The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My Hunting Grounds

The New York Times recently ran an article on stoop sale culture in Brooklyn.

It focuses on the tension between friendly "old-fashioned stoop sellers" and the "aggressive", "vulture" dealers "who are often not from the neighborhood."

It hits a lot of my buttons. First off, if there were no "vultures" most sellers would end lugging most of their crap back down into the basement or leaving it by the curb (plus the plains would reek from the rotting carcases of dead buffalo).

Secondly: "With eBay, anyone can be a dealer" (the article quotes an indignant stoopsaler). Sure it's easy to do a basic listing on eBay, but it takes work to do it right. Item research, presentation, and copy-writing are skills that most people do not have. I snipe half-assed eBay listings all the time and I frequently pay less than I would have for the same item at a stoop sale.

Thirdly: Just because a seller finds some outlier auction that ended at $50, does not mean they can print the page and use it as a price tag on their chipped/faded/disintegrating piece of crap. eBay shoppers pay a premium to browse from their desk and have an item shipped to their door. If you aren't offering that service, you can't expect the premium.

Okay, vent concluded. This Sunday I'll be on the other side of the stoop. We're having the first of a couple of sales in preparation for a move. I'll post the Craigslist ad when it goes up.

1 comment:

Pharoah said...

All the time at some local chain thrift stores like Goodwill I will see items for sale with printed out flyers showing the same item on eBay selling for such and such a price. Just turns my stomach.
These are the same type people who put Elvis records behind glass display cases just because they are Elvis records even though they are beat up and aren't worth the paper they are printed on.