Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Imaginarium train table flip

Like the color of the leaves peaking in the fall, the garage sales are likewise peaking. Just two weeks ago, there were so many sales that I actually could not get to every one! An unfathomable act for the Dude, but it just wasn't mathematically possible given the overwhelming amount of sales. Because of this saturation, I ended up missing about half of the yard sales. This is another one of of my garage sale pet peeves. Sellers don't seem to realize they're reducing the number of customers when they hold a sale during  peak weekends in the fall. If they held their sale earlier or later in the season, more people would show up! But that's a discussion for another day. Even though on this particular Saturday I couldn't get to them all, the ones I did get to produced some excellent scores!

Imagine this!
One of those scores was this Imaginarium train table found at a neighborhood yard sale. This table is sold by Imaginarium as a complete set and includes tracks, trains, and buildings. (Some of the pieces are not shown here and were stashed in the storage drawer.) If you've read some of my previous posts, you know I am a big fan of the trains tables, particularly Thomas the Tank and Brio. While this table wasn't Brio, it was pretty much the next best thing. When I spotted this bad boy in a driveway, I zoned right in on it. The thing you always have to watch out for however, is how seller's price their tables. It seems like parents either sell them very cheap in order get them out of their house, or very high, because that's what they paid for the table new. There just never seems to be an in-between when it comes to train table prices.

Knowing this, guess how this seller priced her Imaginarium table? If you said low, you'd be right. When I asked her the price, the lady quoted my $20 dollars. Working under my usual premise that it don't hurt to ask, I came back at her with an offer of ten dollars.  Amazingly, she agreed and the next thing I knew she was helping me load the big table in the back of my truck!

Now the proud owner of another train table, I commenced researching the actual retail price. To my giddy delight, I found "ToysRus" sells the table for $150 big ones! That was all I needed to know. After a few photos of the table in my garage, I posted my find on Craigslist for $125. While you might think that's a little high, I've found that when it comes to buying for their kids, many parents lose all common sense! If their kid wants that adorable train table, then gosh darn it, they'll going to buy it no matter what the price! 

My first prospective buyer did go against that mindset. This dad made an initial, feeble attempt to talk me down, but I was dug in on my price. Realizing this, the guy was on the cusp of buying the table when at the last minute, he cleverly did a little internet research of his own. The frugal dad then attempted to work me down with his new found research, informing that with an on-line coupon, he could buy a new Imaginarium table for about what I was asking for my used one. He then made it sound like he was doing me a hugemongous favor by taking the table off my hands for his offer of $90. I didn't doubt that this frugal dad could get a new table for my price, but I also knew I could easily find another buyer. I responded back in a understanding tone, telling him that buying "new" is always nicer then buying used. Which I don't actually believe, but I wanted to end the negotiations on an upbeat, friendly note. But what that dad didn't factor in was all the painful hours he would spend assembling a new table. By the time his sore, blistered hands turned that last screw, he'll have wished he bought my completely assembled table! 

Fortunately I didn't wait long for another buyer. While I was still e-mailing with ToysRus dad, I also had a mom making inquires about the table. I liked her e-mails much ToysRus price quotes, low ball offers or guilt trips. She only wanted to know when and where her husband could come to pick it up? This mom was my kind of buyer!  I made arrangements to meet her husband at a local convenience store on Sunday morning. When I arrived at the designated time and place, he was waiting for me with arms crossed and a cigarette dangling from his lips. He was a little gruff and not the most personable guy in the world. But I guess I'd be cranky too if my wife made me he get up early to drive nearly an hour for a train table. Despite his shortcomings, I liked the guy very much after he forked over $125 dollars to me! I helped "Grumpy" slide the train table into the back of his mini-van and away he went, smoking and grumbling all the way home!  

So that's how easy a flip can be during the fall garage sale season. I turned ten bucks into $125 dollars in just a few days time.  Kinda makes you wish Fall could last forever, doesn't it?

Have you made any great fall flips? Share your story in the comment section below.....

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  1. Hi there, Dude! I am your newest follower, and it is a pleasure to read your blog. I will be spending a little time, reading the archives for all the great tips. Your writing style is so entertaining and upbeat. You seem to be very positive about your job as a reseller!

    1. Thanks Linden- I am glad you're following my blog. I was still fixing my typos when I saw you made a comment! (In the first ten minutes of a new post, you may actually be able to witness the text shift around and change with every revision I make - Ha !

      But thanks for your nice comments and definitely read my past stuff too! If you have some good scores let me know, I'll be glad to put them on the site!

      Thanks again....Dude!

  2. Love your flip stories and couldn't agree with you more about spacing out those yard sales! We had the same problem a couple of weeks ago and just couldn't get to them all. Great score on that train table!

    1. Hi Gina- It's a mad crush of yard sales this time of year, isn't it? If folks would just hold their neighborhood yard sale in November or even August, they'd see a lot more foot traffic.

      Thanks for writing in.....Dude!

  3. Great Flip! I have learned that when having my own sales to have them as early as possible in the spring. Peaople just can't wait to get out and I nearly sell out every time. Mine is usually at the end of Feb or begening of March.
    My favorite thing to look for this time of year are Halloween costumes to sell. Like Blue Clues and older disney characters. Happy Hunting this fall!

  4. Casey- I second that emotion! People get the "itch" and love to come out. I once held a garage sale in March, and although it was little brisky, people showed up like bears coming out of their caves from hibernation! Turned out to be a very good day.

    You're right, Costumes are big right now. I'd add football jerseys to the Fall sale list too!

    Happy hunting to you too, thanks for writing in...Dude!

  5. That's a great flip!! Question: how long does it usually take to sell an item after you list it on CL? I know it depends on the item, but on an average, what has your experience been? Just wondering ...

    1. Ms. Goodwill-Great question. Like you said, it depends on the item, but usually a train table is sold in less then a week. On other less poplar items, if it sits too long I slowly lower the price. In fact, I have a few things sitting in my garage right now and plan to drop the prices to get them moved.

      But if I were to average them all together, I'd say two-three weeks?.......Dude!

  6. Hello!
    I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I'm so glad I saw this post about the train table! I was just wondering if the picture you have here shows everything that came with the table? I found one at a sale today! She was asking $ was like new. I asked if she'd take $30 and she said yes! I am hoping to sell it on Craigslist for at least $100. Mine has more things with it, which is why I was wondering if yours came with more or just the things shown? Mine is here if you'd like to take a look!
    Love your blog! I think I commented once about selling some Care Bear figurines for $ to find more of those!

  7. Pam- I took a look at your listing which jogged my memory. My table did have more track and buildings. A bunch of the track was still in the drawer when I snapped the photo. I also had the train house, mountain and helicopter landing port too. But it was such a pain to set the whole thing up, I didn't bother to incorporate them into the layout for the picture.

    Your table looks better then mine! Paying $30 for it was a great score. I see you have it listed for $120, but I think you wouldn't have any problem getting at least $125 for it. I'll bet you'll be counting the money by the end of the weekend!

    I remember your $350 Care Bear score, that was awesome. I am still looking for more Care Bear stuff too!

    Let me know how you do with the table and thanks for liking the blog.....Dude!

  8. Love your post. I was hunting clothes for my infant son a few weeks ago and came across one selling clothes by the bag for $6, including quite a few NWT. I scooped them up and tagged them for this week's consignment sale. Last night was the pre-sale, and 2 of the items sold...yielding me a net profit of $6 before the sale has even started. We are on track to earn $4 each time my son wears the clothes we did keep!

    I also found a Summer Infant handheld video monitor for $10 that week. The camera is a bit screwy, so I wasn't comfortable reselling at a huge profit. Resold it for $25, yielding me $15 simply for keeping it in my house for two weeks.

    I love flipping!

    1. Kirsten-Some nice flips there! You got me thinking about that video monitor system. I sometimes see them at Goodwill-maybe I should take a closer look!

      Feel free to write in with any other awesome flips you make. It's good for us yard sale/thrift store folks to all share.

      Thanks for liking the blog too...Dude!

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  10. Very nice..!!

    Flip this is great..!! This seems to be really advantageous to one and all.

    However, those searching for best deals on imaginarium train table, there is only place to land on web which is the wherein one finds a wide choice of imaginarium train table at the cheapest rates ever!

  11. This makes me wish I had a pickup and had found the disc golf thing! I used to buy and flip lots and on the way home from buying things.