Last month, I decided it was time to re-decorate the kids bedrooms. Knowing the first question from my hubby's mouth would be, "And how do you plan to pay for this?", I decided to sell some items. So this is 2008. I try to be the “modern mom” and plan to use eBay and Craigslist this time. I mean, who has time for a garage sale when we have the Internet to help us, right? Um, wrong!
Let's start with Craigslist. I listed a cofee table and 2 matching side tables. (These pieces were my hubby's furniture before we got married). The first email was from a woman who was "so interested" in the coffee & side tables, and "had" to come see them first thing in the morning.
I woke up early and polished the tables. They looked better than I remembered. I left the woman a voicemail on her cell phone and also sent an email. I then ran to Lowe’s to get paint samples to start choosing new colors for the kids’ rooms. But guess what? She never called me back or replied to my email. Guess she wasn't so interested after all?
So, I re-listed the ad. This time I got an email from a young man just starting out on his own and needing coffee tables. He asked if I would take a check. Um, no! (I've been a victim of identity theft in the past, so don't trust checks at all today!) He proceeded to say "Well it's a Capitol One check!"...okay, duh, so cash it at the bank and then come get the tables.
Didn't hear from him for a few days. Then another email, "I think I can come get the tables today." You think?
"Great do you have the cash?" and I get a reply of "Maybe".
Lesson learned, next time I am selling furniture, I will have a regular old garage sale!! People show up with cash at a set time, pick up the item, and leave. It's done in a few hours and I can move on with life.
Lesson 2: EBay. Last month, my mom cleaned out her attic, and as usual all her crap ended up at my house. (Why do parents think we want their old stuff!? As the youngest child, I have had my fair share of hand-me-downs. Over it!) Going through the boxes, I found several of the old McDonald's and Burger King glasses. (Remember before the invention of the happy meal, the fast food chains sold promo glasses?)
I listed tons of these glasses on eBay: Smurfs, Ronald McDonald and gang, Care Bears, Charlie Brown/Camp Snoopy. I also listed the children's crib beddings and some great children's clothing. Over half of my items sold, and I was thrilled.
Thrilled until I did the math! I knew eBay charged a listing fee, but as a first time seller, I never realized they charged a "Final Value Fee" (another 8 or 9% of my profits to eBay).
And, let's not forget all the shipping charges. I did charge enough to recoup my postage fees, but not enough for packaging fees. I mean, who knew how much it would cost for bubble wrap and foam peanuts to wrap up the glass? Whew.
In the end, I made around $50 off eBay. When considering all the hassles involved--taking the photos, listing the item, replying to inquiries, several trips to the post office (with 2 kids in tow!), etc etc--I am done with being a SELLER on eBay.
So back to my point...(and to my friend Dena, you were right)...next time I want to make a few quick bucks, I will hold a regular, ol' garage sale! It would have saved me LOTS of time and headaches.