Sunday, April 18, 2010

One man's treasure is another man's bar-code.

c. David Grim (taken 4/5/08)

April marks the beginning of the sale season. Garage sales, rummage sales, flea markets, community days... all of these have come around once again, and I have my eye on Craigslist looking for listings. It also means I have to make it an early night on Friday. I guess it's ultimately a good thing to have in the back of my mind after the long work-week.

But there really is no point at all in going to these things if you're not willing to commit to waking up at 7:30AM. That's because there are semi-professionals all over the tip. And they are getting easier to spot. They generally look like early retirees, yet they are all business. If you get to your destination (say a church social hall or basement) before the official opening, you'll see some of these poker-faced individuals near the front of the queue. They're the ones that are not looking to socialize or answer any innocent questions.

As the doors open, these vultures proceed directly to the tables displaying their areas of expertise. It could be the toys, or books, or dvds/videos, or other collectibles. They scan items quickly, and start shoving stuff into their fancy tote bags. Ten minutes later, and everything worthwhile has been snatched up. Nothing left for the lay-shopper.

This season I've already seen two different people with hand-held electronic devices for scanning ISBN numbers. One guy was quickly rifling through the movies, and a woman was checking out books. When they apply their machines to the bar-codes, the going price for each item appears immediately on the displays. It definitely smacks of cheating. The focus is purely upon turning a profit, rather than finding an unexpected treasure to savor. And that's a shame.

1 comment:

  1. i couldn't agree more.... i mean, where's the serendipity in those scanners? there is none.