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Posted on Jan 18th 2021 at 08:00:00 AM by (GrayGhost81)
Posted under thrifting, collecting

As I've written about a few times, I'm a big fan of selling on eBay. For all of its shortcomings on the seller side, I still find myself able to leverage it to earn enough extra money that it is worth my time. One speed bump I have run into lately is that I am running out of big ticket items in my video game collection to purge, so I had been doing a bit of thrifting in the hopes of finding things to flip for profit, but I was having little success. Recently, I started visiting the Goodwill Outlet Center which is conveniently on my way home from work. It is quite an experience to go there, and I have been able to find some great loot, most of it to flip, some of it to add to my collections.

If you have been to a normal Goodwill store (or any traditional thrift store), you will be greeted with retail furnishings stocked with used clothing and miscellaneous items that have been donated by the general public. A Goodwill Outlet is something completely different. When you walk in, all you will see are big blue bins with people digging vigorously through them looking for treasure. At the particular location I go to, books are five for a dollar, and everything else is weighed and charged $1.49 per pound. Bins are changed out one aisle at a time about once every half hour, and people line up for the fresh bins to be released upon them in a Black Friday style frenzy. I have yet to line up because the action is a bit too much for me, and I like taking my time.

The first time I went to this place, I had no idea what was going on and I was underprepared from an equipment standpoint. Gloves are an absolute must, as there tends to be a lot of glitter, paints and other liquids, and often broken glass. I also started bringing a large bag to stash my finds so I could use both hands to dig. I use the eBay app to scan anything with a bar code and will take with me anything that is selling for over ten dollars. Books, at twenty cents each, can be quite lucrative this way, but I have had to assume the work of quantity over quality, meaning instead of selling some holy grail of a game out of my collection for $200 I'll have to sell a bunch of books, cds, or DVDs to make that kind of money. However I have found a few big ticket items that have put me strongly in the black.
Video game finds are unfortunately pretty rare so far, but I recently found a PS3 Super Slim and some individual games that I have been able to sell for massive profit. Of course, I had no idea if the PS3 would work but the upfront cost is so low that I still would have made some profit if I put it on eBay with the condition set to "For parts or not working." Luckily, it was in full working order and I sold it for a hundred dollars. Along with the other stuff in my bag that day I would estimate I paid about five bucks for it. The lack of video games has forced me to learn about other forms of media and what can be sold for profit. Much to my dismay, vintage books don't necessarily command a high price just because they are vintage. I rely heavily on the eBay scanner for books. For DVDs and Blu-Rays, they can also be scanned but it pays to know what to look for specifically. You may think seasons of TV shows would be good flips but this is often not the case. Only specific ones are sought after. In this way a lot of things are just like video games. I have picked up many music CDs but thus far have had little luck selling them. This may have to do with my tactic of listing things at stupidly high prices and letting eBay's Easy Pricing feature do the work of slowly bringing them back down to earth until they sell. With video games, this works well because people tend to pay stupidly high prices for them more times than not, it just doesn't seem to be working for books and CDs, even rare ones. Luckily, I'm in this for the long term and with a ton of listings open I'm okay with sales trickling in at this time as I list more and more items.

One of my New Year's resolutions was to come up with an additional stream of income. I was thinking of a traditional part-time job, and I may still get one, but this is much more fun. There is quite a thrill to digging through these bins looking for treasure. While the income is somewhat volatile,  the thrill of the hunt is exhilarating and of course I have been able to add some cool stuff to my personal collections. Speaking of collections, I love when it is apparent that I am digging through someone's former collection. I have found entire movie soundtrack collections, opera and classical music collections, and many different piles of books that I could tell were once grouped together. This makes me wonder if someday all my collections will end up in a place like this. Probably! And I hope some dashing young lad or lass finds happiness digging through my stuff to spread it back out into the world!

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Still miffed that you didn't pick up those Simpson paintings......  that Lisa is amazing
@singlebanana: Yeah, to be honest that Lisa painting is amazing. I don't regret not getting it but I sure am glad I took a picture!
I likely would've bought that Lisa painting... and I don't even follow The Simpsons particularly closely.

Sadly, I haven't been thrifting since the pandemic first shut things down out here, and have decided to not do anymore thrifting until I think it's relatively safe to do so... and presently, according to my inner hypochondriac, it absolutely is NOT. None the less, I have a couple thrifting addicts with whom I share a three-way text connection, and they've been making a killing finding and flipping stuff... and leaving me with a really bad case of depression in the process. Especially when they find a Transformer I don't yet have. Heck, just a couple days ago, one of them found two sealed BTTF-crossover DeLorean TransFormers for $5.99 each, and my online preorder for the same toy has been backordered twice! Man, that is SO freakin' lame...

On a more serious note, we let one another know where to get cheap packing supplies, how & where to get reasonable shipping rates, what items have good flippage value, help each other identify various "mystery" items, and even sell/trade finds to one another. Although I've been known as this site's resident thrifting guy for quite some time, I'm far less experienced than my two text buddies. None the less, I highly value their expertise, advice, and war stories, if not their ability to completely clean out the local Goodwills of the good stuff before I even set foot outside my front door in the morning. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that networking is a rather valuable thing in the thrifting community, and one should make an effort to network with others that they can trust.

All right, enough rambling...

Grayghost! This was a fun read, I'm sure a lot of us are feeling the financial crunch of the world today. I can't say I've even heard of a Goodwill outlet store here, very jealous. I have run into the same problem where I don't have too many gems in my collection I'm willing to part with after years of pruning. Have you had any luck with any sort of A/V equipment, or are the weight and unreliability prohibitive?

Thanks for the read

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