July 08, 2005

SOLD to the highest bidder

Just really not keeping up. There are things I am doing that are taking way too much time, and things that I should be doing that aren't getting done. And it's time to clean out the garage and put every little not old thing (and every old vintage thing) on ebay, because it's time.

You know, when I think about ebay, I think back to when I first started selling--how long ago that was. The brink of dot-comunism. Back when life was good and no one was paying over-the-limit fees.

So today I signed in for the first time since I don't know when. I found that I owed $1.83 for some long forgotten transaction, and paypaled myself into good guy status forthwith.

Then I looked up how long I've been a member of that most wonderful "we can always get grocery money by selling the [fill-in-the-blank] on ebay, honey" community.

I could hardly believe it when I read: February 20, 1999.

That's 42 years in Internet time.

And of course, that got me reminiscing... about the good old days... about some of my finest ebay moments:

1) Shopping the dollar stores in 2000 and re-selling $1 items at a profit -- especially that particular little bear figurine for $15.75 -- and did you know that people with zebra collections are willing to pay nearly $8.00 for a $1 zebra pin?

2) A particular financially bad winter in 2002 when George and I found an interesting piece of photographic equipment in -- well near -- a dumpster, took it home and sold it on ebay for $150. We then spent the next Saturday afternoon doing dumpster drive-bys up and down highway 41. [Hint--plazas with new construction...]

3) The $75 I got for one of my old Barbies, which I managed to scrub off the ink I used to trace her body parts with a mixture of Melaleuca Oil and Irish Spring.

4) Selling the little pocket books I found in my friend's attic when we were 9 -- that her dad let me keep -- for $150.

5) Bringing in $400/month back in 2001 selling anything of value in our house until there was nothing of value left.

Then rebuying all that stuff.

The early ebay was very different from the ebay today. The entire 'automation' thing hit after I had been selling for a while, and power sellers really took over the marketplace. Buyers became discerning. Sellers became aggressive. Paypal became my bank. Everything changed at once. By the end of 2002, every original dollar store item had been sold four times over, and ebay buyers just plain stopped bidding for the thrill of it.

But I'm here hoping. Hoping that when I dig out our new good stuff from the garage, that ebay will come through. Hoping that supply chain and inventory efficiencies have not been completely achieved at ebay, leaving me room for my average six-day lag getting to the post office with my shipments.

Ebay 2.0

We'll see what it's got to offer.