As with others in my business, I get lonely during the working hours of each day…

Working online is not really all it’s cracked up to be.  If you have a day-job, you dream of quitting it all and heading off to work for yourself.  I know, I have had the same thoughts countless times.  You are going to be your own boss you tell yourself.  You aren’t going to be pushed around by “the man” anymore. Let me tell you, that is just wishful thinking. You are always pushed around by “the man”, it’s just that “the man” changes forms. Now, “the man” of your nightmares is time… or money… or solitude… or whatever. There is always something pushing you around, giving you the sweats!  There is never enough time to do what it takes to feel like you are getting ahead.  There is never enough money to do what you dream of doing. If you have the money, you simply dream of more to do that you can’t afford.


It is a vicious cycle of self-loathing in the workplace that quite honestly can be just as much of a living hell as a boss you can’t stand.

And, what is it with dealers holding back their best stuff to sell at shows???  We all do it.  We get so lonely that we start planning for what it will actually be like to be around other humans WHILE WE WORK. We find something way cool and we think to ourselves, “man, Joe is going to love this when I show it to him in Richmond.” We hold onto the thing for half a year, write the description, research the price, clean it up, pack it away and carry it 2000 miles down the road.  We do all this work to simply price the thing and have tons of “looky loos” gawk at it, without even bothering to ask the price of this “coolness” that is sitting before them. By the second day of the show, we are ready to discount. By the last day of the show, we take an offer of half what our price was from another dealer. He recognized the “coolness”, but has to make a living too.  SO, WE HAVE WASTED HALF A YEAR, ENERGY AND HOURS UPON HOURS OF WISHFUL DREAMING ABOUT THE DOLLARS THAT WILL BE IN OUR POCKET…  WE HAVE WASTED ALL OF THIS AND WE NOW FEEL LIKE TOTAL LOSERS BECAUSE WE JUST SOLD THE COOLEST ITEM WE HAD FOR 1/2 THE PRICE WE COULD HAVE GOTTEN ONLINE IN THE FIRST SEVEN DAYS OF OWNERSHIP!

Why do we hold the best stuff for shows when all that awaits us is disappointment?  We all do it!  We want to show off our toys.  We want all of our like-minded, bookish friends to see the “coolness” that we have uncovered.  THIS DOES NOT EQUAL $$$$ IN MOST CASES!

As a full-time bookman, I love this business and get excited about actually working with other humans, if only for the weekend.  Problem is, I have to make enough sales to cover the expenses of doing the show.  Before I know it, I am taking crazy offers on items in my stock just to cover the cost of getting out of my office… 

Even after all this, the crazy thing is that antiques dealers like myself can’t wait to get out there on the road once more…  It’s like we know that smoking is bad for us…  We all see the skull and crossbones on the pack of Marlboro’s.  We don’t give a crap. We’re lined up around the corner, just waiting to score that smoke and get our fix on.


SIDE NOTE: “No Easy Way Out” by Robert Tepper is playing in the background…

Mike Cotter

“The Transforming World of Collectible”

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