Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Profitable Black Friday!

As I said previously, our 4 days in Honolulu like "dog years" gave us what seemed like 28 blog-worthy Kauai days.

On Black Friday we went out shopping and returned home to my mom's 5 hours later  Hubby parked the car and asked "Do we have anything in the trunk?"  Mom and I were silent for a second, then we both answered no.  It suddenly dawned on us at the same time, "Hey!  All we bought was Jordan's ball!"  We looked at the fancy rubber ball Jordan held that lights up and sparkles when you bounce it.  We all burst into laughter.  "Wow, this is incredible!  Do you realize we actually went shopping on Black Friday and came home with only a $10 ball?!?!"  What was even more remarkable was that we came home with more money than we left with. 

We really did go shopping:  We went to Sam's Club, Office Depot and Office Max in search of a good deal on a laptop.  We did find one at Office Max, but ended up not buying it after all.  There went almost 3 hours--after all, you can't expect us to just spend 5 minutes at Sam's Club: so many food samples, so little time!

At the risk of sounding like a paid advertisement, the next hour was the key to the "came home with more money than we left with".  We went to visit the Gold Guys at Ward Center,* armed with their full page ad.  We actually went first to the Wedding Ring Shoppe, but left because there was too long a wait and the atmosphere made us feel like we might end up spending instead of making money.  At the Gold Guys, however, there were several tables of appraisers with customers and hey, we were offered cookies while we waited.  "I'm home!"

We were finally called to a table and my mom promptly asked our appraiser if he was one of the Gold Guys (eye-rolling on my part since he looked nothing like those guys).  Turns out the Gold Guys don't even live in Hawaii.   Never mind, just so their money is here! 

The appraisal process is very drawn out, especially since there were two of us--my mom and I--each with our own jewelry junk pile:

1) The appraiser first goes through the pieces with a magnet and rejects anything that the magnet sticks to. 

2) Next he used a jeweler's loupe to check for markings such as "925" for silver, or "14kt", etc., segregating the jewelry into little piles.  This step took very long for some reason--I think he checked and rechecked every piece! 
Chemically testing for gold content
3) THEN he did the chemical test, at which point I asked why he couldn't have jumped to that step from the beginning if it was so definitive?  I suspect it was to build suspense, but he just said it was the procedure they followed for assurance, or something to that effect.  The chemical testing involved rubbing the jewelry across a small rectangular piece of what looked like black rubber.  He'd do 3 pieces of jewelry at a time, making 3 separate scratch lines on the black rubber, then added a liquid chemical to the scratches.  If they turned black, then it was not what he was testing for (i.e. there was a different solution for each karat type).  If a sample turned black, he'd test it for a lesser karat. 

I was offered $39 for a 1 gram ingot and
I later learned they go for about $60
 on eBay.
It seemed to take so long that I was beginning to feel foolish, wondering if the time and effort would be worth it.  It didn't help when after taking apart a Croton watch I had, he weighed the 24kt gold ingot that adorned the flip-up watch cover and figured that it was worth $39.  Hmmm, admittedly it was thinner than I expected, but only $39 for what I thought was the best piece of my little pile??  Uh oh! [I decided to keep my Croton watch intact and get it fixed, so "No deal!"]

The gold I sold was a much smaller
amount than this.
 When he finally got everything tested and segregated, he weighed each group and came up with my total of almost $400.  I was very pleasantly surprised, considering I didn't consider any of that jewelry useable: an old S-chain that was kinked, a plain gold chain bracelet that was too big for me, a broken anklet that was so thin it'd break again if I had it repaired, a tiny charm that I never used (seriously...a deer?!), a pendant I never used ("from an old boyfriend", just like the commercial says!), plus 3 old chains (not heavy!) that were either broken or too short for my tastes.  What was even more amazing was that he weighed it with stones and all and then offered the stones back to me (a small jade, small gold coral, etc.), although I didn't take them.  We had brought in a coupon from their ad which added another 15% which put the total at over $400.

My mother was pleased to get about $150 for some old silver earrings and two class rings (again, weighed with stones).  At one point, as the appraiser scrutinized her old pearl ring and a pair of silver anthurium earrings stamped "Ming's", I told her she should keep them.  She said "Nah, why?  I have no use for them."  He weighed them and said he'd give her $7 for the two.  "What!?  No way,  I'LL give her $7!"  and woohoo, I scored the two "antiques" for $7! 

And so we left the store after about an hour and a half, turned right into the Brookstone Store and bought Jordan her beautiful $10 light ball.   For us, it really was a "black"--rather than "red"--Friday...and I didn't have to sell a single appliqued tshirt!!

*[UPDATE:  One of my friends called me today to tell me that after hearing my story, her daughter took their jewelry to The Gold Guys in Ward Center and got over $500.  The buyer asked who referred her and she gave my name. I didn't realize they have a referral program!  So please give my name (Colleen M. Toyama, in case you didn't know) if you sell your gold there also (first visit only).  Thanks!]

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