Friday, October 3, 2014

Cowboy Down - A Conversation Between Two Professional Thrift Shoppers - Part Twelve (C) - "Risk"

Cowboy Down

A Conversation Between Two Professional Thrift Shoppers

Part Twelve (C)


            “Weeds are left behind.”
            “All the crud in the thrift stores.  Is left behind.  There’s tons of it.”
            “We take the... what?”
            “Pumpkins.  The ripe perfect pumpkins.  Big ones, little ones.  Preferably giant perfect ripe ones.  We leave everything else.”
            “The crud.”
            “The crud and the store and the people in the store and the swashbucklers who...” (Part Eleven).
            “Think they are doing this (buying art and antiques cheap from thrift stores).  I get it:  We’re gone.  The antiques are gone too.  THAT’S the risk.  The risk is in what’s actually there (in the thrift store) and...”
            “HOW one manages that... and makes a profit.”

            “Ok... here we go:  It’s the OTHER stuff that creates the risk.  For us, dashing away with the pie plate to the car is easy... even though it requires us knowing and THAT knowing doesn’t seem easy but...”
            “Yeah NOW your getting there.  There are more sides to the story of risk.”
            “Well the pie plate IS the easy story.”
            “Meaning there are OTHER plates to that story.  I’m skipping those right now.  I’m just gonna lambaste them (the reader) with, well, to us, obvious risk.”
            “For their own good.”
            “Own good for what?”
            “Good that they know their actual costs; core costs BEFORE they try to find a pie plate in the china isle.  Then I’ll come back to the pie plate.”
            “And lambaste that?”
            “Someone’s got to do it.  It’s the ‘cost of doing business’ factor.”

            “OK... soooo you (me, her, the reader, who ever) gets out the door (of ‘home’) and... ‘to start’ this (buying great antiques at thrift stores cheap).  WAIT A MINUTE.  BEFORE you are out the door there is, wallet, maps, coats, packing materials, sunglasses, change, paper currency, bill fold, note paper pen cell phone charged... then LOCK the door, have the key don’t loose the key, check the outside of the car for, like, flat tires and put everything in the car and... ok so that’s like fifteen to twenty minutes of fussing and finally the seat belt is on and the reverse direction is... WAIT I forgot to mention the cooler for road beverages, the cup of coffee, the cold pack in the cooler and the packing for that to store the FOOD you buy while traveling to eat when your home... either that night OR as ‘groceries’.  Etc.  Ok... we back up and leave the yard.  That’s AT LEAST thirty minutes into this and does not include wardrobe, personal hygiene and, like... all THAT (IS crucial too and) so tuck a ‘work day’ hour back on that (you know; your breakfast of toasted old bagel).  So one and a half hours into this you are... finally... ‘out the door.’  That takes place seven days a week.  No one ever helps you.
            “Road ready we are off and that’s done by route planning so as to gain the most thrift stores in the least amount of time in the most efficient order as forecast by YOU as YOU drive out to ‘start’ going to thrift stores and... ah... go by the post office to get the mail and MAIL OUT the ...daily... internet sales and start checking the cell phone because it keeps making noises showing that the rest of the professional world is, too, starting the day.  WHAT TIME IS IT?

            “Usually between six thirty and eight thirty AM ...everyday.  Sometimes ‘before’ and rarely EVER later.  Figure ‘ten’ is the thrift store ‘open’ hour... but we know the ones that are ‘open’ ‘earlier’... and, YOU DO THIS... figure THAT into the drive route TOO.  And, I mean, we’re talking three or four STATES away.  Want to get off the bus now?”
            “You know the first one I did the other day was in Lebanon, New Hampshire and I was there like TWO minutes before it open after a three and half hour drive.  I mean; to the minute.  I can go for hours and be at a thrift store to the minute.”
            “Did you get gas?”
            “Of course.  Right after that first thrift.  And I get it again as soon as its down and I’m at one (a known and regularly stopped at gas station FOUR STATES from home).”
            “We charge (figure expense) for all of this.  Right?
            “All of it.”
            “Ok so I figure ALL of this, ALL the time, is fifty bucks an hour ‘out’; this is costing me.  To drive around like this and get gas.”
            “My tires aren’t free.  Neither are my brakes.  At fifty bucks an hour that’s actually shaving it close.”
            “These days”
            “So, like, YOU have four hours (at least) out already; that is $200.00 SPENT ‘doing this’ by the time you arrive a few minutes early AT the thrift store.”
            “So... you need to hit (buy very cheap) a (very good) painting right away just to sort of START to break even.  Right?”
            “Ha, ha.  Right.”
            “So what happens is you go in the thrift store when it opens and you find nothing at all:  Zero.  And you leave.”
            “So NOW what do you do?”
            “I spend MORE money going to the NEXT thrift store.”
            “And the next one.  And the next one after that. And...
            “I eat lunch”.
            “Right.  That’s big.”
            “Sometimes it’s the ONLY THING the whole morning.”

            “I think they should be getting the idea.  Don’t you?”
            “No.  They don’t figure their true cost right ever.  You know that.”
            “So... in New Hampshire, your like, going to where?  Albany?  That day.  That’s like three more hours straight (back road route) driving.  But you got, like, what?  Eight thrift stores on that route?”
            “Yeah... eight... maybe nine.”
            “And lunch.”
            “I go early.  I go up to Hanover to the Korean place (Yama Restaurant).  It’s good.  It’s cheap and they’re FAST.  Plus I’m, like, in Hanover.  It’s nice there.”
            “But, anyway, your gas tank is full, your stomach is full and... you pound the route and the thrifts.”
            “Right.  To Albany”.
            “And you better find something right?”
            “Well... look... we’ve made it pretty clear that we’re NOT on the journey; the antiques are (Part Seven).  So... it’s not me I figure.  Like yesterday I went up the coast (of Maine) and that was one hundred and forty-eight miles.  Seven thrift stores.  One was closed.  I bought at least one thing in each store.  And that’s really good.  And... I had lunch in Rockport.  (Haddock sandwiches Graffam Brothers).  They’re gonna close pretty soon (close for the year).  That was twenty-seven bucks for the three of us.  I worked it (the thrift stores) hard.  You had to be good (really know what the stuff is) but, you know, I did ok.  It was like... eight thirty to three thirty (seven hours)... you know; beautiful drive.  We had fun. (She travels with friends who are not dealers - Part Six).  I got one painting and the rest was real antiques.  Except a transistor radio.  I mean:  I paid three bucks.  You can buy ‘em on ebay for forty-five.  So I’ll get a twenty out of that too (make twenty dollars).  But still... figuring the real cost right... I’m probably flush (break even) with lifestyle for a profit.  Lifestyle counts for a lot though.”

            “It counts for a lot.  But that’s eight hours... with prep and in car... so... four hundred bucks on the ‘get real’ card.”
            “Yeah and I spent, you know, actual cash paid out, very little.  Under fifty bucks.  So... I got a receipt for a dollar and six cents.  So my cost bases on the stuff is pretty much zero.  Until I figure the ‘get real’ card in.
            “Did you get a receipt for the radio ($3.00).”
            “No.  Who cares.  I don’t care about that stuff.  I’ll get twenty-five for it at the flea market.  Retail (a retail sale; she collects sales tax from the buyer).  So I’ll make twenty on it.  I mean (establishing a cost base of) three bucks; what’s that gonna do to that.  Nothing.”
            “So meanwhile your doing all this on the clock.”
            “Right.  The clock is ticking.”
            “And we’re not even slightly talking about ‘ZEE-nah Wait’ (Part Twelve [B]).  I mean:  This; what your talking about is nothing to us.  Except that it IS REAL COST.”
            “I think the only thing they can get ahead on this... and we’ve said this before I think, is how diverse we are as buyers.  Like... we are all over the board.  So... in the thrift stores, our buy odds are WAY higher than they (the reader) might realize.  I mean:  I’m IN these stores finding the stuff and I KNOW you have to be REALLY GOOD at what you know.  And that’s just YOU and WHAT YOU KNOW.  It has nothing to do with the costs of actually doing this; what we’ve been talking about.  It’s, like, THAT (finding the pie plate)... is WAY OVER THERE, like, LATER, when you get there.  If you ever do.  I mean:  I’m not seeing ANYONE competing with me when it gets to, like, that pie plate.”
            “Do you think they’re (the reader is) understanding this?  We’re talking about a lot of money spent in fact; a lot of money going out... BEFORE they find something that we, well... have spent a whole lot of time trying to suggest that FINDING a THAT something IS NOT EASY.”
            “I don’t know.  I think they should try it for a month and... then their ten K will be gone and, you know; they shouldn’t quit the day job.”.

            “So I’m gonna say that now we’ve alluded to the ACTUAL expense of doing this and the need to ACTUALLY figure those costs very well.  There’s more hidden costs I promise.  But, ah... I want to go back to the pie plate.  This; what we’re just talking about is a VERY BIG RISK factor.  So is the chance of finding the pie plate cheap.  It’s very risky to think THAT is going to happen unless... well... we’ve been at this for DECADES.  Ok... soooo the next MAJOR body of risk to in the gray area of actually hunting in thrift stores WITH a design background and how the OTHER STUFF actually for sale in the thrift stores COMPROMISES this action.  Again:  The action is using design knowledge to buy antiques and art dirt cheap in thrift stores.  I’m saying this is compromised IN THE THRIFT STORES and creates more RISK.”

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the PRE and POST event tasks (work) must be realized too. Most of the dreamers only want to be there to eat the cake and not do all of the rest of it. They either don't know or choose to ignore.