop Road Show"? :rimshot:  :-)
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