Fast nickel or slow dime?

12 Apr

My friend Bea says it best: “That’s a LOT of sugar for a nickel.” And she’s not talkin’ ’bout getting a big bang for your buck!   What she means is that you’re asking a WHOLE lot from me for very little in return — NOT a good thing.

I’m the slow dime type.

At times, I think we can fall into either category. But I’m convinced it’s natural that we swing one way or the other most of the time. Call me crazy, but I like to see a profit on the junk I sell. I don’t mind sitting on a piece of furniture for a few months. There have been times that I’ve sold something that had been in the shop for so long I’d forgotten about it.

Sad but true.

And there are pieces, like my penny scale, that I’ll never mark down. Yes, they may be viewed as museum pieces since I’ve kept them so long, but that’s how I roll. AND…even so, one of my buys that I’d relegated to the museum-piece category actually sold yesterday. So there you have it. Proof that the slow dime theory is superior.

Then there are the fast nickel folks.

Take my friend Susan for instance: She’s the fast nickel type. She puts average prices on her wares in the beginning, but she starts marking things down within the week sometimes. OR she’ll say she paid too much for something, so she won’t be seeing any profit on that one thing. She’ll be lucky if she breaks even.

Being the buttinski* that I am, I finally spewed forth my vast mathematical skills in her direction. It was a long time coming. “I’m not a business woman,” is what she told me.

“But you understand math,” was my retort.

I just want her to make some money. She has a fantastic eye. Still … sometimes she doesn’t even hit that nickel for all the sugar she provides.  So I encouraged her to give it time.

She’s afraid she’ll lose customers if she doesn’t turn over her merch quickly enough.

I asked her why she cared, since she’s losing money on a regular basis.

Then I pretty much shut up.

We work extremely hard in this junking field. I almost always have a body part that hurts from lifting, pushing, pulling or any other type of creative hauling you can bring to mind. And you damn well better believe that I intend to get paid for that work. 

I love junking. And if I didn’t love it, I sure wouldn’t spend the time and labor doing it for the amount of profit I see every year at tax time.  Susan loves it, too. But she looked so tired when I saw her a couple of days ago, marking some columns “sold” and telling me that she’d be lucky if she broke even on the sale.

She was hungry.

And thirsty.

And her lipstick had faded. {NEVER a good sign.}

I suggested she look into the slow-dime theory. It might give her some time to rest. Or at least time to reapply.

*My apologies to your eye sockets if this word is misspelled.

3 Responses to “Fast nickel or slow dime?”

  1. Theresa-Garden Antqs Vintage April 12, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    Loved this post because it’s so true! I got your email and thanks for letting me know the price. It’s a great deal for sure, but since I probably couldn’t double my money I better wait. If it were for me for sure I’d say “yes”. And yes, we all want to make a profit in this biz or else why would we keep doing this. So why are we doing this again 🙂 just kidding, but not kidding about the profit statement.

  2. Junker Newbie Stephanie April 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    This is a very timely post for me. One of the guys at the shop where I have my booth subscribes to the fast nickel theory. I’m realizing more & more every day that it really all comes down to that initial purchase – what you pay for the item. I know I sometimes get so excited about an item that I don’t know when to walk away if it is truly not worth it (meaning I’ll barely make a nickel).

  3. sue April 13, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    This is so true! I’m more of the slow-dime type, whereas my sister is the fast-nickel type. I’m always conflicted, because I’m the queen of instant gratification, but know that I’ll lose money if I price too aggressively. Keeping an eye to the bottom line, especially when you initially purchase things, is key. But, I also tend to fall into the rut of just sitting on my prices, when I need to do a booth-wide sale to jumpstart things. My sister and I were just talking about it this morning. Sigh.

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