Saturday, October 9, 2010

Be Thankful!


Ok, so it is not quite Thanksgiving for you folks in the US, but it is that time of year. 

You know that some people want to know what you are thankful for when it comes to that day.

You and your family/friends are all sitting around the table, your gut grumbling because you have not eaten since late morning after sleeping in.... 'cause you wanted to "save space" for the big feast. The turkey was supposed to be done at 6:00PM,  and it is now 8:30PM. 

"Thankful? Who cares, I am STARVING....ok, ok, ok....I'm thankful that there is food in front of me...but I am getting irritated 'cause you are asking me questions you want me to answer before I can to dig in to the grub!"

SO, I am going to write what I am thankful for HERE, and I will just tell whoever asks to refer to my blog:

 "You can go read, but I wanna eat. Say, you want us to save you the leftovers, IF there are any?"

So, what am I thankful for?

Well, I am thankful that I am self-employed, and doing what I love to with "junk"....particularly old junk.  I am thankful I can treasure hunt, just as I dreamed of when I was a little kid. I may not diving for sunken treasure, digging up lost gold on some remote island, finding a lost mine, a cache of gold nuggets some crazy miner stashed away, but I am "living the dream."

No, it is not easy. Money is tight much of the time, likely due to a combination of thing's, such as past events in life that were beyond my control.  Life does not take you where you expect. You are a passenger, not the much as you want to think you are in control of what happens to you in life, you are not. You have some control over surface things, but underneath there seems to be things that steer you in directions unexpected.

That brings up the question: Would I change anything that has happened in the past if I could?

Now, that is a loaded question...If nothing else I didn't want to change now would change as a result of me changing some past event, then sure. But, if it has effects on the future that are unknown, why would I bother? I am fairly happy now. I am who I am as a result of those past events, good & bad.

Hmmm...getting pretty philosophical for a picking blog, eh? You had to check the title to make sure you were on the right blog, didn't you?

You know what else I am thankful for?


Confused?  Let me explain...

You know the thread I mentioned a few blog postings ago?

Well, there was another posting from someone who felt Mike & Frank were (and I quote )"rip-off artists" and she would tell them to "F***-off" if they came to her house (not quite a quote...I added the asterisks for those who tend to be offended by that word)

So, I posted a long banter in response, and I feel it should be preserved here in the blog, also. I again have edited it somewhat for congruency and ease of reading, eliminated my typos, spelling errors, etc.

One of the things that the poster said is that they (Mike & Frank of American Pickers) should be going back and giving the sellers more money when they find out the items are more valuable that they originally thought....or so I derived from her post.

That does occur....(a picker going back and giving the seller more money)...I have done it, and it works in my favour for referrals, buying more, etc. But, you do also have to consider that it is knowledge that we (pickers/dealers) make our money on.

What is that knowledge worth?

If that item a picker purchases had never been seen by anyone with the knowledge of its value, or potential value, and the knowledge of where to realize that value, what is it REALLY worth sitting in some attic, basement, field, shed or barn, rotting away?


Heck, maybe it is even in the negative! All those vintage oil and chemical cans I have rescued come to mind....I prevented them from leaking their contents all over the place, into the ground, etc.

 Many of the items pickers would gladly buy ARE destroyed, lost forever, because no one who could recognize them as valuable has seen them. I can't count the number of times I have rescued valuable items from complete obliteration because the owners had zero clue of their value....or just didn't care that the items were of value to someone else....or possibly even historically important.

So, it comes down to: What is a picker's knowledge worth?

A doctor's knowledge is something they are paid well for; same goes for most other professions. You are paid based on your knowledge, skill set, experience, education, contacts, etc. Mike has 20 years experience, lots of education in the field, a long list of contacts that 99.999% of the population does not, it COULD be argued that perhaps he is paying too much and not making enough profit, based on his skill set!

But, from what I have seen, overall they (Mike & Frank) are paying a decent amount for things, sometimes too much, and occasionally less than I'd have thought should have been paid. I suspect the times they paid more than they should have happen MORE than when they are not paying enough. Accidently underpaying or overpaying for items happens; no one is an expert in everything. Also, you are watching a TV program. TV programs are heavily edited, for a variety of reasons. So you didn't see the long list of other items they bought from the person, some of which they may well have paid too much for...or will have in inventory for quite some time...which can cost the buyer money.

So, it comes out in the wash most of the time.

Now, if they underpaid for EVERYTHING they bought, then there would be an issue....but, I see no issue at this point.

Remember, it is TV, so you only see 10% of what the transaction consisted of. Use some common sense...think that there was likely all kinds of interaction, discussion, etc, etc before (and after) something was said, done, etc.

It may be "reality" TV, but it is edited reality...which makes things not so real.


There was another post by a fellow who asked:

  "Are people concerned that the elderly are going to have their possession pilfered by the men before they can inherit them to sell?"

I am not sure if they were trying to be negative with the choice of the word "pilfered", or if it was just their choice of works at the time, wishing to be somewhat sarcastic towards the previous poster. Sarcasm can be lost in a posting....hard to get an inflection of tone and the like when just typing.

Negative or not, it is a very good question. I don't think it is a question that can be answered with a yes or no. The answer will vary dependant on the people involved and the situation.

It is a great question in that it really makes you think of what the actual source of the previous poster's discontent was.

I think that is some of the concern, that some people have. That is, those who are not familiar with the industry, the people involved, the expenses involved, knowledge, learning curves, etc, etc.


I have had some people I have purchased items from later tell me how upset their offspring (or other potential inheritors of their "stuff") were that they had sold items to me. You'd think their concern would be about "family history", items of sentimental value, etc....But, when they (the seller) talked to them (the potential inheritors) about it, the offspring admitted that they would have sold the items themselves after inheriting them!

I have bought items that I initially assumed a person's family would (or SHOULD) want. When expressing this very concern, I am told one of (or a version of) one of the following (in no particular order):

(A) I don't like my family...we're estranged.

(B) They told me they are going to throw out all of my "junk" after I die.

(C) My offspring don't care about our family history

(D) I have no family - I am the last of our line.

(E) You appreciate the items far more than any of my family ever will.

(F) They will sell the stuff themselves after I pass on...I want to at least enjoy the proceeds myself.

(G) They told me the stuff is mine, they don't need or want anything, and I should sell whatever I want to and enjoy the proceeds.

(H) I inherited this stuff from a friend/distant relative/ex-spouse/etc and it has no family significance to me.

And, as well as a long list of variations, combinations, and a few more, ummmm, well, let's just call them "explicit" versions of these statements...

SO, if you have concern about your family's history, TALK with your elders, learn, and appreciate them.

Another important thing is to find out what items are actually family related, and what is not. That teacup you are treasuring that you bought from your Great Aunt's estate auction might be something that her recent live-in boyfriend (that you hate) brought with HIM.
And that is why I am thankful for "CUT & PASTE."

Mmmmm, I smell turkey cooking....gotta go!

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

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