Saturday, February 2, 2013

Discount Baby Gates

In my last blog, I talked about flipping an expensive pedal car for a $125 dollar profit. The story generated some great comments about people wasting their money. In particular, one reader (Susie) made some excellent points including the following:

"Great find-n-flip!  I am always amazed at people's stupidity with money - honestly. I often wonder, "do these folks spending this money have a 6 months emergency fund in the bank?" or "are they set for retirement?" or "do they hold any credit card debt?" I would be willing to bet MANY of the folks who shop at these over-priced stores would say "NO" to most of those questions! But hey, I'm OK buying their "stuff" for a fraction of what they paid for it (and are probably still paying off on their credit card!) and flipping it for a profit! ;-) More power to us, right??!!"

I couldn't agree with Susie more! When it comes to how some people spend their money, I just don't know what they're thinking? Are they too lazy to re-sell their stuff at an appropriate price? Have they convinced themselves they're "rich" and money is no problem? Or is it something in between? In the case of that airplane pedal car, the original owner sold me a $500 toy for just $25! It makes you wonder-with so much potential profit to be made, why didn't he just sell the plane on Craigslist for a lot more money ? But as Susie and I both agree, we ain't complaining...we just can't believe it!

Brand new and in the box...cha-ching!
Which brings me to  Exhibit "B" on the same topic. During a mad dash through a local neighborhood garage sale, I walked up a driveway and spotted this baby gate in the box. The young mom tagged the gate at $3 dollars. I didn't know the condition of the gate, but at such a crazy-low price, I didn't even even bother looking closely at it. Instead, I opened the lid just to confirm the gate was inside. Peering in the dark box, I could just make out the top of a gate. That was good enough for me! I handed over three dollars to the mom and tossed the box into the back of my truck. Normally I wouldn't recommend this "quick-peek" technique to readers. Obviously, you should always pull stuff out of the box to inspect it before laying out cash. But in this case, the quick-peek worked out just fine.

Arriving home on this particular fall morning, I decided to "process" some of my garage sale finds right out in the driveway. Unloading the baby gate from the back of the truck, I braced myself in anticipation of finding some kiddy damage or dirt on the gate. But when I pulled the gate from the box, I was met with a pleasant surprise. The gate was brand new, still wrapped in it's original plastic wrapper! I couldn't believe that young mom just sold me a brand new gate for a measly three dollars! Seriously...who does that? Not only was it new, but it was a high-end model. It had clear plastic glass, rather then the usual ugly fencing normally seen on baby gates. This gate was so nice, Mrs. Dude could have immediately gifted it as a baby shower gift! But with no baby showers on the horizon, I photographed the gate instead for a quick re-sale.

While eBay was certainly a selling option for the gate, I went with CL to avoid high postage costs and the usual draconian eBay selling fees. With the digital photos cropped and chopped, I listed the gate on Craigslist and waited for my money! A brand new baby item doesn't last long on Craigslist. Such was the case with my gate-it sold the very next day. A budget-minded mom paid me $40 dollars for the gate, a savings of at least $30 bucks over retail. So she saved some money, and I made a quick $37 big ones! Needless to say, we were both happy!

All of which brings us back to Susie's original point about people wasting their money. What the heck are these folks thinking?  Fortunately for us, they'll always be out there giving their stuff away at a garage sale. I ain't complaining...just happily scratching my head over it!

Do you have a "what are people thinking?" story to tell?  I'll bet you do... share your caper below:




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10 comments:

  1. Perhaps the baby gate and the pedal car was gifted to the folks you bought them from and they weren't necessarily throwing away their own money.

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    1. Very possible, although I would argue when you sell a gift for only $3 dollars, passing up the opportunity to make much more, you're still throwing away money. But again, I am okay with that!

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  2. Even if the gate had been broken, I bet you could have parted out the latches, fixtures etc. as replacement parts. I use a baby gate as a dog gate and the latch broke recently. The company charged me $10 and took 2 weeks to get the replacement part to me (good job I wasn't using the gate to stop a baby from falling down the stairs).

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  3. Lynn-Good point, sort of what some sellers do with toy parts. Whatever plastic was left after parting it out, I could throw in the recycling can.

    Thanks for writing in....Dude!

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  4. A few years back, my mom's boss was moving and didn't want to haul a 1960's dining table with 6 chairs. My mom loves older furniture so we picked it up for FREE! It sat in the my mom's garage for 2 years (she got busy and found other furniture she liked more).

    Just this past weekend we were cleaning out the garage and decided to throw it up on CL with a price of Best Offer. We sold it on CL for $150. I'm sure we could have asked for more but the girl who bought it was in love with it and made her day. $150 profit is pretty good to me.

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    1. Trey-Turning a freebie into $150 bucks works for me too-Sweet flip! Thanks for sharing the story.....Dude!

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  5. It's all about perspective. Sometimes all something needs is a good cleaning, but it may be too much work for the seller. Maybe an item has bad memories attached to it, you never know. My brother is a picker in NY and finds awesome stuff on trash day in the rich neighborhoods. You wouldn't believe what some people just throw away!

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    1. Lorraine-I'll bet he pulls some great scores off the curb! We have a few neighborhoods like that around here too-it's unbelievable!

      True enough on cleaning stuff, some folks just don't want to be bothered. Our throw-away society at work!

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  6. I have gone to so many garage sales with a free box that had better items then the ones they were selling. And often times new items. I think people's perceived value isn't always the same as actual value. And like Melissa k said if it was a gift it's free to them so it doesn't hurt their pockets to get rid of it.

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    1. Veronica-That's very true about the free box stuff. I always take a peak into the "free" box just for the challenge and/or pleasure of finding a valuable item that's being given away. Had a couple of decent scores that way.

      Thanks for writing in...Dude!

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