Rummage Sales That aren’t Really a Bargain

rummage 1As a self-professed pack-rat, I love rummage sales.  I like to look for that “diamond in the rough” item that I can flip on EBay the next day for 500% profit.  Unfortunately, the corner-of-the-basement, dust-collecting Faberge Egg is very hard to come by, but I still like to check out rummage sales to look.  Maybe there’s something there that’s old and cool!

I also like the prices at rummage sales.  Often you can get something cool for less than $1, or at least less than $5.  It’s the same reason I like to go to swap meets and troll through the back rooms of antique stores…to find that unbelievable bargain!  Recently, I found a used book sale at the local mall.  They had hundreds and hundreds of used book for sale, and the money raised would go to some charity or another.  I thought I would check it out, give something to charity and buy some books (it beats dumping ice water over my head).

When I began to sift through the books, I noticed that the discount wasn’t that much of a discount; most of the books were only a few dollars below their original list price.  Many of the books were in pristine condition, and could have been worth that little of a discount, but many were old and tattered (as a book should be), and should have been substantially marked down.

rummage 2I began to rummage (as one does at a rummage sale) and found a couple of books I had been interested in reading when they were released, but never got around to it.  When I got to the counter, the total came out to $9.50.  For 2 paperback books?!?!  I realize that when they were new, they both would have cost me about $20, but this is a rummage sale, and the books were donated, for goodness sake.  There should be more of a mark down!

This has happened to me at many rummage sales and flea markets.  The owner of the object sometimes puts a value on it that includes the owner’s personal feelings about the object.  This concept, I can understand, but the concept of not marking down material that was donated and does not hold any type of sentimental value whatsoever I do not understand.  I can comprehend the fact that they want to maximize the profits so more money goes to charity, but they are going to be left with a lot of old, tattered books if they keep those prices high.

I will still frequent rummage sales, flea markets, swap meets and antique shops.  I like “the search!”  I like to look at all the old stuff and think about a different time.  A lot of these things hold history and memories, and I enjoy that feeling of holding something in my hand that’s actually older than the hand holding it.  I think this is also why I enjoy watching television programs like Antiques Roadshow, Pickers, Storage Wars, Baggage Battles, and Cash in the Attic.  I like the discounts at rummage sales and flea markets as well, but those kinds of finds are getting fewer and further between.  The time of the miniscule discount and the non-negotiable price is here.  I don’t like it!


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