I completed my MBA at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. At that point, I started working on a plan to become a part time stamp dealer.
In 2004, I connected with Richard Novick in Marlboro, NJ. Richard and I were fellow members of the Mailer’s Postmark Permit Club (MPPC). Richard was 81 and looking to retire from his part time stamp business. I was looking to enter the stamp business. Long story short, we connected and I bought Richard’s stock of US stamps as my entry into the stamp business.
Richard passed away on Oct 1, 2016 at the age of 93.
When I met Richard, he related a few of his stories about the stamp business to me. Two things in particular have always stuck in my mind.
Richard also dealt in post cards. He was at a show one time and a gentleman selected a card for a dime. He handed it to Richard and asked, “Can you do any better?” Richard took the card, tore it in half, and handed it back to the gentleman. “It’s free,” he said.
I would not do that. That seems mean-spirited. However, I understood Richard’s point. The post card was a dime. And you’re going to negotiate to 7 cents? Is that 3 cents really worth the effort? This is something that I encounter frequently – customers looking for a bargain price or looking for something where the effort involved is significant compared to a small monetary value. In these cases, I must simply say, “No thank you.”
The other thing that Richard told me is that other dealers will be my worst customers. At the time, I thought his remark was very odd. However, I now see what he meant.
I have had a few problem transactions with other dealers. One dealer took four months to pay for a package of material that I sent to him. It was only after I threatened to turn him into the APS and the ASDA for non-payment that he finally sent me a check. Another dealer did not issue a refund for an item that I bought that was not as described. There have been a few other incidents. I’ve had many transactions with many fellow dealers over the years. Most of them have been very good. However, the few that were bad were really bad. Now I understand Richard’s comment.
This closes another chapter in my life. Rest in peace, Richard. I hope you are enjoying the stamp club in the sky.