Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cyber stalking Coleman coolers

The yard sales were slim pickings over the Memorial Day weekend. Incredibly, I  only found one to go to. The Craigslist ad was enticing though, talking about a lifetime of treasures from a "neat-nick" mom who was moving south. The description caught my interest, particularly the idea of a "neat-nick" who was moving. The Craigslist ad had a brief list of things up for sale, but I wondered what other good stuff Mrs. Neat-nick might be selling? I often ask myself this question and can tell you from experience....there is a way to find out.

With the help of Google and other Internet sources, you can sometimes identify stuff to be sold at a garage sale before ever showing up in the driveway. While some folks might call it cyber stalking, I call it just doing your homework! Take for example the Neat-nick mom who's CL ad stated she was moving. Typing her home address into the Google search bar turned up a link to her home's real estate listing. Clicking on the listing, I found numerous photos of the exterior and more importantly, the interior of the house. From there I could check out how she decorates her home and the quality of her furnishings. As I clicked through the photos, I could tell she really was a "Neat-nick" with some pretty nice stuff in her house! I continued to page through real estate photos, picking out items I hoped she'd be selling at her garage sale. One was some camping gear I spotted in a picture of the garage. Kind of creepy but hey, that's the age of the Internet for you!

With my internet research complete, I arrived at Mrs. Neat-nick's sale at the 8:00 AM start time. I was greeted with a crowded street of fellow yard salers. Normally you don't see that kind of congestion at one sale, but clearly the lack of any additions sales drove everyone to Neatnik's house. The street was crowded, but I pulled the truckster into a safe spot and hustled up the driveway. The first thing I spotted was the Coleman camping equipment I'd seen in the garage picture. It included a camp stove, lantern, heater and pots, dishes and clever folding legs used to support a stove or cooler.
All this for under $30!
Neatnik's husband was assisting in the sale, so I asked him how much for camping gear? Mr. Neat-nick quoted me a price of $25 for everything. If you've read my previous blogs on Coleman camping gear, you know the stuff can fetch nice money on eBay! Knowing that, I really couldn't argue with Mr. Neat-nick's price. But naturally I still countered with $20 anyway and Mr. Neat-nick accepted without a blinking an eye. (That's the great thing about people who are moving-they usually don't care about making a ton of money on their stuff. They just want it sold.) I slipped Mr. Neat-nick a twenty dollar bill and continued to look around his driveway.

I then turned my attention to a vintage Coleman cooler sitting on the opposite side of the driveway. Old steel Coleman coolers can sell for huge bucks on eBay. One in near pristine condition just sold on eBay for $200 dollars! How crazy is that, right? If you grew up during the Sixties or Seventies, you probably saw a Coleman cooler at every summer picnic! Many didn't survive, rusting out and eventually being replaced with boring plastic coolers. (Some of which now sell for decent money too.) So once I spotted this rare "Ice Blue" Coleman cooler, I pretty much made up my mind it was coming home with me. Although a little dusty, it was still in great condition and looked like it would clean up nicely. Moving in for the kill, I asked Mr. Neat-nick how much he wanted for the big cooler? He looked over at me and responded in the form of a question, "Ummm, how about ten bucks?"

Now I'll admit ten bucks is a pretty good price, but like any good garage sale picker, I am not taking the first quote. I opened up the cooler and mentioned to him that the plastic tray was missing. With this flaw now pointed out, I hit him with my counter offer of five dollars. Chuckling that I'd "got him" on the missing tray, he agreed to accept five bills for the cooler. But he added a "rider" to the agreement-if he could find the original tray the price would go up to eight dollars.

All three trays still here!
That deal was fine by me. I knew having the original tray would only add to the cooler's value. Mr. Neat-nick then went inside his house and began the search. After only about five minutes he came back out with not only the tray, but the original water container and the deep bin! With those awesome additions to the cooler, I gladly forked over another three dollars. It worked out to one dollar for each additional piece-a no-brainer and great price! I left the sale spending a total of $28 dollars for Coleman gear that could potentially sell for several hundred bucks. Not too bad considering it was the only sale of the morning!


A thing of beauty!
Once home, I had some cooler cleaning to do. With a Memorial Day picnic scheduled at my house, I decided my Ice Blue Coleman cooler was going to have it's official coming out party. On the day before the party I lovingly washed the cooler and trays down using a combination of car wash soap and dish washing liquid. After rinsing the soap off the cooler, I stepped back to admire my work. It turned out beautiful! So nice in fact, that I took over a dozen photographs of the cooler for the blog, as well as any future eBay auction. On the morning of the picnic, I loaded the cooler with 40 pounds of ice, along with mass quantities of soda, water, wine coolers and beer. As an added touch, I decided to position the cooler on the sturdy Coleman Stove folding legs also bought at the garage sale. Looking spectacular on it's Coleman legs, the big cooler was center of attention at the picnic! Adding to the hype, I continual pestered family members, proudly asking what they thought of my new cooler? Everyone agreed it was awesome and most added I'd be nuts to sell it!

Despite my growing attachment to the cooler, I haven't decided whether I am posting it on eBay or keeping it. Given it's excellent condition, I am certain it could sell for a ton of money and would probably rival the $200 Coleman cooler auction mentioned above. For now, it's drying out in the garage. But I can't lie....it has a very good chance of seeing many more picnics in my backyard!

This summer make sure you look for vintage Coleman coolers at the garage sales. Great for eBay flipping or your family picnics!

Have you bought and sold any vintage Coleman coolers or similar gear? Share your story below.....





     


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19 comments:

  1. Dude,
    Having just had my house on the market and listed on the internet, I'm super creeped out, but I applaud you for thinking out of the box. I must admit, that's one of the nicest coolers I have ever seen. :)

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    1. It works best when a Garage sale seller has the house currently up for sale or sold the house recently. Even after a close on the house, the listing will linger there on the internet for months.

      So If you have a yard sale before you move and a buyer asks you about something inside your house, you'll now know what they did! lol

      Thanks for liking the cooler.....Dude!

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  2. I agree with Clamco - the cyber stalking was kind of scary, but I think it was a great idea. And all I can say about that cooler is WOW! It's beautiful! I know I would have a hard time selling it. Great post.

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    1. I know, right? But we must use every tool at our disposal!

      Isn't it a great cooler? You guys are making it much harder for me to part with it-Ha!

      Thanks for writing in.....Dude!

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  3. But how will u mail it? It's too large for eBay sell right?

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    1. I was wondering how you ship something that big too.

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    2. That crossed my mind as well. After buying it, I e-mailed another seller who sold a similar cooler. He claimed it cost him around $30 to ship to his buyer.

      But I've been burnt on shipping cost for large packages in the past, so my plan was to take it to the local post office in advance and just get a estimate. I usually give the window clerk the destination zip of "90210" since it's on the complete other side of the country.(Also that's the only west coast zip I know thanks to the television show). If it turns out to be cost prohibitive, I would probably go the Craigslist route. Being that it's summertime, I think the cooler would get snapped up quickly.

      But it may all be a moot point, cause I am liking it more and more....Dude!

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  4. Hey Dude! I love your story! And I had to laugh out loud about using the "90210" zip code for an estimate! That's what I do too! I'm in Iowa and California is the furthest shipping distance from me so when I need to figure shipping for an item, I always use that one too....because of the television show! I figure if I way over estimate because the buyer is closer than California, then I can always refund some shipping if it was a lot. Also, on another note, the yard sales around here don't seem very good yet this year! I haven't found any yet that make me think to myself...'wow! I found a great sale!' !!! Maybe it's the crazy weather and they'll get better! Anyway, thanks for the info on the cooler...I will keep on the lookout!

    ~~Pam

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    1. Hey Pam-Great minds think alike, right? HA!

      When dealing with shipping costs I am jealous of you folks in the middle of the country. I would think your USPS rates are more uniform-you're 1500 miles from the west coast and 1500 miles from the east coast. The rate should be roughly the same. But you never know with the good old post office!

      The sales out here have been just okay. I had two very solid weekends when it was really good and the rest just average. But there's a whole summer ahead, so it should pick up for all of us.

      Thanks for writing and liking the story. Good luck out at the sales, hope you score some sweet deals. Say hi to my personal heroes and your fellow Iowans for me....Mike and Frank from American Pickers...Dude! ; )

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  5. Too funny! LOVE the cooler! We had one like that when I was growing up - went to Cedar Point with us EVERY SUMMER filled full with sodas & sandwiches (hey, when you're toting 8 kids to Cedar Point, you can't afford to be buying lunch in the park!!). I'm right there with you on the MLS listings and seeing inside peoples' homes! It's one of my favorite past-times! Someone in the community where we purchased our second home in AZ had some furniture up for sale on the community portal, but no photos. So I plugged in their address, an sure enough up come pictures and I zeroed right in on the dinette table/chairs! Unfortunately, they were butt-ugly, but it sure is a way to give you an idea of what lies behind the front door! :-) My husband says I can find out just about anything on the computer.......he's right! You really can!

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  6. I'd sell the cooler, without question. Even at $100, you can go to the store and get a nice plastic cooler for much cheaper (if you really even need one) and still have change from the sale. No way I'd keep this one.

    As for shipping and the post office though, I don't understand how you guys do this. Why don't you just enter the weight and size of the box in your eBay listing and put it in that way? You don't have to know what the cost is to California. And the buyer pays for shipping so if they want to pay $30-$40 for shipping, why should you care? I always have eBay calculate my shipping based on the buyer's location. Much easier that way. Unless you sell with free shipping on your items; then we're talking about a different story.

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    1. I hear you on the cooler. I actually have a very nice clean, plastic Igloo cooler I bought in the winter for $10 at Goodwill. I decided I needed to replace a much older Coca Cola cooler that should really be retired in order to preserve it. So I do have back-up if I sell the Coleman.

      I've never used the eBay calculator, but maybe that's something to consider. The only problem I see is I am not sure of the box size until after I make the sale. I guess you could estimate it though and get it close to the correct shipping cost.

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    2. Oh, see I always find a box before the sale so I don't have to scramble for one once the item sells. And again, it helps to have the right postage figured out. I never get stuck paying for any postage out of my pocket because I miscalculated.

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  7. Do you have any ideas to ship baby clothes(like 100 of them) for cheap? I stay in eastcoast...thanks

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    1. I'd go with USPS "parcel select" (Use to be called parcel post) . You could fold them flat or roll them. You could also do smaller, separate shippings depending on how much you can get in a box.

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  8. I love that cooler, how cool would that look at a tail gate party, with some other vintage camping stuff.
    I just say, well if you have your house listed with a realtor now days, there are tons of others taking a peek as well...LOL

    I landed a 1964 425D Coleman Camp stove a few weeks ago. Free, it was for cleaning out some barn junk for folks moving out of state. Actually belongs to son-inlaw, but he has a bad habit of letting stuff go at yard sale prices and I am afraid he will take five bucks for this one or even two just to get it out of his way, so I stuck it out back with some of my other vintage stuff....LOL I am not sure if I want to keep it because it is so cool and nostalgic or try to sell it.

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    1. Kym- Thanks for liking the cooler. I love it too and want to have another picnic for the sole reason of showing it off again!

      You're right about the realtor photos-that's comes with the territory so folks shouldn't get too freaked out about it.

      Collectors love those vintage Coleman Stoves. I looked up your model on eBay and although it's not a huge seller, I think you could get $30 for it on CL. Beats the $5 your brother may have accepted-HA!

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

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  9. Sweet.. I actually found one of the old metal (silver bottom) ones that stand on its side in some of my parents stored belongings. Has all the trays, etc just needs to be cleaned up. I don't seeing it from my childhood but I'm sure it was, we used to go camping a lot. Not sure if I'm keeping it or putting it up in my Ebay store. :) Great article. ps. have you shopped Estate sales for this kind of stuff?

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    1. Sounds like you have a nice one. If you sell it, you should do well.

      I usually avoid estate sales. I find they're overpriced and over-attended-lol!

      Thanks for writing in...Dude!

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