Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Eating Your Mistakes

Just passing through today. In addition to the crazy work schedule, I have been feeling unwell the past few days. I was a little afraid it might be a touch of whatever intestinal nastiness that has been floating around in these parts (it took out an entire elementary school!) but I think the explanation is a little more innocuous than that.

I’m a decent cook, and a good baker, but the making of candy - fudges, pralines, truffles, even simple barks - stumps me. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to overcome this deficit in my culinary repertoire.

So far, not so good. So rather than let my friends, family and coworkers suffer, I’ve been eating the mistakes. (This weekend it was Peanut Not-Very-Brittle.)

It’s advice I wish more hobbyists would take to heart.

I haven’t been able to cruise the shopping sites for my usual research lately, but frankly, it’s been a bit of a relief. I was getting annoyed with seeing the same stuff, listed over and over and over.

And I’m not talking about low-end, bottom feeder stuff. These are things that a lot of hobbyists and collectors are still willing to purchase, even in this economy - low piece run SRs, high quality show prospects, and the like. It’s the prices that are killing the potential sale: too many of them are being listed at what seems to be the seller’s "break even" point.

If you’re going to buy into the notion that your collection is part of your investment portfolio (assuming, arguendo: it's not an idea I endorse) you’re going to have to accept that sometimes, investments tank. It’s no reflection on you as a hobbyist or person, it just happens.

Happens to me, all the time. I consider it a very good year, honestly, if I can break about even on what I buy versus what I sell. If I happen to profit, hey, good for me! But most of my enjoyment is in the hunt, not the profit.

Another factor in all of this is the way the selling sites are set up: eBay allows you to list up to fifty items for free every month, and MH$P lets you list a certain number of items per month for fairly low (or no) cost. So once you make the initial investment in putting together the ad, it’s simply a matter of renewing it over and over until the darn thing finally sells.

There’s also the rationale that repetition leads to sales. There’s a reason why shopping channels like QVC "schedule" selling times in one-hour increments. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes of someone telling you how wonderful that kitchen doohickey is, repeatedly, before your brain decides it’s time to pull out the credit card.

I don’t know if that’s the case in the online model horse world, though. Every time I see the same item listed again and again - at the same price, for weeks on end - it makes me not want to deal with that seller, ever. It tells me that something’s wrong, and it’s not necessarily the model’s fault.

(Sometimes it is, but that's another issue entirely.)

Cut the price to something the current market will bear, or take it off the market. "Eat" your failures, and move on. You’ll feel sick in the short term, but you’ll recover.


Anonymous said...

This is why I love to list everything on eBay at $1 with no reserve! It is for sale. You tell me what you want to pay. Sometimes I get way more than I expected, and sometimes I feel like I'm giving it away, but that is the way the markets work. I don't begrudge the people who want a certain price and will keep listing again and again until they get it (or don't) but it is definitely annoying when it is something I want to buy! (for a whole lot less, usually)

Anonymous said...

I've been seeing this in the area I collect (not OF Breyers as it happens). Of course people have the right to list their models for whatever they want but, after months and months of no sales (and no discounts), I get tired of looking at the same things :-) I don't believe these horses are worth what the owners want (and evidently neither does the market). It almost comes across as a kind of arrogance - I'm right, you're wrong. This IS what the horse is worth.