Two stories on finding profitable media in the most unlikely of places (i.e. the bulk foods section).
Part I: Whole Foods arbitrage
The hidden benefits of “compulsive scanning syndrome”
I scan everything compulsively. It doesn’t matter where I am, or even if an item is for sale, I’m always scanning. I’ll scan friend’s bookshelves, private label coffee at the local cafe, even the box of jellies at the Holiday Inn continental breakfast. A psychotherapist could probably have a great time dissecting my disorder. The explanation I give myself is: Even if I know something can’t be bought-low-and-sold-high on
It was this compulsion that brought me to scan a DVD in aisle 11 at Whole Foods.
I was there to buy food, but I stopped to check out the DVD section for no real reason. I picked up a documentary and (again, compulsively) scanned it. The app said “No
So I pulled up the
I did the quick math here: A brand new film big enough to be carried in Whole Foods certainly had demand. And as I covered before, most product searches don’t begin on Google anymore, they begin on
I also knew the filmmakers were likely to start selling it on
Seizing the opportunity
I bought a copy for $20. I created an
And one week later, it sold. Factoring in costs and
So I went back and bought another copy. Two weeks later, that one sold.
The third copy sat a little longer, but a month later it sold on
After the third copy, the filmmakers finally got on board, set up their own
But before they ruined my racket, I put $180 in my pocket with almost no effort (I’m in Whole Foods 5x a week anyway).
Part II: Staples arbitrage
Recently I was in Staples (yes, dropping off
I didn’t have my scanner on me, but at 50 cents, I could safely assume there was
The highlight was a dozen or so Moleskine journals, some of which had fallen out of print. Moleskines have a rabid fan base, and are considered the most esteemed writing journals. To the point that many collect them. This made it no surprise when I scanned them later and found that the out of print ones were listed on
All the Moleskine’s and most of the rest of it sold over the next six weeks. This quick case of “accidental sourcing” bought me several hundred dollars in profit.
These are small examples of what can happen if you keep your eyes open. I certainly don’t encourage scanning everything everywhere. But if you do, occasionally it pays off…