What About the “Losers?”

Stuff laid out at a pick-up auction in South CarolinaOnce in a while when buying and selling to make money – and this happens to the best pickers and buyers – you get a “dud.” Something you shouldn’t have bought, but you did anyway.

Maybe you even KNEW you shouldn’t have bought it. But… maybe it was one of those SLOW yard sale mornings where it seemed like you couldn’t find ANYTHING worth buying – but you just couldn’t bring yourself to NOT buy something. Anything. Even that ridiculous lot of McDonald’s Beanie Babies from those kids meals a few years ago.

(Ahem… Why do I mention those McDonald’s Beanie Babies? Because… Yes. I bought some. And not only could I not sell a single one on eBay – I couldn’t even sell them at MY yard sale.) 🙂

So, there you have it. You… I… We all have bought something that turned out to be a not-so-smart buy. (In fact, read about my recent escapade selling a really nice looking tin from Holland. You can read it here: When Buying and Selling to Make Money Doesn’t Quite Work – The Losers)

What do you do with that stuff? If you have a large house with some unused closets, you can always stuff the junk in there and pretend it never happened. Close the door.

Chalk it up to a “seminar.”

Oh… For those unfamiliar with this concept, Kathy and I use the term “seminar” to mean “whatever we learned from spending money on something we shouldn’t have.” So, we learned to never buy another Beanie Baby again (unless it’s #1 in pristine condition). And the “seminar” only cost about $20 or $30.

But seriously, there IS something you can always do with these losers. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Send the stuff off to a Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift store and get a receipt so you can write it off.
  • Wait until you have accumulated enough of these things and lot them out as prettily as possible – clean it up, display it in flats – and send it off to a pick-up or tailgate style auction. If you look at the photo accompanying this story, you’ll see what it looks like. 🙂
  • Put it out at your own yard sale.
  • Put an ad on CraigsList and see if anyone will trade you for something you could actually use. For example, I could ask if someone would be willing to take those Beanie Babies in exchange for say… a cordless drill (something I can always use since a fella can’t have enough drills).
  • Donate it for your church or club’s annual yard sale.
  • If there is any educational value, donate it to a learning center, school, or child care facility.

The point is, we sometimes make mistakes. Not everything we buy is going to turn out to be saleable for 10 – 100 times what we paid for it.

And this happens even when our prior research indicates that there IS a buying market for the stuff.

It just happens. Maybe you’re at a yard sale and you see a nice vintage camping stove (something I see a lot of, and something with a track record of regular sales). So, you buy the camping stove for $5.00, knowing that you should be able to sell it on eBay or CraigsList for $20. Maybe more – depending on the model. When buying and selling to make money, we sometimes buy things that have a track record of selling - but for some reason just don't sell this week!

So you list it. And at the end of the week… It doesn’t sell. So you list it a second week. And a third week, with a lower price. By this time, you’ve got a couple more dollars into the investment because you have your eBay listing fees involved now.

But, for some reason, no one’s buying vintage camping stoves this month. The market is fickle.

In a case such as this, you may want to just tuck the stove down in the basement for a month or so and try again later. This is something I do frequently – particularly if it is an item where I KNOW that there is usually a market.

So, in these cases, if you can afford to just hold the inventory for a while and try again, you might be surprised. It might sell next time for a lot more than you thought it would originally.

It DOES happen. I’ve seen it many times in my own experiences of buying and selling to make money.

Just remember. This is a game of patience and perseverance. And no one gets it right 100% of the time.

Learn from the seminar, and get back out there next Saturday morning. There’s always more stuff to buy and sell!

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