Monday, May 2, 2011

Class Distinctions...

Have you ever been to a swap meet?

A swap meet is basically where a bunch of car guys get together and try to sell their junk to other people.  Said junk can range from new car parts to used chainsaws, and everything in between.  Essentially, anything that you could make a buck on. 

I've been heavily involved in the local swap meet for many years.  This would be the third year that my friends and I have bought a space and sold parts there.  However, it will also be my last.

The crowd that shows up for such an event is less the eclectic.  From my observations, it is roughly 50% white men over the age of 40 who wear baseball hats all the time.  About 25% is younger white guys who range from cocked-flat-brim-hat-and-saggy-jeans-and-Monster-shirt-wearing jerks to overalls-without-a-shirt hillbillys.  The other quarter is unhappy girlfriends/wives, really old guys on power scooters, and some black and latino guys.  The racial slurs muttered by the majority are enough to infuriate anyone of even moderate tolerance, and yet the majority tend to be the biggest jerks overall. 

We are always selling Volkswagen parts.  There isn't a whole lot of demand for such things in Southeastern Wisconsin, sadly.  It's more of a networking experience than anything else.  "Oh, you guys like them beetle-bugs? (referring to our split bus' that we vend out of)  I know (somebody) with a barn full of parts for them.  Want (their) number?"  In this way, the swap meet is a very useful tool for obtaining parts.  Unfortunately, this doesn't sell parts.

The final straw, for me, was more of a moral issue.  Say I have a part with a $30 price tag.  Say that this item sells for much more than this online or elsewhere, but I just want said part out of my life immediately.  What kind of mindset allows a person to offer $5 for such an item?  This happened for EVERY SINGLE thing I had for sale this past weekend. 

I love bartering.  However, I think a line should be drawn, with one's own conscience.  How would you feel if hundreds of strangers told you over and over that everything you own is worthless, and they'll only take it away if you give it to them for next to nothing?  It's a mentally draining, and smashes one's ego to bits.

The cheapness and sleazyness of the swap meet goers is something that I can no longer tolerate.  Yes, you must be quite the parts hoarder, never paying more than half of the asking price for anything at the meet.  You insult people with your offers, but who cares?  YOU reap all the benefits, right?  Who cares if some other guy is trying to break even on his swap space?  That doesn't effect you, does it?

I'm ashamed to ever have associated with this group of people.  I'll still go to the swap meet, but I won't participate in the selling side any more.  I'm not cut out for sales, apparently.