books: stupid thrift store pricing

I'm sure I've ranted about the phenomenon of the thrift store that thinks its a boutique several times previously, but it just keeps bugging me so I'll keep whining.  =P

Y'all should know by now my opinion of "Well the Internet Says!" for determining the price of anything.
It's a useful tool if you know how to use it, but a dangerous for the uniformed, the equivalent of a drunk friend with a smartphone urging you to do a back flip off that 8' cinder-block retaining wall because it will look AWESOME!!1 on Youtube.

Thrift stores generally don't have any idea what they're doing.
Which is usually a good thing, when you're dealing with a traditional thrift store staffed with volunteer oldsters who's notions of appropriate retail pricing predate the Kennedy administration.

They get the junk for free, they sell it for dirt cheap, everybody wins!

Alas, the internet has mostly ruined that paradigm, as it has so many others.

The threat of someone MAKING A PROFIT off their donated stock caused a seismic shift in attitude- suddenly thrift store folk weren't just pricing stuff what they thought it ought to sell for, they were pricing it *not to get burned* by those shifty resellers who were taking advantage of them.

The problem here is, they still don't know what anything is worth, so their high prices end up soaking the 'innocent' buyers while doing nothing to constrain the resellers, with the result that a lot of 'okay' stuff just sits on the shelf, clogging the place up until they basically give it away at a bag sale or do one of their periodic 'dumpster amnesty' programs where the whole place goes into the bin.

Case in point, today I cruised by the wildly overpriced joint I usually ignore.

I usually find a small stack of stuff and spend between ten and fifteen bucks.
Compare with the other 'expensive' thrift store in town, with their more rational book prices, where I usually fill up one or two boxes for $20-40.

Anyway, today I stopped by since I hadn't been in a few weeks.

And I found a *total score*, a stack of Don Bluth animation tutorial DVDs.
I snatched them all up in spite of the ridiculous $3 price tag- I figured they were worth at least $20 each (I was right, they retail for $19.99 and there aren't many out in the wild, so I won't have to undercut it much).

Why is $3.00 a stupid price for a dvd?
Well, for these it wasn't.
But for every single other dvd they had, it was highway robbery- junky stuff from the Wal*Mart bargain bin, from the dollar store (a threefold mark up!  not bad!)....DVDs are pretty much a dead medium, unless you're talking specialty stuff like Criterion editions, exotic out of print stuff or, say, animation instruction.
And they don't sell very much- I stop in about once a month, and they have pretty much the same lame selection every time.

As a detriment to predatory internet sellers (like me!), high thrift store prices just don't work.
If it's worth selling online, it's worth overpaying two or three times for.
I spent $12 to make $80, and I'll take that ratio every time.
I wouldn't complain if I'd been able to get them for $4...but it doesn't make that much difference.

No comments: