The thought process is: I can cover my costs if I buy "junk" and it is easy to get rid of. I am guilty of buying a lot of junk stuff, but it covers my gas, where I could hit 3 thrift stores in one day and literally come home with nothing.
It all depends on the area, the competition, and the initial supply. People on the coasts should be pulling the best stuff just based on sales volume and population density. I think in the Midwest most people realize the value of a dollar because they tend to have to work more for it.
Technology is a big part of it as well. If I were using a smartphone I would not have as much junk, but I would also be paying- What- $40 /month minimum on a 2yr contract? That is another sunk cost people have to consider when they are looking for the cream of the crop.
I know the post wasn't directed (possibly thinly veiled) at me, but I figured I would play devil's advocate.
Honestly If I lived where some of your guys live, I would have everything you post and probably 20%-30% of what you missed just based on my abilities, time spent, route planning, etc. I just don't know a lot about the value of games, so I buyz whats I seez.
I wasn't directing my post at anyone here specifically, just using specific examples that I see to explain why it is that I generally find tag sales to be dead ends for collecting and reselling, and a gateway to hoarding, and I don't mean El Hoardo who goes to Target on Monday and cleans out the discount rack for his Amazon Marketplace account, I'm talking A&E Cat Lady hoarding. We all laugh at the freaks they parade on these shows whose houses are full of crap, but I guarantee you in a few years, it'll be one of us on there (not us specifically, but you know what I mean) whose friends have to convince them that it's time to let go of the 800 boxes of video game crap he's bought over the years, and now has a house full of more "stuff" than he'll ever be able to play, watch, or do anything with in a lifetime. Again, I'm not judging, just giving a little insight on my opinions and though process.
There's certainly more to the economics of any situation than just "I paid X for this and sold it for Y, so my profit is Y - X". You need to factor in the cost of gas, the cost of time, the opportunity cost associated with going to tag sales instead of say, working, there's a lot of things that go into it. You need to factor in shipping costs, packaging costs, the amount of time it will take you to flip something, everything has a value associated with it, and I tend to find that with going to tag sales, even when you find the score of all scores, when the dust settles, you've still only broken even, and that's only on a good day.
Having a Smart Phone definitely helps, and while it may be a sunk cost to some, mine is always attached to my hip, and I'd be lost without it, I'm a hopeless junkie. I could probably write an essay on all the things I use my Smartphone throughout the day, and I find the $70 or so a month I pay for my iPhone plan to be worth every penny. While I've been at this game for a long time and generally have a good idea on which items make good flips, and which don't, the iPhone makes the game much easier now. On Wednesday, which is Target clearance day at Goodwill where all the returns or closeouts from Target get put out on the floor. Today at Goodwill, I found a Rapala's Fishing Game set for PS3 for $20 amongst some UDraw Tablet sets for Wii for $35. Using my phone, it took me two seconds to figure out that the PS3 Fishing game would flip on Amazon for around $50, while the UDraw Tablets were a bust only selling for $25 or so, so it makes hard decisions much easier. Totally worth it in the long run, it'll pay for itself.
I definitely agree that location has a lot to do with it. I see a lot of people here in Florida and California that make amazing finds, while here in Connecticut it's generally a bust. I have a friend who spends a lot of time going to tag sales in Fairfield county that are supposedly very lucrative, but it's still not enough for me to quit my day job.