There is money in these streets!

Well, sidewalks anyway….

Today just before closing, a man came into the shop with a thousand dollar bill

As you can see, this isn’t your average “Cleveland”. This bill is encased in lucite.

The $1000 bill was printed until 1946, and taken out of circulation in by the federal reserve in 1969 by the federal reserve under the direction of Nixon. Nixon believed the higher denomination currency made it easier for criminals to launder money.

This $1000 was in a sidewalk in Barrington, RI. Apparently a homeowner in Barrington put a $1000, a $100, a $50 and a $20 all in the walkway. The home owner (according to the neighbor) put the money in there and enjoyed watching people trying to dig it out. It had been there for as long as she could remember…and was removed today.

The man who brought the bill in was doing construction on that neighbors house, and decided to take his hammer drill and pull that bad boy out of the ground.

He had already brought it to the bank and they said they could not accept it because they could not physically touch it, so he brought it to me.

I sort of wish I bought it, but I didn’t. I love quirky stories and local history, and this was both. As a mater of fact, I even put something in the sidewalk cement during construction just recently. But I don’t think that someone will try to get it out in 50+ years from now, it is only a buffalo nickel with my initials. (See that blog here: Wet Cement)

I told him he could contact the Internal Revenue Service and they would be able to “remove it from circulation” and would probably send him a check for $720. $1000 minus the 28% tax, cause the government always needs their piece of the action ūüôā

You can find anything….

As a reseller, I enjoy getting things back to people who have been looking for them for a while.  A few times, customers have contacted me to let me know how happy they were to finally find something they were looking for.  This is one of the perks to hustling.

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This sort of thing has happens to me once in a while. A customer will contact me and tell me they were looking for something for a long time and finally found it. I had a man contact after he purchased and received a “lamp”. ¬†I had no idea about the item, didn’t know what it went to, or any info on the lamp….I just figured I would list it on eBay and see what happens. ¬†When he received it, he sent me this message….FullSizeRender

How cool is it to have something that is the “only one known to exist” pass through my hands? ¬†Sometimes business is hard, but I could / would never do anything else.

Get that out of your mouth!

Get that out of your mouth! As a mother of a 3.5 and 1.5 year old, this is a phrase I say often.  You would think I would remember to do that myself.

This week, I went through more silver scrap.  As a reseller, my favorite thing I get to do is go through buckets of silver jewelry that is heading to the refinery.   I get to see all sorts of things, all different pieces of jewelry.

I saw these “items” in my last “picking”.

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I love unusual things. ¬†Anything that grabs my eye, I have to grab. ¬†The item to the right is hollow, and I thought “This is a strange whistle” and I put it to my mouth to see if it worked. ¬†DUMB. ¬†I am dumb. ¬†In my defense, these two items were not together when I pulled them out. ¬†I didn’t see there was a tiny spoon to go with this “tube”.

As soon as I did it, the woman who works at the shop where I do some picking said, That is a coke straw! ¬†Now I have no ideas how many nostrils touched this item, but it went in my mouth. YUCK! ¬†I learn lessons everyday, and this one I will not forget ūüėČ

Lessons on Losses

I recently read the book “Black Privilege, Opportunity comes to those who create it” and one of the principals is: There are no losses, just lessons. ¬†I find this to be true, and it happens to me constantly.

A few months ago I bought a diamond ring. ¬†The ring was ok, just about a carat. ¬†To be honest, I don’t like buying diamonds. ¬†I get a little intimidated because I don’t have the grading skills needed to be the diamond business. ¬†Diamonds are a very competitive business, I would rather just grab the low hanging fruit on the tree and stick to silver. ¬†I find the return on smaller items better than that on the high end items…but that is just me.

A woman came in to the shop with her grandmothers diamond. ¬†I knew this woman’s husband who passed away last year. ¬†I let emotions get involved and I ended up paying too much for the stone. ¬†She said she wanted $500, but I thought I could get more, so I paid her $700. ¬†I never talk a customer up on price, but I let my feelings get to me, and I wanted to help her out.

When I went to my diamond guy, he said the most he could pay was $500 cash. ¬†It was not like he was low balling me, it was my fault that I didn’t notice the stone had a small chip on one side. (LESSON ONE: For future reference, many jewelers will hide chips under the setting prongs) ¬†Of course I didn’t want to take a loss, so I negotiated $700 in store credit instead of $500 cash. ¬†With the store credit I purchased more silver out of his scrap bin. I figure this would be the way to turn the loss into a break even and then into a profit.

I ended up getting lucky.

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I pulled this Historic Navajo Arts & Crafts Guild cuff out of the scrap for about $40 from the credit.  I was going to put it up for $125, but I did the research and saw people asking crazy prices for it, so I figured why not ask something crazy myself!  I put it up for $999 or best offer, and within a day I got offered $700,  Ca-Ching!  I ended up turning the loss on the diamond into a profit.

I was proud of myself for the score, but I ended up not doing enough research on all the items I pulled out of scrap. ¬†(LESSON TWO: ¬†DO YOUR RESEARCH EVERY TIME!!) ¬†Just like I didn’t do enough research on the comic book score a few months back, this time I let a signed silver piece of jewelry slip by.

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I listed this yesterday, a Sterling Silver shetland sheep dog brooch. ¬†Even though I saw it had an unusual hallmark, I didn’t bother to research and I put it up for $35. ¬†It sold quick, and to another dealer. ¬†The hallmark I didn’t bother to research is Thomae & Co. ¬†The person who bought it from me has similar brooches (Dogs from different breeds) up in their store for $250. ¬†So, while I am happy I turned $4.50 into $30, I would have been happier turning it into $200. ¬†I still sent it out to the woman who bought it. ¬†She will make 6 times her original investment. ¬†I can’t hate on that, it is the game we play as hustlers. I usually get to be the one turning the better profit, but lesson learned.

Corporate Communications

I worked for my family’s business for a while. It is a communications company, installing phone systems for businesses. Some of the best saying in business I learned from working there. ¬†One of my favorites was from my Dad. ¬†I’m not sure where he got this gem, but he would say ¬†“The ass you kick on the way up the latter is the same ass you will kiss on the way down .” ¬†My dad is great at saying, he has a great Irish wit. ¬†He actually used that ass kick/kiss line in a corporate letter to one of his suppliers.

His business letters were epic. ¬†One time I was going out to Arizona for training. ¬†The class was a two week certification course, and many of the technicians went to the class before I did. ¬†I can’t remember what happened, but the my father was upset with the school and wrote them a letter. ¬†In the letter he complained about the cost of the class, and he closed the letter with “All this money spent for a school that doesn’t even have a football team!” ¬†He sent that letter out before I attended the class, and when I got there plenty of employees told me they passed that letter around the office. ¬†He was sort of a legend.

About a month ago I got a call from a marketing company, All Points Media. ¬†They asked me if I wanted to use their envelopes for when I pay people in cash. ¬†I wasn’t interested, but the man said “What if I pay you $50 or $100” so I said yes. ¬†He took my information and said he would send me $50, so I said “Send me the $100, why would I take $50 when you said $50 or $100” so he laughed and sent me the envelopes.

When I got the envelopes, he asked me to send him photos of the display. ¬†He emailed me this…cash jacket sample pic

And followed up with this text….

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I was thinking about my Dad’s letters, so this is what I sent back.

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I thought it was funny to send a “Hit the Dab” picture with the envelopes taped to my chest. ¬†I figured he would get a laugh.IMG_9784

I am glad to have made someone laugh, and pass the communications through out his office. ¬†I guess I am following that Hurley tradition of non traditional corporate communications ūüôā

My love for Cumby’s

I work for myself. I spend quite a few hours a day in my store, by myself. ¬†I like it, not having a boss and stuff, but I do miss having “fellow employees”. ¬†I have a pretty strict routine. ¬†Everyday (weekday that is) I get up, go to the gym, go home, then go to work stopping at cumberland farms on my way. ¬†I also go to the post office everyday to ship my orders from ebay, etsy, amazon, etc. You name it I probably sell on it. ¬†So these people are basically like my co workers, only I don’t tell them what to do, and they don’t tell me what to do. ¬†Almost like “single serving friends” as the term coined by Fight Club.

But these are my daily single servings.  I see the same people all the time.  The people who work for the post office and the ones who work at Cumberland farms.  Everyday, the same people at the same time.

So these single serving friends have become a part of my routine, and I actually look forward to seeing them every day.

It is strange, because every Cumberland Farms I have been in, all the employees are friendly. ¬†I only ran into one Cumbys where the one employee was a bit rude, but she was old and I felt bad she was still working at her age. ¬†Every other Cumberland farms I visit, they are all so friendly. ¬†I have been to some so many times they know my name. ¬†It is like the tv show Cheers ūüôā

So Cumby’s had a competition to see who the #1 fan was. ¬†Of course I entered the competition because I actually think I am perfect for the title. ¬†Here is my submission:

I don’t have much of a singing voice, so I went with the filter. ¬†There is only one other submission I can find, and that is this guy:

I love his video too ūüôā I can relate to this guy, we both love cumby’s, and we both have great spelling skills. This guy could be my single serving friend anytime.¬†(Also, I still don’t know if it is Cumby’s or Cumbies)

So hopefully I won, I love free stuff and can use the gift card ūüôā

Blessed….

Some days, actually most days, I think about how blessed I am.  I may not be rich, but I am living my dream.

I just had a film crew at my shop, headed by Nick Marcoux.  I made a film almost 10 years ago with Nick, called Happy Endings? (A documentary where we followed women who worked in Massage Parlors when Prostitution was legal in Rhode Island)  He is still doing filming full time.  He is a teacher at TAPA   (Trinity Academy for Preforming Arts)  He just got access to a SUPER EXTREMELY DOPE TOP O THE LINE CAMERA!  The camera is on loan from Panasonic as a demo.

He has one day to shoot, so he is filming a BBQ show, and he asked to do a profile on my shop and me.

The crew came in and I got to tell some stories on the shop, the youtube channel, and podcast Miseducation & Malarkey.

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When the crew was leaving, the young woman who was part of the crew came up to me and said “I just want you to know you are living my dream”.

(What is funny is I was thinking Nick was living my dream! I would love to film more and make a living at it)

I said, thanks and it struck me how much of a dream I am living.  Sometimes when you hear someone else say it, it really cements how lucky you are into reality.

I never though I would have this life, and everyday I think how lucky I am to have my own shop, and work for my self.  I am not making a ton of money, but I do have a ton of stories, and I make enough to get by.   I am happy.

Tips & Tricks for hustling at Yard & Estate Sales

Since it is absolutely pouring out, I decided to do a video on tips and tricks that you can use at a yard and estate sale.

  1. Get there Early!  The early bird gets the worm for a reason.  There is not much worse than walking up to a yard sale and seeing someone walking away with something you have been hunting for.
  2. Get to know the dealers that run the estate sales.  Sign up on the mailing lists and like their Facebook pages.  This way you are the first to see what Estate Sales are coming up and sometimes even preview the items before the doors open.
  3. You can use your phone to check eBay/amazon on the items you want to flip, but don’t stay glued to your phone. ¬†It is best to use your gut. You don’t want to waste time looking up all the past auctions on an item that you can get for just a few dollars. ¬†Take that time to check out the entire sale. ¬†Research the items at the end of the day.
  4. Use www.estatesales.net to map out what estate sales you want to hit.  For yard sales, I use the app Yard Sale Treasure Map.  You can plot out your map the night before, search for key words that you like to buy, and sometimes even see pictures of what that sale has to offer.
  5. For estate sales, don’t bring large bags or purses. ¬†Estate sales are usually in someone’s home and there are a bunch of people. ¬†The people who run the sale do not allow large purses because you might knock something over. ¬†It is best to bring and¬† reuse plastic store bags.
  6. Bring Post It notes or Masking tape to mark items you bought as SOLD. ¬†I have seen countless fights between people who bought an item, put it down because they didn’t want to carry it, and when they returned it was in someones bag. You can avoid these misunderstandings if you mark your items clearly as SOLD.
  7. Bring a magnet to check for silver or gold. You can buy heavy duty magnets at Home Depot or Lowes.  When you see a pile of jewelry, just run the magnet over it.  If it sticks to the magnet, you know it is not gold or silver.  Costume jewelry is magnetic. (You might still want to buy the costume jewelry depending on the designer)
  8. Talk to people.  Talk to the people running the estate sale and the people who own the house at the yard sale. You can ask for specific items, items they may have but may not have put out at the yard sale.  Also talk to the other people at the yard sale, sometimes they will let you in on a great sale down the street that they already hit.  You will see a lot of the same people at yard sales, it is good to get to know them.  They are not always your competition.
  9. Bring a flash light.  This especially applies to estate sales.  Estate sales tend to be in the home of elderly people and elderly people always have dim lighting.  Beside the dim lights, you will also have access to parts of the home that might not have lights at all.  Basements, Garages, and sheds are never well lit, so it is good to bring your own flashlight.
  10. HAVE FUN.  Some weeks you might find a $300 item for $3, some weeks you will find people asking $300 for a $3 item.  Try not to take negotiations personally, and always try to be friendly. You can catch more flies with honey that vinegar, so be friendly and the negotiations will be easier.

Check out my youtube vlog.  Please like, subscribe, share and comment.

Rain Rain GO AWAY!!!

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My face when I see the weather report for this weekend ūüė¶

Looks like heavy rain Friday and more rain Saturday morning.  I usually start planning my yard sales on Friday night, but this weather is going to put a damper that.

I might be able to catch some estate sales since those are indoors.

This break will give me a little time to prepare for the Seekonk Flea market for Sunday. Usually, this time of year I do the Brimfield Antique show, but the guy who I split my space with backed out, so I will still attend but not set up. I am going to do one day, Sunday selling at the flea market instead.

It is hard to do the show myself. ¬†I usually set up Thursday and sell in J & J Field on Friday and Saturday. ¬†Because the set up is left up, someone needs to sleep in the field to protect from theft. ¬†That someone would be the guy I usually set up with, but since he isn’t doing it this year, and I don’t want to sleep in the field so I will be skipping it as a vendor.

I did think about doing it, but I checked the weather for Brimfield and it is RAIN ALL WEEK! Brimfield is an outdoor The fields will be a mess, hard to set up, and turn out might be down.  With all these factors, I decided to skip selling and just go to buy.