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Über Genius
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Discussion Starter #1
Instead of hijacking a thread, I think this deserves a new one.

Post them here!!

Sometimes you just get an amazing deal on a tool or tools and you want to share to all. Add sales if they're awesome. Anything counts.

I shop dead grandpa hordes a lot. Sometimes there's gold and sometimes there's just junk but MANY times grandpa passes away and his family has no idea what he did, why he did it or what to do with his stuff now.

One time I bought a box of high end drill bits, easily 100 bits, for $5. The guy took care of his tools.
Recently, at a going out of business auction I was able to buy a couple thousand dollars worth of taps and milling bits for $50.
And just the other day I bought some files for $25. The lot had 61 files total. 22 bastard files, 20 half round files, 13 triangle files and 6 rat tail files. All have very little use. I paid almost $25 for the ONE file I've been using for years.

One day I was driving through the middle of nowhere and saw a haphazard "tool sale" sign. I went down this gravel driveway and there was a barn open with all kinds of GORGEOUS tools and tool boxes.
I didn't have cash on me but the woman was sitting there, on the phone, and crying. I asked how much for a new Snap-on toolbox and she said "I don't know... Fifty bucks". I talked to her a minute and she found out her husband was banging someone and she was selling all his stuff. After a half hour of listening to her plight I told her I'd go get some cash and left. It was about an hour before I could get back there and when I did I saw the police wire there and so was, apparently, her husband. There was a cop that came to talk to me and said the "sale" was over.
I did notice that there were a couple really high end tools missing from the barn though.

Now, some might feel guilty about buying Grandpa's old tools for pennies on the dollar but I'm pretty sure Grandpa would have given them away rather that have his family toss them because they thought they were junk.
You might feel guilty about buying tools from an angry spouse (grey line). I'm thinking, in most cases, someone did something pretty heinous to get someone that mad.
You should NEVER feel guilty about a score from a bankruptcy sale.

Remember, as the economy tanks, companies close. Good scores are to be had. People will need money and will be selling tools soon enough. It's tough to watch someone sell their own tools because they need money but remember that you're doing them a service.

In the end, it's just business and money only matters in it's ability to ease a "trade".
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You might feel guilty about buying tools from an angry spouse (grey line). I'm thinking, in most cases, someone did something pretty heinous to get someone that mad.
I used to hit up close to 1000 garage sales a summer. Around here a Realtor often organizes a "parade" of garage sales in a community, organizes a little map, and helps promote it a little bit. So probably half the garage sales in a community in a summer all happen on the same day. It's staggered, so there's usually 2 or 3 community's worth of sales every weekend. In a big city you've got 4 months of this. New homes are poison, avoid them. Anything newer than 15 years is useless, it's all baby clothes and their parents 80s handmedown crap they got as starter stuff for the house. Broken food processors and ugly furniture.

Rich areas are awful, avoid them. Any rich person selling stuff themselves is out of money, and they want $5000 for their cabinet to help float their Mercedes payment another few months. They'll remember how much everything cost and want full value for it.

You want gentrified areas. Old areas. Formerly cheap homes that are now in valuable communities. Small houses, close to the city core. The people moving out are old and haven't used tools in a long time, they're headed to apartment style homes. The people moving in have lots of money and are upgrading from big homes to little ones, don't care about money and just have too much stuff. They went from a 2.5 car garage house to a 1 car garage, they're both working or they wouldn't be able to afford that house.

That, and estate sales and blue collar neighborhoods. Not poor neighborhoods. In poor neighborhoods stuff will be broken and they'll lie to you. They'll know how to negotiate, and they'll value every dollar. They'll hustle. They'll hustle better than you can. No good. In blue and white collar neighborhoods, playing "salesperson" for a day is fun, but they're not hungry for it. That's good. You need some apathy.

I have a rule for garage sales: Ask the wives to price the husband's stuff, ask the husband to price the wife's stuff. Preferably out of earshot of the spouse. And never refer to things by name.

The purpose of a garage sale isn't to make money. It's to get rid of things without throwing them away. The goal is to have empty tables at the end of the day, not to keep it around for next year (usually it all goes into a thrift store trip the next day).

Usually the person who used the thing isn't happy to get rid of it, usually there was pressure from the spouse. Often the spouse is resentful that they even have it at all, probably didn't use it much. So the person who used it will price if high to at least ease their ego that they got a good price for it, or in hopes that it doesn't sell.

The person who is knowledgeable about the item will want value for it. The person who is not knowledgeable about it literally just sees it as a piece of garbage that you're going to pick up and put away instead of them.

Wife has a collection of teapots? The husband is surely pissed off about their whole house having all these stupid teapots that have never even had tea in them, sitting around for decades. He wants them gone. The wife? She remembers the story of each and every one and who gave them to her and where she found them, it's a history of her collection. She wants you to care about them as much as she does because you're the custodian of her treasures.

And never use the name for things. Just say "that thing". They'll say "What thing?", and you'll say "It's umm, I'll show you". Not like they're dumb, don't patronize them, act like you're dumb. It's not for you, you think this is what you cousin asked you to look for to fix up. That immediately comes with acceptable ignorance, acceptable apathy, and acceptable hesitancy on price. You show them. They come with you, a little more out of earshot of the spouse. If you say to the wife "How much for that drill press?", she might remember "I remember the words "drill press', John paid $500 for that thing and we argued about it for a month. So that's what a drill press is. I want at last $400 for it, it's never even been used!". If you say "How much for that thing?", and she doesn't know the name of it, she won't associate with how much of their money they spent on it.

Then when she opens the door and yells, she doesn't even know what to call it. "John? JOHN! A guy wants to buy that thing in the corner. I don't know. It's metal and it has a handle. How much... can you just come out? He didn't make an offer, he just asked. Well did you put a price tag on it?" He's not getting off his ass. If he does, don't answer, you shrug and wander around. He'll get bored and be pissed that he didn't even get to talk to you about it and go back inside. She's not opening that door to shout down the hallway a second time. He's not coming to the door a second time.

Ideally you don't even have to go there. When she says "Hang on I'll go ask", you cut her off and say "Naw, that's okay, let me keep looking and see if I can add some more things to the pile first." Often spouses take turns, one sitting in the house watching TV, one in the garage. You choose a big item, and then you pad it with some little items. They might be priced. You also pick some of her cheapest items, the crap no one would buy, the dumber the better, and you never challenge the price. Doileys for $2? You buy 3 doileys, that's a great price you tell her. A flowerpot for fake flowers with melted colored glass beads in it, everyone needs one of those. Then when it's bundle time, you ask her if she has a ballpark price. She may want to talk to the husband, you say "I don't want to go over every little item, how much for all of it?". If it's too high, you just say no and counter and say "... and then I'll be out of your hair." Resets the conversation about you being the easy solution to things being gone. Not about money.

She has in her head that you didn't argue about the value of the cheap things she was selling, so you're probably picking good prices on the big tools. If it's just his item, she might want to avoid the "You sold it for HOW LITTLE?" conversation. But since it's her stuff too, she'll feel safer bundling it without asking the husband, "Oh he bought tons of stuff we did a bundle."

Later in the day I'll be a little more bold. At the start of the day a garage sale is exciting. At the end of the day the seller is wondering why they even bothered. Sense the irritation in the room. I wanted a big air compressor once, had a missing belt. She wouldn't name a price, so I said $10. She said "Oh no, that's my husband's, he'd kill me if I sold it for $10." I said "Is he around here, or is he inside watching the game?" She knew I was playing her off of him and didn't care. I said bluntly "If you think someone else is going to show up at your doorstep in the next hour hoping to buy a broken air compressor they'll have to fix, by all means, save it for them. Or I can help you carry it back into the garage right now for an other year, save him the trouble." Pointed to the cashbox and said "Tell him you sold it for $200, and you've been selling your stuff for $1. He'll be so happy you worked hard for a good price." Loaded it up and away I went :p

Sometime just ask "What's the thing you're surprised is still here? The thing you thought everyone would want?" They're usually pretty good about highlighting stuff you didn't notice. If they pick something you want, you say "Well how much did you want for it?", and then you say "Ohh, well that's why it's still here. That's way too much. Let me take it for $X and it'll be gone."

At the end of the day, almost everything should be nearly free. If things are priced, you can say "Oh no, those are beginning of the day prices, and they didn't sell. It's end of the day now, there probably won't be anyone after me. You want it gone or you want to try again next year?"

I've even done the "Well, tell you what. I'm on my way back, I've got a whole van to fill, and you're just going to take it to the thrift store tomorrow anyway. How about I help you clean up and take literally everything for $20, and anything I don't want I'll donate to the thrift store myself." That ticks so many boxes for them. 1 - They're tired and want it to be over. 2 - They're dreading having to pack it all up. 3 - They're having to take it to the thrift store tomorrow. 4 - They don't want things that cost them money to be garbage, they want to preserve the illusion that they're valuable, and feel good about them being donated. Sometimes they'll start to cherrypick "Oh well I'm going to keep this for my son, this for my daughter". If it's stuff you want, you cut them off and say "Noooo, if you cherrypick all the good stuff out then I'm actually just being your garbage man. I'll still help you put it in your garbage bin if you want but I'm not paying for it." They'll change their mind. Usually you can score some good rubbermaids and bins, makes it worth it just for that alone.

For half a decade when summer rolled around, people started giving me "if you see a" shopping lists. I'm happy to find stuff cheap for people. I just plain enjoy garage saling. When it was the time that most people were moving into their first houses, everyone was happy just to have "good enough for now" things they couldn't otherwise afford. Lots of times I'd buy cheap tools, broken tools, and then fix them and give them away. Cheaper than a movie and safer than hoarding :p
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