good will

It is Saturday so I decided to do my weekly hibernation and sleep in. Unfortunately when I awoke the day was half over. I hate that. Around 1pm, I got dressed and headed over to Starbucks to work on the blog and study the gaming software I picked up. And unfortunately my usual Starbucks at Bayhill was full. No private tables, nor any spots on the counter were free. So I had to abandon it.

Went to my secret wifi hangout, a Wendy’s which happens to keep their wifi unlocked-But before that I dropped by a nearby Salvation Army thrift store.

I love thrift stores. The randomness of it all makes it interesting. Back when gaming was more or less still a niche hobby for little kids, and games were still considered toys, I used to make rounds around all the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, and even flea markets looking for cheap games, and other good second hand deals. My collection was quite large. I had several rare gaming consoles, and many many games. I made some good extra cash selling most of it on a growing eBay market.

Then of course, gaming became more mainstream around the time when PS2 was joined by Xbox, and many other people were doing what I was doing. Things that were rare just weren’t worth it anymore, so I generally gave it up, and generally just pick up things I want to try playing. At least I can say I was a hardcore collector at one point, and can talk the talk.

In any case, I still get the itch to look around thrift stores. And lately it’s been something of entertainment for me. I tend to see the same people every time I go in now. It seems the reseller market has grown quite a bit, not just for video games, but for virtually anything. There are people there primarily for shoes, primarily for bikes, primarily for toys. They use these thrift stores to stock themselves for other business ventures, and they take it quite seriously, and get very upset if they missed something.

It makes me kind of cringe to think that these stores are basically established to help out the needy. When someone pull into the a lot of one of these Thrift stores in a Mercedes or a BMW, you know they aren’t there shopping to furnish their household with items. They want to make a buck out of something. Even worse, I now see these thrift stores are connected to the internet. They directly price many items now based on eBay sales.  And if they are having one of their many 50% off sales, they hike the price up of items to simply outrageous prices.

For example. Today, I spied a used lone Logitech MX5000 Bluetooth keyboard minus the mouse and bluetooth usb dongle. It was a little beat-up, not too dirty. I opened up the battery compartment, and there were batteries present and not leaking. I turned the on button, and nothing came on the lcd. Of course, I switched the batteries around, and there was enough juice present to turn it on. Knowing it was still bluetooth sync-able without the dongle, I successfully synced it with my smartphone. To my surprise it worked, and even the multi-media keys controlled the sound, and media player. It was really neat.

Since it was a keyboard, I figured the usual price would apply-some five to 10 dollars (which I would gladly pay). I flipped the keyboard over and finally looked at the sticker price-They wanted fifty bucks!

I immediately searched Logitech MX5000 bluetooth  on eBay and lo and behold, a complete set was commonly (attempted to be) sold at fifty dollars. Even with their weekend sale of 50% off, they still want twenty-five dollars for this lone keyboard. Ridiculous. I rationalized it rather quickly-Nope, no way! They’re fekin nuts! The sad thing is I know someone will pay that price, but I do wonder how long it will sit. I probably helped the store out by getting it to work too-But that’s what I do-I like to tinker.

A nice Indian fellow and his wife were in the electronics area as I was finishing messing with the MX5000, and I overheard them looking at an older hp flat panel monitor. The guy said he really needed a new monitor, and this was in fact the cheapest one in the store. At half off the monitor was only ten dollars. Even with eBay, the people who price items tend to mess up. Ha!

Anyway, I helped him locate the necessary cables-Essentially taking the power chord from a computer, and a vga cable from another monitor. And then I told him to stay there, and I went out to my car and brought back my laptop for him to try out the monitor. We hooked it up, and it was working just fine-No dead pixels, and all the buttons for image alignment and adjustment worked as they should. He was quite grateful. I just said Glad to help and Merry Christmas and off he and his wife went off with a perfectly functional ten-dollar flat panel.

It simply felt good to help out.

I didn’t walk away empty handed today tho. I found the perfect sized bag for my old drum machine, a virtually brand new pair of tennis shoes, and a dvd of the animated feature called Renaissance (there’s that word again) starring Daniel Craig. — Total for everything-$6.50.

Not bad.      

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