I did what any intrepid Gen Yer would do. I turned to the power of the internet! I found a place called Buffalo Exchange. It wasn't too far, just a train ride away in Wicker Park on the north side of Chicago. There were tons of positive reviews about the place too, so I felt it could be trusted. I packed up my things and headed down there Monday, October 22nd.
I'd called the boutique earlier to get a feel for what they'd be up for buying- to save myself and my back the trouble of dragging suitcases of crap there. The sweet young lady on the phone stated that they would buy old clothes, Halloween costumes, jewelry- pretty much everything- store bought or hand made. Good. She stated that I would get 35% pay out in cash OR 50% payout in store credit. Sounds fair. That's how the merchandise things in big retailers. I was pretty confident that I'd come away with at least $200-$300 if the boutique was as great as people were saying it was online. I lugged my stuff down to Wicker Park.
|Image Cred: Broke and Chic.com|
Now, I'm a smart girl. I know the signs of a struggling boutique that won't give me much pay out. There won't be a lot of people inside, the racks will have tons of 'on sale' or '30% off' on prominent display and there may even be a side show clown spinning a sign outside the shop to lure buyers in. There was none of this at Buffalo Exchange, so I walked in with confidence.
I wish I hadn't.
It took them a long time to look through all of my stuff. A very long time. I brought a lot of stuff, you know. I brought old clothes I couldn't fit, Halloween costumes I was...bursting out of, and a few accessories that I just didn't like any more. Only the good stuff, though. Bringing bad stuff is just bad business. In the end, I came away with about $150 expected cash payout OR a $225 store credit. WHAT?!
I was flabbergasted and I asked the nice ladies if the jewelry I'd brought wasn't trendy enough to make the cut because I saw that they'd heaped up a lot of clothes and hadn't finished going through the jewelry yet. That wasn't the case at all. They loved the jewelry- just about all of it, in fact. They loved the details, every little thing about it.
The issue was their pricing model. They were pricing things that I would sell for at least $60 at a potential retail value of about $30. That's just a little over cost of materials and doesn't even pay for the hours I put into each piece. It felt like someone was offering me $100 bucks for my left kidney. Granted, I don't need the kidney to live, but do you realize that this thing is worth 200 times what you're offering me?
F*ck that noise. I bargained with the ladies of Buffalo Exchange and they were surprisingly amicable about the whole thing. No one got nasty and they understood the situation. They even went back into the system and recalculated the items' worth. In the end, after examination of what they wanted for their store and what I wanted for my work, I came out a little bit above cost of goods sold. That is, for those of you who didn't have to take accounting and finance classes, BREAKING EVEN.
In the end, I came out with about $70 in store credit and $150 in cash. It doesn't sound like a big difference, but in total, that's right in the modest $200-$300 payout range I was initially going for. I would have liked to be paid out MORE, but well, I broke even on my costs and labor and I got a few jazzy clothing items to boot.
Now, I have to get myself ready for another week packed with job interviews. Catch ya later.