Scavenger Life Episode 83: What If It All Disappears? Conquering Your eBay Fears

I'm not the only one who has 80's flashbacks when I see this image. Bought for about 5 cents, sold for $25.

When we first started selling on eBay, it never seemed like something we could do full-time. Make a living selling items we scavenged? No way. Then, as we began to consistently list and fill our store, it just became a numbers game. The more we listed, the more we sold. The more we sold, the more realistic it became that selling on eBay could become a full-time job.

But then we had a curious fear: what if we ran out of things to sell? What if the thrift stores stopped putting out items of incredible quality? What if everyone else found out about the treasures just lying around, waiting to be sold? What if people stopped donating and just sold the stuff themselves? I mean, there are now multiple TV shows detailing how to "pick & flip". Do a search for "selling on eBay" on Youtube and there's no mystery. Even Goodwill now has their own eBay clone where they sell millions of dollars of items a year themselves instead of putting them out on the floor.

In this episode we talk about how we stopped worrying, knowing that there will always be waste to find. We share our strategies on how we make sure we have plenty of different sources to scavenge at anytime of the year.

Direct .mp3 link. Direct ogg vorbis link.


  1. Great program - thank you.

    Goodwill here in Atlanta has dramatically changed and now shows print outs from ebay on what their specialty items sell for on that venue - they are becoming very retail savvy and are charging top dollar in the re-sale marketplace. They used to be a gold mine - not so much any more. Plus beside - various goodwill stores sell directly on ebay - so they have become more of a competitor to sellers now rather than a resource of super "finds".

    Waste - interesting term for the treasure trove of goodies I sell and make a living at. No, it won't go away and yes, as a seller I am challenged daily to learn more about values of different types of things. I feel it keeps me young!

    Who wants to buy this waste? That is the market that is changing. In the US the economy is shifting dramatically, from people losing hours at their jobs to losing their jobs completely to the younger people not really wanting those "old" items or even the kind of clutter of collections they grew up with in their homes that their parents and grandparents collected. So where is the emerging market for these "treasures"? Globally - China may sell us their cheap goods but they have a growing middle and upper class economically now and they want those collections and rarities. Ebay fortunately provides a secure method through the Global Shipping Program for sellers like me to reach those markets.

    Best always, looking forward to more tidbits of info. Good luck to you!


    1. Yeah, we don't really shop Goodwill anymore. Maybe we'll drop in, but I find the quality has gone down and prices have gone up. So many other places to buy things though. Yard sales and flea markets are really my favorite.

      We don't call it "waste" out of disrespect, but all these items are the overflow in people's lives. It's the result of people buying too much. It's no surprise when you watch TV and it's nothing but ads pushing us all to buy more.

      Al of us are recycling all this extra stuff, helping find it a new home (while making a living!)

  2. And actually you bring up an interesting point. There is a difference between what people sell. "Collectibles and antiques" are much different from the "waste" I talk about. "Collectibles and antiques" are items that people actively save and value, passing down through the generations. It has intrinsic value by being put on a shelf and admired.

    But the $150 Cole Haan shoes (that I'll buy for $3) are shoes that someone bought, wore a couple times, and then threw in the back of their closet. One weekend, they decide to clean out their junky closet and take them to the thrift store. These shoes aren't collectible, but useful items that have plenty of life left in them. The original owner decided that they weren't useful to him anymore and was willing to just give them up.

  3. I saw a similar discussion about whether there would continue to be a market for the things we sell...collectibles... but from what I've seen in magazines and blogs and such there is a market for 'flea market style", "eclectic" and "bohemian". I'm sure the market changes over time but I don't think it disappears.

    1. Agreed. There will always be a market for well-made items. I just wonder of the cheaper production we see now in China will effect how much ends up in thrift stores in the future. Would you save any of the stuff that you buy at Walmart?

    2. Hi - new to the blog, love it!

      As for Goodwill, I've noticed that they are often filled with brands from Walmart (like "George" and my town's Goodwill makes an active effort to make people shopping for eBay feel uncomfortable. The reason I found the blog today is that I was told people like me are called "scavengers" and while the Goodwill manager repeatedly said, "Well, I'm not telling you not to shop here..." it was clear she implied they didn't want my business.

    3. Ive never had any issue at a thrift store since how would they know if I sell online? As long as I'm paying their prices, it's just a transaction. We definitely don;t tell store owners/managers that we sell on eBay. None of their business.

      Wear your "Scavenger" badge with pride.

    4. The differences between each Goodwill store are interesting. In my area, there are a few that are stocked full of dollar store junk, and never have anything good. Then there is one that almost always has great stuff, and seems to welcome resellers or "scavengers". Everyone there is walking around with a smart phone, googling whether something is worth reselling. But another Goodwill the next town over gives me the hairy eye, and asked me "What do you do with all the things you buy?" Sometimes I say "I collect things", and sometimes I say "We are moving from a 2 bedroom apartment to a house, so we need to furnish it" (both are true).

  4. Ha! I am one baby boomer who is not quite ready to hand over my collected treasure to my children quite yet. Besides, that is how all those things end up at Goodwill--thinking your kids will appreciate anything you love. They think its just junk. :-)