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How the Resale Subculture drives Black Friday, why Cyber Monday is a hoax, and some of Fark's favorite Headlines of the Week for 11/15 to 11/21 
Posted by Drew at 2009-11-23 1:45:39 PM (99 comments) | Permalink
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13034 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Nov 2009 at 2:00 PM (4 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



Back when I was in college, my parents held a garage sale to get rid of a bunch of extra heavy stuff before a big move. One of the things they were selling was an antique roll-top desk. My parents realized it was probably worth more than the $100 they were asking for it, but as they saw it, they just wanted the thing hauled away. They didn't know what its actual value was and didn't care (and by the way, this isn't one of those "and later they discovered it was worth a million dollars" stories). They placed an advertisement in the local newspaper saying the garage sale would start 8pm sharp on Friday morning. They also mentioned in the ad that there was an antique roll top desk available. Hey, remember classified ads in papers?

The first potential buyer for the roll-top desk stopped by during dinner Thursday evening. My dad told him to go away that he was too early. He tried to bid up the price to get us to sell it to him early, but my dad wasn't having any of it. He told the man to come back the following morning at 8am. 15 minutes later someone else showed up, my dad sent him away too. 15 minutes later someone else showed up. Finally around 8pm my dad caved and sold it to the next guy who showed up just to get rid of the thing and be done with it. Friday morning, people started arriving at 6am for the 8am opening of the garage sale hoping to get an advance pick-through.

This was my first contact with the Resale Subculture. Whether the motivations are hobby or business, there is a subset of consumers that buy items to resell them elsewhere. With the advent of eBay and an online buying culture, things have gotten much worse. A friend of mine told me that when she worked at the local Staples, there was a family that would show up anytime anything was on sale, buy whatever the item maximum limit was, take them home, attempt to sell the items on eBay for a profit, and then later return anything they couldn't sell.

Or take the Wii for example. This may be the first year it's actually possible to get a Wii in stores. Wiis have been sold out every Christmas since their launch a few years ago. Sold out in stores that is, if you were willing to pay $500-$800 for a $300 console on eBay, there were thousands of them.

I don't know how many people exist in the Resale Subculture, but I do know this: every last one of them will be in line for Black Friday specials in the early morning hours the day after Thanksgiving. Personally I suspect that they outnumber actual regular customers at this point. While I might be willing to wake up at 4am to get to a 5am sale at Wal-Mart to buy a $5 flatscreen TV, Resale Subculture folks are lining up the night before or hiring homeless people to stand in line for them. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if nearly all of the people in line for Black Friday specials are planning to resell their items on eBay. It's easy to do and there's no real risk involved; if the item doesn't sell, just take it back for a full refund. I wish I'd thought of doing this in college.

One store manager told me that the store workers themselves are aware of the Resale Subculture's domination of Black Friday sales. Which likely means that the corporate suits also know and intentionally gear Black Friday toward eBay resellers in return for free advertising (media coverage). Is this a bad thing? No, not really. Although it does put the point of this whole Black Friday thing in a different light. I just find it odd that no one's looked into this yet. I'd be interested to read an MSM article checking into exactly who these people are that are lining up outside of stores the night before Black Friday. If anyone submits one, we'll pop it on the main page of Fark, especially if there are interviews with drunk homeless guy line-placeholders. Those guys are soundbite machines. Don't let us down, Florida.

By the way be ready for BS stories later this week about Cyber Monday, the supposed online equivalent of brick-and-mortar retail's Black Friday. Cyber Monday was a hoax first perpetrated a few years back by some individuals looking for free publicity. It's not real and there's no data that backs up any kind of online sales surge the Monday after Thanksgiving. But it sounds plausible, doesn't it? MSM finds it compelling enough to run a story on it every year. Skip it.

If anyone's passing through Lexington, KY on their way to or from somewhere, by all means drop me a line and let me know. Especially if you do it around 11:45pm Tuesday, I have a soccer game that gets done around then and I'll be awake til closing time easily. I grabbed a beer yesterday with a farkette heading to Birmingham, we had a great time hanging out watching football. So let me know. In the meantime, I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving, eat way too much, and pass out fat and happy because that's my plan.

Headlines Of The Week for Sun 2009-11-15 to Sat 2009-11-21:

img1.fark.net  New report from the Iowa department of public health shows that 7% of 6 year olds suffer from lead poisoning, possibly because their parents are feeding them too many Pb & J sandwiches    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Danish political party admits to covering posters for opposing parties' candidates with yellow stickers shaped like penises. Nice try, but in America, we go all out and put the dicks on the actual BALLOTS    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Man has remote-controlled bowels implanted after motorcycle accident, really loses his shiat when wife changes the channel    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Australian teenager dies in workplace electrocution. See, this is why you should always ground your teenagers    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Raw milk producer waits for ruling. Hopes for bovine intervention    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Group finds high levels of lead in Disney, Barbie toys, which can cause irreversible brain damage. The lead can be harmful too    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Toddler falls into baptismal font. To answer the obvious question: Yes, he was saved    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Music teacher jailed for playing skin flute. You submitted this with A minor joke    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  ♫ I took a little souvenir-o of a man / Stole a tooth, stole a tooth, fingers and a ver-te-bra / Hidden out of sight, but now they'll see the light again / GALILEO galileo GALILEO galileo Galileo Figaro / Magnificoooooo ♫  

img1.fark.net  100-foot Christmas Tree crashes into bridge, makes its presents felt    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Semi-nude Victoria's Secret fashion models reveal untold talents and you've already clicked the link, haven't you? Have I told you about my mother lately? No, she's doing fine, just making cheesecake and some muffins this morning    img.fark.net


Sports:

img1.fark.net  Michelle Wie finally putts out    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  "The Cornhuskers are similar to the Wildcats in that they do not pass often." But enough about their grades, how's their throwing game?    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Sacramento outraged after learning ex-King Chris Webber called it "a cowtown" in ESPN interview. Wait, time-out, Chris can explain everythi-- uh oh    img.fark.net


Geek:

img1.fark.net  Toshiba sends chair into space for new advertisement. Still not as impressive as the Chesterfield Sofa which showed up in the middle of a cricket match    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Scientists come up with four ways to feed the ever increasing world population. Most of them are quite large schemes, we probably need to start with a more modest proposal    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Bangkok introduces disposable penis measuring device (measures non disposable penises as well)    img.fark.net


Showbiz:

img1.fark.net  Actual headline: "O'DONNELL HID SPLIT FOR TWO YEARS." With what? A circus tent?    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  James Van Der Beek files for divorce because apparently he doesn't want to wait, for his life to be over    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Vatican condemns Twilight as "morally deviant". Because only sickos would even think about drinking human blood    img.fark.net


Politics:

img1.fark.net  Liberal college students arrested for protesting against liberal colleges for raising tuition due to liberal policies. Oh the humanities    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Palin quits signing books halfway through event. Methinks we see a pattern here    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Fili-busted    img.fark.net


Music:

img1.fark.net  Drummer for the Kings of Leon gets married. His wife can look forward to two good years, but then it will go downhill from there    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Moby suffers from insomnia. I'm sure if he listened to any of his albums the problem would fix itself    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Man who "attacked" Oasis lead "guitarist" Noel Gallagher pleads guilty to assault. Judge will probably let him off, though, as really, it's hard to punish someone for living the dream    img.fark.net


Business:

img1.fark.net  The Postal Service reports $3.8 billion loss, as their revenue has fallen from such great heights    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  AOL to cut a third of its staff. You've got fail    img.fark.net

img1.fark.net  Obama's stimulus package was small, soft and came too soon. Nation craves a bigger, longer, thicker, uncut package    img.fark.net
· · ·
(view entire blog)


99 Comments   (+0 »)
   

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2009-11-23 01:59:53 PM
the garage sale would start 8pm sharp on Friday morning.

Well therein lies your problem ...
 
2009-11-23 02:00:07 PM
I grabbed a beer yesterday with a farkette heading to Birmingham, we had a great time hanging out watching football.

This is some kind of euphemism, isn't it?
 
2009-11-23 02:00:16 PM
Perhaps stores should be more stringent with their return policies
 
2009-11-23 02:04:16 PM
Resale subculture estimates (out number real shoppers?) reek of urban legend. Citation please.
 
2009-11-23 02:12:24 PM
I just overpaid for resold stuff on ebay so I'm getting a kick out of these replies

/a kick in the groin.
 
2009-11-23 02:12:25 PM
damageddude: the garage sale would start 8pm sharp on Friday morning.

Well therein lies your problem ...


Ahhh Farkers, you never let me down
/came here to say that
 
2009-11-23 02:13:11 PM
My first run-in with resellers was when my wife's grandmother had an estate sale and these guys were just buying stuff without looking at it.

I saw 3 of the items at the local Cracker Barrel hanging off the walls 4 months later.
 
2009-11-23 02:13:58 PM
Buy Buy Buy!!!!
Buy cheap worthless crap!!!
Jesus demands a sacrifice

That's the real reason for the season...
 
2009-11-23 02:15:05 PM
duckpoopy: Resale subculture estimates (out number real shoppers?) reek of urban legend. Citation please.

imgs.xkcd.com
 
2009-11-23 02:17:17 PM
I've done black friday in one form or another for last five years. I've never resold something and I only rarely even buy something for myself. It does seem like the deals are getting worse and fewer in-between, but at least I can pick up some toys for my sisters' kids at a discount and $5 DVDs for friends. I did have a friend stand in line all night a few years back for a cheap LCD TV. He had more time than money and he's still got that TV.

/love the postal service headline.
 
2009-11-23 02:18:06 PM
A few years ago I overheard some woman at Wal-Mart bragging that her husband was going to wait in line for three days to get a PS3 and then sell it for "way more" on eBay. I thought that was silly because of the lost wages one would incur by sitting in line for 3 days wouldn't match the potential profit (and who would sit in a line for 3 days to only get $300 at most anyway).

Then I realized that I was at Wal-Mart, and so he probably didn't have a job.
 
2009-11-23 02:18:42 PM
Years ago when I worked at a Walmart, you couldn't be the toy restocking guy unless you had been there forever and interviewed so they know you weren't hiding stuff or re-selling it.
 
2009-11-23 02:18:50 PM
Here is one of the best examples of failed Resale Subculture:

www.bttf.com

Some of these things have hit stores early. And for the desperate few who pillage Wal Mart in the wee hours of the morning, effectively depriving children of cool cars, and that have found them, they plastered them on eBay, selling them at almost $20 in some cases.

What's funny about this is as people have become aware, the value of this one particular car has plummeted over the past 2 weeks to people now selling them for less than a dollar on eBay. Why? Well as hungry collectors as most DeLorean people are, DeLorean Motor Company is now selling entire cases of these cars. for those of us that want to build little dioramas, and who generally hoard certain coveted items.

As collectors started researching the car, they seem to have come across the threads on the DeLorean boards and have discovered for themselves just how prolific these little cars are. Plus, why bother fighting and digging around for the same thing I can order online where I'm guaranteed to find it? So the joke has ended up being on them.
 
2009-11-23 02:19:50 PM
"Cyber Monday" is really 12:00 AM Friday morning. (shop on line. It's warmer and the only turkey f***s are your own.
 
2009-11-23 02:22:26 PM
I know a guy whose job used to include camping out at Toys R Us to buy up certain Star Wars toys before the kids could get them.

Strangely enough, his company sent them all to Japan for resale.
 
2009-11-23 02:23:10 PM
In other words... Capitalism drives black friday?

No story here...move along.
 
2009-11-23 02:23:48 PM
Semi-nude Victoria's Secret fashion models reveal untold talents and you've already clicked the link, haven't you? Have I told you about my mother lately? No, she's doing fine, just making cheesecake and some muffins this morning

That's beautiful. Reminds me of the purple monkey dishwasher headline, which is my all time favorite.
 
2009-11-23 02:28:56 PM
Bill Shakespeare: "Cyber Monday" is really 12:00 AM Friday morning. (shop on line. It's warmer and the only turkey f***s are your own.

Turkey Farks? Fears? Faces? Fleas? Folds? Flips? Fiats?
 
2009-11-23 02:29:10 PM
Damn, so these pages of potential Cyber Monday headlines I've been writing all year are now worthless?
 
2009-11-23 02:29:13 PM
Online e-tailers have been hitting it pretty hard with the discount codes/coupons. West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy, even Restoration Hardware. 20-30% and there's no end in sight.
 
2009-11-23 02:32:21 PM
damageddude: the garage sale would start 8pm sharp on Friday morning.

Well therein lies your problem ...


I saw that too and just assumed they live at the North Pole
 
2009-11-23 02:38:11 PM
cybrwzrd: Bill Shakespeare: "Cyber Monday" is really 12:00 AM Friday morning. (shop on line. It's warmer and the only turkey f***s are your own.

Turkey Farks? Fears? Faces? Fleas? Folds? Flips? Fiats?


Feces.
 
2009-11-23 02:38:24 PM
My friend is out of work. She checks Craigslist all day and picks up the free furniture people give away. She avoids the old upholstered furniture and grabs the hard furnishings and baby items. She has a yard sale each weekend. It's a good idea for any of you Farkers who lost your jobs. A lot of people who are losing their houses have to get rid of of stuff before they move into apartments. You wouldn't believe the things they give away to whoever shows up first. A couple hundred bucks a month for moving a few things isn't bad.
 
2009-11-23 02:39:38 PM
Heroic Poser: Years ago when I worked at a Walmart, you couldn't be the toy restocking guy unless you had been there forever and interviewed so they know you weren't hiding stuff or re-selling it.

You keep this up and someday you'll be the guy who hands out the putters!
 
2009-11-23 02:42:59 PM
Sort of like collecting news stories from other sites and reselling them for $5 a month?
 
2009-11-23 02:44:22 PM
^oh snap!
 
2009-11-23 02:46:05 PM
Mija: My friend is out of work. She checks Craigslist all day and picks up the free furniture people give away. She avoids the old upholstered furniture and grabs the hard furnishings and baby items. She has a yard sale each weekend. It's a good idea for any of you Farkers who lost your jobs. A lot of people who are losing their houses have to get rid of of stuff before they move into apartments. You wouldn't believe the things they give away to whoever shows up first. A couple hundred bucks a month for moving a few things isn't bad.

My grandmother did this sort of thing for 20+ years after she retired from nursing. It helped supplament her pension, but she said she liked doing it mostly because it gave her an excuse to get out and be social.
 
2009-11-23 02:46:41 PM
Oh sweet, 4 this week :)
 
2009-11-23 02:47:36 PM
Donnchadha: cybrwzrd: Bill Shakespeare: "Cyber Monday" is really 12:00 AM Friday morning. (shop on line. It's warmer and the only turkey f***s are your own.

Turkey Farks? Fears? Faces? Fleas? Folds? Flips? Fiats?

Feces.


I'm going with Farts.... he did say it was warmer.
 
2009-11-23 02:50:24 PM
Don't forget that most of those Black Friday items on super discount are in very limited quantity. I've seen some stores selling televisions on BF stock as few as five units. They're usually sold out within the first five minutes.

If I had it my way, I'd pass a law that said that if you don't have it in stock for the day of the sale, you must give a raincheck. Either keep it in stock, or stop jerking our collective chains.
 
2009-11-23 02:50:46 PM
I will admit to being part of the Resale Subculture. I used to be a PowerSeller on eBay, but it had nothing to do with Black Friday. Every month or so, a particular fabric/craft chain would put their sewing patterns on sale for $1 (usually, these things retailed for $15-$18ea). So, I'd buy 5 of about 20 different styles (all medieval/sci-fi/historical) each time they went on sale and post them on eBay w/a starting bid of $5. Made out like a bandit for about 5 years. Then the new CEO came in and jacked up listing fees 300% and it was no longer worth it. But it was a good run while it lasted.
 
2009-11-23 02:51:46 PM
FTFB

"They placed an advertisement in the local newspaper saying the garage sale would start 8pm sharp on Friday morning."

8pm Friday morning?

I love finding typos.
 
2009-11-23 02:54:06 PM
wotthefark: Donnchadha: cybrwzrd: Bill Shakespeare: "Cyber Monday" is really 12:00 AM Friday morning. (shop on line. It's warmer and the only turkey f***s are your own.

Turkey Farks? Fears? Faces? Fleas? Folds? Flips? Fiats?

Feces.

I'm going with Farts.... he did say it was warmer.


*sigh*

cybrwzrd's joke was struck down in the prime of his life -- too early, by an overzealous commenter who probably didn't even see he was there...
 
2009-11-23 02:55:08 PM
DammitIForgotMyLogin: Oh sweet, 4 this week :)

Kudos!

I had three, all of them in the music tab.
 
2009-11-23 02:56:55 PM
Never pay retail resale
 
2009-11-23 03:00:25 PM
My friends all did the Black friday thing to get cheap big ticket electronic goods, like tv's and monitors, etc.

They did it mostly because we were poor college kids and didn't feel partial to spending major money on LCD tv's

I'm too lazy, I just sit around and wait for a good deal to pop up on ebay or online retailers
 
2009-11-23 03:02:15 PM
Dinjiin: Don't forget that most of those Black Friday items on super discount are in very limited quantity. I've seen some stores selling televisions on BF stock as few as five units. They're usually sold out within the first five minutes.

They do this or they have $X off any purchase of anything over $X. So you think that if you find something worth $X, it's free, right? The kicker is that 1) the deal doesn't apply to anything marked down. 2) EVERYTHING in the store is marked down. Some things are marked down by only $0.01.

Never making that mistake again.
 
2009-11-23 03:03:26 PM
Dinjiin: Don't forget that most of those Black Friday items on super discount are in very limited quantity. I've seen some stores selling televisions on BF stock as few as five units. They're usually sold out within the first five minutes.

If I had it my way, I'd pass a law that said that if you don't have it in stock for the day of the sale, you must give a raincheck. Either keep it in stock, or stop jerking our collective chains.


My understanding is that unless the store flyer specifically says "limited quantities", that *is* the law. IANAL, but I think it ties into the Bait & Switch law.
 
2009-11-23 03:05:00 PM
cool story bro...
 
2009-11-23 03:06:18 PM
Claude Ballse:
Can I get it in any other color than silver?
 
2009-11-23 03:09:14 PM
rFarke: cool story bro...

how pissed were the people that came back friday morning only to find out it had been sold?

finish the farking story, man!
 
2009-11-23 03:18:31 PM
Link (NewEgg)

I don't know Drew, does a credible online electronics retailer promoting cyber Monday count?
 
2009-11-23 03:18:33 PM
cool, Black Friday is near.

Time to watch the stampeding hoards of retards killing each other for that $10 toaster special.
 
2009-11-23 03:21:55 PM
A couple years ago, I went out to get an HDTV on Black Friday. I figured I could just jet in 15 minutes before open and get one. Imagine my surprise when I found all the parking lots completly full and a line 1000 people long at 5:45 AM. When I got inside, the line for the registers wrapped completely around the store. I looked around and thought "fark this shiat". Left without getting anything. Consumerism can DIAF for all I care.
 
2009-11-23 03:25:33 PM
Dinjiin: Don't forget that most of those Black Friday items on super discount are in very limited quantity. I've seen some stores selling televisions on BF stock as few as five units. They're usually sold out within the first five minutes.

If I had it my way, I'd pass a law that said that if you don't have it in stock for the day of the sale, you must give a raincheck. Either keep it in stock, or stop jerking our collective chains.


After just perusing the Best Buy ad for Friday, it seems that they list store "Minimums", not maximums. So they guarantee that the item will be there but not exactly how many they will have ( wouldn't put it passed them to have 1 over the minumum.) However, if you read closely, there is a "no rainchecks" with an asterisk next to it.

I still remember when Best Buy would have all their CD's on sale for $5, no matter what it was, for the first 2 hours the store was open. I remember showing up and watching the stampede for the electronics and people saving $50 on a Macbook (snark), then calmly walking in and raiding the CD section and having my pick of anything.
 
2009-11-23 03:26:08 PM
germ78: and a line 1000 people long at 5:45

you could have hopped in line as the 1001th.... but they probably were only selling 999 HDTVs

 
2009-11-23 03:26:40 PM
One thing certain sites point out is that most of the Black Friday deals are also available online: prime shopping time is 12:00:01 AM on Friday, not waiting in line until 8 am.

/made some decent coin doing the reseller gig, often just to upgrade stuff over time
 
2009-11-23 03:29:12 PM
Well I use Mac/Linux...: Sort of like collecting news stories from other sites and reselling them for $5 a month?

I lol'd
 
2009-11-23 03:29:41 PM
vegasj: cool, Black Friday is near.

Time to watch the stampeding hoards of retards killing each other for that $10 toaster special.


And this is how I actually do spend my Black Fridays. I go to the mall, grab some tea at Starbucks, and watch the crazed masses who STILL haven't figured out online retailing yet.
 
2009-11-23 03:29:42 PM
I loved Drew's story about their garage sale! My family has had several garage sales over the years, with my mom in charge-she's the type that will sell to get rid of things. The last one we had was before I moved for grad school and it netted me almost $250! She made sure everyone walked away with something, even stopping to demand from a guy what he needed. He was just with his wife and not really shopping. He said, "I guess I could use a basketball..." My mom demanded I go into the house and grab my basketball, which I hadn't planned on selling and had him buy it. I think she scared people...
 
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