Sunday, October 24, 2004

Going Once

I'm such a computer geek it's surprising I haven't gotten more involved in stuff like this before, but I've never really dealt with Ebay.

I've bought a couple of Ebay items over the years, but really I had Amy buy them for me. They were inexpensive little things, a case for a cell phone, a portable keyboard for my palm pilot, and for my Pocket PC. That's been the extent of it.

Recently a store opened near us called "I Sold It On Ebay", and I thought, "Why not?" We took a few items over there (actually Amy and I were the very first customers at that store) and sold them.

There were a bunch of comic books which Gordon had given my stepson Joey years ago. Joey had thrown them in the trash when I ordered asked him to clean out his room on one of his last visits, and I rescued them. They'd been sitting in the garage and were likely going to get tossed in the trash again the next time we clean the garage (target date: sense setting unreasonable goals).

I put them in plastic bags and took them over to the store. I figured if they brought in a fortune I'd split the money with Gordon as a nice surprise. The entire lot sold for 5 bucks and the buyer is talking about backing out, so Gordon if they sell I'll buy you a diet coke or something. I Sold It On Ebay also takes a 30 percent cut.

We also brought them the Dick Tracy watch Microsoft sent me which was simply too silly to own.

I have ethical objections to "selling" stuff I'm sent by companies to "review". I've never done's not illegal or anything, I simply don't like the idea of it. In the past I've donated any usable items to charity or given them away to people who could use or enjoy them. The items are mine to keep, not selling them is simply a rule I made up for myself. It's also a rule I established when our bank balance hovered above the "zero" mark less often.

I certainly wouldn't solicit an item to "review" and then turn around and sell it, but I've decided to modify the rule a little.

First if it's an item a company sends me unsolicited and is inappropriate for charity, it's a possibility for Ebay.

Second, as with the case of the Dick Tracy watch, if it's something that ended up actually costing me money I am not going to feel guilty about selling it.

It still ticks me off that I had to pay money to write a review for Microsoft's product. They immediately began charging me for their monthly MSN mobile service amid assurances I wouldn't be charged. I had to cancel the service, never did get a response from Microsoft or their P.R. agency, and I was out ten bucks.

Paying Microsoft money to give them free publicity???? ethical objections fell by the wayside on that one and time ran out for Dick. The gumshoe Smart Watch went on the block.


112 bucks! Less, 30 percent, plus Paypal and Ebay fees....still we should pocket 70 or 80 bucks on the deal and someone who actually wants the silliest watch on Earth now owns one.

Moreover I've gotten even with Microsoft in some small way, although the buyer will now subscribe to their service so they're getting a profit they didn't expect too.

So now I have the Ebay bug...and have decided I can do it without a middle man.

I'm testing my skills with the sale of Mad Magazine's CD-Rom collection of every magazine edition they put out from 1952 to 1998. It was a product I received years ago when I did a computer show on the radio. I looked at it a couple of times. It brought back memories...then it took up shelf space. Soon it ended up in a box gathering dust.

It can't be donated; it's actually made for computer operating systems that are out of date, so really only a collector would want it.

At a garage sale it would sell for a buck or two...I figured on Ebay it'll sell for more.

So far bidding is up to around 15 bucks.

I'm not going to get rich, but I have to admit I'm now eying everything in the house thinking, "hmmm...I wonder what I could get for that on Ebay?" The dogs are starting to act nervous.

Amy's beanie baby collection.....? We have a Furby in the box that was never many suckers are there in the world?

That's a rhetorical question asked by someone who is the current owner of a Furby in the box.

I'm going to continue to donate "new software" I receive at the office to my favorite local charity, but stuff I've had in my closet for years that is for all intents and purposes junk..."hello Ebay!"

The record collection is probably next on the list. I gave away most of my LP's years ago, but hung onto some for old time's sake. They sit on a shelf...gathering dust. I don't even own a turntable.

Ashes to ashes...dust to dust, but before that happens I'm thinking I might should dabble in turning a little dust into cash.