Should Ithaca Generator (Re-)sell commodity stuff? And if so how?

Continuing the discussion from ARRRRRRR duino discussion:

This has come up with the Board a few times in the past and we’ve never really settled on a clear and consistent policy. Having bought the Arduinos for IG, it’s an interesting question. We bought 50 because that’s the batch size from the supplier, and shared the cost of those 50 with @Jeremy, who is in effect buying in for 20 of them from IG, at cost. @Xanthe_Matychak has subsequently expressed an interest in 10 of them and we could do the same thing with her, which would leave IG with 20 Arduinos, which is still plenty for common use imho.

At some point here, though, we need to transparently and consistently offer the same opportunity to any member or to no members for the sake of fairness.

Lets say we go ahead with offering the same opportunity to any member. At some point IG’s stock of common-use Arduinos hits a low water mark (where we don’t have “enough” for the space). At that point we need to re-order, which leads to a couple of questions. In this way, IG ostensibly keeps financial equilibrium only ever being “in the hole” for the cost of one batch (50 units @ $302.11). Albeit this is kind of similar to Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill only to watch it roll back down repeatedly in perpetuity.

One temptation would be to offer these for sale to members at something higher than cost but that’s still very affordable, say $10 instead of $6. IG could obviously use the extra money to not only replenish the Arduino supply when it gets low, but also to contribute funding to other wants / needs of the organization.

Where I get squeamish is that we probably are required to collect and file sales tax if we start doing stuff like this. One way to skirt this might be to just say that the units are available to members to “buy” at cost, and ask for a suggested donation at time of “purchase” so we aren’t actually selling anything, but rather treating it like an (elaborate) group buy.

I can see this discussion leading to other shared consumables, like pre-cut lumber for the wood shop. I think it’s a healthy discussion to have and would like to hear the views of the general membership.

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Ten bucks is a great price for a real - deal arduino.
IMO if an operation is going to succeed, it must generate surplus.

  • what will be the extent of demand with Jeremy and Xanthe satisfied.

  • at the end of the day, it will be someones job to do all the things…that person alone will know how difficult or time consuming or annoying it is, and eventually will get tired of doing it. They will likely get tired faster if they are not being compensated, or if the generator sees no benefit

I believe we talked in the past about this, but never really did anything about it.

I think, assuming we can understand the tax implications, it would be a neat idea to stock small kits of various types – $10 arduinos, $2 LED throwie kit, $5 “learn to solder” kit (with instructions), etc. If we stock stuff we frequently have classes about, or things people are frequently interested in, it would help boost our ability to teach this stuff.

We have sort of done this in the past with materials fees for classes, but not everyone gets to go to classes to learn.

Maybe I’ll just check out 5 or so. Will have to see what kind of interest my students have - multi disciplinary group…