mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Adventures in Timonium Hamfesting...

So last weekend was the Timonium Hamfest, one of the largest hamfests on the East Coast and one of the only ones that runs more than 1 day. It also happens to be about 15 minutes from Casa De Mad, my sprawling 2-bedroom estate. In previous years, I hadn't sold at it, but last year - after a few auctions where I bought a bunch of stuff - I decided to tailgate outside one day. I did quite well last year, but was really really cold.

So this year I spent the extra couple bucks and got an indoor basic space, the cheapest indoor space, for the whole weekend - it was only a few bucks more for Sunday. It was definitely worth it - I got to come in Friday night to set up, didn't have to take down Saturday night, and didn't get 3rd degree windburn from standing in a parking lot for 8 hours. The only glitch was that when I picked a spot out, I think I was looking at the map upside down, or thought I was on the other side of the building - I ended up on the far side of the building, furthest from the entrance, and away from most other sellers. It didn't seem to hurt traffic or sales, though, and it made it easy to unload and load up, especially on the last day, since I started taking down an hour before the end when you could bring cars into the building - I was able to pull up to the doors and have a short walk to load the truck.

The other nice thing about being inside was that outdoors opens at 6am but inside doesn't open until 8am, so I could shop through the tailgaters for a while. Didn't find much, though - a $1 wireless b netgear bridge (for hooking up wired devices to a wireless network) and a $5 Orinoco Gold wireless laptop card - 16-bit, for old laptops.

So how did I do sales wise? Quite well - I grossed basically a mortgage payment. How much did I net? Who knows - I'm not great about keeping track of that kind of stuff, especially taking into account things like the cost of gas for buying trips. But in a sense, it doesn't matter - everything I sold I already had bought and paid for, so all I can do is try to get as much money for it as I can - it's not like I can return it. I learn what sells, and that helps me the next time I'm buying. I remember a while back watching one of those "flip this house" type shows, and one of the rare flippers who actually knew what they were doing stated that you make money when you buy, and the best you can hope for is to not lose it before you sell it. It's the same way with reselling electronics.

The other thing that was good is I slightly reduced the amount of stuff in my house, which is good. Winter tends to be a very slow period for selling - few 'fests, and small ones - so I've bought a bunch of stuff, and am literally tripping over servers, pc's, and other inventory. I've run out of room in my basement storage area and have stuff stacked in my hallway and the family rooms. Aside from making me look like I'll be appearing on next week's Hoarders on A&E, it means I have limited room to buy new inventory when I have the opportunity because I don't have a place for it. Last week I had a chance to buy some very cheap year-old pc's with widescreen monitors from an online auction of a mortgage scam that the FTC shut down - I bought one lot of 7, but would have bought more - they went cheap - if I had a place to put them.

Last year I started buying stuff more aggressively, and found a few new (but not guaranteed) sources. I also started selling at more 'fests to sell that stuff, and to give me something to do and see new places. I hope to continue to do that - I'm debating about a couple that are coming up in the next few weeks in PA and DE - and definitely want to do a bunch over the summer. I've built up a ton of inventory, and would like to get rid of it so I have money in my pocket, and so I can see more of the floor of my house. I'd also like to be more selective about what I buy, so I have less stuff sitting around - but that isn't always an option, since when opportunities come you have to take them - sometimes you have to gamble on stuff that may or may not be easy to sell, sometimes you buy a huge lot at an auction because you know there are a few decent sellable things in it, and sometimes you know you are not going to get a chance to buy something like that again.

So I'll probably have a houseful of crap for a while, but hopefully also a little more in my bank account.


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