Scavenger Life Episode 267: Updates on Our Adventures in eBay Search iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

This week we wanted to clarify a bunch of ideas we introduced on the last podcast where we discussed how we were re-thinking our listing formats to better show up in eBay's search. It definitely sparked a lot of conversations, competing interpretations, and pointing out some things we got wrong. Cool.

Remember that we're just Trash Elves scavenging for items that people leave behind for junk. That's our strength. The world of SEO is foreign territory to us. All we know is that an eBay customer service rep sent us a detailed email outlining on ways we could improve our listings. We shared this info with you so each seller can make their own determination. Go ahead and listen to this episode to hear about some clarifications to our way of thinking. Let's keep evolving by sharing info backed up by fact.

Hope you had a good week!

Our Store Week July 10-16, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 3862
  • Items Sold: 16
  • Cost of Items Sold: $62
  • Total Sales: $740.43
  • Highest Price Sold: $149 (Bathroom Fixture)
  • Average Price Sold: $46.27
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $85
  • Number of items listed this week: 0

  • ----------
  • Amazon FBA Store
  • Number of items sold: 11
  • Amazon total sales: $639.22
  • Amazon FBA Fees: $157.15
  • COGS (shipment to FBA included): $50
  • Net profit after COGS: $432.07
  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 1091
  • Items Sold: 6
  • Cost of Items Sold: $4
  • Total Sales: $219.95
  • Highest Price Sold: $70 (Vintage software manuals)
  • Average Price Sold: $36.65
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 0


  1. July 10-16 2016
    • Total Items in Store: 690
    • Items Sold: 19
    • International 0
    • Total Sales $1262
    • Highest price $200 vintage quadrophonic receiver
    • Average Price Sold: $66
    • Returns: 0
    • Cost of Items Sold: $53
    • Cost of items purchased this week $75

    Stood around at the outside ring of the local auction house because sitting on the ground with the rest of the garage sale type items was a Salvatore Ferragamo bag full of shoes in boxes, 8 Ferragamo's and 2 Stuart Weitzman, all in great condition and good sizes, no narrows. I won the bid for choice in the row which included rakes, hoes, and tools for $25.00 and when I picked up the bag of ladies shoes I heard a few puzzled mutterings from the gallery of old guys in overalls, the last laugh is mine.

    1. That's a funny story Steven. Ferragamo has been good to us trash elves. Hope you do well with them.

    2. that story made me laugh out loud Steven! Been there too, people are always looking at me like I'm crazy at our local auction house...but as you say, the last laugh is mine!

    3. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 10:56 AM

      I'm quite used to the strange looks when I clean out the womens shoe section at Goodwill. Or maybe they are giving me a look for smell checking the, who cares. As you say, I get to have the last laugh at the bank!

    4. Jen from The Trove GnomeJuly 18, 2016 at 11:15 AM

      LOVE IT! Trash elves are a unique lot - and I'm glad to count myself among them :-)

    5. I love this! That was me 2 weeks ago at a house auction. Very high end stuff. Everyone was going crazy over the art and the like but not me. Not until they put out a box of old designer perfume. Just me and 1 guy fought hard for it. When he could see how determined I was he gave up and it left with me ! Would be a great profit if but I'm a collector. But funny to see the odd looks when I always go for the grandma perfumes!
      Jen in Indiana

  2. My sales have been rather dismal for a long time. $375 to $475 a week with 1300+ items. Last week, after playing with the sell similar, I achieved my first $1000 week ever.

    One week is hardly enough to draw any conclusions, but it was sure nice.

  3. July 10-16 2016

    Total Items in Store: 719
    Items Sold: 19 (8 Amazon)
    International 3
    Total Sales $709.78
    Cost of Items Sold: $107.84
    Highest price $134.99 Six Million Dollar Man lunchbox & Floryme perfume
    Average Price Sold: $37.36
    Returns: 0
    Cost of items purchased this week $230
    New items listed: 30
    Old items end and then relisted: 110

    One of the better weeks I've had in months. Sold 3 items at $100+... the lunchbox was from a yard sale where I paid $15, the Floryme perfume was from an estate sale paid $8, and then I also sold a 1960s hand painted chess set for $100 that I got at the flea market for $10. Also had one of my better weeks ever on Amazon where I sold 8 new in box items.

    Only went to one sale this week because I have a buildup of stuff that needs to be listed. I happened to go to this one only because it was in my town and also because they had some general's flags that caught my eye. I went and picked up a box full of 9th Infantry Division memorabilia - the guy looks to have been one of organizers/leaders of the local chapter of the national foundation... I got reunion programs from at least 10 meetings dating back to the 1960s, a pennant from 1963, parade hats, blank lifetime member cards, and even a handmade 9th Infantry plaque that is labelled on the back with a date of 1965 (20 year reunion after WWII). Good stuff, paid $30 for the box - after more research, I hope to price around $300.

    The flags I actually went for were incredibly overpriced - over $300 for the three (a 4 star general, a 2 star general, and a unit US Flag). I left an offer of $125 for all three and will find out tomorrow if I got them.

  4. 7/10-7/16/16
    Total items in store: 342
    Items sold: 10
    Cost of Items Sold: $20 retail + $18 thrift + $15.40 consignment
    Total Sales: $232.90
    Avg. price: $23.29
    Highest price item: $39.99 Vintage Fila fleece and Lands' End down jacket
    International sales: 0
    Returns: 1 didn't fit and $10 partial on damaged sandals
    Money spent on new inventory: $32
    Number of items listed: 0

    This seemed like a good week while still being on vacation. I haven't listed in 3 weeks. I mailed out 14 packages on Thursday when I returned. My highest sale this week would have been new Born sandals for $44.99, but they were damaged in storage and I refunded $10.

  5. Total Items in Store: ebay, 183 etsy, 319
    Items Sold: 8-->4 ebay, 4 etsy
    Total Sales: $373--->ebay, $210, etsy, $163
    Highest Price Sold: $103 vintage sporting equipment, ebay
    Average Price Sold: $46.62
    Returns: 0

    1. Omfug I know you've had some luck on Etsy and was wondering if you have any resources you're willing to share about selling on Etsy such as a blog or podcast? Is it true that you have to use social media to promote your store?

    2. would also love to hear...have been slowly building my etsy store but sales are very slow.

    3. Me three. I'd also be interested in reading or seeing what items you sell there and how you decide where to list your items.

    4. From what I've personally found with Etsy, the more you curate collections and put the items in settings where they could live, the better you do. You should pin your items on Pinterest in the hopes that someone else repins, etc. Etsy doesn't have the natural volume of traffic that eBay/Amazon have (Amazon has an average of 13M unique users shopping each day, eBay has about 7M unique users each day, while Etsy has only about 1M unique users each day - US traffic only, per ComScore). That makes it much harder to generate volumes of sales - of course, some people have done it quite successfully but the build up to that likely takes much longer.

    5. I do share my etsy store-->TheInstantMemory I do pinterest, and post on the forums there--that is about all the networking I do, and sales have been good, although slower for summer obviously.

  6. Question: A customer returned a $225 rug with these comments, Just didn't like it. The colors on my computer screen just didn t match the rug. The rug was darker than I expected and doesn t go with my house. Sorry!
    Now she has emailed me demanding that I return her 20% restocking fee because it was "not the same color as described," and very angry about it. Should I return the fee? I already sent her refund without it and am not sure how I would go about that other than through Paypal.

    1. so she opened an ebay return case and mailed it back? the reason was Just Didn't Like It? so in that case you don't owe her the 20%. ebay should back you up on that.

    2. Yes, you are right Ryanne. I just called Ebay to ask their opinion and that's what they said. I usually don't have issues with feeling guilty, but I do feel rather bad that she didn't realize it had the restocking fee. Thinking about sending her half and changing all my restocking fees to 10%.

    3. I'm not sure I would feel guilty. Remember, you had to pack and ship that rug, and it has now been out of circulation for perhaps a couple weeks. It's your decision Linda but you are out some time and effort.

    4. I sent her half of the restocking fee via Paypal. Now I feel that I treated her well. She seems okay with it too. That's the most important thing. It's better to err on the generous side. No regrets. Case closed.

    5. a good night's sleep is worth 10.00:)

  7. Total items in store: 807
    Items sold: 4
    Total Sales: $422 ($275 item still unpaid- unpaid item case opened today)
    Highest Price Sold: $275 H&M x Balmain Faux Fur Jacket (item is still unpaid)
    Average Price sold: $135
    Returns: 1

    Another terrible week. No sales at all then 1 tiny sale for $17 on Tuesday. Then I received 3 on Friday and now the buyer has yet to pay for my highest priced item. They asked me for a discount on an already discounted H&M x Balmain coat. I sent them a direct offer. After accepting my offer they said they were confused bc they thought I also took off shipping. They're in Australia, and I never agreed to remove shipping. Anyway, they've stopped communicating with me after I explained that shipping was not included in the offer price. I don't have high hopes for them paying now :(

    Same thing happened last week..buyer bought Chanel shoes from me for $130 and then never paid. Not used to getting buyers that don't pay after I accept their offers this often. The fact that sales are slow this time of year makes the nonpaying buyer incidents especially painful.

    1. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 9:26 AM

      Eventually you just grow to accept it as part of selling. I've tried messaging folks to tell them its ok to just cancel instead of getting an unpaid item strike, but they rarely ever even respond. Now I just accept my item will be unlisted for a week and move on.

      I dodged a bullet on a potential non-payment this week on my highest priced item coming up on the best time to sell it. I got an offer of $1000 but the person said in the notes they were "99% sure" they would take it. So instead of accepting I just counter offered them the exact same price and they let it expire. I assume they actually meant they were 1% sure they would take it. Lol.

  8. Ryanne, were you really playing Pokemon? It doesn't seem like something you'd be in to. Your fox thing was probably an Evee. I actually think it's a fun game. I started by helping my niece's and nephew but now I've gotten sucked it. Now I play without them lol. I've met tons of adults playing. It's made us way more active. We go walking every where now just to catch things and hatch eggs. My fav GW doesn't have service so I grumpy shop knowing none of those steps count lol. But back to work for me. Pokemon for the weekends!

    1. yep i was playing. i'm not much of a video gamer, but i thought it would be a fun thing to try. though we are really putting our heads down and working, so i don't leave my office much! they do pop up around our house sometimes so that's fun.

    2. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 9:30 AM

      My wife and I play with our kids, since the app has to be on our phones. It is a fun game in spite of itself, because in reality it is a horrible game that is painfully buggy. If this were the same game but something other than pokemon it would be buried as a horrible failure.

      My daughter especially is much more active because of this game, so it gets an A from me just for that.

    3. We're watching my 13 yo son play in Seattle. Doing lots and lots of walking, so it's a helpful distraction for the kids. It's a fun concept. Nothing tangible to resell later when they are nostalgic though! Maybe we should list his cards?

  9. In regards to background noise while listing, I, like you, can't listen to YouTube videos in background of people just talking, but one "show/podcast" that I am able to listen to while listing, in addition to Scavenger Life, is "Thrifty Business with Jay and Nay". They actually have regular sections of the show, like "scores" / "duds", "weird thrifty encounters" and "Are you shipping me?", which makes it fun and actually interesting to listen to. Scavenger Life and Thrifty Business are the only two shows/podcasts that I consistently listen to every week. :)

    1. I can listen if it's on my phone or playing on my TV behind my head. Then I treat it as a podcast with the opportunity to glance at it if their showing something I want to see. But if it's a showing type video I schedule to watch this when I'm laying in bed on my phone or something.

  10. Store Week 7/10 - 7/16

    Total items in store: 729
    Items sold: 10
    Cost of items sold: $10.07
    Total sales: $542.96
    Highest price sold: $149.99 (Lexmark toner cartridge)
    Average price sold: $54.30
    International Sales: 1
    Returns: 0
    Money spent on new inventory this week: $21.70

    This week was great! We went camping for one night and when we got back into cell phone range I had several pretty good sales and offers waiting. Such a nice surprise! Some fun sales were a Kermit the Frog doll for $79.99 and a vintage Bon Jovi Tee for $49. I also had a jacket covered in patches that I was about ready to cut up and sell the patched individually. I hadn’t done it yet, because it was kind of a cool collection. Anyway, I finally sold the jacket to someone in the fashion biz! I also sold a few posters for good prices. It will be a sad day when this poster collection finally runs out!

  11. Store #1
    Total Items in Store: 2731
    Items Sold: 89
    Cost of Items Sold: $382.70 + $427 (workers) = $809
    Total Sales: $2,371.93
    Highest Price Sold: $120 (Pants)
    Average Price Sold: $26.65
    Returns: 1
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $160
    Number of items listed this week: 130

    Store #2
    Total Items in Store: 849
    Items Sold: 30
    Cost of Items Sold: $114.90
    Total Sales: $884.42
    Highest Price Sold: $50 (Jacket)
    Average Price Sold: $29.48
    Returns: 0
    Number of items listed this week: 25

    We’ve been doing pretty well running sales off and on this summer. It’s brought our average price sold down, but we’ve been making up for it in volume. Our newest hire is working full-time for us now, and she’s been awesome.

    1. Bryan your numbers are always impressive. Do you do anything special to drive traffic to your store? Social media? End and sell similar? These types of things? Or is your strategy just listing a large volume of quality items?

    2. Bryan, welcome back. I hope your shoulder has healed and you are settled into your house. I always love seeing your high dollar amounts!

    3. Bryan, been reading up on your past posts. Have you ever done an interview with J&R and if so which episode is it? I am interested in how you do things. Thanks!

    4. eBay does all the heavy lifting for us, we've never done anything to drive traffic to our store.

      Thanks Anna! We're all moved in and got our pool running. My shoulder is about 70% recovered and the pool has really helped with the rehab.

      We've never done an interview, but I'm happy to give advice.

  12. My computer comment rarely comes through but is there a better way to do this? I am ending some listings and then going to my unsold folder where they show up and hitting sell similar in the bulk editor. And then i go back to the unsold folder and delete them out. Does this sound like the best method? I'm trying to not get things confused or duplicated or lost.

  13. JFH's store 7/10 - 7/17
    Items in store = 855
    Items sold = 30
    highest price sold = maroon Ettiene Aigner jacket 55.00
    average sale price = 23.10
    amount sold = 695.30
    amount spent on new inventory = about 100.00

    It was a good week. it started kind of slow but finished strong. I ran a couple sales and had a day or two of few / no sales. I did an experiment late week and started listing my trucker hats for a lower price, around 15 rather 20 plus. This seemed to help move some hats as my hat sales went up quite a bit more than normal. Thanks for the video!

  14. You were named dropped again on goldenfingerpickerss latest video. He said he was going to call you guys to see if you wanted to be on the show since people kept mentioning you last week. He also said it's been a while since you talked and you have a standing invitation so he hopes he hasn't upset or offended you in some way since you last spoke. Pete chimed in that you were going somewhere for a few weeks soon. So I wonder if he's listening to your podcast too.

    1. We have love for all scavengers. It's really just about time.

    2. as jay says, time is limited before we go to Ireland. trying to renovate our other rental, run the current rental and do ebay as much as possible. (plus produce 2 podcasts).

    3. I'm still waiting for the day to come where you hire a cleaning person and then ask yourself why you didn't do it ages ago. I know you like to stay busy and be hands on but imagine how many more fun or opportune things would come with that free time that will generate even more money. I really think you should just try it for a month and see how you feel.But you have to get a good person or it taints the results.

    4. we've interviewed 3 cleaners. so it's in the works. it's hard finding good people.

    5. On that same note Ryanne, I have a nice lady who comes every other week and cleans my house. Best 30.00 I've ever spent! I tell her she is better than a psychiatrist for me. She makes me stay organized, I have to pick up and put away so she can find the floor to sweep it! I figure I am spreading the ebay wealth by having her come...I list an item, sell it and then pay her for her services with my profit:) Hiring someone to do the tasks I dislike (cleaning bathrooms) makes me VERY HAPPY!

    6. we've definitely talked about that as a strategy, have someone clean our house for cheap, while we clean the other house and do other work. might happen some day.

    7. Good luck finding someone...sigh..we are having problems finding people to even do basic landscaping here, we hired a crew of guys to clean up our overgrown hillside, and do basic trimming of bushes, etc. we settled on $900 for 2 days work, they did most of the heavy stuff on day one, took $500 and we never heard from them again! They left $400 on the table for what was a couple of hours of work--I live in an area where the economy is pretty strong again, and finding people to do basic labor is almost impossible.

  15. Total Items in Store: 499
    Items Sold: 50
    Cost of Items Sold: $113.69
    Total Sales: $1,010.89
    Average Price Sold: $20.22

    Best week so far. Never thought I would have a week where I had higher sales than the people who ultimately led me to do this full time and quit my job (thanks J&R!).

    If this is the slow times of online selling then here is what I think contributed to such a good week regardless:
    Competitive price
    Buy It Now Or Best Offer (This was huge. It doubled my sales)
    Running sales 48hr back to back (Possible with a Premium store)
    Listing constantly (20 things a day because thrift store sales are very frequent and close together this month)
    Got rid of Free Shipping (Customers expect to pay shipping. In their mind if I accepted their offer of $15 for a Polo shirt they got it for $15 and not $15 + $3.30 flat shipping cost).

    1. Huge congrats on your week. It's been fun seeing you post from your very beginnings and asking really good questions to now having a solid business. Looks like all your work is paying off. 50 items sold in one week!

      After we started and felt we figured out how to make a living on eBay, our attention then turned to sustainability. How do we keep scavenging and selling and not burn out?

      It's awesome to have an amazing selling week. But we try to make sure we can have that good week now, and have a good week next month, and the next year. We're always experimenting with our time/processes to avoid burn out while still making money. It's a very delicate balance. There are thousands of stories of sellers who have ended in burnout.

      Not sure what you're master plan is but make sure you keep having fun and make the work interesting/challenging. As Steve Schultz once wisely said: Be careful about building a sweatshop for yourself.

    2. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 11:01 AM

      Great work Fred! 50 sales is huge.

    3. Hi Fred--New to the podcast--and just wanted to congratulate you on your success! I've been watching your numbers weekly and am so impressed to see them grow so quickly. Do you buy mostly at thrift stores?

    4. Yes, mainly Goodwill. I have many thrift stores around me in an hour radius.

  16. Deric from the photoJuly 17, 2016 at 11:15 PM

    Items in the store: 1060
    Listed this week: 46
    Items sold: 37
    Gross Sold: $1292
    Average per item: 35
    Highest priced item sold: 2 @ $80, one for Wolfenstein 3D on CD-Rom (complete in original box), and one for a Wrestlemania jersey.
    Cost of good sold: ~100ish
    Spend on new items: $275ish

    Real good selling week for me. I'm still in the process of increasing inventory as much as possible, hence another week where my spent on new items is high. It's 275, but that's for 63 items. I am expecting the cheapest of those items (8 of them) to sell for $15, and most of the rest in that 30-40 area, with some items popping up above that.

    I also have been waiting on my guy who takes photos for me to return a bin of about 50 hats. Once I get those, my numbers should shoot up in one week, as most of the hats are so similar, the listings will largely be copy-paste.

    I also found another guy to do photos for me starting this week, although my schedule hasn't matched his to do a drop-off yet. Both guys are friends of mine. The first one, I stressed how there's no real time-line for when I get stuff back, which is largely true. I have so much stuff to list, that I have a backlog. But, the photo backlog continues to grow as well, so it was time to find someone else to photograph as well. I'll probably switch between the two of them for photos.

    Here's a random one: My deathpiles? I bought about 1000 laserdiscs last year for $40 at an estate sale. They're mostly worth 2-3 dollars each, so I've been selling them in lots of 12-15 for $20. All the lots of them I've listed have sold, I just have been lazy about the listing. They're too bulky to ship off 7 boxes of them to someone for photos, and I am just not motivated to do these ones myself. My hope is by 2017, they're all listed :-) Maybe this week? I also have bulk Legos to go through as well. I just need to remove Mega Blocks from them to list them, but even that is a process...

    1. How much do you pay for someone to take photos?

    2. It ranges from $.50 to $1 an item. I generally give them a bin of stuff, and tell them that there's X number of items, so let's do it for Y price. My guy seems happy as long as he's getting $40-$50 in one shot.

      If it's some of my low value stuff, I'm just up front about it and let him choose. "I can only afford to pay $.50 each on these. Theres 60 of them, and easy to photograph. Up to you"

  17. Thought I'd share what I found in one of my finds. Was happy to find a nice Fossil wallet for $1 in a garage sale. Became even happier when I found a folded $50 bill in one of the pockets!
    Never thought anybody could find $200 in a book but now I know, I will be on the lookout.
    Thank you for another great podcast!

    1. I once found 90.00 in a pocket of a pair of shorts...couldn't stop grinning for hours...200.00...I'd be grinning for a week!

    2. I found a small bag of weed in a travel bag that I bought at a yard sale.

    3. LOL, I also found a stash of weed in a small chest I bought once.

    4. The big question is obviously: did you smoke it.

    5. The bag I found disappeared from my storage area. My 17yo son took it. Since teenagers don't feel the need to talk to their parents, I have no idea whether he actually smoked it.

    6. In my case, I don't smoke, but my partner does and he indeed smoked it, hehe

    7. I bought a huge box of greeting cards at an estate sale and I was thrilled to find 4 crisp $1 bills in a box of invitations. I was just a a little bit happier when I found an envelope full of $20 bills---$300 in all. I could have kicked myself for taking two days to sort out the box.

  18. RR Store Week July 10-16, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 1124
    Items Sold: 14
    Cost of Items Sold: $19.00
    Total Sales: $371.91
    Highest Price Sold: $89.99 (40's 16mm film)
    Average Price Sold: $26.57
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $6.98
    Number of items listed this week: 4 New, 42 Sell Similar

    Based on last week's podcast, I too am ending and Sell Similar-ing my old listings. Couldn't hurt, as many of them didn't have new item specifics, still has free shipping, etc. Those listings were awfully stale, so I'm looking at it as a good thing all around. Hopefully it will help boost sales, as the summer slump seems to have caught up to me.

    A crazy note about that 16mm film. I had two similar films for sale, both 16mm sound movies that featured Country & Western singers of the day. Last week, one sold. Under a haze of stress, I sent him the wrong one. I realized my dumb mistake and planned to contact him in the morning. When I woke up, the OTHER film had sold. What a mess! Then I get a message from the first buyer. He said although he received the wrong film, he loved it and wanted to keep it. But he still wanted the one he initially purchased, so he was the second buyer! He bought them both and is super happy. I'm relieved and thrilled. Oh yeah, he paid full price of $89.99 each, no Best Offer. I paid about a dollar for both.

    In other exciting news, I found a new place to live! It's a 1950's duplex in Claremont, CA, very close to my current digs. Two bedrooms, so I'll still have my eBay office. It's in a mellow, safe neighborhood full of artists and musicians, close to family and friends. I couldn't be happier.


    1. For those of us who work at home, it's super important to have a space you love. And since you;re moving, you can take this time to clean out your inventory. Set up your storage right from the get go. Fresh start!

    2. Jen from The Trove GnomeJuly 18, 2016 at 11:53 AM

      Paul - what a fun story. And I'm glad you found a great place to live. Sounds like a neighborhood I'd enjoy too.

  19. Paul, I am so happy for you. You must be living right. :-) I am not listing with family still here but have started doing the End/Sell Similar thing also. Have wanted to refesh the old listings for a long time. Thanks for the motivation J&R!

  20. I'm looking forward to the latest show. (I haven't listened yet).

    Here are my numbers:
    Total Items in Store: 1032
    Items Sold: 31
    Total Sales: $662.22
    Cost of Items Sold: $62.7
    Average Price Sold: $21.36
    Average Cost of Item: $2.02
    Highest Price Items Sold: 69.95 Legend of Zelda NES game
    Number of items listed this week: 47
    Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 150
    Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 92
    Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 58
    Sell-through rate: 3.00%
    # of Hats Sold: 18

    Another solid week for me. Sunday was particularly busy. My phone was cha-chinging constantly through the day till the mid afternoon when it finally quietened down.

    1. I like that you add the info on average time it takes for an item to sell. As your store matures, are you finding that the average time takes longer simply because you have more inventory?

    2. Yes. The average age of the item in my store steadily increases every week as does the average age of my sales. That's why I also started calculating median age of my sales because it's a better indicator of how quickly things sell. (Selling a couple of very old items will totally skew the average age of my sales).

  21. Well I had my first suspicious return this week. Please excuse my writing, as I am using my phone.

    Sold a smart pen to someone, and they said the display was "too dim" and wanted to return. I had tested it before shipping and it worked just fine, so I suggested he try adjusting the settings. He said no luck. So I say send it back and get a refund minus shipping costs.

    So he opens a return for a broken item and specifying that the screen doesn't work at all and sends a package back with a pen that is clearly covered in coffee or some other brown stain, and he didn't include all of the accompanying materials. So I tell him this and call ebay. They say to work it out. So I send back a stern but not unprofessional message saying that if he sends me the proper materials I would consider a partial refund. Waiting to hear back. So I'm not sure if this is even the same pen because there are no serials. Regardless, since the pen is clearly damaged by liquid am I stil on the hook to give any refund at all?

    1. Ultimately you need to figure it out with eBay since the buyer can get a resolution through the case. We've found that unless we've gotten eBay to side with us BEFORE the resolution, then eBay will side with the buyer.

      All you can do is plead your case to the customer service rep. Send photos. If they don't see your point, then just do the refund. It happens.

    2. Yeah you're right. I contacted eBay right away and included photos of what I received to compare with the photos in the listing. The guy I spoke to said that eBay won't step in until after 3 business days of the case being opened. So I'm kind of just waiting until then to call back.

      I did receive a response from the buyer saying that he must have sent the wrong pen by mistake, and if I felt I couldn't give him a refund then he would "live with it." So who knows. It's not a major deal in terms of expense, but I just can't handle feeling like someone is trying to take advantage of me. I guess it's just something to get used to haha.

      In any case it does not dissuade me from selling other similar items. I've had so many more positive experiences that it's not worth getting too worked up over.

    3. I have found in the past, that if you have the buyer's email to you, and it demonstrates a glaring inconsistency, eBay will side with the seller. I would point out the difference in language between the complaint to you, and the buyer's language in the claim, plus what was returned. Usually the difference between claim and pre claim by buyer gets it tossed. However, it depends on the rep that gets your call too. Good luck.

  22. Interesting news from eCommercebytes:

    "eBay Plans to Overhaul Its Platform, CTO Reveals"

    1. Again? Oh goody. I just saw the Amazon Seller platform migration and the changes to the shipping matrix for books. Felt like puking. So awesome, more anxiety yay.

    2. Anonymous, can you be more specific. How will affect people sending in items? Is there a link to any info on that Amazon change?

    3. Okay I will try. I don't know how this will affect mailing things in yet. Hold on. Can I send you a screen shot?

    4. I would assume that Amazon would have a webpage detailing the change, right?

      You can use to post images to share here.

    5. At the top of your orders, there's a box that has links. There's the usual gossip in the sellers forum as well. We won't migrate until they work out some of the bugs. Why is Amazon always in beta, dang it!



      Argh, hope this works.

    7. Good old fashioned cut and paste seems to work, I opened Safari and pasted it. Sorry I suck at this. :(

    8. I see the second image. This is a page on the internet. Why not just copy and paste the URL?

    9. Hi Jay, thats a picture from my seller account, actually. I do so affirm but not swear to it ;) No seriously, it is.

    10. I put up three pictures, just page down and hit the button to maximize the size of it. I dont think it can be seen online unless somebody logs in to their seller account. Anyway, for what its worth. I'm sure someone here besides me has seen it and can confirm. (hopefully).

  23. a slower week for us but had our 4 grandchildren here for 10 days so not much listing. Back to normal this week...actually excited to start listing again! A couple of our better sales this week: Accepted a best offer of 40.00 Accepted a best offer of 50.00

  24. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 8:59 AM

    Weekly numbers

    Items in store: 429
    Items sold: 10
    Sales: $335
    COGS: $45
    Profit: $290
    Average Sales Price: $33.50
    Average profit: $20.71
    Best item: Portable wireless Speaker - $60

    This is definitely the slow days of summer! I can see how it can get a seller down in the dumps. I've been feeling pretty exhausted this past week on top of that. My allergies went nuts on me, and I've been pretty overwhelmed in general with everything on my plate to do. All I really want to do is watch Netflix & chill.

    Speaking of Netflix, there is a new show on there called Stranger Things. We're three epidodes in and it is great!!!

    And on that Retro 80's note, I also highly recommend Freaks & Geeks. It was an incredible show - it was too bad Fox killed it off so early.

    And on that note of Fox killing good shows, watch Firefly. It is the single greatest sci fi show ever created.

    Ok that's all. If you need me I'll be sitting in my recliner doing pretty much nothing except holding a super cute, chunky little baby.

  25. Um, Firefly is NOT and never will be the greatest sci fi show ever created. Star Trek is. In fact Whedon has specifically said Star Trek is the father of Firefly and has the series in his collection. First the writers can't compare: DC Montana Harlan Ellison, and Theodore Sturgeon?! If you haven't seen Piece of the Action, City on the Edge of Forever, and my personal favorite Spectre of the Gun with the eerie red sky and spaghetti western antics that put any Sergio Leone fan into a happy place, see them now! For the era it was in, the show was progressive in terms of casting, stories and scripted TV firsts. Firefly is ok, but compared to Star Trek which was filmed literally on the fly, often with one take due to lack of budget, I respectfully disagree.

    1. Heard great things about Freaks and Geeks though. For fun, Strangers with Candy is a blast.

    2. Freaks & Geeks is a great show and you can plow through the whole series quickly (only 18 episodes). It was one of those shows before its time that wasn't given enough time to fully blossom. At the time, it was on the tails of Seinfeld's finale, the height of Friends popularity, etc - which were pulling in 30M+ viewers per week. When F&G was only getting 6Mish viewers per week, it was considered a flop. Now, compare that to today and it would be deemed a rousing success because of all of the TV ratings erosion - the highest rated show of recent years has been How I Met Your Mother which had average viewership in the 7M range (not including premieres, finales, special episodes).

    3. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 10:27 AM

      Isn't it great to have a personal opinion?
      Star Wars > Star Trek.
      I'm getting my popcorn ready. :)

    4. i'm on team Star Trek (TNG baby!!)

    5. Okay, I admit, me too. Totally did NOT intend a train wreck attempt with my dumba$$ opinion.

      I always thought Q should have his own show. My partner still gets tears eyed watching that Inner Light episode.

      Looking back, one can easily argue that the original Star Trek was also quite fascist. "Oh look if we can communicate with it, we can either "free" it, or kill it", and more often the latter than the former. Ironically, the issues it tackled at the time were considered very progressive. Not so much now. When we contrast that with the current election cycle, well, there's a high school paper in there somewhere.

    6. Ps- if you enjoy vintage stuff and like early Tarantino, highly recommend Spectre of the Gun for the settings and the props. The villains deserve their own animated gif.

    7. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 11:06 AM

      Haha, wasn't a train wreck. I'm totally cool with people being passionate about any cause. As long as the line doesn't get crossed into personal name calling, it's all in good fun.

      I remember back in the internet stone ages when SW and ST chat groups on AOL would stage raids on each others groups to declare supremacy and high tail it. Good times.

    8. Here's my comparison:. I have sold more Star Trek things, so I like it better.

      Although I MAY have just listed a full size Chewbacca body suit, so the pendulum can swing the other way.

      Personally, I'm a BattleStar Galactica guy (except for the ending of the series...)

    9. The most recent BSG is a masterpiece. They didn't even give Blood & Chrome a chance! :(

      If we judged our shows "success" by eBay, I would worry about being overrun by Pokemon

    10. OP Anon, those Star Trek episodes are also my favorites.
      Big TNG fan too although I've found good in all the series though not so much DS9, may have to revisit.
      I've heard so many great things about Firefly but have avoided watching it as that in the end it will be a letdown.

    11. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 4:31 PM

      Don't avoid it. It hurts when you finish because you just know the best was yet to come. The Serenity movie was cool, but they kill a main character off in a tragic way. I would have rather they all rode off into the sunset together.

  26. After listenining to the Podcast there is one thing I am still unclear on. Does revising listings have the same search effect as ending and relisting. A lot of people advocate the end and relist with sell similar which I would guess gives you a whole new item # and would definately trigger reindexing. It also seems it could incur a lot of listing fees added and be harder to keep track of inventory if you have a lot of listings.
    I gathered from the Podcast Ryanne was revising and relisting the 1800 items she worked on rather than ending and relisting. Is it clear from ebay that this will have the same effect as ending/relisting. It would be a preferable approach to me as it would not incur new listing fees or make inventory management harder. But it does retain the same item number.

    Thanks, I hope the question makes sense.


    1. i am revising (getting rid of html, just putting plain text) then i end, then i sell similar to give the listing a new item number.

    2. Ah, Ok get it now.
      If you do this on 1800 items prematurely wont that add a lot of listing fees. Even on an anchor store if you are over the number of free listings provided that's like another $90 in listing fees.

    3. anchor stores allow 10,000 free listings now. we have about 3800.

    4. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 9:44 AM

      In the growth tab, ebay recommends I reduce prices on some items. So along this vein of thought I am wondering if I can bulk edit my prices to reduce by one penny to boost sales. I'm going to try that today.

    5. Wow I didnt know it went up that high with the last change. I have 2 of the premium stores and one is over the 1000 limit by a couple of hundred listings. Would that change your thinking on whether you would try this. At 10c per listing that would add up quick.
      Now that I see the anchor listing limits I am definately going to try and upload a lot more in that store to convert it to anchor and take advantage of that.

  27. Great podcast. You invited us to share our eBay manifestos (yay!), so here's mine, as a working mama with a husband who thinks my selling on ebay is sorta cool but is also leery of it taking time away from other priorities. My ebay manifesto:

    1) Make ebay part of my regular Mon-Fri life routine. I have a FT office job, so I just integrate ebay into my 9-5 life. I find that ebay complements "white collar" work quite nicely. I have a couple of thrift stores I go to at lunchtime. I can print labels from work as long as I'm discreet about it. I write quick listings while on breaks. I drop all packages at an office store right around the corner from my office.

    2) Do not allow ebay to take away from family time at home. On days I'm at home, while my young child is napping, I take my pictures on my smartphone, adding them to saved listings I've written previously. My child is too young to go thrifting or yard saleing with me (she needs way too much supervision to allow me to shop effectively). I aim for ebay to bring only positive energy to my family life. While thrifting, I find cool stuff for my husband. I let my daughter help with packing and weighing items, which is fun for her.

    3) Only sell stuff I think is cool. When sourcing, I always consider the "hassle factor" inherent in any item. If it's going to be a hassle to sell and the profit less than $25, I leave it behind. Shoes are very easy to sell; I buy all higher-end women's shoes regardless of condition. I've learned that vintage clothes can be tough to sell (except for "lumberjack" style western clothing). I've had trouble with electronics purchased at thrift stores (hard to list, hard to pack, and every once in a while don't work right). So I generally avoid buying electronics because they're just not fun for me. I'm learning that skirts and shirts can be really slow to move and low profit, so I generally don't buy them anymore either. As Ryanne and Jay mentioned, books are extremely low-hassle to sell, so I'm all about more obscure nonfiction titles from quality publishers.

    4) Let family members know I am an ebay seller -- relatives have started cleaning out their closets and giving me their items to sell for my child's college fund.

    5) Don't provide clothing measurements and don't respond to questions about items. My sales would probably improve if I did measurements, but I don't have time. I would look into using if I did have time. Unless the question is really easy to answer, I ignore it. Rude maybe, but effective for me. I have no time to respond to questions, and in my experience most people who ask questions are just tire-kickers who aren't going to buy the item anyway.

    1. And here's part 2 of my manifesto!

      6) Take all returns no questions asked and when in doubt, be generous with buyers. I just don't have any mental energy to devote to back and forth with customers. People generally mean well and are just trying to get value from the transaction.

      7) Enjoy sourcing and researching. I don't enjoy yard sales or certain thrift stores, so I don't go to these sources. I have a couple of thrifts I love, so I make those part of my routine. When I have to travel to other parts of the state for work, I stop in at off the beaten path stores to check them out. I love learning new things about the world via research.

      8) Buy as low $ as possible while being willing to invest a few more dollars in special items. Even the most expensive thrift store in my community has a $1 rack where they're just dumping clothes that have been in their inventory too long. I find great stuff there!

      9) Look everything up before buying but also "go with your gut." I'm often disappointed that a random vintage item turns out to be worthless, and looking up items saves me from wasting time and money. But I've sold lots of household items that I just knew were special/valuable without having to look them up. Something not made in Asia often has an edge!

      10) As a scavenger, become aware of what categories of valuable items your community has in excess, and learn to recognize and snap those up. Don't wish your community had different stuff -- embrace what it does have. For me, I find a lot of higher-end "older-lady" clothes (Talbots, Chicos, etc.) because I live in a resort community with lots of retirees. Maybe not my favorite items, buy easy to list and sell, so I go with it. My community has some special features and niche businesses, so when I find old inventory from those "niches," I know it will sell well.

    2. For me, I have to like/be interested in the item, I pass up money makers all the time simply because I'm snooty, LOL--fortunately I don't have to make a living doing this.

    3. I agree that it's good to look things up on the fly. with experience, we have to do this less and less.

    4. @MamaLucia - LOVE your #1 bullet. This is a job whether full or part time. So many friends & family that ask me to sell things don't understand that there's cleaning, photographing, researching, listing, monitoring that goes into the process. My mom just retired and wanted to get into eBay & Amazon a little bit just to have a little extra cash and was shocked at the amount of time researching took. She was like "I just spent 4 hours researching this one pattern of china"... I was like "1) you're probably not using Google properly and 2) get off Facebook so you're not distracted." :)

  28. Hey Jay

    New show on Netflix "Stranger Things". I sold them a prop for the show. I've been binge watching and am on the last episode. I think it's pretty good but maybe I'm not very objective.

    Also here is a good video on Youtube about how vintage Persian rugs are made. I just listed another one so am trying to learn more. I wish I knew something about patterns and where they originate. I also found this site that does appraisals. I haven't tried it yet but am going to. I'll let you know how it works.

    1. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 10:33 AM

      Lol, when the mother opened to NIB vintage phone, I said to my wife "I wonder if someone on Scavenger Life sold that phone to them."

      What did you sell to them? I'll keep an eye out.

      I haven't had real goosebumps from a tv show since the early X-files. This show totally hooked me in from the start.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I sold a Vintage How and Why Wonder Book Of Fish to them! I'm not sure I saw it but there is a scene where Nancy is looking at a book with a shark in it. That might be my book but I'd need to see the cover to tell for sure. I'm loving the show too. Love all of the 80s items. I love the kids especially the one with the missing teeth. Here is a link to the book so you can keep an eye out

      How And Why Wonder Book

  29. Hi you all. I need a vacation. I generally take July off, but wil have to settle for two weeks this year due to my father not doing too well. I announced this to my partner who muttered "good luck with that". He's right. Even on vacation, I'm looking to buy stuff to resell. Oh well. Old habits and all.

    FINDS - I actually bought this 2 weeks ago and forgot. Also finished authenticating it:

    It is a huge 150th Hermes Anniversary flag or curtain that hung on the deck of a ship, with some others, when Hermes did their fireworks show. Michel Duchene was the artist. One recently sold for $995 but mine is in better shape.

    Stuff that sold BOLOs- Brooks Brothers alligator belts. On my simply--vintage account I banged out three sweet belt sales in several days. All Brooks Brothers varying from $60 to $180.00. Got all three at a GWO.

    I'm a sucker for the commercialism of Christmas and love vintage holiday decor, so in honor of all those Christmas in July sales, I compiled a EBay What Sold video all about Christmas stuff I sold.

    Good Hunting Everyone!

    1. Wow! Where did you find your Hermes flag? Awesome! And how much did you pay for it? Did the seller know what it was?

      A few months back I bought a fake Hermes scarf for a few bucks at a thrift store, thinking it was real. It was well worth the $3 wasted because I did a lot of research about how to recognize a real Hermes scarf, so now I know what to look for. It's hard to imagine that the thrift store employees in my community would overlook an authentic Hermes scarf, but stranger things have happened.

    2. It's one of those rare finds at the GWO. in fact, somebody put it back in the bin. I barely looked at it. I saw this crest on it and threw it in as an afterthought, simply because I liked part of the design. I didn't even think of it as an Hermes. It got buried in my basket, forgotten and purchased. Then forgotten until I went thru the bag it was in. This is one of those Exception to the Rule items. This Hermes was specifically made for the fireworks event in 1987, so there's very little to go by: no tags etc, just the design and the 1837-1987. it took a lot of research but it's very clearly Hermes. An identical one was authenticated by a company, but I feel qualified after over a decade at this to declare it Hermes myself. I am going to take the final step of trying to find photos or the pre show that would show these on the ships themselves. The one that sold recently was cut and had holes in it to take shower curtain rings! It had no history about it. To my knowledge, only two sold online since about 2010. The catch? It has some glitter and glue stains in three one inch areas, on it. I might give Christies a call to see how they would price it, but without properly removing the stains, I can't get it into a Sotheby's ot Doyle's. Still it's more suitable for eBay, I think. It's a great find, IMO.

      It's not the first Hermes scarf I sold, the texture of the silk has a feel to it that's hard to duplicate. I rarely see them around here. However I have picked up Vuitton, Dior and others because people over thought and passed an authentic item. It's worth the time to study them.

    3. Cool, thanks for explaining. Your item sounds extremely rare! What a story there must be about how it ended up at a GWO. A good topic for "the Mystery Show" podcast!

    4. I haven't found an Hermes scarf in years around here--the GWs know to look out for them. I did find a very cool set of Nina Ricci scarves in a presentation box a couple of months ago and sold them fairly quickly, I love finding things like that. Speaking of vintage fashion--here is something to watch on youtube (I adore this show and actually paid $10 to purchase the whole second season on YT, but parts of episodes, and some whole episodes are free) here are a couple of episodes to start you off:

      Doris goes to the famous Whitaker auction house!

    5. ahh yes Doris. I have not gone for the last few, but in general the Whitaker auction seat order is Doris front row, off side. I always try to sit right behind her. heehee. I have sold things to her in the past. A grand dame fairy godmother of fashion.

    6. I have NO idea who those other people are on her show. I do need to catch up on it. When Decades Vintage filmed their Reality TV show at Whitaker,(their show was on a year before hers)she wasnt very happy about it, in my opinion. Not sure, but if that show is still around, I actually was inadvertently filmed for it I havent seen how that turned out, but I was sitting behind her at that auction. haha

      I would actually call and send her some pictures of the Hermes, but with the few stains on it, its not up to her standard. Maybe after I do some conservation on it.

    7. I way prefer her show to the Decades show (neither are on anymore) I could listen to Doris talk about vintage fashion for hours. I also find the prices she fetches in her shop amazing (but she is in LA.) For myself, I used to do vintage clothing pretty heavily but cycled out of it as it became more difficult to find around here, I will still pick up something incredible if I am lucky enough to find it, and I wore vintage in the 70's so I look on the trend with great fondness.

  30. To the caller who found $200 in the book. Last year I found $100 in a box of greeting cards. It was underneath the cards and envelopes so I could have easily missed it but luckily I did remove the cards and envelopes when I took pics. Yeah! It was a great surprise.

  31. First, a big THANK YOU for teaching me about shell cordovan. Found my first pair at a thrift store for $6. And since I'm new to fancy shoes I even had them checked out by a local shoe repair guy (like you recommended). Had I not heard you guys talk about cordovan, I would have completely missed these. I'll update when they sell.

    Also here are some 'background tracks' for working:

    Netflix documentary recommendation: "The Barkley Marathons"

    NPR podcasts (that are rarely recommended): The Splendid Table, America's Test Kitchen. Both are for foodies and wannabe foodies.

    I know you get this all the time but you cannot hear it enough; I love the show. You two are the BEST. I love the POSITIVE outlook on ebay/online business. Keep it up.

    1. I look for shell cordovan now too, but I'm still not confident about what to look for, so I haven't bought anything yet. Also, the former vegetarian in me is a little creeped out by the idea of horse leather, eek!

    2. Mama Lucia,
      What helped me was to look at some photos online of cordovan v calfskin and read some forums on men's fashion. It's all about the waves (cordovan) and micro creases (calfskin). Also, it's much harder than I imagined (it looks so soft in the pictures). Still, it helped a ton getting confirmation from the shoe professional.

      And I agree; even as a never vegetarian the horse leather thing is weird.

  32. Jen from The Trove GnomeJuly 18, 2016 at 11:56 AM

    The Trove Gnome Week July 10-16, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 378
    Items Sold: 7
    Cost of Items Sold: $0 (pre-owned or donated)
    Total Sales: $173
    Highest Price Item Sold: $60 (Spice rack from the 1970s)
    Average Price Sold: $25
    Number of International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0 – continuing to work through stuff we own
    Number of Items Listed this Week: 23

    The beginning of the week was so slow I thought I’d accidentally put my store on vacation mode. But no. We finally had a few sales and moved out some older items and were happy about that. This week is already looking up with several items shipping today.

    1. The spice rack - any particular brand or markings or was it just for "the look"? I guess in my head I'm wondering what the different is between a $60 rack (good for you on picking & selling it) vs. a $5 rack?

  33. Here are my numbers from June 26 - July 16
    June 26th - July 2
    Items in store 900+
    Sold 10
    COGS $30.00
    Total Sales $334.90
    Highest Price Sold Birkenstocks $59.99
    Ave Price Sold $33.49
    INTL -
    Returns -
    Spent on new merch $40.00

    July 3 - 9
    Total items in store 900+
    Sold 9
    COGS $24.00
    Total Sales $296.91
    Highest Price Sold vintage Tommy Hilfiger sneakers $49.99
    Average Price $32.99
    INTL -
    Returns -
    Spent on new merch $35.00

    July 10 - 16
    Items in store 940
    Sold 5
    COGS $9.50
    Total Sales - $179.97
    Highest Price Sold $60.00 vintage platform shoes
    Average Price $35.99
    INTL -
    Returns -
    Spent on new merch -

    Ryanne & Jay thanks for sharing the eBay trade secrets. I love being part of this awesome community that chooses to freely help each other. I sold 2 old items with in 24 hours of relisting them using sell similar. Decided to experiment with auctions. Sent my top 20 watcher items to auction in hopes of generating sales. Auctions will end tomorrow at 8:30pm so far I have one bid and many new watchers.

    1. Hi, Liz. I'm trying to clear out some of my older less expensive clothing and small items. I'm playing with what kinds of items sell better for me at auction or at fixed OBO.

      If I do try auction, I make the draft for the listing (for 10 days), then submit it on Thursday late afternoon, trying to hit the best closing time window. I did get a big increase in sales on these.

  34. - Buy quality items & Sell at fair prices
    - List items that will make you a profit of $10 or more (10 minutes to photo & list an item = 6 items per hour or $60 per hour)
    - Always treat the customer the way you would want to be treated (full refunds and free return shipping)
    - Stay positive & kick ass!

    1. I like this good simple manifesto.

    2. If you have an item like a patch that is easy to photograph the front and back for 2 images, but not much else you can take a 3rd photo of the front along with a dollar bill or some other easily identifiable object to provide scale of the item. I do this sometimes even if I don't need to have an additional photo. Also comment in the listing that the dollar bill is not included in the listing.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. I often listen to eBay Radio (voice marketing radio). It's not as interesting as Scavenger Life, but I do sometimes get tips that are useful. I also can listen to it in the background and if I miss parts of it it's not a big deal.

  36. July 10-16, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 265
    Items Sold: 12
    Cost of Items Sold: $8.75 (and pre-owned merchandise)
    Total Sales: $266.00
    Highest Price Sold: $79 All-Clad sauce pan; $81 Six Teresa Goodall jewelry pieces to same customer
    Average Price Sold: $22.17
    Returns: 0
    Number of items listed this week: 20

    Hi Jay, Ryanne and Everyone! I'm new to posting on the podcast--have been lurking since I discovered this delightful group last November after foot surgery. I've been slowly growing my eBay business since January, incorporating as many of your good tips as possible. I'm so grateful to have found this group and the wealth of information you share. Thank you, thank you! Back to listing...and listening to the podcast!

  37. FAVOR? Any Scavengers that subscribe to WorthPoint that would be willing to tell me the selling price on this cushion? Can't find anymore like it on a google search:

    1. That link you posted took me right into my Worthpoint site and it has a $6.19 sold price on it in Feb. 2013. Don't know if you can see the description, but it says it is a combination seat cushion and cape that folds up into it and is zippered closed.

      When I did a deeper search that one is the only one listed and it was on the .UK Ebay site. Don't know if that helps or not. mike in Atl.

    2. THANKS so much Mike Collins!! I was hoping it was worth 169.00:) BUT heck...gonna throw mine up high and hope for the best like Jay and Ryanne say

    3. Cheryl.. You are welcome. You mention about putting it up HIGH!. That brings up a point I have thought about asking many times to several others who use that phrase. How HIGH is HIGH???

      Example, one does research, finds that only two or three have sold in last 90 days on Ebay. Worthpoint shows 8 sold in last 2 years. All are, let's say $38-$43 dollar range. So knowing full well we have to leave room to haggle downwards on our best offers, then how HIGH is HIGH over and above what the historical selling point is. The 3 year range tops at $43. So, 3 or 4 times that to list? 10 times that to list? [silly, I know to list at $430 and you know they have historically sold at $43. It doesn't matter what you bought it for, because we all scavenge and hope you got it for a dollar or less. they sell for around $40++ so How High do most then list to eventually land where they want to be?? Just curious. mike in Atl

  38. Hi-

    I listen to your podcast weekly and very rarely reply. But I liked the idea of what eBay is to you in 5 bullet points. I have been selling on eBay forever but have taken it full time in January of 2015. While I do eBay full time, I also have a part time job which came out of necessity because being an eBay seller by yourself full time is honestly very lonely! I took the part time job to stop myself from getting cabin fever!
    In a nutshell (5 points) here is how I see my business;
    -financial freedom and personal freedom. After years of being in the corporate world, I was done with the stress and having to turn down family and friends down constantly when invited to events that conflicted with my work schedule. Now I can say "yes" to friends and schedule my work around the truly important things in my life.
    - Loving the hunt - I enjoy thrifting and going to auction and garage sales, you never know what you will find. My family and friends find stuff for me now, too! My daughter picked up a Grateful Dead hockey shirt for $5 bucks and I sold it for $250. She was happy to get a bonus from mom for a job well done!
    - I chart goals; I have an excel sheet filled with numbers in increments of 100. Every time I list 100 items I write in the date so I can track how quickly or how slowly I am listing. It hangs on my bulletin board and is a great motivator to keep plugging away with listings. List! List! List!
    - In the beginning I sold what was in my home over time it has been a great experience witnessing my niche develop. I now have 2 eBay stores. The newest is vintage clothing and jewelry. My Main store, or the oldest, is a hodgepodge of antiques, vintage and new items. I sell anything that I think will bring me some money but the motto for this store is "the weirder the better!"
    - To pack it up and travel. I have been saving for a camper trailer. I want to pack up my eBay inventory and take it with me cross country, selling on the road and seeking out auctions, flea markets, garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores across the country. I aim to do this by next year!
    Thanks for all the hard work you put into the podcasts. I look forward to your show weekly!

    1. p.s. a footnote - I was selling heavily on Amazon FBA with retail arbitrage and I have slowly fazed out to just books and puzzles. I was finding that the profit margins weren't there and it just isn't fun. I still send in books/puzzles shipments about once per month.

    2. That sounds like a cool goal. Fitting your inventory on a camper/trailer, I would think would mean you would have a relatively small inventory for a full time person. I know some people do really well with a small inventory by having auctions, and only selling shorter tail stuff. Also, it might make sense to only ship once or twice a week because I would imagine picking inventory to ship would be hard to do if its all packed in there....Sounds fun though!

  39. Your manifesto and mine would read almost the same! My goal is to travel and sell on the road too:) Thanks for sharing

  40. Something just hit me. I was sitting here listing a new item. I created a strong title, put all of the data in my draft listing form, included about 12 or more Item Specifics and when I went to the description area it dawned on me, there is just else important to say about the item.

    By not repeating the items title in the description, having all sizes / measurements, color, material made from, texture, pattern, finish, style, type, features, made in, made by, hallmarked or signed or not in the Item specifics, then what else is there to say, verbally in a description area. My Item Specifics are so "specifc" and detailed then to put any other words or historical data in the description is a waste and certainly no key words that would be searched.

    So the BIG question is: are we all working toward a time whereby we really just don't need a description at all??? We know Google & Cassini both search the specifics and the title. If that captures it all, then using words like a lovely, handsome piece like this... etc. is a waste in the description area. Even if I do copy the title again for those who maybe do read the description, who cares. And if we stop putting anything in the description area, then I guess on Mobile devices that area will just be white blank space.

    It just hit me, I just don't have anything else to say about a 6" high, small, brown, leather Rhinoceros figurine-statue that I don't already have in the title and Item Specifics. Any other thoughts on this. mike in Atl.

    1. Retro Treasures WVJuly 18, 2016 at 3:58 PM

      I don't go into extreme detail in the item specifics other than make/ model/ size/ style. I mainly list on mobile and if ebay doesn't think custom item specifics are important enough to add to mobile, then they must not be that important.

    2. For things that the item specifics cover, my descriptions are basically a rehash of them just like you're describing above. However, when a have a very cool item with a history that's where I probably over describe to help get top dollar.

      Here are some examples:

      WWII pennant from US Army base in Australia. I put a long description of why there was a US base in Australia because perhaps some are not familiar:

      Stonewear stein from US Air Force base in Ramstein Germany after the war:

      Card game from the 1920s, I got a paragraph about the maker:

      Probably 75% of my listings are simply rehashing the specifics, but I do have quite a few that require more of a "story".

    3. Brian.. to clarify: I certainly understand about the short history type paragraph. I too have a few listings that have a short story about the factory or artisan or region it came from. But about those other 75% and also that 6" brown leather Rhino that started me thinking. In those cases if you have 6" long x 4" wide x 3-1/2" high in the Item Specific field for SIZE:, you then repeat that information in the Description area? And come next year [from some of the things we are hearing], the first 125 or so characters will be what Ebay will put into the Mobile phone area description that is seen on the first page. Or pull it's own data from our listing description. So repeated measurements, numbers and things like that seems to hit me now, as just a waste of time other than the "historical" information like about Murano or Roseville factories, Italian glass hallmarks and the such.

      In Ryanne's case she has already really paired down her description information to about two lines. A repeat of the Title, [which she says she will be stopping] and sometimes some dupliacte dimensions, which we all hear now is a waste and redundant. So, I looked back over some of her recent listings and I see really no reason for anything to be said there. Especially on some that she has customized and added her own extra Item specifics too.

      If that is the way Ebay is headed great for us, because we all will be able to list a whole lot more / faster.

      another examle. I went to look up drain openersat Home depot the other day. All the description said was drain opener. I wanted to know the size of the containers it came in, and the active ingrediants. That was all on the Item Specs tab. But the description was only a couple of words. well the title said Drain Opener, so guess Home depot could have just left that whole area totally blank.

      Here is my last example [promise]. I have a Bic ball point pen to sell. The title says, Bic Retrackable Blue Ink Ball Point .7mm Point w/ Pocket Clip.
      My Item specifics says, Tyep: Ball Point Pen, Style: Retractable, Ink Color: Blue, Point Size: .7mm, Features: Pocket Clip, How Pkg. 1 per pack,
      Grip: Rubber, Material: Plastic w/ metal spring,
      So now what would be left to add to an Item Description that hasn't been said already and will be found by the search bots and crawlers. I am not challenging here just asking, because all of the talk about pairing down and leaning up our listings has gotten things down to us knowing that cassini and Mobile devices as well as the customer seems to only want the very bare bones. I used to think More is More, but now seems Less is More. mike in atl.

    4. @Brian - for that first item, your description has an error: "True vintage era piece from a military base in the US." I think you meant something like "True vintage era piece from a U.S. military base in Australia" perhaps?

    5. @Simon - thanks for pointing that out! I'll correct that right now.

      @Mike - I think we're exactly on the same page - longer descriptions when warranted and little to no descriptions when not. I mean, I guess for the ballpoint pen example you could write something up about the history of Bic, but that would just be overkill.

    6. I promote my store with a link in the description and offer combined shipping. I think the store link gets lost on a busy desktop view and in the mobile view. I have had a few more sales of multiples since I started doing that.

  41. Good point Mike...but I am a fly by the seat of pants gal...I just go with my gut feeling and make up a price:) Starting this one at 134.00...and I have no idea why I picked that price point! No scientific reasoning here...if I think too long I get trapped in that researching cycle that never ends. The fact that only one came up in my search and it was sold 3 years ago gives me the courage to list high.

    1. I do that too for a lot of stuff.i look at the item and ask myself what I would be happy with. I assign it a value. If it's really cool or odd looking i might check eBay first but then I still make up a price.

  42. Vinyl sellers; Interesting short 'AMA' on reddit from developers of a Discogs app:

    Paul / rydell relics - you might be interested in the q & a re: remote jobs available at discogs.

  43. I have no goals. I list the stuff I get in, I buy more stuff. Rinse and repeat but I have no goals which may be why my sales never increase. What are some of your daily, weekly, monthly, etc goals. Or even a goal that doesn't have a time frame but a number amount.

    1. I have listing goals but I feel like I only have so much control over my sales. I have 3x the inventory I did a year ago approaching 2K items with better quality items listed and my June 2015 sales are almost identical to June 2016. I have really thrown myself into this for the last 8 months or so and have been patiently waiting for the payoff. I would enjoy hearing about the process, # of items listed each week and types of items sourced from any sellers willing to share that consistently make $1000+ in sales per week and work alone as I do.

    2. Retro Treasures WVJuly 19, 2016 at 1:06 AM

      Well your first goal should be using a name here instead of Anonymous. Then we'd know who we are talking to. :)

    3. I'm the 1st anon. You can call me Pam.

    4. Anon #2 look no further than our own Steve Shultz who posts his "what sold" videos frequently, with under 1000 items in his store and working alone he consistently produces $1000 and up week after week--he does have a niche, vintage electronics, which bring strong prices constantly.

    5. Yes I have noticed Steve Shultz does well with a smaller inventory. I believe he is in the Midwest? and has mentioned that it is difficult to find nice items, so it's great that he has found that niche. Personally, I avoid electronics like the plague. I am lucky to figure out how to operate electronics, let alone have the confidence to sell them. LOL I am also in the Midwest where high end items seem to be diamonds in the rough. I am dazzled by the east and west coast sellers and their great finds.

  44. OK. I have to ask. For purposes of trying to game the search engine What is the difference between sell similar and relist?

    1. I believe relist gives you the same item number while sell similar gives you a new item number. The new item number reindexes you with the search algorithm.

    2. Thank YOU! I knew you guys would know the answer.


    3. Brian, I thought only an automated relist---via Good Till Cancelled turning over at the end of the month---retained the same number. If you end a GTC and relist or sell similar, the number changes. Same thing if you relist/sell similar a non-GTC listing.

      So are you saying ANY relist continues the number?

    4. Brian, I thought only an automated relist---via Good Till Cancelled turning over at the end of the month---retained the same number. If you end a GTC and relist or sell similar, the number changes. Same thing if you relist/sell similar a non-GTC listing.

      So are you saying ANY relist continues the number?

    5. That's the way I understood it, but I'm sure it's a very easy test... relist one thing and sell similar one thing and check the item numbers?

      Here's my experiment:
      1) Westclox Big Ben
      Old listing:
      New "relisted":

      2) Disney World Souvenir
      Old Listing:
      New "sell similar":

      So it looks like both give you new item numbers. My bad.

      So what does it do?

      I read some threads and it looks like the advantage of "Relist" is that it sends out notification to watchers and previous viewers that the item is available again. Negative is that it's not viewed as a new item in Cassini.

      However, the advantage to "Sell Similar" is that in Cassini it is reindexed and looks like a completely new item, not an item that didn't sell and was relisted. Negative is that you don't get that boost of reengaging an interested audience.

      Specifically, the last paragraph is the key: "Here is what I know about “searches” … Search Engines Love and live off of “NEW CONTENT”. So anytime you can add a new listing to your mix (that’s why we all teach – LIST DAILY) or change it up a bit giving the search engines something new to look at.. you are going to get a little boost in the page rankings for that item."

  45. deb truervalues

    Week July 11-17

    Listings : 1722
    Total Sales: $ 874.80
    Number of items sold: 56
    Average Sale price: $ 15.22
    Highest price sold: $ 50 – Brass Drawer Handles $61.11 Johnston & Murphy shoes
    COGS: $ 161
    Items obtained for free 9
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 1
    Number of items Listed : 18
    Spent on new inventory: $ 0

    We needed $$$ this week to pay car insurance and taxes….would have been ok, except we also had to fix the radiator on our car as well…I’ve had my store on sale for 2 weeks, and though my average prices are low, my total sales have been up—I see why people do this…..I’m going to continue to experiment with markdown manager to see the optimal percent off…..For the most part, I’ve been satisfied with the prices, even tho they are low. It’s nice to have ebay as a back-up when you need some extra cash.

    By the way, I took best offer off of my first 500 items to keep from getting $4.00 offers on stuff--

    I added a new reporting category this week—Number of free items sold….This week it was 9. My top free items in a week was 13

  46. Total Items in store: 443
    Items sold: 10
    Cost of items sold: approx. $17
    Total Sales: $167
    Highest price sold: $30 new pair of football cleats – paid $.25
    Average price sold: $16.75
    Int’l sales: 0
    Returns: 1 – cheapo air pump, refunded $12
    Number of items listed this week: 0
    Amazon disbursement - $140– includes ebay to amazon and thrift store purchases
    Full time ebay goal - March 2018

    Ebay to Amazon experiment – Had 7 sales. Cost $201. Sold $526. Amazon fees $89 (17%). Profit $236. Average profit per sale $33.

    I have two more weeks with a heavy work load, then looking forward to doing some listing.

  47. When I started selling at flea markets about 25 years ago, I asked a neighbor seller,retired Professor, about pricing a few things and I have found his method to be quite useful over the years. He used the W.A.G method of pricing

    1. Well, you hooked me in! Had to google WAG....LOVE it...guess I use the WAG method too and didn't even know it.

    2. Cheryl.. A lot of us here that are more analytical also use the S.W.A.G. Mehtod. That is "Scientific W.A.G.", meaning we google & research everything then still W.A.G. it. mike in Atl.

    3. Hard to get out the old Smart Phone and Google 25 years ago. Sure is nice to have that tool today. I guess

    4. Anonymous, you cracked me up. Laughing my lungs out

    5. Went to an estate sale few weeks ago that didn't allow cell phones

  48. Not sure if this is on your website but this is how to use coupon just happened across it.
    Hope this helps someone, wish I found this earlier:)

  49. Slow week last week but I left my store on during vacation SL style and have made several sales while gone. In my second year as a hobby seller and I'm confident that I'm listing as efficiently as possible now, I've reorganized all of my backlog and listed inventory, I'm taking returns and offering GSP and providing good service. Here is my phase II manifesto:

    *earn supplemental funds for after school care and extras to offset high cost of living while continuing to acquire high quality inventory
    *continue to maintain RA inventory and work through listing of vintage backlog and inherited items. Lot or donate based on projected profit, time and effort.
    *resist urge to wait for a big chunk of time to photo or list and process a few items every 2-3 days. pin items to Pinterest during waits on the app or during work lunch at desk.
    *strictly limit vintage sourcing stops to large rummage sales and independent thrift, items to target categories, and profit of $20-25+; RA @ extra % off previously successfully sold items
    *continue to develop storage system for vintage listed items
    *periodically reevaluate pricing strategy - don't create a museum
    *learn more about mid century art and decor

  50. Last week I sold a "new" (could have been open box, which I mentioned in the listing) Epson projector. It's a nice one that retails for $1400 at most places, and that's the cheapest any are listed on eBay. The cheapest I saw it anywhere was Amazon for $1250. I paid $125. We needed some cash quick, so I listed it at auction starting at $600 and it sold for opening bid, which I'm perfectly fine with. The difficult part is not spending that $600, in case of a return. We offer a 30 day no-questions-asked return policy, and electronics always scare me. I don't get returns on my collectible type items, but have heard horror stories about electronics. The buyer had 15 feedback and did not reply to my initial email after payment, asking which shipping method they preferred, or a follow up email after I shipped it where I asked them to contact me directly if there were any issues. They've had it for about a week now, and I've heard nothing. No feedback on eBay either. Makes me nervous. :)

    1. No news is good news. I wouldn't bother the buyer further about it but you're probably right not to spend the proceeds of that sale if you're going to be unable to fund a refund.

  51. Tales from a Scavenger abroad

    Last month I told how I struggled to find eBay'able items here in Istanbul for a series of reasons, I ended up bringing a handful of holesales girls' dresses, having no success so far.

    While walking downtown around historic sites, I was handed over with a book in Turkish which I kept for politeness and curiosity (I am quickly learning Turkish too). Decided to put on Amazon store, no other similar, so I put a high price.

    Ended up selling in one month ... Here at the hotel there is a nice library with mostly Turkish and Ottoman history in Turkish. I looked them over, all yield good price on Amazon.

    One possibility. I do not feel comfortable yet to find items like Ryanne in the Netherlands and certainly now in Éire, so I need to find these, still have one more trip. Will explore a bit tomorrow, will probably stay in another Hotel in another part of the city to explore too.

  52. Guess who bought a pair of shoes from me? Richard Sinnott of KORS. Small world... not even vintage, just some Minnetonka Ankle Boots.

    Question for all... My accountants have made a mess of my taxes... this is the first year I've had taxes done while selling online, and... it was a mess, they do mainly entertainment clients and were clueless about e-commerce. Does anyone know how I can find a CPA that I won't have to explain e-commerce to? That understands Ebay and paypal, running stuff through a corporation, and can answer my endless questions re: bookkeeping etc, until I get a grasp of it all? I'm located in Los Angeles and I guess these days they can be located anywhere. I have interviewed several and they were clueless... Any help would be appreciated.

    1. yep we had a sale from him today too. must be on a buying spree!

    2. Hello LA Woman, have you tried 1800Accountant? They are great

    3. We did an interview with Mark, an accountant this year:

      We were going to switch to using Mark because our current accountant was retiring, but our accountant's brother took us on instead. Even though we dont know Mark beyond this interview, it's a normal thing these days to work with accountants over the internet in different states.

      Finding someone local is also a good idea if you want face to face time. Sometimes you just have to keep calling and asking questions till you find the right person.

  53. Brett, great point about margins.
    It is super important to have a business rule and have a minimum 60% gross profit, and them when on sale have items, categories or threshold (for example when impacting net profit, explanation below)

    When Jay assumed your Amazon $200 he mentioned being net x gross profit.

    The comparison should be revenue (which is your raw sale, or the actual amount paid by customer, including shipping and handling)

    Gross profit is the amount paid by customer, minus shipping/handling, minus the cost of the product (for those who for some reason calculate margin on a product by product basis)

    Net profit is gross profit minus administrative expenses, non operating expenses, general expenses and selling expenses.

    Hope this helps

  54. Just an antidote for your Tuesday reading. I received a message from a potential buyer regarding an item I have on auction. “If this doesn’t sell, would you sell it to me for $35?” I had a minimum bid of $50, so I decided to take a look at the auction… It’s up to $75 with 7 bids on it so far, with 6 or 7 hours left… SMH

    Polite response: Thank you for the offer, but there are already bids on this, leading me to believe it will sell. Have a glorious day!

    "Have a glorious day" is my code for "Scat! Get off my Lawn! If that ball comes over the fence again I'm keeping it!"

    1. I always add "Happy Hunting".

    2. Ugh... Obviously, it wasn't an "Antidote". Anecdote. Auto-Correct FTW!

      I like the Happy Hunting too. I should create a too-long phrase I copy-paste into those correspondences.

      "Happy Hunting to you and all those you know who procure various items by way of the eBay platform. Continued luck that your health be high, and the prices be low. May the Force be With You, So Say We All"

    3. Shiny. Because you need one more sci fi reference. Crystal

  55. How to add tracking to "envelopes"

    Even though most of us most of the time just go ahead and print posting, we might come across situations that benefit using tracking sticker.

    Please note package rules for up to 3Oz. cost $1.69 with tracking.

    We might have unused stamps of all sorts or paid bonus postage we do not want to loose.

    Envelopes that have items in them that make the envelope over 3/4 inch thick are shipped with the package rate, not the flat envelope rate.

    You can put a packing peanut in the envelope to make it a package rate to get the benefit of tracking.

  56. I totally put my title in the description and I need to adjust that based on the mobile criteria. Good information.

  57. Our Store Week July 10-16, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 905
    Items Sold: 19
    Cost of Items Sold: $46.50
    Total Sales: $643.30
    Highest Price Sold: $65 (Vintage Men's OshKosh Overalls)
    Average Price Sold: $33.86
    Returns: 1 (Jacket didn't fit)
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $190
    Number of items listed this week: 37

    A little late to the party, but Go Daddy has not been playing nice lately. Most of our expenses have been duplicated 6 (!) times and I haven't been able to run reports to get our numbers. Went through and manually adjusted the expense side and now things seem to be working right again. Didn't realize how easy they made keeping up with our numbers till they quit. Guess I'll be watching them a little closer from now on.

    Much better week of sales. Last week was our worst ever, including our very first week in Aug 2015. So glad to be hearing cha-ching's again.

  58. Just listening to the podcast now. Paused it to write this because your request for a 5-point manifesto has me intrigued. First, my disclaimer: I've only been seriously selling for about 15 months, and I only sell part time. However, I'm averaging around 2k/month, so something is going right.
    Here are my most important manifesto points:
    1. Customer service from beginning to end. Accurate listing, smooth sale, careful packing, quick shipping, polite correspondence.
    2. If you don't love the hunt, you won't love the sale. Of all the people that have come to me to help them start a store, only those who have a passion for finding items remain successful in selling items. (This also includes the research).
    3. Vary the product line to give your store variety: A large amount of steady-selling items. A medium number of popular, trendy items. A few hot-ticket or rare items.
    4. Buy It Now with Best Offer is best unless you are unsure of the value or know there will be heavy competition for the item.
    5. The final manifesto point includes a few words that I conduct my business by. I'm still analyzing how exactly they intersect with each other...
    "Quality Over Quantity"
    "Opportunist" (a scavenger's modus operandi)

  59. Total Items in Store: 6883
    Items Sold: 123
    Cost of Items Sold: $46.50
    Total Sales: $1984.22
    Highest Price Sold: $145 (Large kids book lot)
    Average Price Sold: $15.87
    Returns: 3 (1 Refunded by USPS without return)
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $595
    Number of items listed this week: 165

    So so week, didn't post alot mostly cheap clothes. Largest sale was a large kids book lot for $145, smallest was some replacement figures for a Lego game for $5. Purchased a large amount of shoes and mens dress shirts this week. Hopefully they pan out, very large sizes so will take awhile.

    Finally had a chance to listen to the podcast, one caller had a question about book scanners. Here is my take as a 8 year book seller. If you plan to go to large book sales/church sales/school sales you will need a dedicated PDA scanner to compete. I laugh feel sorry for the folks who have their phones out scanning books at any large venue. Your competing against 10,20,200 other book sellers who will be moving and scanning faster than you. It might sound silly but it's the difference between finding 100 good books versus 20 good books.

    When I am at a thrift store, yard sale or estate sale I don't bother with the PDA's because its an entirely different atmosphere. Take your time and scan some books, doesn't really matter how fast it goes. Unless you live in the Northern Virginia area..then there are two or three other book sellers waiting at every thrift store..bring a PDA.

  60. Okay so I figured out you don't actually have to end your listings to sell similar. If you do 30 day listings you can simply choose sell similar instead of relist. The only difference is you still have to delete out your unsold folder. This makes it much easier for me. I'll give it a go for a few cycles. This week has been slow for me. I guess it's time to do a sale.

  61. Manifesto

    1. Always be listing.

    2. Never stop learning. Keep an open mind. There is always someone out there that know's more than you do.

    3. If you want to sell an item for $10 ask $30 for it. Whatever you want to sell an item for double it then add 50% and make that your asking price.

    4. Make enough money to cover your costs, pay the bills, and put some in the bank.

    5. Make connections and build relationships. Relationships are more important money.

    6. Manifesto's are like diets. It's easy on paper and good in theory. Everyone knows you should eat healthy and work out but how many people stick to it?
    FOLLOW THROUGH on what you say. Easy to say but hardest thing to do.

  62. Question about PayPal eChecks.

    I remember in the last few days someone made a comment about eChecks. Today I received my first one, status says pending for 3-5 days.
    Assuming good intent, I understand the advice is not to ship until cleared, right?
    Also, how does eBay handles the metric? will they understand the pending paid status?
    Thank you