Thur. May 20, 2021 – slow progress is still progress

Rained all day Wednesday, mostly light drizzle with occasional heavier and lighter moments. Today will probably be similar, with temps in the high 60s or low 70s and more rain. I have plenty to do indoors…

Which is where I spent yesterday. I got a bit more cleaning and organizing done, and sorted paper for a couple hours. I should be able to power through the tabulating and aggregating that I need to do to get the taxes done.

I spent the evening watching a bunch of auctions close, including my “industrial” guy, with several of my lots listed. I was worried about the description on the lots that I was counting on to bring in the most money, but the buyers were smarter than I thought and it was fine. Everything else brought minimal money though. I am definitely seeing lower prices in the auctions now. SOME items, notably store returns and damaged packaging, are doing well, but the normal ‘estate’ stuff and ‘surplus’ stuff is very cheap. Had a chat with one seller and he thinks more people are discovering the auctions and are buying for their own use. It was mainly resellers for a long time. Buying for yourself, you can afford to pay more than a reseller, who has to make money on the item when HE sells it.

The resellers will have to shift gears or find a new supply in order to stay in business if retail buyers keep driving up the prices. I’ve seen it before in the surplus auctions. New money comes in, prices go up, because they are still far below retail and the new money thinks they are great, but eventually the new money stops buying or learns what the price SHOULD be, ie. lower.

The exceptions to the low prices are anything gun related or precious metal related. If it’s been in short supply, the auctions are satisfying the demand with some supply, and people are willing to pay for the privilege. Although I have to say, while there is still some oddball ammo showing up, and it sells well, there isn’t as much as last month. There are VERY FEW guns of any sort coming up lately.

My feeling is, more people are moving into the ‘secondary’ economy, shopping thrifts, estate/garage/yard sales, auctions, and other non-retail options. More people are moving into the ‘secondary’ economy on the sell side too, looking for a side hustle, or as a primary income source, or as just a way to feed their addiction to shopping. I’m seeing far more street vendors around my neighborhood, and in the places I drive through too. If you’ve been in a third world city, you know the ones- cheap flashy stuff to give to a date, flowers, water and sodas or “cocas”, mysterious food hanging from sticks hawked on street corners, clothes or shoes on tables in the parking lot of a closed business… and a lot more food trucks all over town. This is in addition to the used tire shops, the corner fruit stands, and the little kiosk places to do phone unlocking, card loading, vape refills, etc. All the cheap pleasures and necessities of daily life at the lower end of the economy.

We are well on our way down the slope, and yes, there IS ‘a lot of ruin’ in a country, ours especially, but absent something out of left field (benevolent aliens?), we’re on the slope, and the pace seems to be accelerating.

Think hard about what that might really mean for you, and your dependents. Then do some prepping. And stacking. Always stacking.

nick