Sunday, August 29, 2010

can I offer you five dollars?

Two full days of selling our stuff on the street and we are wealthier and wiser. Perhaps wealthy and wise are overstatements; but we do have many more monies to fund our impending trip and we know a lot more about what people are willing to pay for old dvds and cds. Apparently they're both available for pennies on the internet.

It's a strange thing to have a themed stoop sale and to try to give people a reason to buy your stuff, a reason beyond offering them something they want at a price they're willing to pay. To sell the sizzle and not steak, as Hank Hill might say. The end result had us enthusiastically listing our itinerary to everyone who asked and then solemnly watching as they slowly walked away empty-handed. One nice lady talked to us for quite a while, asked a ton of questions, then smiled broadly and offered us a third of our asking price on a dvd boxed-set.

I don't mean to sound bitter; I'm not. The stoop sales were a rousing success and no one who asked to hear our traveling tale was under any obligation to buy anything. Though after chatting with friendly folks about what a wonderful thing it was that we were doing and being offered the best of luck on our travels, it was sometimes surprising when those ebulliently supportive folks didn't spend a buck or two.

It was fun talking to random people all day, it was fun making deals, and it was fun trying to make those deals financially beneficial. My favorite customer was a middle-aged man who came by yesterday and bought two dvds and three cds at face value. Then he asked about my Ray Charles box-set and promptly paid the asking price. That box-set was the first gift Deb ever gave me on our first Valentine's Day together (my gift to her was the first thing we sold online and the subject of an earlier post).

Bringing in lots of three to five dollars sales really adds up over the course of a day. When a single customer spends $75, however, you think about what that particular sum of money will buy on the trip: a nice dinner in New Orleans, a motel room in Las Vegas, or an upgrade to a convertible in Seattle. The convertible was a travel tip from a friend of ours about how spending a little more money in the right places can improve a trip tremendously. So the more stuff we can sell in the next week, the more travel tips we can take, and the more upgrades we can afford to make.

1 comment:

  1. "One nice lady talked to us for quite a while, asked a ton of questions, then smiled broadly and offered us a third of our asking price on a dvd boxed-set."

    I have to be honest and say that that is pretty sad. Though I'm glad for you that she did buy SOMETHING.
    That's such an unfortunate side effect of this recession. That people are too scared to spend their money to help each other out. Protect the homeland before the heartland.... or something like that :)
    I'm excited to see how your adventure pans out. Good luck and have fun!