Monday, April 16, 2012

To Buy Or Not To Buy

A week or so ago, a woman posted on my local Facebook selling group that she had a mountain of original Care Bears and Cabbage Patch dolls, all still in their original boxes. Originally, she had said she would accept almost any offer just to be rid of them. But then some helpful idiot replied that she should sell them on eBay, because she would get more for them. Ugh. So there went my chance of getting them cheap.

I contacted her anyway. After several back-and-forths, she came back with an appalling number. She obviously had done her research on eBay, and then doubled that number or something. It was ridiculous. So I wrote her back with my top dollar, which was somewhere around a fourth of her number. I told her that she was asking significantly more than I could afford, but that if she ever decided she was willing to sell them for my number, to please feel free to contact me.

My theory was that she would try to sell them on eBay herself. Clearly she does not have a store, or she'd have done that already. Just as clearly, she doesn't sell on eBay regularly, which tells me she probably would try to auction them, rather than do fixed price and wait for the right buyer. These particular items are going to require just the right buyer, and most of them will probably have to sit for quite some time. So my hope was that she would try to sell them herself, fail, and come back to me and accept my offer.

A day or so later, she wrote me that these things technically belonged to her mom, and that "her mom" was willing to negotiate. (I don't think her mom had anything to do with it. I think she's using her mom as a scapegoat - someone to blame for these crazy price jumps all over the place). "Her mom" was willing to come down to $200 more than my offer. Yes, that was a significant drop from her original out-of-her-mind price, but it was still $200 more than I was willing to pay. I wrote her back and told her that, again, knowing she would probably be back in a month or so.

I was wrong. She was back in 3 days. Again, "her mom" would be willing to come down to my price, but she wanted to keep the 5 best dolls out and try to sell them for more. Sigh. I have to give her credit. She is driving a very hard bargain. She knows what she's doing with the negotiation.

I actually pulled out an old-fashioned piece of paper and a pen, and I wrote down all the facts, including how much I think I can expect to sell these things for. I wrote down my primary concerns:
  • I am trying to save up for a storage building. That amount cuts significantly into my savings.
  • Since I don't have the storage building yet, where on earth would I put 50 Cabbage Patch Kids and 15 Care Bears, all in their original boxes??
  • How long will this amount of money be tied up in this inventory, while I'm waiting for it to sell?
  • There are VERY few original Care Bears in their boxes on eBay, so it's really hard to get an accurate picture of how much they will sell for. Similarly, there are a gazillion different variations of Cabbage Patch Kids. They are also next to impossible to research. Without having them in my hands, it's REALLY hard to get a good idea of what I can make from them.
I was able to refute all of those concerns:
  • I'm not getting the storage building until mid-May. I will easily be able to save up the rest of the money by then, even without the amount I would pay for this stuff.
  • My mother-in-law has a spare bedroom that she offered up for me to store them in. I will keep 3/4 of them at her house and 1/4 of them here. I'll only list the ones that are here, so I don't have to trek to her house every time one sells.
  • How long will my money be tied up in ANYTHING that I buy for resale? That's part of the risk of this business, and I can't let that be a primary consideration in business decisions.
  • Research ... there's nothing to be done about that. I am positive I can at least double my money, reasonably sure that I can triple it, and hopeful that I can quadruple it (if I can get top dollar for everything). The research will take time, but with those odds, I'm not terribly worried about it.
So! I'm going to contact her tomorrow and set up a meet time. I'd like to look at them. I will go with a little extra cash in hand and offer her more if she'll give me all of them. Originally, her price for all of it was $200 above my max price. I'll offer her $100 above my max price, meeting her in the middle. If she accepts, great. If not, I'll still take the rest for my max price. Assuming they are in great condition, of course.

I'm excited! It's a big investment, but I think they are great items and should make me some great money. I'll keep you posted!


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  2. I was interested in something similar in my area.It was just a bunch of Cabbage Patch, no Care Bears. When we went to pay and pick up I was so disappointed...she smoked and all the dolls reeked! I didn't get them because of that. So, I'm passing what I learned to you, and she may have stated already if they come from a smoke free home. If she hasn't though, I would make sure you know before you go!

  3. I was sure to ask before I got too far into negotiations. She says they are smoke-free. I'll definitely give them a sniff test before I commit. That would be a deal breaker for sure!

  4. I'm excited for you! Hope she meets you halfway. How do you find the selling groups on facebook?

  5. Just do a search for "[whatever] county yard sale" and see what comes up.

    1. Our local facebook county yard sale is huge. I think they should be divided into 3 garage sales: kids/teen clothing, mens and women's clothing (including purses, etc), and everything else (ie housewares, outdoor stuff). It's a great idea but having to page through pages and pages of infant clothing makes me not want to use them!

  6. Ours must be new, because it's still really small and there are usually fewer than 10 new posts a day. I can imagine a larger group would be tiresome to wade through though.