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10 hours in the sun will........

 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 20462
Registered: Jun-06
Do wonders for you if you're interested in human sociology. I'd like to share my experience with you all on my day at selling knives at the local farmer's mart this past Saturday. Just a random thread, nothing to bookmark. It was either this or mow my lawn.

So yes I have a website and sell online as well as word of mouth. For $35 however you get a 10' X 30' spot to which you present, display and hopefully sell your merchandise, crafts, and otherwise crap you don't want. Why the appeal? Mind you I have an awkward view on people in general and a platform such as this gives me a bird's eye view, albeit somewhat distant, of your everyday common folk interacting with each other. It's kind of like a psychological observation of rats in a maze, not too uncommon of walking around your local Walmart. It's just a cheap thrill to see all those people mindlessly wandering around looking to be entertained.

In your 10 hours in the sun while you're trying to sell your goods you will encounter ALL kinds of people acting and reacting in ALL kinds of ways. I found myself bursting out laughing at times because the situation was simply too hysterical to contain myself. Now I don't go JUST because of the colorful amusement, I go because it is a profitable venture financially as well emotionally. People just crack me the #$@! up lol.

The first thing that amazes me is how many people wake up early on their Saturday and Sunday strictly to go looking for what I call, well simply.....garbage. Used/worn shoes, rusty saw blades, broken toys, old milk bottles, lawn mowers that don't work, costume jewelry, the list goes on and on. The mart is loaded with vendors selling what you and I throw away everyday. Ever see that guy in the older pick up truck sifting through your trash? Think low of him? Now picture the person handing over $$ to him for your trash. There's money in those piles.

So you begin the day by meeting your trash selling neighbors. If they are regulars then they WILL get to know you. It's not their fault. They are by nature outspoken and curious ppl. And if by chance you make more money than they do that day then they want to know why and how can they can get in on it. They check your stuff out looking for things you may be ignorant about on its' value. You get to meet the "scouts" first thing. Their job is to swiftly scan every vendor and their stuff looking to swindle and low ball you on what they believe can make them $$. Their tactics work, and they've been doing it for years. If you're looking to dump your goods then they can be a friend. Looking for profit? Avoid them like the plague.

There are the regulars who make a living/life from the mart. You see them EVERY weekend.

1). The bag lady. Just that. She collects plastic bags. By the hundreds. She wanders around, sifting through trash cans looking for plastic bags. Late 50's, homeless (assuming), and wants your bags!

2). The chicken guy. The guy walking around pushing his steamer cart selling chicken tenders and fries for $7.50. Same chant, same mono tone voice, heard approximately 78 times throughout the day: "Ice cold spring water, a dollar a bottle. Chicken tenders with french fries $7.50." I wanted to stab the guy with one of my bowie knives every time he passed.

3). Pretzel guy. Same story as the chicken guy.

4). The famous Asian vendor selling stacks of CDRs, DVDRs and empty cases for both.

5). The 80 year old security guard. Knows everyone. Armed with a walkie-talkie.

6). Crazy candy lady. Sells penny candy for $.10. Candy is quite possibly as old as she is.

7). There's the tarp guy, vinyl record guy, glassware guy, cheap car audio guy, sunglasses guy, hat guy, cell phone accessory guy and many others who sell $1 VHS movies, $3 DVDs most of which faded by the sun.

The real fun begins when you witness people haggling over "other people's garbage". To mart shoppers a price is merely a "starting" point. Me selling a $10 bowie knife to a 50 year old 4 1/2' tall Guatemalan woman:

Woman: "How much?" **Holds up bowie**
Me: "That's $10".
Woman: "NO! 4 dolla!"
Me: "Noooooo. $10."
Woman: "10 dolla too much! 5 dolla!"
Me: "Then you can't afford it. Sorry".
Woman: **Throws bowie down**
Me: "Have a nice day".
**Neighbors laugh**

Many regulars have adjusted their opening statement when asked for a price of an item. "Well I was asking $25 but will take $20". Assuming the buyer will feel too awkward in offering anything lower than $20, which is the seller's actual starting point anyway, I can only assume constant low balling has taught them this.

The language barrier has also forced many vendors into using a sophisticated sign language type form of communicating a price to those "non" English speaking customers. You'd be surprised how many transactions go "speechless". (As well they ought to).

You get your sticky fingered kids whose parents are too interested in their $1 water ice to notice or care that their 4 year old is currently holding a double edged bowie knife, and liking it.

There's the guy with 150 facial piercings and the Ozzy t-shirt who spends 45 minutes picking up EVERY knife, opens and closes it, then walks away without buying a damn thing.

Sadly I get 20+ requests every time I go for switchblades, brass knuckles, batons, nunchucks and throwing knives........all by teenagers.

Then you get war vets who want to describe in every possible detail their most terrifying experiences serving our country because the survival knife on the table just triggered the memories. Respectfully you listen and wait it out.

You ALWAYS get at least one guy telling you how much he knows about your product and that he's been collecting for years. He's really trying to impress you. Later when he can't figure out how to close a simple liner locking blade he picked up reality splashes both of you in the face.

Yes I get handicapped and mentally challenged customers from time to time. Would you sell a knife to someone who isn't allowed to drive or have a credit card? The hardest thing sometimes is explaining to someone why they can't purchase something. It's a moral thing. Is making $4 worth not sleeping that night?

By far my best customers are the single guys. Those who don't have to defend or solicit their purchase of a katana set or 50" dragon sword to their loved one.

**Man and woman holding hands approaching**

Man: "Oooo, knives."
Woman: "Oooo, forget it, you'll hurt yourself....or me."
Man: "Can I at least look?"
Woman: "You can "look" from here! Let's go."
**Man looking defeated**
Paul loses yet another sale.

So as the sun starts to duck behind the trees and vendors all over the place are packing it up for the day you HAVE to wonder how many had a profitable day. The guy next to me yesterday made $16. $16 for 10 hours in the sun. His girlfriend showed up late in the day and bummed $20 for cigs and a sandwich. He asked to borrow a big knife.

^^^You HAVE to laugh at it.

I did pretty good considering most everyone's wallet is tighter than a dolphin's butt these days. At the end of the day though when the truck is loaded and you throw your trash away, wish your neighbors luck on the next day and you're ready for a shower and a cold beer when you get home, you realize the fun wasn't about making money.

Hey it beats cutting the grass.
 

Gold Member
Username: Big_edge_head

Milwaukee, WI

Post Number: 3831
Registered: Mar-07
Good read. How often do you sell at the market?


quote:

You get your sticky fingered kids whose parents are too interested in their $1 water ice to notice or care that their 4 year old is currently holding a double edged bowie knife, and liking it.



LMAO
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 20463
Registered: Jun-06
Been selling there for years off and on. This Saturday was the first this season. Looking to do it next Sunday. The holiday weekend should be a good one.
 

Silver Member
Username: Wickedbass

Nashville, Tn

Post Number: 584
Registered: Jan-08
Love your stories Paul, read every bit of it!

Hope your knife venture is very profitable for you.
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 20464
Registered: Jun-06
It's slow to tell ya the truth. Something else I've learned about ppl and their take on the value of something. Sometimes you can underprice yourself right out of a sale. It shocked me at first but when ppl see an unbelievably low price it sends up an imaginary red flag. They get skeptical. "It simply must be junk if its' priced as such" they think to themselves. What they don't realize is that they, all this time, have been brainwashed by everyone else OVERpricing their goods. They would rather you tell them a higher price and talk you down, thus feeling better about the purchase and their buying/negotiating skills. I simply wanted to cut to the chase and cut out the BS. Doesn't always work that way lol. For them bargaining is half the enjoyment.


For example: I recently picked up 240 stainless steel swiss army style knives from my wholesaler. The retail is printed right on the box, $24.95. Well because I buy in bulk I get them for $1.20 each. Now I could put a $15 price on them and get haggled all the way down to $5 for it at the mart, assuming they don't get spooked off by the high price in the first place. I always say I'd rather make $1 on every item and sell 10 of them than sell one and make $10 but take 10X as long to do it.

When I jump on Ebay and search for the same item I see ppl asking $10 for the same knife I sell for much lower. I know what they paid, same as me. They, IMO, are asking too much. Everyone deserves a profit for their time and effort no doubt but to make 8X your investment is aiming too high for two transactions. Anyone doing their homework should see that anyway. Those who don't before a purchase were doomed from the start.

The problem with my theory is if my price is $5 to start they offer $3, because that's the game. If you don't budge they walk, mostly out of pride.


Funny. Ppl will spend time and energy haggling over $2 for something at the mart yet stop at the convenience store on the way home and pay $3 for a loaf of bread, $6 on a box of cereal and $5 on a package of hot dogs without thinking twice.

Makes me shake my head.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Insearchofbass

Post Number: 11454
Registered: Jun-04
interesting read.
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 20467
Registered: Jun-06
Very simply put an item is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Toss aside manufacturer's retail #'s. They are garbage and are generated by the manufacturer. That would be like an artist putting prices on his work. The true value comes from the connoisseur who can judge and rate it from an unbiased position.


Sadly I forgot to mention I had my first theft this weekend. Working alone has its' shortcomings and limitations. Packing up I noticed a skinner knife that had been lifted. Stranger yet was that whomever took it left the box and sheath behind. It has a VERY sharp and awkward blade. Something you just can't safely carry around without its' custom sheath. Shoving it quickly in a pocket should deem quite dangerous.

Hope the thief at least feels bad. Probably not.
 

Gold Member
Username: Adddisorder

Palm Beach, Florida

Post Number: 6495
Registered: Jan-06
haha the one down here has tons of cheapo car audio guys trying to sell there junk to you.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Nyyfan13

Northern VA

Post Number: 11423
Registered: Jul-06
Good read Pauly. Interesting story bud.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Rovin

1 15 = 149.5 DBs ...Trinidad & T...

Post Number: 14997
Registered: Jul-05
wow man - did u really sit down to type all that ? ....
 

Silver Member
Username: Riconissan

Post Number: 890
Registered: Feb-09
Paul, Great stories. I don't care how large a selection you have there is always the person who asks for some other style. I guarantee they would not buy it if you produced what they are looking for from under the table.
 

Silver Member
Username: Wickedbass

Nashville, Tn

Post Number: 587
Registered: Jan-08
Very true Paul, very true. Hope it picks a bit for you. Sucks that some jackass stole from you.
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 20471
Registered: Jun-06
"Very true Paul, very true. Hope it picks a bit for you. Sucks that some jackass stole from you."


^^^Thanks. I hope it does too. I want to hit the mart this holiday weekend but my son has a baseball tournament and I don't want to miss it.

As far as the theft, well it stung a bit when I first realized it but later I shook it off. It also dawned on me, as any business owner will eventually learn, that you have to incorporate your prices to envelope losses from theft. It sucks to have to hit those paying customers for the actions of those NOT paying but THAT is business, not personal.

It's kinda like politics and taxes. The honest pay for the dishonest.
 

Silver Member
Username: Riconissan

Post Number: 924
Registered: Feb-09
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the
support of Paul.

-- George Bernard Shaw
 

Silver Member
Username: Riconissan

Post Number: 925
Registered: Feb-09
Or the names can be interchanged.
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 20473
Registered: Jun-06
 

Gold Member
Username: Shortysetnies

Andrew Capps, NC US

Post Number: 3328
Registered: Mar-06
Great read man. You have to be one of the most knowledgeable/interesting guys here. This place wouldn't be the same without you.

Now go cut your grass. Sh#*s starting to make the neighbors yard look bad too
 

Gold Member
Username: Van_man

Boston South, MA

Post Number: 4821
Registered: Mar-06
very enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing a moment.
Theres a big flea market near me. I go there 1-2 times a year and its exactly how you descibed. I bought my wife one of those moving waterfall light pics with bid sounds there for like $20. Where else can you find that?
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 20491
Registered: Jun-06
Thanks Marc. I love selling at the mart. Why? Because not only do I make some $$ but I get to see the "general" public in my area in their bargaining mode. It's just fun as a whole. To see all those ppl react the way they do is simply fun. It's work, don't forget that, but worth it to at least me.
 

Diamond Member
Username: Wingmanalive

Www.stainles... .ecrater.com

Post Number: 20492
Registered: Jun-06
Not to mention I don't have to cut the grass lol.
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