Scavenger Life Episode 235: A "Slow Business" Is What We Want iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

We had a much better week. Pretty consistent sales. We also sold a lot of weird items we've had for a while. Those are the best sales.

We talk about our concept of "slow business" which is just a twist on the whole Slow Movement.
"It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail's pace. It's about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting." 
As we continue to sell on eBay and invest in rental property, we're trying to make sure every step of the way feels sustainable. There's no hurry at all. Death is coming no matter what we do.

Also, in the past, we were always looking for a sense of purpose and family in our work environments which was rare to find. Of course as we grew older, we realized that the purpose of corporations, companies, and businesses isn't to make us feel secure or give us individual purpose. This is why we're creating it for ourselves the best we can. We keep building our lives one slow pair of old shoes at a time.

In this episode, we mentioned the following links:
  • Because of the possible extinction of elephants, we found out that eBay will remove any listing even with the terms "faux ivory". Check out eBay's policy here.
  • Amazon continues to dominate online retail. This article sketches a picture of exactly how large their reach is, but it also notes that Amazon still make a very slim profit as it continues the race to the bottom on prices.
  • Interesting article exploring the growing problems of returns in the US. Supposedly 15% of all online sales are returned vs 8% in brick and mortar stores. Many of these returns are simply sold off to liquidators, and much of it just ends up in the landfill. Cheap junk is cheap.

Happy New Year everyone. Put your head down and list.

Our Store Week December 27-January 2, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 3899
  • Items Sold: 30
  • Cost of Items Sold: $210
  • Total Sales: $1,841.41
  • Highest Price Sold: $345 (pair of vintage wood chairs)
  • Average Price Sold: $61.36
  • International Sales: 2 GSP
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $25
  • Number of items listed this week: 13

  • ----------
    Bonanza: $385
    Amazon: $50 Book

  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 852
  • Items Sold: 7
  • Cost of Items Sold: $20
  • Total Sales: $229.94
  • Highest Price Sold: $60 (vintage climbing belt)
  • Average Price Sold: $32.84
  • International Sales: 1 GSP
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 34


  1. Hi guys. I just discovered your podcasts in December and I'm already a big fan. I'm a small-time seller from Australia but I've been inspired by you and I'm planning on listing a lot more this year. Thank you for the inspiration!

    From time to time eBay makes userid's available again. If anyone is looking for a new eBay userid, these are currently available:

    hobbies (nice!)


    1. Welcome Owen. Nice to hear from other Scavengers in Australia. Always curious how sales are since I assume you sell much less overseas because of the shipping costs?

    2. Thanks Jay. eBay is very popular here, so there is a fairly large user base. The population here is around 23 million. Overseas shipping costs are definitely a killer here though. Almost all of my sales are within Australia because of the high cost of shipping overseas. I shipped an English court wig to the UK last week and it cost $40 to send, even though it was very light. Unfortunately we have a Govt monopoly on mail here and there isn't any real competition.

      Anyway, can't complain. Thanks again for your blog and podcasts. They are much appreciated :)

    3. Don't worry Owen, We have the appearance of competition, but when it comes down to it, it might as well be one big price-fixing monopoly - or duopoly, if you prefer...On the positive side, at least most of your bankruptcies aren't caused by for profit healthcare like over here.

  2. Week of 12/27/15 - 01/02/16

    Total Items in Store: 1280
    Items Sold: 15
    Cost of Items Sold: $70.83 + $92.75 Paid Contractor to list items $64.25 = Total $163.58
    Total Sales: $498.44
    Highest Price Sold: $50 (Wool Blanket)
    Average Price Sold: $33.23
    International Sales: 1 (GSP)
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $71
    Number of Items Listed: 0

    Better week than I thought it would be, but a lot of lower priced sales. This is the opposite of last week. I was able to get that negative feedback removed because of the feedback extortion customer. Now I am back to 100% feedback. That is amazing to me. My wife does the customer service and is very good at it. She was involved in the Disney Moms competition for who would
    do customer service for Disney. She made it to round 2, but I think the experience she learned in the process has been invaluable. I think if you just treat customers right, you should do well with the feedback. Of course that is assuming that you have good pictures and good descriptions and that you accurately describe all the flaws. Since there haven't been many Estate sales, I have been going through my containers of death to find
    things to list. This has saved me a lot of money because I haven't had to buy a lot. Sales have been real good today: about $268. Hope that keeps up this week.

  3. Week of 12/27/15-1/02/16

    Total Items in Store: 380
    Items Sold: 22
    Total Sales: $873
    Highest Price Sold: $185 Harry Potter Legos (These were my sons from his childhood)
    Average Price Sold: $39.68
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory: $72.00
    Number of Items Listed: 14

    Great post Christmas week. People are still in the spendy mood, which is awesome. I thought I had an overall slower than expected December, but ended up selling 102 items so pretty happy with that. Going forward for 2016 I have several things I want to do/change. Not necessarily resolutions but just some things I would like to try or implement. Right now about 80% of my store is clothes and shoes. This year I would like to really increase my vintage and antique sales. I closed down my booth at a local antique mall (what a waste of time in my opinion) so lots of inventory to start listing on ebay. I would also like to maybe reopen my etsy store but I just don't make the sales like I do on eBay so we shall see. Also, I am going to order GoDaddy bookkeeping and try to do better at that. Definitely an area that needs improvement! Lastly, I AM going to get all my back inventory listed this year if it kills me, and it just might :) I have been much better about listing as soon as I get home with my purchases, but years of buying and cherry picking the best stuff and leaving the rest to "list later" has me stressing out over my piles of unlisted inventory. Death piles like you guys like to call them. If I only reach one goal this year it will be that one, DEATH TO DEATH PILES! LOL

  4. Items Sold: 7 ebay, 3 on etsy =11 total
    Total Items in Store: 142 on ebay--222 on Etsy
    Total Sales: $721.98
    Highest Price Sold: $330 vintage coat on ebay (bought at auction for under $20!)
    Average Price Sold: $65
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0

    Even though etsy was extremely slow this week, ebay more than made up for it with strong sales. I bought a box lot at a local auction with a 1940's era jacket that yielded $330! The local auction house has been very good to me lately.

    1. We love the box lots at our auctions. You can;t go wrong if you're willing to sell anything since it's usually a hodge podge of stuff.

    2. Yes Jay, you guys inspired me to pay more attention to box lots--I mean this sincerely, you and Ryanne have given me a lot of independance since discovering your methods (I am no longer 100% dependant financially on my partner and it is a good feeling.)

  5. Total items in store: 56
    Items sold: 1
    Cost of Items Sold: $4.92
    Total Sales: $27.99 Columbia Ski pants
    International sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money spent on new inventory: 0

    I took most of my items down, while I was away skiing this week. I still had one sale. I did miss out on another sale because someone wanted a dress for New Year's Eve and I didn't get back until the 1st.
    I've started to relist my items and have had 2 sales today.
    Bookings for my condo for 2016 have already surpassed my 2015 bookings: 87 vs. 82

    Happy New Year! Hopefully 2016 is a prosperous year for everyone.

  6. Our week 12/27/15 - 1/2/16

    Total Items in Store: 383
    Items Sold: 14
    Cost of Items Sold: $56
    Total Sales: $486.75
    Highest Price Sold: $65 (Lands End Coat)
    Average Price Sold: $34.77
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $167
    Number of items listed this week: 47

    I think this is our highest listing total ever. I've started setting a goal of atleast 5 listings a day. I think it was Linda that suggested that and it's made a big difference. I keep track of it on my weekly "to do" list, and almost always find a way to squeeze in a few extra. Thanks Linda!

    Thanks Jay & Ryanne for the heads up on selling overalls. We're selling a lot of them. I don't ever pass them up when I'm out scavenging. Holes? No problem. Ugly? Just price them higher! Huge? Those always sell quick. Sold the ugliest pair I have ever run across just today for $75.

  7. Total Items in Store: 200 - 131 listings
    Items Sold: 8
    Cost of Items Sold: $47 (new) + $16 (used)
    Total Sales: $160
    Highest Price Sold: $48 (two Anthropologie ornaments)
    Average Price Sold: $20
    0Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $25
    Number of items listed this week: 4

    Happy New Year! I've learned so much this year. I've done some bookkeeping but have more to do. I was surprised that there are no annual sales tax totals available in Ebay or Paypal. If I'm wrong about that, please let me know.

    I recently found three vintage neon green print Lily Pulitzer ties from her Palm Beach Mens collection. I had fun reading about how she rose to fame after being Jackie O's classmate and having Jackie wear some of her resort wear. I also found out the men's jacket sells for $400! Ties, more like $35-50. I don't usually sell ties, but the print and color literally screamed at me when I walked by.
    Kids go back to school tomorrow so possibly more time for Ebay unless my contract work is busy.

  8. December 27, 2015 – January 2, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 575
    Items Sold: 15 items, 12 sales
    Cost of Items Sold: $7.95
    Total Sales: $537.87
    Highest Price Sold: Highest sale = $119.96 (4 album flats), highest item = $100.00 (set of 4 Waechtersbach bowls)
    Average Price Sold: $35.85 per item, $44.82 per sale
    International Sales: 1
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $14.77

  9. December 27, 2015-January 2, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 653
    Items Sold: 11
    Cost of Items Sold: $29
    Total Sales: $251.78
    Highest Price Sold: $40 (vintage Revlon Intimate Creamy Milk Bath)
    Average Price Sold: $22.89
    International Sales: 1
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
    Number of items listed this week: 17

    Decent number of sales, although most were low dollar - I'm fine with that because the COGS are also incredibly low... a lot of bottom of box lot items sold this week.

    With the year coming to an end, would everyone want to post their full year numbers like we have our weekly numbers? It might help put things into perspective. I know for me, while a few weeks might be slow, overall my year is in a good place for me. I'm not a full time seller as I've mentioned before - both my wife & I have very good jobs in terms of salary (although we do get tired of the cube-farm life), but living in NYC is incredibly expensive and we don't always have extra to go out to a nice dinner or go on vacation. So most of my profit go towards that - I don't like to call it "play money" but more like "experiences money".

    If you have GoDaddy bookkeeping or something similar, this should be very easy. If not, it might get you kickstarted for tax season. Here's mine:

    Items sold: 473
    Cost of Items Sold: $5,356.82
    Total Sales: $21,626.84
    Highest Price Sold: $450 (WWII Bulova A-11 watch)
    Average Price Sold: $45.72

    Looking at my numbers for 2015, seems like I've accomplished what I set out to for the third year in a row - pay for a big vacation. In 2014 we went to Paris & Dublin; last year we went to Barcelona & Amsterdam; in 2016 we want to do 10-14 days in Italy. Looks like I'll net right around $11k pure profits after considering COGS, supplies, difference between charged shipping/actual shipping, etc.

    Did everyone meet your goals for 2015, whatever they were?

    1. Thanks Brian, This is close to exactly what I had in mind when I was talking to Jay about net numbers. It does put things into more perspective. I would list mine, but I'm just starting out, so there's not much. I'm netting about $300/mo. between craigslist and ebay (before taxes that is). Thanks again. I hope more people can list their numbers like this - at least once a year.

    2. I netted 6.7k in 2015. I'm happy with that. Was trying to hit 10k but didn't make it. I'll get it this year though! Also would like 20k in sales.

    3. I'm assuming that is from putting in part-time hours, maybe 18 hrs./week?

    4. Yes, I'm putting in part time hours: 3-4 hours picking on Saturdays, 3-4 hours researching & listing on Saturdays/Sundays, 15-60mins each day answering questions/packing/shipping.

    5. Thanks for answering. I think this kind of info really helps people.

  10. Dec 27-Jan 2 2015
    • Total Items in Store: 595
    • Items Sold: 20
    • International 4 GSP
    • Total Sales $2055.02
    • Highest Price 2 vintage tape recorders $775
    • Average Price Sold: $102.75
    • Returns: 0
    • Cost of Items Sold: $453
    • Cost of items purchased this week $10

    Selling less for more is my way of slowing it down.

    New Years morning started with a cha ching, 1st sale of the new year was $1.54, a game part woo hoo!
    Spent Saturday night messaging back and forth with a potential buyer in Canada who ended up buying 2 vintage tape decks for $275 and $500, glad I was home.
    Also had a turntable sell on Wednesday for $300 but he asked to let him pay Saturday, so I had lots of intricate packing to do today.

    Drove an hour north for an auction Saturday morning, it was supposed to be at the American legion and it ended up being outside at a farm, we weren't dressed for an outside auction in January, in South Dakota, so we turned around and went to an indoor flea market, found a truckers wallet, some patches, hats and belt buckles.

    Downer for the week was a Negative feedback from the buyer I refunded including shipping who claimed a men's Patagonia jacket was a women's, real nasty customer. eBay would not remove it, called twice.

    1. It really is incredible how you've identified such a great niche in vintage electronics. It seems endless. Do you feel like you can consistently keep finding quality old electronics for these prices?

      I assume this is why you can keep a fairly small store but make maximum profit.

    2. Steve, love seeing your numbers go up, up, up!!

    3. I second what Jay has to say Steve--that you found your "calling" in vintage electronics is pretty damn cool. I have no interest in such things, but for someone who is knowledgeable this is clearly an untapped market.

    4. Yeah, let me ask my question a little more specifically because its fascinating.

      Steve, we use a "general store" model because we felt we could never count on finding enough of one item to have a niche store. We try to find items we know sell well, but we never count on them.

      In your case, a large portion of your sales each week seem to come from vintage electronics (unless I'm misinterpreting).

      --Are you taking it day by day, or are you confident you can keep finding those items week to week?
      --Are you skipping over items as you scavenge because you have your niche? or do you buy anything and everything that will sell?

    5. I almost think there's another factor there as well...the sales that Steven is going to, the region, something. At least in my area, I'm just not finding good vintage electronics that he seems to repeatedly be able to find.

    6. Steve has also mentioned his history selling high end electronics so he has deep knowledge. I know some other sellers that make a living selling in niches: old smoking pipes, auto parts, etc.

      Just curious if its a leap of faith that these items can be found again and again.

    7. I agree with everyone. It's region first and foremost. That really determines price and availability (Steve seems to be in a magical area in that respect). After that, it's knowledge - which is huge. You can think you're buying something worth $400, but the model number is missing an "a," so it's worth $40. Or it is worth $400, but you might wait years to get a buyer. Or, you buy it working and it breaks by the time you get it home. (Or you sell it and it breaks. Ugh.) Also, with the resurgence of vinyl and lots of retro stuff in pop culture, retro electronics are quite trendy. I think vinyl will cool down sooner than later. A FLAC file on a good system sounds great and it's much less hassle for most people. (I love tubes and vinyl, but I'm talking about the trend.) As with digital vs. film, we are close to being able to essentially duplicate the warmth of a tube and analog vinyl easily with the push of a button. The yea and nay arguments have filled-up half the internet so I won't rehash them, but you get the idea.

      In the end, I believe there will always be a market for quality items of any kind, but there is a fad element. That being said, if you can buy low and sell high, chances are, you're looking at a good business model.

    8. I was just thinking yesterday, how long will the vein in this little gold mine continue.
      I really just stumbled into it while searching for all things of interest. I still have the general store mentality, these vintage electronics are usually not the bulk of my sales but almost always the highest in dollar amounts week to week.

      I see value in things from my past, like everyone else I'm sure, I always look at a thing and gauge whether or not someone is willing to pay a good price to get it.
      I am not counting on this but, I will ask in every situation, whether it's a yard sale or CL if there is any more, you know like, do you have an old boombox? Following the scent to the treasure.
      I'll never skip over anything that can make me $30 or more, and I'm always learning. Barware is my new thing since I sold a set of Geoges Briard glasses for $200.

      This area may indeed be an anomaly, a large enough population that have acquired these vintage electronics yet not large enough to have collectors scrambling after it.
      Hopefully I can keep uncovering this stuff, if not, I'm continuing my education of all things vintage, always something new to learn about.

      It's not all fun and games though. I spent half the day Sunday and all Monday morning packing-
      2 reel to reel recorders
      2 amplifiers
      A vintage Cox model airplane
      Vintage cookie jar
      Old portable recorder
      Plus the typical bread and butter stuff.
      Takes lots of packing material. 4 boxes had to go FedEx so I stopped at World Market and picked up 20 small sheets of styrofoam out of the dumpster to replenish my stock.
      This eBay thing can be a full time job sometimes with shipping being your boss breathing down your neck. No sales yet today, maybe I'll get to take a break, haha.

  11. Jay

    Good call on inkfrog. It puts auctiva to shame.

    Very user friendly interface and listing capabilities.

    It also allows you to set up "staff" accounts with entitlements etc for people assisting you. You can also set up multiple templates for different sections for them to use like shippings, returns, categories, etc, etc. This comes in very handy.

    It is $27 a month but well worth it. After testing multiple sites inkfrog is by far the best if someone is looking to use 3rd party web based listing software.

    1. Cool. I just heard about it at an eBay event we attended. Look forward to seeing your experience hiring listers this year. You're our Scavenger scientist!

  12. Rydell Relics Store Week December 27-January 2, 2015

    Total Items in Store: 978
    Items Sold: 21
    Cost of Items Sold: $55.47
    Total Sales: $756.88 (716.88 eBay $40 Instagram)
    Highest Price Sold: $195 (lot of 145 Toastmasters magazines)
    Average Price Sold: $36.04
    International Sales: 1 GSP
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
    Number of items listed this week: 1

    Not bad considering I only listed one item. I realized that I kinda gave myself a mini vacation this holiday season. I kicked ass at the beginning of the month, then took it easy the last two weeks, coasting on holiday sales. But that vacation officially ends tonight..back to listmania. My goal this week is to get my store back over 1000 items by Saturday.

    My resolutions this year, if you can even call them that, are very simple: refine the process, be more proactive, and manage my time better. Last year I set the stage, and now it's time to kick it into high gear. Happy New Year, everyone.


    1. It'll be fun to see what your first year as a full-time seller is like. Are you still working for that other eBay seller as a side gig?

    2. Yep, sure am. It's usually around 14 to 16 hours over two days, so not a huge time commitment. And now that the owner has me doing exclusively vinyl, I'm even happier than before. He has thousands in his warehouse, so I have some "job security", as he put it. He's thrilled to have my expertise, and I'm thrilled that he needs it. Definitely a win/win situation. I get so excited when the records sell, especially because I know I got exponentially more than he would have charged.


  13. Total Items in Store: 628
    Items Sold: 19
    Cost of Items Sold: $224
    Total Sales: $969.84
    Highest Price Sold: $139(La Sportiva Mountain Boots)
    Average Price Sold: $51.04

    Bit of a slow week, made 300 today so things looking better this week

  14. Total Items in Store: 622
    Items Sold: 22 (sell thru rate 3.5%)
    Total Sales: $335.45
    Cost of Items Sold: $32.1
    Average Price Sold: $15.91
    Average Cost of Item: $1.46
    Highest Priced Item Sold: $34.95 - Bruno Magli Women's Red Patent Leather women's shoes
    Number of items listed this week: 68
    Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 77.6 days
    Average number of days listed for the items sold this week: 46.36 days

    I think I earned the title "Trash Elf" this week. My highest priced sale was a pair of shoes I found in a dumpster one evening while looking for shipping boxes. Even by the flashlight on my phone they looked like decent shoes so I took them home, listed them and they sold the next day.

    The rest of my sales this week were low priced items. All of my highest priced items have sold in recent weeks and I'm still figuring how to pick out expensive items that are worth investing in. I guess that's my next challenge :- to bring up my average sale price.

    1. Yup. You are now Officially Qualified. :-)

    2. Cool. Do I get a merit badge for this achievement?

  15. Cyndi (amazing*taste)January 4, 2016 at 7:11 AM

    Another good week for us. Things are definitely picking back up after a slow Christmas week. We have set some pretty big goals for 2016, so trying to hit it hard from the very start.

    I was wondering if anyone here has discovered Medium. I have started writing some eCommerce related articles over there and would love feedback on them. There is no monetization so I don't make anything from it, but I enjoy writing.

    This is my latest article if anyone is interested....

    1. Cyndi (amazing*taste)January 4, 2016 at 7:15 AM

      Oh and I am working on an article about keywords and engaging an online audience (a very sweet person from here asked me to write). I am definitely open to other suggestions!

    2. Cyndi, I read all of your articles. Very good writing and ideas to motivate! I signed up as your follower and will look forward to your keyword article.

    3. Cyndi (amazing*taste)January 4, 2016 at 1:53 PM

      Thank you for the kind words! I am enjoying writing.

    4. Cyndi, I am amazed you also find the time to write with your huge Ebay business. I love to write, but just put up one little blogpost a week. Used to do more. Oh, I did finish a book though. Ha! Guess I'm tired of writing right now? I will check out your articles!

    5. I love that Medium gives you reading time. My Amazon Kindle was the first thing to make me think about reading like that. "Ok, I'll read this chapter since it's only 10 minutes."

      How does it work otherwise? Is it just like blogger? Can you monetize to recoup some of the time you spend writing?

    6. Cyndi (amazing*taste)January 5, 2016 at 7:08 AM

      Linda - I can't even imagine writing an entire book! Thanks for checking out my articles. I would love your feedback.

      Dollar - Medium is more like Twitter but with longer articles. You can host the articles on your blog/website and then link people back to them, but as far as I can tell there is no way to monetize Medium itself. I am just writing for the enjoyment of writing and hopefully helping someone. :)

  16. I was going to say that I saw an item of mine on Google Shopping but then realized that it was a Bonanza listing!

    I looked again this morning, and an item I searched for was only found on Bonanza. The strange thing is that there were other items that were listed on eBay from other sellers... Also a bunch on

    1. I know that I've searched items on google shopping before and they have come up with Ebay items..but why were there some from ebay and not yours?

      I know of some sellers who are also bloggers and have their items continually posted (in posts) with Links to ebay..wonder how much better that is for their sales. Definitely improves SEO in searches..but does it really make a difference in sales? Seems like so much extra work.

    2. I agree. If i used eBay Partner Networks RSS feed, that would be the only thing. You can automate it using IFTTT and post to Twitter/FB etc.

      Those accounts aren't for my items though, just about my journey selling!

  17. GoDaddy bookkeeping... a quick question. When signing up were any of you charged sales tax on the total cost? My state normally doesn;t charge sales tax on a service. Thanks for any input.

  18. Total Items in Store: 891
    • Items Sold: 17 (Ebay)
    • Cost of Items Sold: ? (had it all)
    • Total Sales: $466 (Ebay) + $33.00 Amazon
    • Highest Price Sold: $90 Huge Lot Polly Pockets $80 Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book 1961 1st Ed, 1st Printing RARE
    • Average Price Sold: $27.41 (Ebay) ?(Amazon)
    • International Sales: 1
    • Returns: 0
    • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: 18.00
    . Items listed: 21
    Had Polly Pockets Lot listed on Craig's list for $45 with no sale, sold on ebay for $90 & $33 shipping FedEx (had local pick-up, but offered to pay shipping).
    Noticed she has more feedback than me, so I checked and she sells Polly Pockets on ebay.
    Interesting fact: Only 1 sale was a best offer for $20 Two Postum Beverage tins.

    GOAL: Need to list 5 items a day minimum. I could never meet the goal of 20 listings a day, even though I realized that was a "start-up" goal to get 500 items in my store (which worked and I accomplished).
    So, I felt I was failing at my goal and some days I listed nothing.
    I feel I can list 5 items a day and this goal will actually bring more success than my goal of 20 a day. I will still strive for 20 a day whenever I can.

    Just turned on the podcast and heard you sold the Anacin tin. I have a box of Anacin and medical tins and bottles I need to list.

    I could take a pic and use it as a Collection, but I don't understand how that works. I called CS and they said you get higher listing placements with Collections, but it seems like too much work. It sounds like you need to write a description and renew the collection every few weeks? Does anyone understand what Collections is about?
    CS also said by relisting every 30 days, our listings get put at the top every month. I've been ending 200 GTC listings and relisting each week or so to get my listings on a schedule. I asked if there was a way to set this up automatically, but did not have an answer and they did not call back as promised. So, I think not. It only takes a couple of minutes to do this. I'm thinking I could set up a reminder in my phone calendar when it's time to end and relist a group of 200 listings. Hard to say if my sales are better. Great sales during the holidays, but a slow Christmas week and I just started ending/relisting a couple weeks ago. It's minimal effort to do it, so I'll try for awhile and check to see if my listings really are placed higher and if I notice an increase in sales.

    1. Took me a couple minutes to create this Collection using J&Rs Tam O' Shanters.

  19. Has anyone noticed that there is not free insurance for USPS for items up to $100? There seems to be a limit of $50 for the item to get insurance for free. Was this a change for the new year?

    1. I believe it's $100 if you're a Top Rated Seller. After some long handling times when I was on vacation a few months ago I lost Top Rated Seller status and it went down to $50.

    2. $50 for normal people, $100 Top Rated. did you lose your status?

  20. We push back against it sometimes, but the "Slow Business" model is a way of doing business on ebay that produces truly impressive results at times and I'm not sure I would have thought of it on my own.

    Thanks Scavengers!

    1. I must stress that what works for us might not work for others. I know some sellers probably do well with growing fast, expanding into Amazon and other platforms. That's awesome.

      We've been depending on this income since 2008 and hope to continue to do so. What is most important to us is sustainability and consistency as much as is possible.

  21. I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I wanted to share the news that the folks at alamodern have a few new posts up after a long hiatus. Their thrift haul blog posts and longer form pieces are great research/background reading for people trying to train their eyes to find nice midcentury modern pieces.

    The site comprises a blog, a store, and some great resources. Very worth checking out.

  22. Charisma's CollectiblesJanuary 4, 2016 at 10:42 AM

    Hi guys, I listen to the podcast weekly but have never commented. I just wanted to comment about your Bobanza sakes. I follow another small seller & a few weeks ago she was talking about a big increase in Bonanza sales. I also experienced a surge & shortly thereafter, maybe a week or two later I Received an email from Bonanza explaining they had turned on some type of enhanced selling tool for my store & to show that it did work. It's part of the premium membership store & I currently only have the free level store with them. The numbers showed that it can drum up more sales for you so it's something I will look into. Don't know if that was the same dituation for you guys but it was for myself & another seller I know of, could be a coincidence but seems like there is more to it. Love the show & thanks for all you guys do!


    1. Interesting. If someone here pays for the premium Bonanza account, I'd love to hear their experience over a period of time. I was thinking Bonanza sales were up because its holiday season.

    2. I got the same email this morning (after several bonanza sales). Here is what it says:

      We recently tested your booth bergheimhunter's booth by sending a large amount of new traffic your way, using our TurboTraffic™ engine. (Think of it as a traffic "fire hose.") And the results were excellent - with just a few days of TurboTraffic, your sales-per-day increased by over 335.3%.

      Impressed? The numbers are certainly moving in the right direction. You can see even more detail by taking a peek at detailed TurboTraffic Stats on your stats page.

      This was a temporary test to show that TurboTraffic works on your booth. Normally, TurboTraffic is a service for Platinum and Titan members only. To continue getting that traffic every month, please sign up for a Platinum Pro membership.

      We wouldn't ask you to upgrade your membership unless we could prove that it works. The proof is in the pudding: Your booth did great on TurboTraffic. Don't miss out on the next batch of dedicated traffic - upgrade your membership today and enjoy more TurboTraffic results month after month.

      TurboTraffic™ Membership Packages
      The Bonanza Seller Success Team
      P.S. Want more TurboTraffic without a subscribing membership? Check out our new offering, TurboTraffic Packs, which let you pay only for TurboTraffic without an ongoing membership.

    3. That's weird, though -- because (and I'm not always great with the numbers/business sense side of this whole operation, so please correct me if I'm wrong) in order for it to make sense for Bonanza to limit "TurboTraffic" to paying members, wouldn't the amount the company brings in from subscription fees have to exceed the amount they net from the resulting sales? Otherwise, wouldn't it benefit them more to provide "TurboTraffic" to everyone?

      Again, I'm not much of a businessperson, so I'll readily accept if there's a flaw in my thinking here.

    4. I thought the same thing. Wouldnt they want everyone to have crazy good sales so they made the money on commission?

      I bet eBay doesnt make its big profit from subscription fees. Its all from Final Value Fees.

    5. Where the items small dollar sales, maybe they just have a team of people buying up things so they can get you to buy the premium membership.

    6. Sounds like an experiment. Do they have month to month subscriptions? Worst case is you buy a store for one month and get no additional sales. Best case is you generate a few extra hundred dollars a month. Might be worth a try but I wouldn't commit for longer than a month.

    7. Seems convenient to do it during the busiest time of the sales year. Correlation doesn't equal causation...

    8. At one time, it was free to submit listings to Google Shopping. It is no longer free. Basically, what Bonanza's TurboTraffic is doing is submitting your items to Google Shopping (and maybe Bing Shopping, if that is still around). But Bonanza itself acknowledges that if you sell mostly long tail stuff (that's most of us), it may not make a big difference, since your items will probably show up in Google's (free) organic search pretty well.

  23. Charisma's CollectiblesJanuary 4, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    So sorry about all of the typos on my previous post, I'm l using my phone & the auto correct is out of control on this thing, makes me look foolish and like I can't spell. Have a great day everyone!

    1. No worries. I'm the king of bad spelling and grammar.

  24. Total Items in Store: 398
    Items Sold: 5
    Cost of Items Sold: $1.35
    Total Sales: $67.00
    Highest Price Sold: $29 (Ottawa Lynx hat)
    Average Price Sold: $13.40
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $2.36
    Number of items listed this week: 0


  25. eBay $172
    inventory 1057
    8 items
    highest sold framed coca bag $100
    average $21.5
    highest car radio $70

    Etsy $58
    inventory 314
    3 items
    average $19
    highest sold vintage wooden hangers $35

    etsy and ebay $230

    returns 1

    Another slow week

    I've had the flu all week. I have continued to list but am napping too. Also had the internet go out on Saturday morning. Since than have been using my phone as a hot spot and limiting my time to keep my data charges down. The miracles of technology though astound me that I can do this. ATT coming tomorrow morning to see what is wrong.

    I haven't been paid yet for the coca bag which was my highest sale of the week. Hoping they don't flake out on it. It was a best offer.

    1. We love our phone's hotspot when traveling. Hope you feel better.

  26. I love January on ebay! Sales are plentiful and quick. I listed an Anne Klein Couture necklace and earrings yesterday that sold within minutes of listing for $85. I've also had a few items sell that have been in my inventory forever. It feels good when the old stuff finally moves.
    I'm a big fan of making new year's resolutions. Even if I don't stick to them through the entire year, I least I made some progress towards small changes for the better. One resolution is that I double my ebay profits this year. It sounds like a big one but I know I can do it as I'm really starting to get good at this. I started selling "full time" last January and over the year I've learned a lot. Also, while I say I was selling "full time", truth be told, I was treating it more like a part time job. I'm really going to ramp up the time I spend on this in 2016. I'm currently at 500 items in my store and my first goal towards reaching my resolution is to double my inventory by March 31st. I probably already have that much unlisted so I won't need to shop (although I know I still will). I'm excited to buckle down and make some good profits.
    A 2nd resolution that I have is to aggressively pay down debt. Back when I lived in DC and had a cushy gov't job, I couldn't fathom why anyone would carry debt. Fast forward 3 years later and now I have debt. So, in order to pay that down, I need to sell! sell! sell! I'm really excited for my business in 2016!

  27. I decided to do a bit of thrifting last Saturday and I ran into a new thrift store run by a retiree couple with an interesting story that I thought I’d share with everybody. Through the process of haggling over a digital mailing scale I learned that they used to sell on eBay but stopped. The woman told me that they sold on eBay for the past 10 years and had a store with about 500 items in it. She said she stopped because eBay “stole from them.” Naturally I had to press for details and she described a story similar to what Jay has talked about in the podcast where she refused to give a refund to a buyer and eventually eBay just took the money and gave the buyer the refund.
    The reason this was so interesting to me is because when you hear about these stories on the internet there is a tendency to picture somebody who is ignorant or dumb. This experience helped me put a face with the person and they seemed like very nice and perfectly normal people. It makes me wonder if eBay could do a better job of educating sellers about how to handle these types of customer situations. I know if it wasn’t for Scavenger Life I wouldn’t be nearly as knowledgeable about how to handle customer returns and tricky customer situations. It’s a shame to hear their 10 years on eBay came to a sudden end over a few poorly handled customer returns.

    1. I never think these kind of sellers are stupid, just short sighted. The fact that they would cancel their entire eBay business because of one sale that seemed unfair just doesn't add up.

      I always think some sellers already hated selling on eBay and just use one bad sale as the "reason" to cancel. I find that some sellers need to sell face-to-face. They don't like all the online interaction.

    2. You could be right. I was a bit surprised they had managed to go 10 years without running into that type of situation.

    3. 99% of the time, when I've had an issue and the buyer isn't happy about something, I've probably did something wrong. I could have listed it a little better, or something. There's always going to be those one or two crazies and I don't think it's worth it to close the store over a little spilled milk.

    4. There's an older, local guy I know who quit eBay because "eBay stole from him". Typical story. he had an issue with a buyer....who appealed to eBay...which sided with the buyer...and forced a refund.

      But really this guy just didn't like the whole online experience. Answering messages. Customer service. Paying fees. Shipping properly. Being responsible.

      He likes to set up at the flea market. Sell his items. Cash in pocket. Buyer beware. No refunds. No taxes. True Freedom.

  28. 8 packages going out today--I hope that everybody is doing well. Now I have to feed the beast again, LOL--hitting the auction house tomorrow. I urge everyone to check out their local auction houses for inventory, sales have really improved for me since I have been doing more of that lately.

  29. Our Store Week December 28 2015 – January 3, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 257
    Items Sold: 8
    Cost of Items Sold: $149.00
    Total Sales: $1,060.99 (990.99 eBay, $70 local auction)
    Highest Price Sold: $500.00 (Outsider Art Oil on Canvas)
    Average Price Sold: $132.62
    International Sales: 3
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $49.00
    Number of items listed this week: 0

    Sales Review: Number of sales dropped off a bit from prior weeks, but numbers are still strong. Sold some great pieces this week, and moved my lowest item out of the store which took my average price sold down a bit.
    What Sold: Outsider art oil painting, 2 vintage cameras, vintage military locker (sold at local auction), Super 8 film, ceramic tree, machinist tool, junky fishing lure ($5).

    Customer Issues: Aside from absurd low ball offers on high end items, no complaints here.

    Scavenging: Went to a couple of estate auctions and estate sales over the weekend. Pretty much struck out completely. Got into a bidding war over a MCM chandelier, but cut my losses and dumped out once I took a step back and thought about what I was doing. I did pick up a small box of 8mm home movies, and various cartoon shorts. That purchase got me motivated to finally learn how to use my 8mm projector so I can start listing the massive amount of 8mm films that I’ve accumulated. Set up a little projection area last night so I’ll start listing those soon…

    2015 Review: This was a pretty intense year, got married, had a baby, and started my LLC. This was my first year of selling on eBay and locally for that matter. I went from nothing to over $30k in a year’s time, which I owe largely to this podcast and the people that comment. Just an amazing resource that sped up my learning curve at an astounding rate. I now have relationships with multiple estate sale companies, high end consignment stores, and auction houses. I invested a lot into the business, and couldn’t be happier with how my inventory storage looks, as well as my shipping station.
    Now that I kinda “know what I’m doing” I cannot imagine what 2016 holds in store for the business. I doubt that I’ll be able to double my 2015 sales, but that’s my goal.

    Thank you Ryanne and Jay as well as everyone that comments!

    1. Just curious, what kind of relationships do you have with those companies? Does that mean they know you are a reseller and make deals with you? I thought I had a good relationship with a local estate dealer, but I pretty much get the same treatment as everyone else.

    2. They all know I am a reseller, and many of them invite me to "pre-sales". I've been in houses while they are starting to unpack and before even setting up for the sales. Many of them give me great deals on items.

    3. Nice. Doesn't seem to happen much in my neck of the woods, but maybe I haven't made the right connections yet.

    4. Just exported my store to Bonanza. Can't hurt...

  30. Total items In store - 1496
    Total items sold -5
    Cost of items sold -$13.00
    Total sales -$117.94
    Highest price item sold - $39.99 Sperry Shoes
    Average price sold - $19.65
    Money spent on new inventory - $0
    Number items listed this week - 0
    Like I posted last week I am at a lost. About a year I maxed out on my sales I was making about $80.00 a day with basically the same type of inventory. Since summer my sales have dropped to sometimes less then one a day. Any feedback is appreciated. Here is my store. Also why would the year in sales from Ebay sales from Paypal be different then Ebay?

    1. Do you have a store on Bonanza? Etsy? Seems like it is time to mix it up a little.

  31. Question.. Just made a silly error. Made me laugh. I just packaged and weighed a larger, heavy sculpture and placed out for pick up. Then I got to reflecting on how it "felt" heavier than the 16.1 lbs. showing on the scale so I went and pulled it back in and re-weighed. yep. 21.4 lbs. I think my tape measure was under the edge of the box that was hanging off the scale platform which lifted it up and lightened the weight. it is now already labeled.

    What is the best method to remedy the situation. Can I print a second label just for the extra postage or better to cancel the whole label and just reprint. I hate that because it takes the USPS about two weeks to reimburse and it's $52.00. I tried calling the USPS [several in fact] and they are all busy. Any suggestions as to the best method?
    thanks mike in Atlanta.

    1. In the email you got when you created the bad shipping label is a blurb and a link about how to void it:

      Made a mistake on the label?
      You can void the label within 120 hours after creating it. We'll let the U.S. Postal Service know you voided the label. Once your void is approved, we'll credit the label cost to your PayPal account.

      Then in eBay on the little pull down to the right of the item you sold, there's a way to reprint another label.

      You will have to wait for a refund on the bad label, after some time that the post office does not get that label and they know it's not been used.

      I've done it a few times and have never had a problem.

    2. Would this be worth a trip to a post office for you? I'm sure a clerk could add the extra postage.

    3. I have done this also in the past. Voiding the label and printing a replacement normally only takes about a week or so to get the refund. I also, on occasion have took the package to the post office and have had them add on the proper postage, but you need to show them how much you have paid already and you will loose the TRS discount.

    4. Thanks for the reply guys. That's what I did. The PO is only about 2 miles from my house. I took my Ebay receipt and they weighed the box. I had missed by about 5 lbs. They subtracted what I had already paid and I paid the difference of $5.07. No big deal it seems. besides it was a $375 sale on that bronze Elk statue.
      Always appreciate ya'lls feedback. thanks mike in Atl.

    5. y'all got to this before i could read it, but agree with all. you can either go to the PO and pay for the difference, they're usually fine with that, my PO always is. or void it through ebay link in your email, as mentioned, and then re-print a new label. good work!

  32. Steve & JoAnn's Store Week December 27th-January 2nd, 2015

    Total Items in Store: 970
    Items Sold: 31
    Cost of Items Sold: $45
    Total Sales: $507.08
    Highest Price Sold: $63.99 (Breyer Horse)
    Average Price Sold: $16.35
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory this Week: $100
    Number of Items Listed this Week: 45

    Hi, Everyone! We are "newbies" to the "Trash Elf" family.
    We started selling about a year ago (selling off my comic book collection) out of necessity due to JoAnn's leg injury and we have done pretty well considering we were working at it part-time.

    We have been following the blog for about 6 months and have learned so much from everyone. We've implemented ideas and tried different things here and there in an attempt to find what works for us.

    Our goal for 2016 is to make this a full-time business. I think our main problem is not knowing how much to list things for. We would like to get our average sales price higher. I know we shouldn't undervalue our stuff, but we are looking and learning. We sell a lot of clothes and want to try and sell more "things" that may bring a higher profit.

    Working together as a couple has been challenging at times, but we think we have worked out a pretty good system. JoAnn is the "lister". She comes up with the titles and descriptions. She also takes photographs from time to time. I am the "shipper" and I take the photographs with measurements and pack them into storage. It works for us. Ultimately, JoAnn would love to be able to list faster and do more of the photography because she enjoys that.

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences. We so appreciate this podcast and we are excited to join everyone here.


    1. Welcome guys. Running any business together is a huge test for any relationship. But if you can make it work, you guys will know each other very very well!

  33. Store Week Dec 27th - Jan 2nd, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 720
    Items Sold:6
    Cost of items sold: $15.36
    Total sales: $184.97
    Highest price sold: $60 Goose down vest
    Average price sold: $30.82
    International sales: 1 (to Australia)
    Returns: 0

    Stumbled across a new thrift store...found some bargains that are already selling. So many coats to look through; some are priced pretty high but I go on Tuesdays for senior day. Anyone over 55 gets a 30% discount. On Wednesdays it's military day, another 30% discount.

  34. Could I solicit some advice about packing tape?

    The dollar store type stuff I have been using is quite loud, and it is bothering my housemate. I also like to minimize my contribution of plastic into the landfills. So when I found a huge roll of paper flatback tape at a yard sale, I was thrilled. It rolls off quietly and is paper, not plastic. But after that ended, the cheapest I could find more online was for something like $5 per 60 yard roll.

    Could anyone offer advice about a paper tape alternative, or on how to find cheap plastic tape that doesn't sound like a monster burping when you use it? I think the sound is a function of thickness and type of glue used, but I don't know how to filter by that on eBay.

    Thanks, and a happy new year to everyone! May you soon find yourselves drowning in high price orders.

    -Dan from NJ

    1. I just bought some tape from officemax - Scotch Shipping. Sure Start Easy Unwind. I simply bought it because it was on sale. It comes off the roll super easy and is quiet. However on a tape gun it is still loud. I have to think any tape used with a tape gun will be loud. Worth a try.

    2. Actually I just noticed that the old tape was still on my tape gun. Put the "Easy Unwind" tape on and it is much quieter! I would give it a try.

    3. Same for me. I use "Duck" brand [same as Ryanne] only the "E-Z Quiet". No noise at all and comes off like spreading butter. Got 12 rolls - 55 yds. for $19.00 incl. tax at WalMart. Also it is the 2 mil thickness. Don't like anything thinner. The 1.4 mil +/- just shreads or splits when using. Give it a try. mike in Atlanta

    4. what is this paper packing tape you speak of? do you have a link? i would love to have all biodegradable packing materials. i hear you about the loud packing tape. whenever i'm on the phone with my mom and she's packing, it's so loud! random packing tape question- i bought the Duck brand EZ Start tape at Walmart, because they were out of the normal, cheaper stuff a couple weeks ago. but i found that it did not stick to carboard boxes at all! how strange. any one else have this issue? i have just been using it to tape bubble wrap around items and sometimes to reinforce a polymailer. so odd!

    5. I find the thinner tape is much tackier than the thicker stuff which comes off easily. Regarding noisy tape, my cats run out of the room when I start pulling tape. They hate that noise! But it sounds like money to my ears.

    6. i find that i don't even hear it anymore. maybe i have good tape? or maybe it's just years and years of using it that i just blank it out.

    7. Ha! That's the first thing I thought when I bought dollar store, but LOUD!!

    8. I noticed the same lack of stickiness with the COSTCO tape (esp. when colder than normal). I just rub it down with my fingernail or a piece of plastic that isn't sharp. Seems to do the trick.

      Also had good luck with the brand recommended by the guy who codes the shipping program at flippertools. I think he has an affiliate link on his page if people want to support him. The scale he links to is the one I use and it's been perfect so far. (hint: If you search for the scale on ebay, there is a big reseller that is actually cheaper than amazon, but then flippertools wouldn't get the affiliate $ of course.) If anyone does buy it on ebay, just be sure it is the 100 lbs. max if that is the one you want. I just bid on a 60 lbs. max. model from that ebay seller for $18 free shipping to have as a back-up. Very hard to beat that price.

      One more thing (who knew there was so much to say about tape?): I like the 3" wide Uline tape, but the smell is god-awful. If anyone knows a good alternative feel free to mention it. I really like the coverage of 3" vs. 2".

      Just remembered, I recently got a hand-held tape dispenser from amazon (it's black and looks almost retro) that I prefer to a tape gun.

      This may sound stupid, but, is there a trick to getting tape to stay ready to use on a gun/dispenser or is just the nature of the beast that you have to constantly start the tape with your other hand?

  35. Responding to what Ryanne said about not having a simple URL to link to your store name: I sell records through Craigslist, and have created a TinyURL to send people to my Google Doc list:
    You could do something similar.

    I also acquired a stack of business card sheets at a yard sale, and am just going to print some out to keep in my car for both buying and selling. Especially buying; I make a point to talk to as many people as I can at yard sales and often find family members and friends there with record collections that they didn't think to bring out, but that they're happy to sell to me after I ask. I give them my phone number, but they almost never call me back. I'm hoping a business card will be more memorable.

    1. Dan,
      Your experience with people saying they will call and then not following through mirrors my personal experience when asking about video games at garage sales. I'm not 100% sure why but I suspect it has more to do with them not wanting to put in the effort to locate the items and setup a meeting time to sell them to you. I've had the same idea of using business cards so I'd be curious to hear if they help. Another idea I've had is to ask for their phone number and say you will call them.

    2. Business cards, that's a good idea. Put the stuff you like to buy on it as well as your phone number.
      I'm on it!

    3. yes, a tinyURL is a great idea. also something i do with our rental is we have a url i purchased that is easy to remember and easy to put on a postcard/rackcard and it just points directly to our Airbnb listing rather than trying to tell someone that long anonymous type URL.

  36. Does anyone have any tips on how to know if a handbag is made of leather or "faux"? I am listing bags (hate them!), and so often I think it is leather but it doesn't say it is on a tag. Sometimes I find the brand online and learn that they are only made of leather. Otherwise I have to call it faux leather. There must be a better way!

    1. Hey Linda:
      "Faux" leather is usually made of PVC or Poly Vinyl Chloride [a thermo-set plastic]. Same material bumper stickers are made of only thicker and vinyl siding which is thick. A rubberizer is added to make it softer and flexible wherein Acrylic is added to make it stiffer and more brittle.

      PVC melts under certain chemicals. This is a little tricky but if you can find an inside or hidden away part of the faux [PVC] that is tucked into a fold or seam and use a Q-tip soaked in Acetone or Lacquer thinner and apply it to a small area it will starts to melt and turn sticky. You can press down on the area between your fingers and feel it is getting a little slimy and tacky. Of course there is also a burn test but finding a spot to conduct a true open flame burn area may be difficult and also may ruin the item. Below is some parameters on the burn test. You can also use a heated rod [like a branding iron type of test]. PVC will, as I said, soften. Maybe want to save the specifics below or maybe I should drop into the Archive of Knowledge area. Let us know how it comes out.

      Using The Burn Test to Identify Plastic Materials

      Here is a simplified guide that will help you to identify many common types of plastic materials using a flame source such as a cigarette lighter, torch, or bottled gas burner. Naturally, the burn test should be used only for tentative identification. Many complex plastic compounds require a rigorous spectral or destructive chemical analysis for a positive identification.

      To initially determine whether a material is thermoplastic (meltable) or thermoset (non-meltable) type, heat a metal or glass stirring rod until it glows red or orange (to about 500°F / 260°C) and press it against the sample. If the sample softens, the material is a thermoplastic; if it does not, it's probably a thermoset.

      Next, hold the sample to the edge of a flame until it ignites. If no flame is produced quickly, hold the sample in the flame for about 10 seconds. If the material burns, note the color of the flame, the nature of the smoke, the presence of soot in the air and whether, while burning, the sample drips.

      Next, extinguish the flame and cautiously smell the fumes. To identify the odor, samples of known plastic samples for comparison can be most helpful. Finally, check your observations against the known characteristics of each plastic as shown in the table below. Once you have made a tentative identification, it is usually desirable to repeat the flame test once or twice to confirm the results of the original identification. Remember that additives may affect results. For example: flame retardants can mask the polymer material's normal flame & smoke burning characteristics.

      Here is a link to the complete characteristics of burn tests for a whole list of plastics.

      Hope this wasn't too much info. and created an information overload. mike in Atlanta

    2. Thank you for that kind response, Mike. But I can see it now, For Sale: One Burned Handbag". :-)

      I tried researching the RN number in a bag with no results. There has to be a better way. A friend said smell it for the leather smell. That would work if it actually has a leather smell. Sometimes it says it is leather and I wouldn't have thought so.

    3. Thanks Mike, that is a great explanation!

      I just usually smell and feel it. Usually there is a smell, and leather just always feels thicker to me and not a slimy.

  37. Steve-List in Richmond, CA

    Numbers for December (Premium store)
    Total Items in Store: 542 (540 end of Nov.)
    Items Sold: 49 (41 Nov.)
    Cost of Items Sold: $135 ($108 Nov.)
    Total Sales: $1,466 ($892 Nov.)
    Highest Price Sold: $149.95 - 1980s Computer Core Memory Card
    Average Price Sold: $29.91 ($21.75 Oct.)
    International Sales: 4 GSP / 1 Non GSP
    Returns: 0 (no returns in 2015)
    Number of items listed in Dec.: 46 (69 Nov.)
    Spent on new inventory in Dec.: $546 ($234 Nov.)

    My purchases for December were higher than normal, $200 was for a huge bin of Korean and Vietnamese era uniform patches and emblems. Interesting thing about them is that many of them were not US but Korean and Vietnamese. $100 was for huge lot (400+) of USPS patches that I hope to sell in lots.
    I sold a few old computer core memory cards in the $120-$150 price range.
    I have had these for years from my old days of metal scraping and dumpster diving in Silicon Valley. One buyer after I shipped one to him came by my storage and bought 2 more.

    I had one shipping issue where the packages was lost by the USPS, I just went ahead and did a refund, under $20. has some tables about the Jan 17th USPS rate increases, looks like it is time to adjust shipping charges.

    1. Hey Steve - we're nearly neighbors. (I'm in Marin). I was at an estate/warehouse sale a couple of weekends ago that had lots of military patches (in S.R). I wonder if that's where you were too. I looked into patches but decided it was going to be hard to make an educated decision about them without a huge amount of research up front so I passed on them. I'll be interested to hear how it works out for you with them.

      See you around maybe.

    2. Hi Simon - That was the same sale I went to. I went back Sunday and negotiated with them for the rest of the bins they had. I also did some quick homework after the Thursday opening on brands to look out for on the Hawaiian shirts and picked up about 20 of the vintage shirts also on Sunday at a deep discount. It is going to take a long time to list all of the military stuff, but I think I'll make my investment back and then a lot more. One thing to keep in mind, although their Sunday sale is 1/2 off, they will go a lot less for stuff, I think I got the military stuff at about 1/10th of their asking price.

      See you at their next sale.

    3. Nice score on the patches and emblems, Steve. I enjoy dealing in militaria but it’s not often found in the wild at a decent price.

  38. Two things I wanted to say. Regarding Google search results. I've noticed that when I pick a generic thing and search on Google like 'vintage mugs' etsy links are outnumbering ebay links and are higher up on the page of results. I think what you said about ebay taking a hit from google because of spamming still holds true. I tried this with several different searches and got consistent results. I didn't see Bonanza links so not sure it's affecting that but maybe.

    The other thing is because it is now 2016 another year has been added on to etsy for vintage items so you can now list 1996 and older. Funny because I just purchased a 1996 Olympics item this week. Last week I couldn't list it on etsy and this week I can!

    I'm in with the slow movement.

  39. December 27, 2015- January 2, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 382
    Items Sold: 7
    Cost of Items Sold: $22.00
    Total Sales: $256.93
    Highest Price Sold: $150.00 (Men’s Allen Edmonds Shoes)
    Average Price Sold: $36.70
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory this Week: $20
    Number of Items Listed this Week: 20

    Things are picking up here. I've also been listing more. This weekend I sold about 5 things that had been listed for less than 24 hours. Of course, those items were sold in between items that had been listed for over a year! No doubt about it, Ebay is way more fun when things are selling.

    Thanks for another great podcast. I'm looking forward to a new Shampoo & Booze podcast to hear how things are going with the new house.

    1. We're going to try to post on S&B weekly if we can. Just trying to figure out our schedule.

  40. Regarding the woman who called about helping people to find her store name, The easiest way IMO to help people find your ebay store is to get a domanin name. Mine is which we set up so it links right to my store. So I can easily send that link to someone who is interested, or I give them a business card which I always carry which has my name, address, phone number, blog address and Ebay store. My blog is my It simplifies life.

  41. Total Items in Store: 475
    Items Sold: 8
    Cost of Items Sold: $90
    Total Sales: $696.50
    Highest Price Sold: $210 (Tom Bihn bag)
    Average Price Sold: $87.06
    International Sales: 1 GSP
    Returns: 1

    Sales are steady after the holidays and I've gotten back in the swing of listing. Highest sold was a Tom Bihn travel bag that I got for $10. Crazily enough, I'd never heard of the brand until I was looking for a bag for my upcoming Asia trip (woooot!) and was abt to drop $280 on a Tom Bihn duffle. Now it feels like I'm getting the bag for 75% off. Just another brand to add to the list of things to keep an eye for.

    2016 short-term goals: have a $1500 week, sell some things on Bonanza (just finished syncing up my store). Longer-term 2016 goals: try Amazon FBA and...go fulltime!

    1. Since you;re in the 2016 new year resolution mindset, what would it take for you to quit your job and scavenge full-time?

      A specific amount of savings?
      Or a string of consistent week of sales numbers?

  42. I see really cool vintage men's dress shoes all the time at estate sales and thrift stores but I never bothered to research them until today. I'm reading about cordovan leather shoes and I'm curious how some folks on here go about cleaning them. The vintage ones I've seen at thrift stores tend to be quite dusty and dirty. Also, any brand recommendations? I've been reading about Florsheim Imperial and Bostonian Crown Windsor as those are two brands I know I've seen before and want to buy.

    1. Florsheim and Bostonian are on the lower end of the fancy dress shoes. They certainly sell, but think "insurance salesman".

      Just look at sold listings:

      Higher-end brands are Prada, Gucci, Tom Ford, Ferragamo, Allen Edmonds...

    2. Got to be careful with brands like Prada and Gucci which are knocked off like crazy--someone reports you, the listing will get pulled. I also like the Spanish brand Mezlan certain styles, the oxfords, always sell.

  43. Finally found my first piece of Catherine Holm Lotus today at my favorite independent thrift. I asked a volunteer if there was more in the back. Her: puzzled/disgusted "it's metal'" like wtf is so great about it? Love those ladies.

    1. I found my first piece (blue dutch oven with cradle) last year and was THRILLED for about a month. It was missing the lid. I went to the same thrift a few weeks later AND FOUND THE LID! It didn't have a price and I explained to the manager that I bought the dutch oven and this was its lid and could I have it. Her eyes glazed over and so I said I would pay either 99 cents or 1.99 for the lid and she said OK. That kept me high for another month!

    2. nice finds! this story reminds me of one of our earliest sales. we sold a pair of leather moccasins, but had done a clean out of out inventory and donated it back the week before. not able to find the moccasins in storage, i went to the thrift store and bought them again and was able to mail them to my customer! another example from our death piles- we had this really cool porcelain elephant head for a tea kettle. it was too cool to just get rid of it, so i listed it as is, just a cool art object or replacement piece. 18 months later, jay found the bottom piece in another box. we both looked at it weird and then i said 'i have the head listed! and now we have the body!' so weird that they got separated.

    3. Mine is a lasagna pan. On eBay I see they came with a rack originally. I'll be checking to see if the rack turns up there.

  44. I have two family photo albums ranging from the 30s to 70s and I'm wondering the best method of selling them. Should I sell them as a whole or break up the pictures into categories like WWII pics. I feel bad breaking the family album up since its a collective story of their life but I know ppl like certain genres. Thanks for the advice. It's my first experience with photos.

    1. Agreed Anne, I feel the same way and have quite a few I have been sitting on.
      On one hand, I think...take all the VW photos and sell them, take all the beach photos and sell them. But then I feel horrible breaking up a set.
      Grrrrr...I need to be Spock.

    2. Take out emotion. If you think youll have fun selling off small groups of photos, then do that. Some sellers do well selling individual photos, but it can be very tedious.

      we usually sell off the entire album. Put a high price and let a collector buy the entire lot to break up as they see fit.

  45. Ebay Dec 27 thru Jan 3rd
    Total Items in Store: 1431
    Items Sold: 24
    Total Sales: $931.00
    Highest Price Sold: $80 Antique embroidery remnant
    Wacky item: A very conflicted Christmas ornament from the 50s that could easily double for July 4th. Very kitschy.
    Amazon: $2758

    Pretty tame last week of December. Personnel and Personal problems pretty much slowed any momentum, but I am staying upbeat to the extent I can.

    1. PS--can anyone explain the fascination with vintage Amana microwaves? Remember those big brown monstrosities from the 80s? I have seen them go on ebay for over $200! Please tell me why. Death wish by radiation leakage? A love for glowing hot beverages? Please spill!

    2. Eve, all I can think of is 70's-80's Price is Right , "You've won a beautiful Amana microwave!".
      Haven't heard of that brand in YEARS.

    3. Ha! I used to have one; you could just about crawl inside and hide; HUGE! It was a workhorse, though; never a problem. We sold it after we used it for 10-11 years!

  46. Total Items in Store: 648
    Items Sold: 8
    Cost of Items Sold: $21.00
    Total Sales: $190.98
    Highest Price Sold: $65.00 (vintage psychedelic caftan maxi dress )
    Average Price Sold: $23.87
    International Sales: 0 GSP
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0.
    Number of items listed this week: 41

    Busy early on and then, crickets. It's cool, did'nt list much until Saturday, took some time off to spend
    with my son and his girlfriend. Speaking of which, Central MA to Brooklyn NY is a hella trip to do back and forth
    in one day!

    We sold a pink elephants cocktail recipe box ($18.), a Kirk/Spock in '92 bumper sticker ($10.), and enamel flower pin ($14.),
    a psychedelic caftan maxi dress ($65.), a vintage apron pattern ($15.), a vintage jewelry box ($27.), a black & silver lurex
    maxi ($32.), and an antique postcard ($10.).

    Like I said, took off a lot of last week, so just wanted to comment on a few things:
    We have a resellers license, and we had to get a bunch of city permits too to be legit here. What a pain that was.
    Also, on buying a large amount of stuff, usually I just say "I know someone who is a collector", lol, not really a lie,
    as I am a terrible liar, but there is always someone out there who IS a collector. :) we just don't know them YET.

    The newest podcast was spot on, as usual, thank you so much!

    On Etsy, all you have to do is give people your store name. When someone types your name into the search at the top,
    there is a drop down and it will ask if you want to find a store by that name. Click on that and it takes you right to it.
    Also, as far as Etsy, we do the "forget it" approach and also relist as it is only .60 for a year so why not leave it be?
    Usually, with a little tweaking, if it hasn't sold in the first go round, it sells quickly in the second...and that's with
    taking your advice and upping the price.

    Loved the "Why would somebody buy this?" lol, agreed, have no idea, but the weirder the better! In fact, it's usually
    something in our Death Piles that we put off and put off because "who would buy this?"...we put it up and it sells quickly.
    There is no predicting on those items.

    I am also trying to clean out my personal storage. Getting the saleable items over to the shop storage, and the junk out.
    Once my daughter moves back into town in the Spring, she'll be taking a bunch of the furniture, so that'll help thin it too.
    Gonna check out Bonanza a little more this week. If we can import stuff, that'd be a real time saver. Not sure why
    Etsy doesn't do that.

    I really want to thank you for the "floating" technique when packing. Has worked like a charm so far and has allowed us to
    find, sell and pack larger and/or fragile items. We are not as scared of them as we once were and our averages have improved.

    We are aiming for at least doubling our sales from 2015...a number that is very attainable, even with both of us working.
    Hoping to build up the inventory to at least double too. Would love to blow that out of the water and have to re-commit
    half way through. Working through Death Piles, and, oh yeah, THANK YOU for saying that you cannot get frozen by not knowing
    what something is, even if you've done all the research and can't find something, to just list it and list it high.
    I cannot tell you how freeing that is to hear....the new mantra is "just list it damnit!" :)

    Thank you to all!

    1. With more and more selling platforms competing against each other, I imagine that listing fees will get cheaper and cheaper until they're free.

    2. Maybe, I hope you're right. I just wish there would be a "race to the bottom" with Final Value Fees too. As was said to the Australian seller above, sometimes it looks like these big corporations are competing when they are actually agreeing to fix prices, tacitly or not.

      Not too worried about it when it comes to selling, but we literally have more de facto monopolies/duopolies than they did in the Gilded Age - and that's saying something.

    3. Free listings might not be a good thing.

      People would spam ebay with low quality, automatically generated listings, the way they do on amazon.

      They already do this in some categories, but removing listing fees altogether would probably make it worse

    4. That's very true, Anonymous. I didn't think that listing fees might be what pushes sellers to garden their listings so it's not overly messy and junky.

      They're cheap enough now that as long as we sell a couple things a month, the fees are covered.

  47. No one really had advice here on how to clean shoes so I went to YouTube. Big mistake. I used alcohol to remove some scuff marks and while the marks came off, it discolored the shoe too. So now it looks worse than before. So my warning to people who use YouTube as a how to guide, test the methods on junk items first. Or only listen to YouTubers you trust. Plus those videos can be so contradictory. I love YouTube for most things but I love a group I can trust the opinion of more.

    1. We don't buy white gym shoes for this exact reason. They really aren't manufactured to be saved. They are made to be worn and thrown away.

      Stick to leather. Easy to clean because it's made from durable material.

  48. Happy New Year!
    As always, I can relate to so much of your experiences Ryanne & Jay.
    Lately I've had to bite my tongue and avoid making one of those comments you did to that buyer, Jay. Buyers who want to "educate" me on who's selling what I am for less and wishing me good luck selling my items at my price, in hopes of bullying me into dropping to what they want are incredible!
    And I know this was from last week's podcast, but I too start every day with a list or schedule that changes all day long. It's a standing joke in my family. Honestly though I would get even less done if I didn't have a "map" to start with. Especially when it comes to listing. As the day goes on you get less and less energized and productive.
    Christmas was slow, but since I was gone for 10 days (no listing & extended ship dates) I have to be grateful that I was even making sales.
    Hoping to pick up those sales this month. Glad to see my Average sale price back to normal last week.

    Total Items in Store: 900
    Items Sold: 51
    Cost of Items Sold: $357 (this includes free shipping)
    Total Sales: $1691
    Highest Price Sold: $80 (Hickey Freeman suit)
    Average Price Sold: $33
    International Sales: 3
    Returns: 2

    1. Exactly. My lists aren't meant to be finished each day but give me a road map. Everything eventually gets done over time. I really just write things done so I dont have to think about them anymore.

  49. Oh, and I don't know how you do it Ryanne ~ it was crazy shipping over 60 items when we got back from the 10 days away.

  50. Date: Dec. 27 – Jan. 2
    Total items in store:172
    Items sold: 3
    Cost of items sold: $15.00
    Total Sales: $102.49
    Highest Priced Item: $72 Budweiser Collectible
    Average Price Sold: $34.16
    International Sales:0
    Returns: 0
    Money spent on inventory: $86
    Number of items listed this week: 11

    I participated in my first on-line auction this week. I had fun and won some neat things even though I found it after the inspection time had closed. I gave up a bidding war over a cool distressed rug after I realized that this is not something you want to buy without checking out in person. There are some smells that you just cannot remove and the price was getting too high to take a chance. I think I will double my money, but I will be more discerning next time.

    1. Good for you Jo--yes the thing about buying online is either being able to preview the item or being super disciplined about bidding, when I first started sourcing online I had a steep learning curve, I still make mistakes (never count on the auction house to point out all flaws) but I think that I am well ahead of the game at this point.

    2. Omfug X - Any hints, tips, tricks would be appreciated. Don't even know where to start when it comes to online auctions (aside from ebay of course). What are some reputable companies to try?

    3. I use which provides internet services for auction houses around the country--customers leave reviews for each auction house, so check those out, my number one tip is to find an auction house in your area and go see the stuff in person before bidding--this saves on shipping as well as being the time to give the item an inspection.

  51. J & R,
    Have you heard of Don Aslett? When you spoke of cleaning your rental, I remembered that he has a book about materials and ideas that can be used in building or remodeling that lend themselves to less cleaning. For example, textured walls, floors and other materials tend to catch dirt and dust more and are more time intensive to clean. The book is called "Make Your House Do The Housework." May be worth a look as you gear up your new rental. He has a pretty minimalist slant, but some of the advice is very good.
    This guy has several books in addition to his main business of cleaning products stores. He actually has a "Museum of Clean." I know, I know. His first book, "Clutter's Last Stand" was a huge game changer for me in my perception of the things I choose to keep in my space.

    1. They really get into cleaning:

  52. Trying a fba experiment. Buying online sales to send to fba. Using the 3x rule. If it cost me 5 it needs to sell for 15 or more. I'm trying to avoid retail arbitrage. It's easy because I can post in the name on Amazon to see pricing before I buy. I check eBay too as a fall back. I'll keep you posted.

    1. In the comment below, Lee is doing the same thing. Interesting to here how it goes.

  53. 12/27-1/2

    Total Items in store: 461
    Items sold: 13
    Cost of items sold: approx. $33
    Total Sales: $304
    Highest price sold: $50 – hand crank bench grinder – purchased in a box lot
    Average price sold: $23.43
    Int’l sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Number of items listed this week: 0
    Full time ebay goal - March 2018

    Ebay to Amazon experiment – Had my first sale, and it was a good one – purchased new on ebay $40.00 sold on amazon $144.99. FBA fees $16.22. Profit $88.77. I have 2 items in inventory, 2 on the way, 4 ready to send in.

    Had a busy week, at my day job we had to get rid of a whole stock room full of shelving. I gladly took it off of their hands. I spent 4 evenings disassembling it all. Now I am totally re-organizing my garage. I am very happy I started putting new inventory in numbered totes so I could find it easily. Now with the new shelving, the garage is starting to get organized. It seems like everything is coming together. Now I have to tackle the accounting end of the ebay business.

    Several months ago, after listening to this podcast, I decided to “turn it up a notch” I have sold on ebay for a long time, but had only dreamed of turning it into my main source of income. Over the past months it has become more and more of a reality. I just want to say thanks to Jay and Ryanne for putting their time into this podcast, and to everyone who posts their experiences and offers advice. You guys are AWESOME!

    1. Your amazon experiment had a good result. How much time do you spend finding and bidding on these items? This where most of the time is spent in my experiments buying off eBay for resale.

    2. Jay I am not going to spend more than 30 minutes a day. Also I am not going to invest any more into the experiment money-wise, just roll the profits into the next items.

  54. Regarding the woman who felt uncomfortable about selling a book after learning about the sad history of the person whose name was inscribed in it, then Jay said would you buy a house knowing someone had been murdered in it? Well in my realtor days I sold a house in which the owner had committed suicide in the master bedroom. I had spent days showing houses to out of town buyers. This was back in the days when the realtor had to go from real estate office to real estate office to pick up keys (after making appointments at each one), then showing each house, then traveling to deliver them all back to the agency after the showing. I had shown this couple 18 houses and they didn't like any of them until this particular house, which they loved. While the couple was outside looking at the back yard the selling agent whispered to me that the house was being sold because the man had killed himself there. I was like Seriously??? One of those moments! So before the couple signed the contract I had to break the news to them. They thought it over and next day decided to go thru with the purchase. It worked out nicely. The buyers met the widow/owner and developed a close relationship with her. But it wasn't long before I decided I had had enough of selling real eastate. The weirdest things happen.

    1. The first house we lived in when we moved here the guy had hung himself in the garage supposedly--I never gave it a second thought, LOL.

    2. I'm sure we all sell a lot of items of dead people. Most of the time we just don't know the circumstances of their deaths. So I would sell it, someone in the family must have donated it.

    3. We recently listed a home phone that had a digital message system. The messages were all nurses and doctors calling to confirm appointments and check-in on the man. It's a pretty good assumption that this phone was donated after he died.

      Also gave me a glimpse of my future old man life. As I've always said: Scavenging is a philosophical adventure into what matters in life since we're always seeing the detritus of what's left after people die.

  55. Anybody have this type of shipping Struggle???? This is just a funny video to break up our day....

  56. Jay, Target has released clothing from a number of good designers, such as Lilly Pulutzer, among others. It is introducing a younger crowd to some higher-end fashion. Most people do not realize that these designers are out there, and just think they make clothing for Target. What sells at Target is not the same quality (in my opinion), or price points. But hopefully it introduces these brands to a wider market, and then these buyers will want to buy more from these designers.

    Personally, I think Target has developed a smart marketing approach, and hopefully it will benefit all of us who sell those brands on EBay.

  57. Hi All,

    I know this has been gone over before, but there is no good way to search for the answer. I accepted a buyer's best offer bid. It's been two days and they haven't paid. What is the best practice?

    Do I send an invoice first and wait a day.
    Then send an email reminder and wait a day
    Then file it as unpaid with ebay?

    Also, not sure what to say in the email. Something like, "Hi this is a friendly reminder. We accepted your best offer. Please pay for the item so we can ship it out to you as soon as possible" ?

    Thanks in advance Scavengers - and thanks for all the great info!

    1. There's no wrong or right way really. Some say nothing and just open the unpaid item case. Others like me will resend them an invoice. I might say something like "your item is ready to ship but just awaiting payment". I keep it friendly. The next time I have to send one I might say "as stated in the listing payment is expected within"... But that only works if you've given them an expected pay by date. You can resend an invoice and say nothing if you want. Or you could start requiring immediate payment to avoid this issue but I like giving people a few days. But once you open an unpaid item case they will give them another few days.

    2. I have unpaid item assistant set up to automatically start on unpaid items. I always send an invoice soon after an item sales - then I forget about it. If they pay fine, if not, although it takes about a week or so, eBay will close the case and refund my fees automatically if they do not pay. You can set it up so that eBay will automatically re-list the item if you want. It seams almost all of my unpaid cases are from 'Best Offer' buyers.

    3. I wait about 4 days, and then I send an invoice with a super nice message about how I am ready to send their awesome (insert item name), as soon as I receive their payment. That usually does the trick, but if not I wait 2 more days & turn it over to EBay. I have very few unpaid items, and I always take the super-nice approach to all of my EBay dealings. Just what makes me happiest.

    4. I'd say that 1 in 20 offers end up unpaid. It happens.

      We message them once a day for two days.
      Just a simple message of: "We accepted your offer. Please pay and we will ship immediately."

      If not, then we let eBay's unpaid item system take over.
      The buyer is then left with a black mark on their record. Move on.

      IF the item is a big ticket item, then we'll also request the buyer's info through eBay. The buyer then gets a notice that we've asked for their phone number. We don't actually call (but could), but sometimes this works.

      In the end, there's is NOTHING anyone of us can do to persuade a flaky person to pay. Often if we look in their buying history, we see they bought the same exact item the same day for a cheaper price. They just are too lazy/embarrassed to tell us.

  58. Thanks everyone. I can't tell you how great it is to be able to go somewhere and get good practical info from different perspectives - usually fast too. I sent them an invoice with a nice message. We'll see what happens...

    I just had a "nice" experience. Weird communication with someone wanting to buy an iPhone on cl. All the red flags were there: bad communicator by email, text, and voice, bad grammar, etc. Met the guy. He had obviously lived a hard life and was happy to get the phone so he could face time with a loved one. Never judge a book...

    1. Just to tie this up (not that anyone cares), I sent an invoice and was paid a few hours later. If this was a private list, I would print the name because it is odd and funny. For people who like words, sometimes the names of buyers are priceless. The name of the buyer is different than the "send to" address. Along the lines of Ed/Edna, but so much better. Night y'all...

  59. Hey Ryanne and Jay, I stumbled upon your podcast a couple of months ago and have enjoyed it immensely. I’ve been on ebay since 2000, but have only started reselling recently as a way to supplement a meager university salary in an expensive city (Seattle). Last week was my best week yet! Thanks for all your insights – I can’t believe I ever listed so many things for auction. ;)

    Total Items in store: 52
    Items sold: 6
    Cost of items sold: approx. $47
    Total Sales: $592.61
    Highest price sold: $129.99, Vintage Patagonia Fleece Pullover
    Returns: 1
    Number of items listed this week: 5

    1. Welcome Devon. I believe there are at least a couple educators around here.

      Your average price sold was almost $100! That's pretty incredible.
      --Do you specialize in any particular item (winter wear)?
      --What was your experience like selling on auctions?
      --What prices were you getting?

  60. Hi, long time listener first time caller.
    Looking for some return advice. I sold a small italian figurine. It had a broken thumb, which I mentioned both in the the condition, and the description, and its not like I hid it in a wall of text, both description + condition were probably 3 lines long, and it was mentioned twice.

    The other problem is that in the title I listed it as Grasso, who was an artist synonymous with this type of figurine. I didn't know that at the time, but from my research it looked like that was the style, but it is also the original artist. I think its somethin like a Tiffany Lamp where it was the original maker, but it is now a style also. The bottom of the figure was clearly photographed, showing the stamp of the city it was made in, and no signature. (Apparently the children and grandchildren of the original sculptor also went into making the same style of figurines. In the town that these were stamped made in. I should have probably listed in "Grasso style" had I known what I know now, but I don't know if that would have helped.

    Anyway, I have no intention of keeping this guy's money, if he's not happy, I want to return it to him, but I'd like to avoid a defect on my account. Any way to do that? He started by opening an INAD case.

    1. From our recent experience, eBay customer reps want to see that you messaged the buyer to try to fix the situation.
      --tell buyer to send it back for a full refund.
      --or ask buyer if they want to keep it with a partial refund.
      --or just ask the buyer what would make them happy.

      Once the buyer makes their choice, then you can call eBay and ask for them to remove the Item Not As Described defect. Often they'll see you did your best and remove it.

      Remember that a defect here or there won't hurt you since eBay has a percentage of defects they consider normal. The fact that you'll be paying for postage both ways is the painful part of this sale.

    2. The problem however is that the new system with it's two categories means that each defect will hurt you more. The TRS threshold is now .5 instead of 2%. Even if they don't open a case of item not as described and just put "item not as described" as the reason for a return it hits you for a defect. I am about to lose my TRS status that I have held for the last 18 months because of the new system. In my situation I sold a brand new factory sealed product that they buyer claimed did not work and I then messaged them to ask if the package was damaged but did not hear back. I then went ahead and issued a refund anyway because I wanted the buyer to be happy. I plan to call and try and get it removed because I went above and beyond as always but I now see this new defect system as being more difficult.

    3. The way I understand the new rating system, only orders you cancel because you cannot fulfill and unresolved customer issues will count against you. If you issue the refund, it will not be unresolved. The new system goes into effect on February 20th. If you have had TRS status for 18 months, you should be covered by the TRS grace period. Agree that the new defect threshold will be reduced to .5%, but at least then it will only cover two areas that sellers can control - inventory and resolution of customer issues.

    4. Thank you. Your explanation looks correct. Do you know what the TRS grace period is?

  61. Dec 26 - Jan 02
    Total items for sale: 125
    Items sold: 14
    Cost of items sold: $33
    Total sales: $326
    Highest Priced Item: $70 - Watt Pottery Bowl
    Average Price: $23.28
    New listings this week: 15

    I decided to take the plunge - I opened an ebay store on New Year's Day! Thanks everyone for your advice on a previous thread. Tried to respond there but my comments kept disappearing. I realized that my math wasn't making sense because I was thinking of a basic store when what I really need is a premium store. My goal is to grow the business to the point where an anchor store is warranted by this time next year.
    I'm excited to assign store categories to all my items, then start experimenting with a few markdowns and sales.

  62. Cyndi,Ryanne, or anyone who did eBay solo before bringing their partner in, how was the process different and how did you up your game enough to bring someone else on board? For the first time my husband mentioned he wished he could quit his job too but I have no idea how to ramp it up and make that transition. Any tips?

  63. This feedback comment made me laugh...
    Ever since grandma swallowed the old piece in '72 we've been doin' without.
    (Game Part Colored Weight Disc Yellow)

  64. So much for a restocking fee. I think that if a buyer returns an item, I will only accept it if they go through eBay hassle free returns so eBay can back me up.

    This is an update from before.

    Buyer bought Gloverall duffle jacket. Showed disappointment that the jacket doesn't have any zippers. They say they will return it.

    They return quickly (outside of eBay returns), I refund $160 ($200 minus restocking fee).

    They are angry in eBay messages and open a PayPal claim. I respond, showing that the jacket had no zippers in the pictures and include the eBay messages.

    PayPal decides in favor of buyer.

    Frustrating part is this is an example of a reason that PayPal won't side with the buyer in the PayPal user agreement. "The item was properly described but did not meet your expectations."

    In the end, I'm out $40 and I'm more annoyed that I have to deal with this. I'm debating about calling eBay since the appeal button won't work in PayPal. I click on it and it asks for tracking or transaction ID. It pulls both automatically from the transaction and then has an error when I hit submit.

    1. Dollar Flipper, I empathize with you - that's so disappointing that buyers can go to PayPal with their complaints.

      I don't know if this would help or not, but I would call EBay before issuing a refund, and get a case opened & closed via EBay so that you have the EBay documentation to support your withholding the restocking fee. I had a messy return on a $100 item in November and the EBay CS closed the case in my favor before I issued the PayPal refund, which showed the restocking fee being withheld. Once the case was closed, I then issued the refund via PayPal. Don't know if this approach would help you or not, but I like to get EBay involved if I have a difficult customer. Just a suggestion.

    2. I have called Paypal and gotten a refund reversed. The buyer had returned a different item, then opened a case in both ebay and paypal. Ebay and Paypal both refunded her entire purchase price. I called ebay and then paypal and got both refunds reversed.

      You will have to deal with paypal on this, my understanding is ebay cannot "see" paypal's information about a sale/return. The only thing I am not sure about is Paypal's position on restocking fees. If anyone has experience with that, I am curious.

  65. I am listening to Episode 82 where you give the tip to find the best offer price. When I go down to the item number (original listing), there is no link to print. It this trick gone now?

    1. That is gone now. Here is another way. Copy the item number and place it after the equal sign in this link

    2. You can also find the price at
      Just put in the listing number.

    3. COOL! Tried them both and voila! Thank you so much!

    4. Thanks for the responses Nancy and Anna!! I tried both of them and I like both of them! So many times I would have liked to known about this...

  66. Question regarding listing on iPhone.

    Jay, I have to agree with you that I cannot list an item on my iPhone from start to finish.
    Only 600 of my 900 listing show up as active on my phone. So, I cannot search my active Listing to "create similar". I just called CS and she said that the smartphones have limited capability to store all of my listings. I also cannot pull up item specifics. This makes it impossible to create a professional looking listing.
    When I go to my desktop to finalize the listing I made on my iPhone, I'm finding multiple problems that need correcting. I also asked CS if there was a way to pull up my recent listings created on the iPhone so I can add "custom label", add "item specifics", and check other things that may be missing or incorrect. The answer is no, you have to search for each item (or constantly run from the couch/bed to the desktop to correct each listing and add "custom label" for inventory).
    My question: Has anyone found an easier, more streamlined way to list using a smartphone? I'm using Seller Hub and have been creating "drafts" and completing on PC, but it's getting confusing because my photos are on my iPhone and it's supposed to be the last step, but it's not working out that way. Maybe I just need to be more organized in my approach.

    1. I experienced a lot of glitches when using drafts and did not enjoy using the app or a combo of the app and desktop to list. Now I take photos with the phone, load them to the desktop, and create the listings there using sell similar. I've found this to be the most efficient way. I still use the app to make revisions to listings.

  67. Thanks, Christine!
    I just amazed myself. Was too embarrassed to ask how to import photos from iPhone to computer. Searched the web, but most said import from computer to iPhone. Figured out which cord and hole to use, followed prompts and it worked! Now, how do I sort, organize, store them? It looks like they're in a Jan 2016 folder or collection. Now I want to import the other photos of the grandkids into the computer, but don't want them mixed with eBay photos. Also, the photos on my iPhone that I turned right side up are now sideways or upside down. Any tips?

  68. Grace period

    If you fall below the sales and tracking requirements for Top Rated Seller status, you may qualify for the Top Rated Seller grace period. During the Top Rated Seller grace period you retain your Top Rated Seller status and benefits. You have 2 evaluation cycles to get your transaction count, sales amount, or tracking requirements back to minimum program requirements.

    You're eligible for the grace period if you fall below Top Rated Seller standards due to any of the following:

    You have fewer than 100 transactions with US buyers over the most recent 12-month period.

    You have less than $1,000 in sales with US buyers over the most recent 12-month period.

    You've uploaded shipment tracking within your promised handling time for less than 90% (but not less than 85%) of transactions with US buyers in the last 3 months.

    You're only eligible for the Top Rated Seller grace period when:

    You've been a Top Rated Seller for the last 3 (or more) consecutive months immediately preceding evaluation; and

    You meet all of the performance standards of the Top Rated program for defect rate and cases closed without seller resolution.

    If you don't meet sales and tracking requirements and performance standards after the grace period ends, you lose your Top Rated Seller status and benefits.

  69. I bought a bunch of stuff today to try out my first amazon fba shipment. It came about by fate really. I stopped by a grocery store for soup and right in the door way they had a clearance toy section. Nothing was more than 3 dollars. I got a lot of .75 cent stuff. I scanned a few things with the amazon app just to make sure it wasn't dirt cheap online already. I'm not sure what a good rank is yet so I didn't care about that as much. I figured worst case scenario I can put some of the items in Christmas shoe boxes or give them as gifts. Actually that's the biggest struggle for me. I love the kids I give to more than making money so if I see things that the kids would like, I buy it for them first. I may never make amazon work full force lol. There's pesky stickers on some of the items I'll have to get off. I definitely hate Amazons "new" condition criteria.Ok there's my ramble for the day.

  70. RE: ebay listings showing up in google searches.

    I try not to use google search. I use duckduckgo a lot. Almost every time I search for an item, the first sponsored ad on top is ebay's. It usually takes you to their search engine results for the item. Often, a little farther down on the first page of results, another specific ebay listing will show up on duckduckgo as well.

  71. Warning if you have a new iphone...