I realize that snow is still on the ground in many states, but I feel the onset of spring.
It’s that time of year again when I start attending the military vehicle shows. First up is the Southern Outpost Military Vehicle Rally.
And it’s this weekend at the Market of Marion in sunny Belleview, FL. I say sunny just in case I have super powers that I’m unaware of that allow me to influence the weather on any given date. Because last year it was 30 degrees and raining!
But I gotta tell you that I did not hear one complaint. The boys of the First Florida Chapter of the MVPA are so hearty, and so are their wives for that matter, that when they invite folks to the show, they literally say, “We’re getting together – rain or shine.” And they mean it!
…bread and butter. Actually, meat and potatoes may be a better metaphor, given that we sell authentic military surplus.
Many of our customers buy from us and then resell. Refurbishing, re-soldering, rebuilding, reselling Uncle Sam’s surplus is their main source of income. And even if it’s a side business, if they’re dealing with items that they love, all the better. We have items in over 500 categories so anyone surfing through our inventory is sure to find something interesting.
Some folks even buy from us and then resell on eBay or other online websites. Some folks buy and resell in local stores. Some folks take the surplus we’re selling and turn it into something else entirely. Here is the perfect example: Noah took a railroad car and turned it in to a bridge:
Turning Old Military Railroad Cars Into Bridges
I realized a long time ago that our customers know much more about our products than I do. As far as military vehicles are concerned, I’m learning. Someone taught me how to operate the C.T.I.S. on an M35A3 recently [central tire inflation system]. I really appreciate the MV guys who’ve taken the time to answer my questions. You’re the best!
Sometimes I catch myself saying I have to advertise X, “X” being the authentic military surplus item that the U.S. Department of Defense is trying to sell that week. But I think it makes more sense to say I “get” to advertise. Because who wouldn’t love to advertise around 20,000 items a week?!
It seems overwhelming sometimes but I’m sure it’s better than running out of inventory or getting paid to advertise the same thing over and over again. I’m sure that creates challenges of it’s own, requiring a lot of ingenuity to refresh the look of a familiar brand. The folks who work for McDonald’s come to mind as being quite good at it. And Kia and Progressive. Them, and Madonna.
Our inventory at Government Liquidation is fluid, since the majority of it comes from military bases across the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Guam. Whenever government and military personnel are finished with an item, it finds its way to us and gets posted to our online auction platform. And there’s always something interesting for sale. Or something just plain weird, which makes my day.
Here are a few odds and ends from years past that I enjoyed advertising. Let me know if you remember these or wish you’d caught them before they were sold.
Let’s say you and I met at a party. Or maybe a conference. And we struck up a conversation.
I’m willing to bet that, within minutes, you would ask me, “What do you do?”
Asking about someone’s job is the typical thing to do whenever you meet someone new, right? And maybe it’s just me, but it seems easier to continue a conversation after you discover what someone does for a living. Banking on the fact that I’m going to be asked this question, I came up with a comeback that’s both witty and [mostly] true. When I’m asked what I do, I reply, “I’m a weapons dealer.”
It’s only a little bit of a stretch because for a number of years now, I’ve worked at Government Liquidation, the direct source for authentic U.S. Government and Military surplus.
Even though the majority of what we sell is not weaponry, and most of the items are used, it’s still a catchy little phrase that gives me the chance to talk about our inventory: trucks, boats, forklifts, scrap metal, laptops, camping gear and uniforms, cranes, medical and dental equipment, machine tools, electronic test equipment and on and on. We sell items in about 500 categories. Yes, 500!
And while it’s been my job to advertise all of this surplus, it’s my pleasure to get to know the folks who buy it, primarily because they’re some of the most innovative, charitable and [dare I say] ingenious people I’ve ever met. I’m consistently surprised and fascinated by what our customers do with the surplus they buy from us. I’m sure I’ll end up blogging about them here in the future.
I know that I’ve often said, “I love surplus.” But maybe it’s not the surplus itself that I appreciate at all. Maybe it has more to do with the people who make it worthwhile to go to work in the morning. And instead of asking someone at a party or conference, “What do you do?”, we should start asking folks what I’m asking you…
What do you love?