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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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:
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
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
Man has remote-controlled bowels implanted after motorcycle accident, really loses his shiat when wife changes the channel
Australian teenager dies in workplace electrocution. See, this is why you should always ground your teenagers
Raw milk producer waits for ruling. Hopes for bovine intervention
Group finds high levels of lead in Disney, Barbie toys, which can cause irreversible brain damage. The lead can be harmful too
Toddler falls into baptismal font. To answer the obvious question: Yes, he was saved
Music teacher jailed for playing skin flute. You submitted this with A minor joke
♫ 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 ♫
100-foot Christmas Tree crashes into bridge, makes its presents felt
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
Michelle Wie finally putts out
"The Cornhuskers are similar to the Wildcats in that they do not pass often." But enough about their grades, how's their throwing game?
Sacramento outraged after learning ex-King Chris Webber called it "a cowtown" in ESPN interview. Wait, time-out, Chris can explain everythi-- uh oh
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
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
Bangkok introduces disposable penis measuring device (measures non disposable penises as well)
Actual headline: "O'DONNELL HID SPLIT FOR TWO YEARS." With what? A circus tent?
James Van Der Beek files for divorce because apparently he doesn't want to wait, for his life to be over
Vatican condemns Twilight as "morally deviant". Because only sickos would even think about drinking human blood
Liberal college students arrested for protesting against liberal colleges for raising tuition due to liberal policies. Oh the humanities
Palin quits signing books halfway through event. Methinks we see a pattern here
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
Moby suffers from insomnia. I'm sure if he listened to any of his albums the problem would fix itself
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
The Postal Service reports $3.8 billion loss, as their revenue has fallen from such great heights
AOL to cut a third of its staff. You've got fail
Obama's stimulus package was small, soft and came too soon. Nation craves a bigger, longer, thicker, uncut package
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