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I Should Not Have Bought A $15 Thrift Store Mystery Box

What could it be? Hidden treasures? Resellable items? Surely not complete junk, right?

Issue #15

Well, you guys asked for it. As you can tell from the title of this weeks issue of Flip Weekly, I went ahead and bought the $15 thrift store mystery box. Is it filled with trash? Is it filled with treasure? If you were to place a bet what would you choose? Read on below, but first!

Table of Contents

What I’ve Bought

6 garage sales this weekend and only 1 purchase but man, that 1 purchase was… unique. I was on a time crunch on Saturday morning because I had tickets for an 11am session for Sydney’s “Ramses & Gold of the Pharaohs” exhibit at the Australian Museum but that didn’t stop me from hitting up as many sales as I could. I struck out at 5/6 but the 1 I did buy something from was an instant success. So what did I buy? Before you scroll further, consider this a trigger warning if you don’t like creepy dolls.

My new friend.

This guys name is Charlie McCarthy, he only cost me $20.00 and despite crawling upside down on the ceiling late at night he’s a good purchase. When I saw him inside a bag for the first time I was immediately intrigued and a bit creeped out - I had never seen a ventriloquist doll in the wild before and this one had an official looking label attached to the bag so I thought that something so niche should sell for a fair bit.

After getting past the excitement of seeing something unusual, I asked how much they wanted for it. She said and I quote: “he’s worth $400, I’m hoping to get at least $100 for him.“ I could see he was a bit dirty and didn’t want to pay $100 for something I know nothing about and I didn’t trust the $400 valuation so I was like “would you take $20.00“ and she immediately said yes and once I started to leave she said, to what looked to be her mum, “the doll is finally gone!“

So I got home and pulled him out. He was complete with a hat, boots and a monocle. I looked him up on eBay and saw comps that were sort of all over the place.

I tried to pull on his strings but to be honest I couldn’t get him to talk the way I wanted him too. If you pulled on his strings lightly he would move his mouth but if you were rough his mouth would stay open. Was this a flaw? I did some Googling and I was 50/50 - it may have been a corroded elastic band within his mouth or it may have been my maneuvering of the strings. My excitement sort of dropped thinking he may be broken but after talking it out I decided to list him for $120.00. Why? The props (shoes, monocle, hat) can be around $20 each on eBay. I listed him for sale that night.

What I Sold

When it comes to selling video games, the classic PC game is always left out. There’s just no love. You know what though, that’s fine with me because we can clean up on PC video games. Take this FIVE DOLLAR thrift store video game purchase as an example:

Zoo Tycoon 2

Thrift store employees tend to ignore PC games so I was able to snag Zoo Tycoon 2 for only $5. Plus, this bad boy was brand new and sealed. This is the thing when it comes to video games, if they’re old and sealed, they’re worth money in most instances. I listed this guy on May 7th and he sold for full price on May 18th. $5.00 into $59.95 in 11 days. By the way, it’s also going international for a total order value of $90.22 so don’t sleep on PC games.

Here’s something to keep an eye out for in the DVD section at the thrift store. Be sure to visit your local that sells DVD’s for only a few dollars and be aware of the constant deals they’re running including ones like “5 DVD’s for $5“.

4 day sell through rate.

The DVD is Johnson and Friends which came out back in 1990. The show was pretty popular here in Australia and the DVD’s can sell pretty high - this one I bought for only a few dollars, I listed it for sale on the 16th of May for $49.99 and it sold on the 20th of May for a $40.00 best offer with a 4 day sell through rate!

By the way, if you come across anything else Johnson and Friends, you should totally pick it up. Take a look at these:

$175.00 for a Johnson & Friends plush. This in the thrift would only be a few dollars.

3 tiny figures selling for $85.00.

Now, look who has returned.

It’s Charlie, he just keeps… coming… back… he won’t… go… away…

It’s our good mate Charlie McCarthy! Charlie was listed on eBay at 5:56pm on May 18th and sold for the full amount at 8:17pm same day making his sell through rate a mere 2 hours and 21 minutes! This might be one of my fastest sales to date and I want to point out that I did receive an offer for him at 8:14pm for $102.00 and as I was tossing up whether or not to accept it the buyer decided to just pay full price. I’ve actually had this happen in the past which is why whenever an offer comes in I like to let the buyer stew for a bit just to see if they impulse purchase the item.

Here’s something that has sat since March:

Chewbacca pointing at all of the bargains I missed by rocking up to garage sales late.

If you remember back to Issue #5, you will know that I picked up Chewie at a yard sale for what worked out to be $2.00. I’m all for getting a 10 times return on my money so today Chewie was sold for $20.00 - only took 68 days. To be fair though, I only listed him on Facebook Marketplace just because of his size; I thought he would cost way too much to ship so he never made it to eBay. If he did… maybe that sell through rate would be faster.

Do you like the poses I put him in?

Resources & Friends

This week I want to talk to you guys about the 2 free resources that Flip Weekly have launched thus far. They’re available on our website at all times and are:

The entire goal of this newsletter is to provide readers with as much knowledge and resources as possible, 100% free of charge. The Google Sheet is already being used by a bunch of resellers which is awesome, but I’m still looking for feedback, feature requests and bug fixes. The YouTube reseller channel ultimate list was launched last week and we’ve already had some great submissions and feedback but of course we’re always looking for more. If you have any suggestions, please contact us here.

Google Sheets Reseller Spreadsheet - track your inventory, your profit and your sales with a super easy to use Google Sheet.

Ultimate List of YouTube Reseller Channels - this is the biggest curated list of YouTubers who focus on reselling and making money through garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores.

I Should Not Have Bought A $15 Thrift Store Mystery Box

In last weeks issue of Flip Weekly I asked a simple question through an online poll: “Should I pick up a $15 Thrift Store Mystery Box?” and offered two choices:

  1. Yes, let's see what sort of junk is inside.

  2. No, let's not fill the house with more junk.

With over 85% of the vote, the winner is “Yes, let’s see what sort of junk is inside“.


I’d like to start off by saying a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me to buy this mystery box - it was totally filled with the best items that come into thrift stores and definitely not the junk they can’t sell. Let’s see what treasures were unearthed for this purchase that I definitely don’t regret.

The anticipation builds!

I was honestly surprised at just how big this thing was. The box was big enough that it was hard to carry and weighed around 5kg - it must be filled with some cool stuff. The thrift store had re-stocked their mystery box area so people must be buying them. When I went to tell the lady at the cash register that I wanted to purchase a mystery box, she said to me and I quote “you’re brave“. Should have been a red flag but I couldn’t exactly tell her that I had to follow the results of an online poll.

The box is open and this is the first glimpse.

Ahh, hidden treasures.

A beam of light shoots out of the box and my eyes turn into dollar signs. Look at all of this stock that was carefully selected and put into a box for a regular thrift store customer. There’s so many cool and unique products that I can use in my daily life and some I can sell for a profit… like the first item that I pull out:


Look at how sweet this item is! It just reeks of profit and there’s so many uses for it. I mean the box says “return goods“ and “new“ right next to each other which are totally compatible statements so I just know it will make me money.

At this point I’m thinking… man, I wish they gave me multiples of a few items so that I can sell one and keep the other for my own personal use. Good news! They did!


Look what it is! A jawline exerciser! That’s so cool, I’m glad I chose this mystery box because they didn’t give me just 1 jawline exerciser…

All I see are dollar signs.

They gave me 23 of them! I can’t wait to hand them out to family and friends and tell them that “no, it’s not like putting 2 rubber erasers in your mouth and chewing on them” - there’s certainly 100% real, peer-reviewed science behind it. Moving on, let’s show you a group photo of all of the wonderful, valuable items included in the mystery box:

How does this look to you?





Spot anything you like? No? Well you must not be able to identify the treasures clearly so I’ve gone to the trouble of inventorying all of the items below for you.



Gas Tank Cap Door


Jawline Exerciser


Samsung Phone Case


“Generator Gas Grill“


“Button Switch Cap“


Makeup Brush


“Return Goods / New“, Unknown


Samsung Tablet Case


Ferret(?) House


Just Married Balloons


Christmas Ice Moulds


Dog Chew Toy


Novelty(?) License Plate


Miscellaneous Phone Case


Luggage Tags


Samsung Galaxy Phone Wallet Case


Vive Tracker Strap Waistband


Six Pack Bottle Holder


Car Mirror


Unknown Purple Mop Thing


Kids Socks


Galaxy Watch Band


Now in all seriousness… the box is filled to the brim with mostly junk. Not only would resellers struggle to sell most (if anything) of it but it’s also pretty useless for a regular thrift store customer. I’d guess that 95% of the items in the mystery box aren’t donations from the public, rather items purchased by the thrift store overseas in bulk amounts for mere cents and on-sold to customers for a profit. That practice is fine, it’s what most businesses do, but it’s telling that the thrift store thought that they could purchase pallets of junk offshore to sell on to there customers.

It begs the question, why do they feel the need to do this when their business model is receiving free items from donations? It’s not like donations of items have dried out, this particular store had a sign up saying that they weren’t taking donations of a long list of things. They receive donations every single day and turn away a lot. This business model has done well for them in the past considering last year Vinnies brought in over $80,000,000 in sales just from their stores alone.

Maybe it was an experiment gone wrong? I honestly don’t know, either way, don’t buy the mystery boxes.

Side note: A reminder that if you want a mystery box that’s actually filled with cool stuff, enter Flip Weekly’s referral challenge. Details are below.

What’s To Come

Flip Weekly’s flash card video game… game.. has progressed a lot over the past week. If you’re new here, we’re basically creating a website that will help you recognize valuable video games out in the wild. We’ll be doing this through a flash card type game. Essentially 3 video game titles appear on screen and your job is to select which one is worth the most.

We currently have a working prototype which pulls prices directly from PriceCharting (thanks to JJ at PriceCharting for all the help). At the moment we have AUD and USD prices for loose and complete video games for the following consoles:

  1. Nintendo 64

  2. Nintendo Wii

  3. Playstation 2

  4. Xbox 360

The first prototype is fully working.

Before releasing the game to you guys, we’re integrating a few more features such as Streaks and a Leaderboard. I think that fully gameifying it will help the playability.

Mockup concept with Streaks.

I can’t say for certain if by next week we’ll have a version ready to play but fingers crossed - development is going strong!

Your Journey to a Free $200 Mystery Box

What’s this? Catch up with Issue #13 for more information on how you can score a whole bunch of free prizes including a $200 Mystery Box!