Monday, May 19, 2008

Something to marinate on

Love calls me crazy, but I have this reoccurring brilliant idea every once in a while that usually fails to transpire (due to my semi-laziness), but is brilliant nonetheless. The idea occurred again tonight and I thought I'd mention it since it's about making money, and well, this is a personal finance blog.

As I was pulling into the parking garage of our complex after kickboxing tonight, I noticed a bunch of furniture inside near the entrance that had been left there. Nothing shocking, people usually dump their furniture there when they're moving out and want to rid themselves of it, but this time, it was different.

After I parked the Accento de naranja (I know, it's really a Hyundai Accent, but it sounds more exotic in Spanish), I meandered over to the furniture and looked around -- THANKFULLY I did, because there were some gems, people. Try a set of four tres cute brand new patio chairs, a tv, some racks and cabinets of various sorts and a lone coffee maker (ew), among the fray. The chairs are what did me in. I called Love in a flurry lit by the thought of free stuff, and he laughed at me like I was crazy, refusing to come down and look. So of course, I had to go up and prod him to come down, masking it as "taking Lolar Bear on a walk" to assuage his resistance.

To make a long story short, nothing came of it and it played out just like I thought it would: I was a Price is Right model, showing him all the fabulous features of said furniture, and he was the disinterested customer, who, might I add, kept his distance (about 15 feet) from the panoply of what could have been our future possessions, as Lola's apathetic gaze turned to the entrance of the garage, unimpressed, avoiding the root of my glee.

It was then when we were walking away that Love made me realize something: I have a problem saying "no" to free stuff. I will take it, even if I don't want it or need it, just because it's free. It's as if my brain doesn't want to impulsively make a conscious effort to ascertain whether I need, or even really want, something if I know that it's free and I can put off making the decision to trash it myself later.

Which brings me to my brilliant idea. If there's something I don't need, there's always someone in the world who will! So what better way to make a few greenbacks then kicking up some photos on eBay or Craigslist of the "free" furniture and seeing what happens? It's at this point that Love is calling me "crazy" and "weird," while slinging epithets like "what's wrong with you?" between his laughter, but it really is brilliant if you break it down. It's FREE to you, so how hard it is to take a few pictures and post them (for FREE) to see what happens? And if no one bites the bait (as Love thinks would likely happen), well, then toss it -- it was going to be tossed anyway.

Like I said earlier, I've had this idea before, but in different capacities, though all with the same underlying theme. My senior year of high school, my best friend at the time and I were hanging out in Berkeley, right along Telegraph Avenue. Between the UC Berkeley intellectuals and the stoned hippie Dead heads, I had the brilliant idea to go to all the used bookstores (there are many on Telegraph), search around in their free book bins, and take whatever good books I found to neighboring used bookstores to sell and turn a profit. We spent all day up to our elbows in free books -- everything from chemical engineering manuals to outdated encyclopedias, traipsing from one bookstore to another, but to no avail. The answer at every counter after they had looked through our books was "you can leave them in our free book bin, or try down the street." Let's just say I was the winner in the end -- not from the $0 I had made with my idea -- but with a trunk full of riveting page-turners I got to leave Berkeley with.

This scenario was reminscient of the one I thought of my sophomore year of college, in that I thought it would be a great idea to take the textbooks that teachers leave as throw-aways on the bookshelves in faculty rooms and sell them to the campus bookstore -- for a profit! I didn't want to do this bad boy without a partner in crime, but all my friends chickened out when I propositioned them, calling me "crazy" and laughing at me, much like Love does. Well, I got the last laugh because even though the plan was never followed through, I knew they could never think of a profit-making scheme as brilliant. Someday, somwhere I'm sure someone will play it out.

But for now, there's delightful buffet of furniture and kitchen appliances downstairs, with an eBay posting written all over them.

1 comment:

Red said...

Yes, yes, yes! While reading the first few paragraphs of your post, I was thinking, "You could always just sell the free stuff instead of taking it yourself." And so what if it doesn't sell? You could have it hauled off to Goodwill and write the amounts off on your taxes. Brilliant!

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