Aug 14, 2009

Make big bucks: sell your old wooden tennis racquets in Beijing

I was out shopping recently in Beijing's tennis and badminton equipment area. Quick digression: You'd think that it would make more sense to have good mixture of stores on a given street, but that's not the way they do things here. There's a specific street in Beijing that has stores selling only tea leaves. There's another street where they sell only kitchen equipment, another street with a dozen stores selling plaques and trophies, and yet another street where they sell only toys, and so on and so on.

If I had a retail business, I can't imagine setting up shop right next to a dozen competitors selling the exact same thing. My business would be forced to compete mainly on price, and my product would become a commodity -- something to be purchased at the lowest price. Incidentally, this is the same problem that General Motors had with it's many dealerships. There were so many dealers that GM cars became just a hunk of steel and plastic to be purchased at the lowest price from whichever place would give the best deal.

Now back to the tennis racquets: I was in one of the stores on this tennis equipment street, just browsing, and I noticed that among all the new, high-tech equipment, this particular shop owner had hung a wooden tennis racquet from the 80's, a Wilson Lady Evert. It was a nice contrast with the carbon fiber and fancy racquets they have these days.




So I ask the shop owner, "Hey, that's a nice retro tennis racquet. How much do you sell that for?"

She tells me, "Three thousand kuai", which is over $400 US. Realize that this is a pretty common wooden tennis racquet you should be able to pick up for under $20 from a garage sale in the US. Here's one on eBay for $26.

I guess that in Beijing, there must be quite a market for old wooden tennis racquets from the 1980's. It gave me a great business idea, which you're welcome to borrow from me. Just let me know how things go.

To anyone heading over to Beijing for a trip in the near future, I highly recommend that you stuff as many old wooden tennis racquets in your suitcase as possible. Stuff it to the brim. Drop me a comment, and I'll point you in the direction of the tennis equipment street and you can be thousands of dollars richer.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Eric is there any way to sell these without going to Beijing?
Just wondering.
Kim

1:39 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

I'm sure someone at the local flea market/swap meet may have an interest, but you'd be unlikely to get $400.

2:11 AM  

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