Friday, September 3, 2010

A debate: Do pickers "target" the elderly?

I have been responding to posts on this Facebook group, regarding Mike & Frank of American Pickers.  The whole topic is about pickers & the "elderly."

Part of this blog post is a somewhat editted version (for congruency of this blog, only) of one of the posts I left. I felt it was an important bit of writing and information that should be included here, so away we go...


In my opinion, as a profession, pickers generally don't "target" the elderly.

We look for old stuff. Yes, many elderly folks own old stuff. Stands to reason that if you have been on the planet for an extended period of time, you may well have accumulated older stuff.

There are many older folks that don't own much, if any, old stuff, so we don't deal wtih those folks much, if at all.

Elderly or not, if you have all modern stuff, we aren't interested in doing any buying from you. So, are we targetting the elderly? No, we are targetting old stuff, that may or may not belong to older people...THAT is the business. If you are 25 and own a bunch of old stuff, we are interested!

No doubt that there are individual pickers/insurance salesmen, car salesman/computer repair people (and any profession you can think of) that "target" the elderly. And as the Boomers get older, they are the "targetted" generation for the bulk of business in the world, just by their sheer numbers bulging in the population.

But to say that pickers target the elderly? No, that is a generalization that really isn't true when it comes down to it. We target old stuff.

Yes, many people we deal with are older, they have been around longer, thus have had the chance to accumulate more old stuff than the average person.

And you know what?

We appreciate those people for their knowledge, experience and stories. We will sit and chat and listen to their stories, the information, history, etc they have accumulated over the years. You may not want to listen to some "old person" babble about the old days, but we actually appreciate their stories; learn from them. The older generations have lessons to relate, history that is unrecorded, and information about our past that does affect our future. They are the most valuable resource we have in our world.

Then there are the "oddballs""... What may seem like some "strange old person" to you that you think is mentally ill, we know as eccentric; and eccentric does not mean they don't have all their faculties about them. Looks and actions can be deceiving. As an example, "Hobo Joe" (as seen on American Pickers) is eccentric, but he is 100% in charge of his mind, and is quite likely a highly intelligent individual....he is also a fellow picker. Younger pickers generally learn from experience...and from fellow pickers who have been in the business longer.

Are we "targetting" the elderly?


Appreciating them, yes.

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