“Measurement owes its existence to Earth; Estimation of quantity to Measurement; Calculation to Estimation of quantity; Balancing of chances to Calculation; and Victory to Balancing of chances.” Sun Tsu
For all of us there is the justified issue of money, we may not like it but money makes the world go around, at least at this time. We can all remember times in our lives where a solid barter or trade superseded any hint of monetary distribution. When all we had to offer for a tool or even food was a trade of our services and or objects we held. Of course if there are those of you who have never seen these times, horse trading or bartering is absolutely one of the greatest skill sets we can absorb and use.
For myself personally, I have worked for multi-billion dollar corporations when a billion dollars meant something. I was middle management by the time I was 21, and making high 5 figures when gold was under $100 an ounce. Not at any point did I consider my future, sure I had a couple months of savings, and old habits instilled in me by my parents die hard so I have always had a decent stock of dry, canned and other food as well as water. However, did I really think the world could end, or that the things that have happened would.
– Honestly –
Yes, I did, see I have the benefit of something others may have never had. At a very young age I was taught there is no shame in asking someone with plenty if my labor or services were of sufficient value to trade for some of what they have. I was also taught to share what we had, even if it was little or barely sufficient for ourselves. I was taught the value of hard work, not of money. Rather I was taught money was merely a means to an end and the end was what we decided. In addition to this, I had by the age of 11 lived through a major car accident, sexual and physical abuse by the leader of the church and their friends and by the time I was 12 several major surgeries on my back, legs and knee. I was in traction most of my 13th year and at 14 was learning to walk again, thanks to extreme atrophy of my legs post surgery. You see the car incident resulted in my much advanced physical condition of grade IV spondylolisthesis at 11-12. Unheard of, the physicians gave varying degrees of diagnosis from the standard to the extreme, none very positive.
However, I was not raised to quit, my father had if anything helped me understand one thing. We can only rely on ourselves, more importantly, we cannot quit. Quitting was not in my vocabulary. So I continued on, as the second eldest of 8 children. Four girls, four boys, and at the age of 12 the eldest at home I was also saddled with the “wonderful” eldest role. Of course I had been taught to trap, harvest, raise food and hunt before I could walk as they say. I was tracking animals actively at 6 and 7 and my daughter does the same today, my son, my engineer has extreme talents just not in the same arena. I was also taught the art of the deal. To this day my parents have not that I am aware of had a vehicle that was not traded for in some manner, excepting the car I was able to gift them recently.
This is the point of the article, the art of the deal. Modern Americans fail to understand a simple principle, it is not about take as much as you can before the well dries up. No, self sustaining lives are all about creating mutually compatible, beneficial and voluntary relationships with as many people as we can. This betters our chances at finding a deal, service or object when we need one. Modern Americans seem to be trending towards looking good without substance and basically grifting those around them for whatever they can. I was raised with the mindset that we had to work for what we wanted. We earn our way and should never knowingly take advantage of others.
With this mindset, the idea of trolling pawn shops, second hand stores and garage/yard sales is not a negative. It is a benefit that has mutual rewards. There are several local pawn shops and dozens of people who gladly embrace the idea of expanding a very mutually beneficial relationship. It has allowed me to do what my father always prided himself on and so many of my genetic siblings failed to understand even to this day, keep his word even at a personal cost to self. You see, in the end, your word is all you have. If you cannot keep your word, what good are you really? Sure there are hundreds of sharks swimming the business seas, and they all die alone.
So if it is pride that keeps you from rubbing shoulders with a homeless man on the isle of the local dollar store or a sense of being better that keeps you from seeking out the deal versus always needing a brand name. I doubt sincerely that this is the page for you. By all means, have your pride and integrity, but remember a simple reality, things do not a wealthy man make, Rather it is lack of debt and a clean conscious that makes a truly wealthy man. (I am using man as a general term) I used to believe that I would trade anything for a Saudis yacht, until I realized just how terrible every modern mega billionaire really is and how much worse are those who scramble at the feet of them trying to prove themselves.
So was this a review or more of an instructional. I guess a bit of both, if I could leave you with a few points.
- Pawn shops sell at between 50 and 200 percent of the paid value of the product, the longer it is on the shelf the more likely they are to make a real deal for it.
- Yard sales are all perception, if you walk into a yard sale looking like you own a 22 bedroom mansion, you wont find a good deal. No need to lie, just remember, there is also no reason to reveal your money or status through items worn.
- Almost every single thrift store I have ever been to has at least one person who believes they are an antique dealer in another form, avoid them and deal with the others. There is no reason to overspend for something you know can be had for less. Remember, they got it for free, sure, some of them may have overhead but most utilize labor of individuals on probation. Meaning their real overhead is the electricity and the director who is likely making far more than they deserve.
- Do not be afraid to ask for the deal or offer a LEGITIMATE counteroffer to someones original Even at a box store, product that doesnt move, means lost profits, and most box stores price things at an average of 15-100% profit margin, so that dinged can of food, we know wont store long BUT will allow us to prevent reaching into our pristine stash? Ask for a discount!
Use your words, as I tell my children, be polite and firm. Tell them why you believe that your offered price is a valid one. What is the worst that can happen? They turn you down? How many of us are married and how many of us dated at some point, come on, getting turned down is nothing more than a learning experience. And an invitation to try, try again!
If it helps at all, I have a relatively decent collection of firearms, obtained overall at below market value simply because I know how to ask and what I am willing to pay. I also know true values and inflated values and I can break down and put together virtually every currently available civilian firearm known. Though unless you have a decent relationship with the owner, DO NOT do this without first asking. If you know what you are doing, they will not hesitate to make a deal with you. Because you are not buying a brand you are buying a product and are no normal customer. Know what you want and why, DO NOT be one of the modern, “oooh pretty, must have” or worse, “but honey, jake down the street…”
Free the mind and the body will follow.