Sunday, July 20, 2008

One Man's Trash Part II

About a week ago, I placed an ad on Craig's List saying "A couple hundred comics for sale." The deal I was giving was for someone to come over to my apartment, go through a couple boxes of comics and take anything they want for a quarter each. Not bad, really, except a lot of these books are from when I was a kid, and I had pretty much read the hell out of them (plus, my cats used to use my long boxes as a scratching post.) I also threw in a bunch from the box I found on the street a few weeks ago, which looked like they had been in an attic for decades. It was really just a way to make some room and some money off of these old books that were virtually worthless in any other market (Believe me, I tried.)

The beauty of comics is that there are collector's everywhere, however, and I figured there would be people willing to take some of them off my hands for a rare treat that may be in there. I have to admit, though, I can't take credit for the idea. I answered a similar ad about a year ago. The person who placed the ad happened to be a very attractive young girl in Brookline who had apparently lived with a guy for a while who ended up skipping out on the rent and leaving his comics behind, so she was selling them a way of trying to recoup some of the money. She knew nothing abotu comics, so she was selling them for 25 cents out of ignorance. This, in fact, was a brilliant sales tactic in disguise. According to her (we spoke at length, as I was trying to hit on this beautiful young lady who was selling comics!), collectors came out in droves, so by the time I got to her, everything had been picked over, probably by speculators who thought they could turn a quick profit by buying Giant-size X-men for a quarter. Well, that's why I was there, anyway. I ended up buying a bunch of old Fantastic Four books for $5 that a sold on eBay for, well, about $5.00.

Alas, I did not take her stance, and so I only received one response (Well, two, but the first guy never showed up.) This guy (typical fanboy, too: slightly overweight, beard, old t-shirt) came to my apartment the other day with a backpack and one of those wire cart things, sifted through the boxes, and bought 24 books. Six bucks. I mean, good for him, but he told me he came all the way from Central Square (plus a long walk to the T, he said), stayed for about ten minutes, and then dragged his cart back on the T and left. I hope he was happy with his comics, because that's a couple hours travel time for a pretty small return. But that's the thing. He seemed quite happy with what he took (especially some of the old horror books I had found on the street), and I'd bet the house that he wasn't a speculator, just a fan.

Why can't I be just a fan? Why do I feel that everything has to be an investment? Why can't I just enjoy things for what they are? Oh, I know. Because I'm POOR!

In fact, if I re-list this ad, I might take the naive seller approach, inspired by that cute girl, and see what kind of response that gets.

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