Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 4:19 pm | Fair 76º


Paul Burri: A Yard-Sale Mentality Cuts Both Ways

We had a huge yard sale recently. All sorts of “good junk.” Good junk is stuff that is still in fine condition but what you no longer use, or you have three of them (how did that happen?), or it was some crazy kitchen gadget that you used once and then never again.

Of course, two of the biggest problems when having a yard sale is what price to put on each item and what price you are willing to actually sell it for. And I just discovered that even here, there are two schools of thought. A friend of mine thinks he is willing to take almost any offer for an item; the idea is to get rid of it and get some money for it.

Not so for me. I guess I must admit to being a stubborn old ... you complete the sentence. My philosophy is that if I can’t get a reasonable price for an item, I would rather donate it to a worthy charity and have them make something from it.

There is something else to be said about yard sales. If you enjoy bargaining, it can be fun. I can’t say that I exactly enjoy bargaining — especially when I’m on the selling side, but I do think I can hold my own — and especially from my position of “pay me a fair price or I’ll give it away.”

One phrase that I use a lot when someone offers me a lower price than I’m asking is, “Don’t you think it’s worth (whatever my asking price happens to be)?” But even that doesn’t work all the time.

One of the things we had for sale was a very nice, like-new “ivory”-handled sheath knife that I had for years and had never used. If you went to buy it at a sporting goods store, I am sure it would be priced around $40 to $50. I put a $3 sticker on it.

Sure enough, later in the morning some guy came by and picked it up. He held it up, caught my eye and said, “Take a dollar for it?” I replied with my usual, “Don’t you think it’s worth $3?” And he said, “Oh, yeah. It’s worth a lot more than that.”

Then he put it back down and walked away!

I guess, contrary to my point of view about getting a fair price or giving it away, his thinking is, “If I can’t steal it, I don’t want it.”

Oh, well.

— Paul Burri is an entrepreneur, inventor, columnist, engineer, guerrilla marketer and iconoclast. He is available to local organizations for speaking engagements and to local businesses for business consulting and/or mentoring. The opinions and comments in this column are his alone and do not reflect the opinions or policies of any outside organization. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous Paul Burri columns. Follow Paul Burri on Twitter: @BronxPaul.

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