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Beginning of the Endgame for Thrift Store Shopping?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by Antenociticus, May 4, 2021.

  1. Antenociticus

    Antenociticus Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Last weekend I took my youngest daughter to a local thrift store (charity shop in the UK) - She's at the age where "vintage" clothing is cool.
    While I waited for her I wandered through the section dedicated to books and media. The records and CDs were the usual stuff: Barbara Mandrell Christmas album etc.
    When I came to the book section there was a woman with a cart who had some kind of scanner in her right hand while a large smart phone was strapped to her left wrist. I can only presume she was scanning the ISBN barcodes - social distancing kept me from approaching close enough to be sure. Every 30 or 40 scans she would drop the book in her cart.
    This woman looked as if she hadn't read a book since 5th grade but she could handle a scanner. I'm guessing there's an app for this linked to Amazon and she was skimming the most likely candidates that would make a fast buck.
    Of course my thoughts were "I wonder if the same hustlers are doing this for music?". I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the stuff on EBay is being sourced this way.
    Thankfully Discogs is crowd sourced and so fragmented such that a barcode is just a small part of the verification process for "rare" CDs and LPs in most cases.
    Most likely the thrift stores themselves are using similar methods to filter out the low hanging fruit. Although if you were to look at the Goodwill auction website you'd be hard pressed to believe it - so much overpriced crap in poor condition, most of which goes unsold.
    What I'm really saying here is that the fun of being a collector is being throttled by greed and digital technology. As far as I'm concerned I've pretty much given up looking for the few remaining "Holy Grails" missing from my collection. Scanner woman and her cohorts have spoiled the fun of the chase.
     
  2. Joseph.McClure

    Joseph.McClure Forum Resident

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    That has been happening in the US for many, many years. I've actually seen people scan every frickin' CD in Half Price Books before! Madness.
     
  3. dr jazz

    dr jazz Forum Resident

    Location:
    park ridge,il,usa
    I see this often. I just go in and start grabbing anything of interest first. I was in a grocery store recently that was remodeling. The had wine in a cart for $3 each. A woman was scanning each one. I quickly looked and knew value and took 12 bottles before her second scan. They really hate you for this.
     
  4. Lord Hawthorne

    Lord Hawthorne Currently Untitled

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    If you know vintage collectibles, patience can be rewarding. Everything without a bar code gets tossed back, but you have to know things to reap an advantage.
     
    MC Rag, hi_watt and R. Totale like this.
  5. rjh_54

    rjh_54 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    CT, USA
    When I was in college 6 or 7 years ago I would love going to the thrift stores near me as means of bulking up my music and movie collection, whether it be adding new titles to my library or replacing copies of titles I owned that weren't in the best of shape. I loved going once every week or two and always came out with a bag full of goodies.

    I stopped into one yesterday for the first time in a little while just to take a look and was pretty disappointed. It just isn't fun anymore. There's always at least one person hoarding a section of CDs as they try to scan anything they may think is of value. It just sucks because they don't even try to hide it anymore. Kinda slimy in my opinion.
     
  6. dr jazz

    dr jazz Forum Resident

    Location:
    park ridge,il,usa
    When we had library sales pre pandemic, I volunteered. We would not allow people to use scanners or phones and I got to police this and kick people out. Loved to do this
     
  7. Defdum&blind

    Defdum&blind Forum Resident

    I first witnessed this at a charity event in the Toronto area. A woman was scanning each CD and added certain CDs to her cart. Being curious about this I started a conversation and it turned out she was looking for CDs for her business in Buffalo NY, about a 1 1/2 hour drive away.
    It occurred to me that although the app that drives her scanner is a godsend to a novice or someone who is actually clueless as to which title has value it would have little value to a seasoned or experienced collector. I had visually scanned all the same CDs in a fraction of the time she needed to electronically scan.
    Also if there was no bar code it would not be selected by user of a scanner who may not realize that many of the earliest made CDs did not have a UPC/ bar code. A lot of first issue treasures must have been passed on.
     
    Dubmart, JasonA, Dave and 2 others like this.
  8. dr jazz

    dr jazz Forum Resident

    Location:
    park ridge,il,usa
    I will also point out that the CD price at our charity library sales is 50 cents. Why would anyone scan them? Might make a horrible mistake and be out that much?
     
  9. MrSka57

    MrSka57 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse, New York
    An older woman shows up at Goodwill periodically.
    Sits in a chair and spreads herself out examining each CD
    one by one so you can't get near the shelves.
     
  10. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    The trick is to get there first and scoop up anything collectible, any import, or early metal-hub, all double of quality, and a few classics if the condition is tops.

    I don't like to talk too much about my finds at thrifts. It's not good business to give away all the tricks. But I will say it is not near the endgame at all.

    There are new things to buy now that vinyl is about all dried up.
     
    Brian J Tidquist and chazz101s like this.
  11. Chee

    Chee Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver
    The scan thing has been common for years. Just flippin' flippers. I've seen 81 year old Koreans scan every new book out at thrift and bring 8 to the register. Corrupt thrift store employees usually work with hardcore flippers. The only records and books I ever see good are from a cart just being pushed out from the back.
     
  12. When I look for used CDs on eBay, I give priority to listings from Goodwill. If they have a mastering I want, and the case and booklet is included, it does not have to be in mint condition. I’d rather the money go to a decent cause. The purchases I have made have all been dirt cheap.
     
  13. Antenociticus

    Antenociticus Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Have you checcked out Goodwillbooks.com?
    Their prices are not exactly dirt cheap. They currently list the US release of UFO's Walk on Water for $59.50. The maximum realized price on Discogs is $ 24.69 ! The Goodwill price does include US shipping though....
    Similarly the main Goodwill auction site shopgoodwill.com has 5 Madonna cassettes for the bargain "buy it now" price of $69.99 plus shipping and a handlig fee of $3.75!! Dirt cheap indeed.....
     
    JasonA likes this.
  14. krisjay

    krisjay Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maine
    Allowing yourself to be flexible is key. I'm really only in thrifts for vinyl finds. However, these days I will look at anything that looks interesting. The vinyl finnds may have dried up in my area, but there are still cool things to be found.
     
  15. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    Nothing new here. Cretins with scanners and no clue have been doing this with music and books for the better part of two decades.
     
  16. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mt. Kisco, NY
    I've seen scanners at library sales, but never at thrift stores. As long as thrift stores are accepting CDs, I'll keep going. I ALWAYS find a handful of interesting things and more often than not I walk out with 15-20 CDs at $1 each. When in doubt, just buy it. Once in a while my local Goodwill will be devoid of CDs. I imagine they must occasionally throw them all out and start over. Two small thrift stores in town have stopped taking CDs.
     
  17. MrSka57

    MrSka57 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse, New York
    One of our local Thrifty Shopper stores used to have a sign by the books that said 'Dealers - when done scanning books please return them where you found them.'
     
    quicksrt likes this.
  18. Dave S

    Dave S Forum Resident

    Also, some barcodes are not unique to certain CDs. If you go often to thrift stores, then you learn quickly what is rare as it wouldn't have turned up much before.
     
    MC Rag likes this.
  19. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    And, of course, scanning only works for things that have barcodes. So most promos and vinyl before the late '70s is beyond their scope.
     
  20. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Most of my competition at boot sales are buying to sell and don't have a deep knowledge of books or music, let them scan away while I use hard earned knowledge to swoop in and grab exactly what I want, sometimes they scoop up something I'd like, but to borrow a phrase knowledge reigns supreme.
     
    Taxman and R. Totale like this.
  21. Chee

    Chee Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver
    Very true...the scanners have to pull the clunkers and scan them........we can run the book spines or cd spines or records real quick and pull the good ones while Chauncey and Countess Chubula are pulling the duffers. I saw one south of the border guy scan shirts....his amigo did the shirt pulls. Remember the Levis guys 25 years in thrifts? It was their home......off to Japan by the Redondo Beach freight forwarders.
     
    DISKOJOE likes this.
  22. Sprague Dawley

    Sprague Dawley Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sapporo, Japan
    Wouldnt the staff have the same scan gizmo and price stuff accordingly?

    I remember when I was in a used book shop that had a wee vinyl section and a local record shop vendor was scavenging through the LP's and it looked like someone had dumped off the motherlode of metal LP's that were priced dirt cheap. I started flipping through them and the guy literally snarled at me "all mine". In a public space! Kind of ticked me off cos he didnt know what they were (Testament, Exodus, Nuclear Assault etc) and he was obviously goign to resell them in his store just down the road with a huge markup.

    I just laughed at him and managed to snare about 20 of them after he'd moved on.

    Then a couple of years later I went back to his shop, bought some of his cheapies he clearly had no idea about... and flipped them all on discogs for $$$. What goes around buddy....
     
  23. Dave S

    Dave S Forum Resident

    Sometimes they do. I overheard staff in one charity shop talking about scanning items, and if it came out over a Pound, send it to Music Magpie. They could sell it for more in their shop, but finding a customer willing to pay $$$ in a shop is difficult unless you are a regular retail shop. Of course, scanning doesn't work if there's no barcode, or the barcode isn't unique.
     
    MC Rag likes this.
  24. rjh_54

    rjh_54 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    CT, USA
    At this thrift store all CDs and records are $1.99, nothing gets individually priced.
     
  25. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    I will often skip one particular thrift store that prices all CDs $3.00. Once every two, or three weeks I will drop in and look quickly and not spend too much time. This past week I went in and found three Mint unplayed SACDs for $3.00 each. a CCR, Brothers in Arms, and a Mercury Living Presence classical title. That was a wonderful haul at $9.00!!!!

    I also found this past week (different thrift store) a 50 foot cat 6a Ethernet cable, brand new for $5.00, and it was a nicer fancy expensive brand that goes for $35+ at the cheapest online. I wanted to wire up my music server PC for streaming movies, youtube, and TIDAL from the internet. I heard that one should use a hard-wired connection rather than wifi, so I had been thinking of ordering it anyway. And there is was. I nailed it down with cable hoop type nails and the cable length was right with about just about no inches to spare. Works like a dream, finally youtube on main big screen tv, and with no dropouts or lag in loading. So cool!!!
     
    MrSka57 likes this.

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