Scavenger Life Episode 269: Being a Scavenger is Being an Opportunist iTunes   YouTube   Download .mp3  Download .ogg

We recently asked listeners to share their "manifestos" on the blog so sellers could share the different strategies they use to run their eBay stores. You can scroll through them in the comment section here.

Lots of great ideas were shared, but we especially loved what Tim Snoper shared. He said that being a scavenger is all about being an "opportunist". To us, this means setting up your lifestyle so you can run into the great finds that are always out there if you look for them. It's about creating your own luck. This can mean running a full-time eBay store so you have time to always be scavenging when you're out of the house. We've found amazing items at random yard sales that we've just happened to drive by because we had the freedom of our time. We also love that we can go to any auction we want to because it's our job.

Or it can mean making sure you visit thrift stores on your lunch break. A worker at your local thrift store could be placing an extremely valuable item on the shelf right now! Just making time to stop in and check to see if there's anything new each day is a great way to improve your chances to find good items.

Here are the links we mentioned in the podcast:
--Pinterest is starting a new program for "buyable pins". It's unclear who will be able to sell items, but it's smart.
--The last factory on the planet that makes VCR's has closed down. To us, this means it'd be smart to start buying up any VCR you see for cheap. It's not uncommon to see them for $1 at yard sales. If you have the storage, who knows when they'll start having value since they'll never be made again.
--eBay updated their mobile phone app on iPhone and Android. Has anyone used it yet? Worth updating?
--One of our listeners, MyCottage, said some sellers can created "codeless coupons" to send to select groups of people.  Never used this feature before, but might be cool.

Hope you guys had a good week.

Our Store Week July 24-30, 2016
  • Store #1
  • Total Items in Store: 3911
  • Items Sold: 20
  • Cost of Items Sold: $375
  • Total Sales: $1,200.87
  • Highest Price Sold: $500 (Autographed photo)
  • Average Price Sold: $60.04
  • Returns: 0
  • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $30
  • Number of items listed this week: 50

  • ----------
  • Amazon FBA Store
  • Number of items sold: 10
  • Amazon total sales: $323.31
  • Amazon FBA Fees: $75.58
  • COGS (shipment to FBA included): $20
  • Net profit after COGS: $227.73
  • ----------

  • Store #2
  • Total Items in Store: 1128
  • Items Sold: 9
  • Cost of Items Sold: $32
  • Total Sales: $361.45
  • Highest Price Sold: $100 (Vintage wool prayer rug)
  • Average Price Sold: $40.16
  • Returns: 0
  • Number of items listed this week: 0


  1. 7/24-7/30/16
    Total items in store: 324
    Items sold: 8
    Cost of Items Sold: $25 thrift + $67 retail + $13.50 consignment
    Total Sales: $300.90
    Avg. price: $37.61
    Highest price item: $99.99 New Mountain Hardwear Fleece Jacket
    International sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Money spent on new inventory: $58.89
    Number of items listed: 1

    Another good week with no listing for me. Happy to finally sell the Mountain Hardwear fleece that was a retail arbitrage mistake. I really enjoyed the inventory conversation on the last post. I'm trying to do a better job of storing my items.

    Opinion wanted. I sometimes buy children's clothes that have only a $8-10 profit margin, but I know that I will be helping some mother out by providing a pair of fleece lined jeans, black dress pants, or padded bike shorts that she may have a hard time finding somewhere else. I'm trying to decide is my altruism getting in the way of profits and should I just leave these items behind.

    1. My opinion.would be if you can find them, so can they. Or, they can find them on ebay. I say move on to better margins unless you just love that type of thing too much. Maybe do some volunteer work so that you feel like you are helping.

    2. Nothing wrong with small margins if you can list it quick.

    3. deb truervalues -

      Hi Anna - I have had good luck lotting things together, so I make more per transaction. This is especially true of children's clothing. Don't sell them much, but I have kids,so the good pieces get sold when I am done with them.

      That said, I have done pretty well on children's dress coats.

    4. I don't normally buy kids items but when I find something unusual and cute I will purchase it. Not every mom has time to check the thrift stores day after day looking for something special they need. They will go to ebay after the kids are tucked in and they have time, and peace and quiet, to shop. And it helps your store, IMO, to have a wide price range of items. Not everyone has $500 to spend on a single item.

    5. Agreed with some of the above - if you can find them, list them, and sell them very quickly, $8-$10 profit per item is totally fine. If it takes you 2 years to make that $8, it's totally not worth it.

    6. If its fast and easy go ahead and make the $8-10 (almost all clothes are fast and easy to list). It will pad your feedback and sales metrics and put money in your pocket. My average is $15 but I move a lot in that range every week.

    7. I have a toddler and I can spot high end children's items at thrift stores in a heartbeat. They stick out like sore thumbs among all the low-end brands, which predominate. The fancy stuff sells super-quickly and even my expensive thrift stores sell all children's items for $1 each. Most people don't know the difference between children's brands, so the people pricing items at the thrift store don't mark up the good stuff. I've sold the following brands with $20+ profit: Hanna Andersson (organic pajamas), Toms baby shoes, Ergo baby carrier accessories. Look for unusual fabrics like merino wool. High-end baby carriers will make you good money too (not Baby Bjorn, but Ergo and anything else high-end). I've also had success selling lower end kids' clothes in lots, but I would never buy non-designer kids' stuff to sell (all the stuff in lots is from friends who pass it down to me to sell). I totally get what you are saying about this being a labor of love and help for other moms who buy on ebay. I've gotten thank you emails from my buyers saying their kids love the lots. Very heartwarming. So if it makes you happy and you're at least clearing $10 or so an hour on the work, GO FOR IT! :) ebay selling has to make you happy, otherwise WHY DO IT?

    8. Hi Anna, I have mixed feelings on this. The cynical part of me wants to tell you that you can't save the world, after all, who hasn't ignored and stepped over or around the homeless people at one time or another, in a major city. The kinder gentler me says Go For It! The moderate me says set some limits. First, these days, I usually don't sell kids clothes unless it's something really high end. Prior to that I would lot up vintage kids dresses. About 20% of the time I would get somebody who would freak out over shipping, suddenly demand the item overnight, or buy but not pay. Once that happens a few times your margin is abysmal. So set limits on how often a month you do this if you worry.

  2. I couldn't agree more with Tim Snoper. I can't tell you how many people say to me, "you find the best stuff, you are so lucky". No, I find good stuff because I look for it every day. Like you said, you never know when you'll find a great deal, but your chances sure go up when you look every day. It is work, but lucky for me (and most of us) it's work I love to do! Onto the numbers. Slow week. I will be glad to be done with July, just saying ;)

    Items in store 390
    Items sold 13
    Cost of Goods $38
    Total Sales $375
    Highest Sale $79.00 Shabby Chic Bedding (paid $9.00 at Salvation Army)
    Returns 0
    Unpaid 1 ($50 womens Harley Boots ugh! Come on people, its slow, pay for your stuff!)

    An okay week, typical for summer I think. I was going to do the whole NO BUY JULY thing that was going around Facebook groups. It lasted about 2 days. I decided the deals are too good to pass up in the summer (garage sales, flea markets, etc) and have actually bought more inventory in July than the last three months combined haha! So I think August will be spent stocking up the store! Maybe I'll try No Buy August?

  3. Total Items in Store: 360
    •Items Sold: 12
    •Cost of Items Sold: $8 (used) + $222 (new RA)
    •Total Sales: $499
    •Highest Price Sold: $215 (Clearance Anthropologie Bedding Set (Paid $125 in June)
    •Average Price Sold: $42
    •Returns: 0
    Int'l Sales: That bedding went to Canada via GSP
    •Number of items listed this week: +/- 25
    Sell through rate: .9%
    Spent on new inventory: +/- $15

    Instead of using sell similar, I'm trying the "create at listing" where it finds your category for you. I'm up to date on my RA listings. Focused on listing Vintage backlog. This week it was death pile cross stitch kits, as they are pretty quick to photograph and list.

  4. deb truervalues

    Week July 25-31

    Listings : 1671
    Total Sales: $ 305.42
    Number of items sold: 19
    Average Sale price: $ 16.07
    Highest price sold: $ 40.00 Sofft Shoes/and/ Vintage Beaver Cutter Coat – child’s size
    COGS: $ 35
    Items obtained for free 2
    International Sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Number of items Listed : 3
    Spent on new inventory: $ 0

    It was dismal week in terms of sales and averages…That said, I really haven’t listed much in the last two weeks. I am happy that my COGS are low, so I made about 10X what I paid for items.

  5. total Items in Store: ebay, 177-->etsy, 325
    Items Sold: 10-->3 on ebay, 7 on etsy
    Total Sales: $360--->$160 on ebay, $200 on etsy
    Highest Price Sold: $60 vintage jacket on ebay
    Average Price Sold: $36
    Returns: 0

    1. total Items in Store: +/- 180
      Items Sold: 9
      Total Sales: $363
      Highest Price Sold: $80 vintage board game
      Average Price Sold: $36

      Posting under Sue because our numbers are so, so similar across the board... from inventory numbers to transactions to gross sales and average price sold. Just uncanny!

  6. Week July 24-30, 2016
    Total Items in Store: 730
    Items Sold: 11
    Cost of Items Sold: $25
    Total Sales: $351.48
    Highest Price Sold: $100 (Pennsylvania House lowboy table)
    Average Price Sold: $31.95
    Returns: 1
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $80
    Number of items listed this week: 12

    Below average week of sales, but COGS were super low too. The $100 lowboy that was sold was actually from my wife's grandfather and it no longer fit in our home. The one return was of the 2 Dio record lot I sold a couple weeks ago - they weren't happy that the records were scratched even though I described them that way. Took the return, refunded the money, relisted them, and they sold again within 48 hrs.

    This week's picks were actually from only one source - I actually found a bunch of sealed cassettes on CL and went to pick them up. Turns out the seller was actually cleaning out a house and asked if I wanted to check anything else out. Bought the original 35 sealed cassettes for $20, then another 23 for $10, then about 300 used cassettes for $10, then a stack of amazing pristine Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Star Trek, etc records for another $40.

    Can't wait to listen to this week's podcast tomorrow morning because it's exactly how I think of myself and many of us... we buy cheap when items are cheap, and then flip to the right people over a period of time (sometimes years later), when opportunity strikes.

  7. total Items in Store: 656
    Items Sold: 32
    Total Sales: $1354.75
    Highest Price Sold: $99 for some sketchers...don't ask me why, they like this model I guess.
    COGS $315
    Average Price Sold: $42.34

    I typically have high COGS in comparison to most everyone else...lately I have been expanding that comfort zone and getting shoes that cost between 18 and 30 dollars. I will do it as long as I can make 3 times on the sale. It paid off with a pair of boots that I paid 28 for and made 85...not a monumental profit margin but anytime I can make $58 profit and not have to hold on to it for more than a few days is win for me...
    But this can get scary when cash flow becomes more of an issue...

    1. Erik if I post my COGs it would be higher too--I would say that also being on the West Coast, in the Seattle area, the stores simply ask more for their goods--the Seattle GW admitted to me that they scan books, and I am pretty sure that they look up ebay sales stats for other things--same with Savers (Value Village.) Gotta work with what you have I say--I have, and will, pay high prices for stuff I can make money on, unlike you though, 2xs profit can be good enough if it is a "prestige" item.

    2. Yes, I agree. Picking on the west coast is just a different animal. The prices people get in the rural east is crazy, but I think we get good stuff here. I stopped by the goodwill in seattle a couple times on a business trip. I dont know all of the freeway names but it was HUGE. I have never seen a larger GW store. The one I go to in SF is about half that size.

    3. Yeah that is the Seattle flagship store on Dearborn--they actually have a separate "antique" section and have for decades--and they have always tried to get near retail in that section. The SF store does sell online too including having their own ebay store, but hey, they miss stuff (thank goodness.)

    4. They miss so much stuff its funny. I think I mentioned this before but they constantly have a line with 3-4 cashiers. It like no other. Sadly they are closing in September because a condo is replacing it. The good thing is a lot of the inventory will be re-directed to another GW that I go to every day.

  8. Sold some cool stuff this week.

    Here is a cool Coogi Sweater I sold for $400

    This is me rocking it at a 90's throwback party. I know people will say it says NWT I wore it with the tag very carefully lol.

    BORING CLOTHES that supposedly don't sell for a lot of money (relatively speaking).

    $29.99 and has been listed for like 2 years. I know because I took a picture on the back of the door. That is an OLLLD listing.


    $30 Carhartt jackets sell for a premium in any condition. As you can see this is beat to heck. People like them like that. I have sold like 5 or 6 in this type of condition.

    $29.99 for regular wranglers

    $60 for a DMB shirt say what?





    $65 for Cowboys that are beat to heck

    1. I love that you put that Coogi sweater up for $1500. You would not have gotten a $400 offer if you had listed it for $500.

    2. Whaaaaaat?!? There's not a size in the listing for those cowboy boots! Not even a brand name. How in the world did you sell those? Did your buyer ask any questions? That's amazing. Great job!

    3. No questions from the buyer. Someone in Hollywood bought them. No idea what they will do with them.

      I have no idea how I sell anything. All I know is I list it and it sells. Doesn't matter if it is damaged, bad pictures, bad title, no brand, etc. All that matters is it's on eBay for the world to see.

      eBay newbies take note. Just list and worry about the rest after you list it. You can always go back and revise the listing once it's up.

      When the people that list for me ask what they should do if there is no size or brand I just tell them to list it anyway.

    4. OMG - Where did you even find a NWT Coogi sweater? I looked at the listing and it's funny that it sold for the $400 offer, given that $400 was the original retail price. Love it!
      I also love that you wore this NWT sweater to a party before you sold it. You have chutzpah!!! (and that is a compliment)

    5. I got that sweater from a goodwill last black friday. It was $50 which is a lot of money to lay out but I knew it would sell for a lot of money. Probably not the greatest idea to wear the sweater but couldn't resist wearing a sweet $400 to party that it was clearly destined for.

    6. I can't wait until I sell to someone in Hollywood or someone famous. So many scavengers have sold to set designers, actors or other famous people. That would be so much fun!

  9. For the video games newer used games don't really sell for very much money at all.

    The key to buying video games are buying sealed games (still risky though) but you will usually make money.

    Buy the old school 80's and 90's games. Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega etc will ALWAYS sell. Not always for a lot of money but they will sell easily.

    Used games within the past 10 years are usually priced high at garage sales and don't sell for very much due to the volume available.

    Yes there are exceptions. Think of them like books. Most of them are worthless and once you get used to looking at them you can spot the games that have value.

    1. Seconding this. You have to scan games like you scan books. First party Nintendo games, Japanese RPGs are generally good bets. Sports games (of all generations) are generally worthless.

    2. Yeah, I was doing it like an amateur. Made a bad assumption.

      Since I have all these xBox 360 games, would you suggest selling in a big bundle?

    3. My recent experience matches what Dan said. I've sold a couple of piles of old (mid 1980s) NES games recently for good money. Xbox, Xbox360, PS2, PS3 games dont seem to have much value in general. Like books, there are some nuggets in those categories but you have to do a little research (which is harder when you're at a yard sale).

    4. I would cherry pick the games that will sell well on amazon and bundle the cheap games on eBay. I'm sure you will still make money on it just not your usual 1000% profit lol.

    5. Retro Treasures WVAugust 1, 2016 at 1:09 PM

      If it is a desirable enough title to bring $20 on amazon, then you should list it on ebay. Generally the sought after older games sell quick on ebay.

    6. I also agree. Older games sell for more money most of the time, especially the sealed ones. I bought a bunch a year ago from a yard sale for $1 each. Made really good money. They were Super Nintendo, N64 etc. One Zelda game that came with the bunch was not in good shape , untested , but with the original box and manual still sold for $60.
      Thank you for another great podcast!

  10. Here are my numbers for the week:
    Total Items in Store: 1078
    Items Sold: 29
    Total Sales: $737.6
    Cost of Items Sold: $49
    Average Price Sold: $25.43
    Average Cost of Item: $1.69
    Highest Price Items Sold: $69.95 - 2 sales at this price i) Breg Polar Care Cube Cold Therapy System cost $10 and ii) Felix the Cat NES game part of a $5 lot of games
    Number of items listed this week: 53
    Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 152
    Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 51
    Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 25
    Sell-through rate: 2.69%
    # of Hats Sold: 18

    I'm happy with these numbers. They are roughly in line with the last 6 weeks. One of my highest priced sales for this week was one of those cold therapy units. They are quite common at yard sales and you can pick them up for next to nothing. Definitely an item to keep an eye out for because they are not normally something anyone else buys and the former owners generally just want to get rid of them.

  11. Dan's comment about games is correct. I sell some video games and they sell well all year round, including summer. I just sold a lot of SNES games. I realize that you might not be able to test them if you don't have the console but generally they usually still work,just give them a cleaning. Never pick up any sports games (generally.) PS1 games can sell well also, and with those, as long as the disc is in good condition, it will play. My faves are SNES and Playstation 1. I never mess with Xbox.

    1. Ah, so its the games for the older consoles that sell. Never thought that people would still want to be playing the games with lower quality graphics.

    2. People don't even play the games. They are highly collectible. They are used as display pieces etc.

      There is a documentary on Amazon prime called "Nintendo Quest". It's nothing special but it will give you an idea of how insanely collectible old school video games are. If anything it will make for good background noise when listing.

      Basically anything before 2000 is collectible outside of sports games unless they are sealed. The issue with sports games are they put out a new game every year under the same title which renders the previous year useless.

      At the show I did there were 4 dealers including myself with video games ranging from Nintendo to Sega pre 2000 and every single game sold within 2 hours.

    3. We have sold tons of old vintage video game stuff and made lots of money off of them. One time we found a sealed snes game bought for $5.00 sold for $500.00. The systems also sell really good if you are able to test and clean them up. My husband refabs them and we generally sell a nes for $60 snes $50 Gamecube $60 GB $40 GBA $40. Put games with any of these and the sky is the limit depends on the games. As far as ps1 ps2 games go you have to look for the games that have a longer series to them Spyro Dracoon Hack Dragon Warrior so forth.

  12. Disagree about Fragile stickers. I think it at least sends a subconscious thought to the handler to at least not put the item under something heavy or throw it around. And if it doesn't then at least the buyer can see I tried.

    Agree with the goats head being a cult symbol. And I sold a vintage metal shirt too recently. But devil is real! And hes shopping on EBay lol. Second part clearly a joke people.

    I finally sold my old video games but they took forever. Stay away from ps2/ps3 games and most ps1 games.

    1. Haha, I love Ps1 games, and do fairly well with them!

    2. We add fragile stickers to appropriate boxes. Our point is that you shouldn't trust that it a carrier will treat the box any differently. Always pack a box as if it'll be dropped from a truck.

      But as you said, at least the buyer will see you added the stickers.

    3. I had a very fragile item that the buyer paid extra for shipping. I had to take it to the post office to get it processed with their new special handling but the buyer was over the moon that I did it. My market was just around the corner and I was going there anyway.

      On another note regarding Smart Post. My mailman will not pick up. He explained that it must be dropped off at a Fed-Ex office (not box) or you call for a pick-up. You can look it up on ebay also. They say it must be dropped off at a staffed Fed-Ex location or you may call for pick-up.

    4. I had a Fedex Smartpost package picked up and scanned today, by my mailman. It's the first one I had him pick up. Hopefully it will not be an issue. Fedex isn't too far away, but my porch is so much closer.

  13. • Total Items in Store: 7166
    • Items Sold: 180
    • Cost of Items Sold: $265
    • Total Sales: $3155.47
    • Highest Price Sold: $242 Kids Book Set ebay ($430 outside of ebay fire equip sale)
    • Average Price Sold: $17.52
    • Returns: 2
    • Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $250
    • Number of items listed this week: 80

    Good week, nice results from large number of postings last week. Highest items sold on ebay was a 100ish Seuss book set that went global shipping for $242. Someone contacted me from the Philippines and wanted to buy six fire fighter suits, gave them a good deal for $430 since they wanted to buy the smallest sizes we have. Getting closer to my 10k listing goal, I figure if I am paying for the anchor store fee I might as well get my money's worth. Plus it's nice to keep raising the bar. Went on vacation Friday and have been enjoying fishing and kayaking down the Shenandoah. Plan to meet Jay at some point, will hopefully arrange something later this week. Don't see much happening next week as far as postings or buying goes.

    On Amazon FBA, to see who paid for the return shipping. If you click Reports-->Fulfillment--> Returns you can see all of the items returned. If you click on the order ID and there is a negative charge then you paid the return shipping, if its zeroed out then the customer or Amazon paid to have it returned.

    On video games, as Dan said most are junk. You can make money on any of the older Nintendo products with Mario, Zelda or Pokemon. Look for gamecube, DS or the original Nintendo games with these characters. Even the newer Wii games with these characters do ok.

  14. RR Store Week July 24-30, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 1101
    Items Sold: 11
    Cost of Items Sold: $27.78
    Total Sales: $351.90
    Highest Price Sold: $59.99 (Tie: 50's Lady & The Tramp TV Tray/80's Nintendo Game Boy)
    Average Price Sold: $31.99
    Returns: 2
    Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
    Number of items listed this week: 0 New, 62 Sell Similar

    My epic move slogs on. So much stuff to go through, and most of it is staying behind to be sold off. I found a buyer for my surplus vintage clothing, books, and toys, all stuff that isn't worth my trouble. This week I'm setting up my new eBay office, and every square inch is going to be utilized. I'm fairly organized now, but I'm going to tighten things up even more. Very excited!

    To add fuel to the conspiracy fire: this week I sold three of my recently relisted/sell similar items. All three had been in my store for about two years when I ended them. Once refreshed and relisted, they took one day, one week, and two weeks to sell. Glad to have them gone. I'm only going to do this for items over 16 months old; I have no interest in tinkering with listings every few months. I'm sticking with the "list it and forget it" policy...for a year and a half, anyway. I'll probably do it once a week as they pop up.



  15. Numbers for July:
    Total Items in Store: 642 (626 last month)
    Items Sold: 49 (47 last month)
    Total Sales: $945 ($1,526 last month)
    Cost of Items Sold: $145 ($215 last month)
    Highest Price Sold: $105 old computer card / $89.95 SP Railway Map Book
    Average Price Sold: $19.28 ($32.46 last month)
    International Sales: 1 GSP Germany
    Number of items listed: 56 (43 last month)
    Spent on new inventory: $95 ($225.50 last month)

    My best find in July was while driving I spied a bunch of shipping boxes with some furniture and other stuff sitting at the curb. I knocked on the door to ask about the boxes just to be sure, the lady said its all free. I grabbed all of the boxes and the new case of drinking water sitting next to them. I kept about 5 of the boxes and returned the rest to a nearby home depot for $35 in credit.

    A first for me this month was while looking through the stuff in the back yard at a moving sale I noticed neatly along the fence some potted pot plants growing. Nobody else seemed to notice them, or if they did, they didn't say anything while I was there. I didn't think to ask how much for them.

    A few sales:
    Union 76 Christmas Ornament (I took a best offer of $22, cost $1)

    Expired Kodak Film (I accepted a best offer of $20, cost free)

    Southern Pacific Railway Route Map Book

    Dec PDP-11 Core Memory Card (leftover from my metal scrapping days)


    1. That's a good sale on that Southern Pacific map book. I have a slightly older version of that exact same book and mine is listed for $40 than what you sold yours for. It's been listed for a while:

    2. I sold three of them so far and still have one left:

      Not sure why mine has sold and not yours with the lower price. One difference is I listed all of the maps in the Item specifics which might attract more buyers. You might try that and increase your price some. Good luck

    3. Thanks Steve. I'll try the item specifics. I've also raised my price to match yours :-)

    4. Your listing looks great. It may take a while, but I'm sure the right buyer will find it and just have to have your book of maps.

  16. In terms of being strategically opportunistic, I have mentioned that I have a scope of knowledge that I try to focus on my store as I learn with this community.
    Top categories for me are designer clothes, designer women's bags, porcelain, some antique collectibles.
    Among the porcelain I have good knowledge is the bridge Jasperware. I found a good comprehensive collection of books that helped me a lot.
    I buy sizeable lots of Jasperware and now with the books (online is very poor on details like year, collection names, etc). Each lot I break up to the unities. Books allow me to make $50 per each $5 dollars I put to buy the lots.
    Been great, with sales to collectors even from China.

    1. Hey Paulo. Would you mind posting a link to your store? I'd love to see some of the stuff you're selling. Your tastes seem very broad and it'd be fun to learn.

  17. Retro Treasures WVAugust 1, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    Weekly numbers

    Items in store: 447
    Items sold: 26 (21 ebay, 5 amazon FBA)
    Sales: $989.05 (FBA after fees included - $95)
    COGS: $90.25
    Profit: $898.80
    Average Sales Price: $42.37
    Average profit: $38.85
    Best item: Sharp half-pint RV microwave - $150

    Excellent week! I was really hoping to crack $1000, but it wasn't in the cards. I turned down multiple offers this week that would have pushed me over that bridge.

    I didn't list much until yesterday, so those numbers really aren't influenced by active listing. The only thing I changed was that on the 22nd I bulk edited all listings with a start date earlier than May 1st to reduce the price by a penny. I have checked my traffic metrics and I didn't see any noticeable difference, but my sales went way up. 3 of my sold items this week were items that were reduced by a penny. I also had a significant increase in offers. Many of them did not convert to sales. Considering the huge increase in offers and sales, I would highly recommend others here do this experiment.

    Now that I am reinvigorated on FBA I have added my numbers back in. I added my "after fees" amount from FBA into my total sales. That's the only number worth reporting as it is a realistic number. It is encouraging to sell books for $25 that I paid $1-2 for. I've been doing really well sourcing books lately so I am ready to do another big FBA shipment this week.

  18. Hey Jay & Ryanne,

    Just listened to your latest podcast and the comment about store subscription fees caught my attention and wonder if you can share more.

    Jay, you quoted the monthly fees for the Basic, Premium, and Anchor eBay store fees as $24.95, 74.95, $349.95, respectively. These fees are month-to-month. Geared toward sellers with short-term needs.

    The yearly fees (12 month commitment) are $19.95, $59.95, $299.95. Savings of $60, $180 and $600. Obviously for long-term sellers like yourselves.

    My curiosity is, are you paying the monthly fees for your two stores? It’s seem obvious to pick the low hanging fruit here and save $780 a year with the yearly sub vs. month-to-month.

    And IMHO, I understand the premise of why you started the second store as an experiment. But now that you’ve, again IMHO, are successful doing eBay, when do you consider the experiment a success. Is it still worth $720 to $900 a year by running a second store offering the same, one of a kind items?

    I seems like any household would have a better use of $1320 - $1500 a year in additional income.

    Sorry for the directness. It’s the 25+ experience of working with individuals getting their financial lives together, that’s speaking.

    Thanks for your time.

    1. I like directness.
      Yes, we pay the yearly subscription so its cheaper. We're in this for the long haul.

      We're debating whether or not to combine our two stores now that the Anchor subscription includes 10k listings in the fee. Before the raise in listings, our math made more sense.

      However three things give us pause:
      --It's not easy to transfer 1000 items from one store to another. There gave been long conversations here about how Turbo Lister no longer works in a reasonable way. Any suggestions?
      --Having a second store on a different user makes us feel safer. God forbid our other store had some issue and was taken offline. Nice to know we have a backup.
      --Yes, paying $700 extra in subscription fees isn't great. But we're make between $1000-$2000 so it's also jst the cost of doing business. Would we make that much more if those 1000 items were in our Anchor store? That's the experiment we haven't quite worked out.

    2. Jay,
      Just to add another possible element to your decision about 1 or 2 stores.At eBay Open, ebay indicated they will be adding to the store tiers.It's not clear whether that will be this Fall or next year. It's also not clear whether they will change existing tiers in any way.

    3. However, if for any reason store number one gotten taken offline, the odds are strong that store 2 would be removed as well since the ISP is the same? Personally, I think that it would have been more interesting if you had kept store 2 much smaller as a demonstration on what could be achieved with a smaller inventory, JMHO

    4. Depends on why a store is taken offline. As with many things we sellers do, some of our choices are can also just be psychological comfort.

      1000 items is a small store to us. I have no idea how you can keep your store so small. We can list 20-30 in a day. Hitting 1000 items isn't very difficult after a couple months.

    5. Sure. Here is some free advice. Turbo Lister is the only option in getting your 1000+ items over to your Anchor store with no minimal manual input. The steps required are a little geeky, but if you’re comfortable with tech, it should not be a problem. Here are the steps. Details are straightforward as you work through each step.
      1. Create and activate both accounts in Turbo Lister
      2. Select File>Change User, open the account with the 1000+ and from the menu, do a File>Import Items>from ebay listing. You will have to do this twice if you any ended listing. This will create a folder in Turbo Lister within your inventory folder labeled “imported from ebay”. Go to this folder.
      3. Select all the items, select File>Export Selected Items>Select Turbo Lister Format (CSV file). Save the file to your computer.
      4. Select File>Change User and open the user account with the larger items.
      5. Select File>Import Items>From File… Use the file created in step 3
      6. This will put those items in a folder labeled “Imported from ‘file name’.
      7. From here, two options. Use the “add to upload” button or do copy paste to the “Waiting to Upload folder”. I prefer the later.
      8. Select the “Waiting to Upload”. Here you can go “Balls to the wall” and do an “Upload All” or select them individually or in groups. I prefer the latter see how they look before doing them all. Any errors with the list will be display here and will need to be corrected before allowed to upload.
      9. Now that you have two listing of the same item, you need to end the listing(s) in the old store. You know how to do this. You can also do it in bulk in Turbo Lister. Just change users.
      10. Where you need to physically make changes is to remove the description the HTML code “Listed with Turbo Lister”. That shows on the bottom of your listing. It’s not going hurt if it stays there. It’s just HTML.
      That should do it for you. I do this often as part a side job. let me know if you have any questions.

    6. Retro Treasures WVAugust 1, 2016 at 11:40 AM

      There is really no need for J&R to experiment with a small store. There are lots of us posters here that already are running small stores and posting our results.

    7. Almost forgot. When you close down the store, don’t delete your eBay user account. Profiles and feedback scores stay with the user account forever, even if you change the name later. It doesn’t cost you anything to have an eBay account, even if it’s inactive. It’s good to have in case something does happen with the other store. Also, accounts like this are very valuable if you know what I mean.

    8. Thanks Anonymous. If we ever decide to combine stores, we'll remember your comment. And does it re-upload all the photos? Or at least relink all the same photos stored on the eBay servers?

    9. Yes. If the photos are hosted with ebay. All that info is stored in that export file. It gets tricky when photos are self-hosted. NFirst ebay photos are always hosted with ebay, the remaining 11 can either be self hosted or hosted. Not a problem, just needs more editing.

    10. RetroTreasure, Maybe I am misremembering, but I kind of thought the experiment was less about "can a small store be successful?" and more about "can a store (with the kind of general merchandise most of us sell) get too big?" I would like buyers to look around in my store and buy more than one item at a time....if I have too few items, that's unlikely, but is it also unlikely if I have so many that the buyer says "No way am I wading through thousands of items"?

    11. Here was the experiment.
      --Before the recent changes, an Anchor store only included 2500 listings. Each additional listing was 5-cents per month.
      --Since we had 4000 listings, we felt that our sales had plateaued after we hit 2500 items.
      --So we started a second store to see if 1000 items in a new store would make more than another 1000 items in our Anchor store.

      Our second store is a new income generator. Would we make that same $1000-$2000/month if we had all the items in one store? Hard to test.

      Now that the Anchor store allows 10k items per month, the equation has changed. It's a good problem to have since both stores make good money. Always be listing.

  19. Brooklyn_ProcurementAugust 1, 2016 at 10:51 AM

    Quick question for the blog......How and what do you consider a driving write off? I use Mile IQ app which helps a lot, but this weekend I went to Sesame Place with my family and across the street was a goodwill (bought a pair of vintage lamps for $20, selling for $200), so after Sesame Place I went for a quick shop and then went home. Could I now write off (consider business) the trip? or only a portion of the trip?

    1. Retro Treasures WVAugust 1, 2016 at 11:38 AM

      Your tracker app has a great common sense explanation.

      Really the only red flag no-no is you cannot count commuting mileage. I have a day job, so I do not count my commute ever - even when I stop at a few thrift stores.

      Now on the flip side, if I have to go anywhere I always try to find a reason to do business during the trip. Be it a thrift store, office supplies, or a box scavenging run. As long as the purpose of the trip is business, it doesn't matter what other errands or even entertainment you do during the trip - or the length of the trip.

    2. Brooklyn_ProcurementAugust 1, 2016 at 11:59 AM

      that's good to know. The plan was to go for entertainment, but I figured if there was a thrift shop near by I could write off the the miles. especially since the goodwill was literally across the way from the park.

      FYI the goodwill across from Sesame Place PA is AMAZING....they color coordinate their isles....My wife gave told me to make it a quick run since my son was exhausted, but if I could I would have been in there for HOURS!

    3. Retro’s reply is spot on but especially the last sentence is an important takeaway. Conversely, if the primary purpose to take a trip is personal entertainment or vacation, then only the mileage from the personal entertainment to the work side trip and back is deductible. The original intent to take the overall trip is what the IRS cares about but they will also derive a purpose on their own from the facts, if it comes to that. So especially for overnight trips, be cautious about deducting an entire trip if it looks like a vacation but for one or two brief business matters. It's best to ask your accountant since there are grey areas, or see IRS Publications 535 and 463 for DIYers.

    4. Retro Treasures WVAugust 1, 2016 at 2:30 PM

      A weekend trip to a big city where you have purchase receipts and a GPS backed mileage log showing you went thrifting every day proves business intent.

      Now if you go to the beach for a week and only thrift once or twice, you probably shouldn't claim that mileage or the hotel stay. It is just asking for trouble as it was obviously not a business trip. Now if you can get creative and find a business seminar or some convention to go to while there as well then you may have a case for deducting your vacation!

      Finding business deductions is fun!

    5. Brooklyn_ProcurementAugust 1, 2016 at 5:46 PM

      I have to find an accountant first, but I am guessing I could write off a portion of the trip since I did purchase in the area, next time I would have to do a few shops in the area to maybe consider the entire drive a write off (obviously not the park cost lol). there is nothing near me in the area of Brooklyn I'm in, so I am always driving out to long island (the rich neighborhoods). I call them my marathon days. I have a route where I hit up several thrift stores and estate sales in long island. I head out to Montauk and drive back hitting everything up. I take my family, we do some other things on the way as well and go for lunch. I wont write off the lunch or the other things, but the rest of the trip I can. an article that a couple was able to write off cat food because it attracted the cats that ate the mice to keep off of their business property.

      Like you said it is fun to see what can be written that episode of Roseanne where she tried to right off her breast augmentation.

  20. just a comment about the buyer opting out of global shipping...I had a buyer from Mexico send me a message requesting an invoice but was confused as it was global shipping so I called eBay first to see why I was getting this message...the rep told me as soon as the buyer sends you a request for total cost or invoice it opts them out of global shipping...I wasn't aware they could do this so eBay told me I could cancel the transaction and send them a message to say I only use Global shipping or choose to ship USPS I figured out the cost for International Priority which ended up being more than the global shipping cost and sent the invoice that way...I expected the buyer to not want to pay the amount but they is still in transit in Mexico so I am still leery of it actually being delivered....

    1. I had international buyers try to get around global shipping by trying to get me to send an invoice. Don't fall for their trickery. All they are trying to do is get around it.

      I just tell the buyer I can't send an invoice because it's a gsp listing. It will usually end in an unpaid item because they are clearly trying to circumvent the gsp process. I would rather they don't pay for the item instead of sending it outside of the gsp.

    2. Retro Treasures WVAugust 1, 2016 at 11:47 AM

      I've had several buyers wish to opt out of global shipping. Once you get into the details, it is actually a really good deal for them! One in particular bought two items and wanted to opt out and have combined shipping. The cost to ship them individually through GSP (which included customs fees) was cheaper than I could ship combined.

      Oh yeah, and he flaked and never paid after all the extra effort I put in. I no longer opt out of GSP. Asking to opt out of GSP is a red flag that insures I will not accept their offer.

    3. I had an international buyer trying for 2 items. I cancelled the 2 purchases and made a new listing for the 2 items combined and using GSP. They bought it that way and were happy, and ok with using GSP as long as it was combined.

    4. brooklyn_procurementAugust 2, 2016 at 9:57 AM

      I had a potential international buyer from France ask me to opt out of the program so I ignored them. They contacted me several times asking to remove the item from GSP for them. I wound up blocking them since they used the tragedy in France to get me to remove the shipping program (long story). In the end I removed the listing and relisted the item for more money, a day later someone else bought it.

      Good to know about the invoice thing, I would have easily fallen for that! If I get that request I will just ignore

  21. I think my last post got held up in your spam folder because of it's length.

  22. Numbers for July:
    Total Items in Store: 55
    Items Sold: 6
    Total Sales: $276 ($239 last month)
    Cost of Items Sold: $69 ($115 last month)
    Highest Price Sold: $89 textbook
    Average Price Sold: $46 ($48 last month)
    International Sales: 1 GSP Germany
    Number of items listed: 18 (23 last month)

    I spent zero on new inventory - I'm in the process of listing on eBay approximately 500 books pulled back from FBA in April. I still have 311 items in FBA warehouses (mostly books). The books that I pulled out had been there for 2 to 5 years.

    I'll be glad when I've finished listing these on eBay. I'm 82 years old and my favorite thing to do is scavenge, but I can't let myself until I list the remaining 400+ books in my eBay store. Now they're still in about 120 Amazon packages in my house.

    Anyone have any tips on getting the photos and listings done fast? I have started to use an iPad as my camera. Up to now I've been keeping copies of all my descriptions and my photos on my desktop. I guess that I'm going to have to give this up in order to list faster.

    Thanks to Jay and Ryanne for all they do. They have been a big help and I'm still learning.

    1. Retro Treasures WVAugust 1, 2016 at 2:36 PM

      You long tail folks are truly dedicated! If it were me, I would ditch books that had been sitting for that many years. I have only 3 things in my store that are just now a year old. After those three my oldest item is 8 months old. I could not imagine holding onto hundreds of things for years.

    2. I think if you depended on eBay as your sole income your equation may look different.

      I assume you want to move items quickly because of a lack of storage. For us, storage is cheap. You live in WV and not NYC, so I bet storage would be equally as cheap. Build more sheds or rent a storage locker.

      As long as we're always listing and items are always selling, it really doesn't matter if the items have been online for 2 hours or two years.

      Plus, because these items are all so inexpensive to scavenge, there's no pressure to sell quick. There's very little money tied up in inventory which makes the long tail sellers so much different from the RA sellers.

    3. I could not disagree with you more Jay. High inventory turn-over means higher profitability. I’m not talking about deep discount to move one’s inventory, I’m saying pricing where it’s competitive to sell. If all you were doing was selling a bunch of stuff and not in the business of replenishing your stock, your thought process would be correct. You can wait til the cows come home for that right seller.

      All things being equal, take two sellers selling a similar trucker hat. Seller-1 has his priced at $20. Seller-2 has hers prices at $15. Seller-2 will sell hers first. Seller-1 elects wait for two years for the right buyer to purchase the hat for $20. In the meantime, seller-2 continues to turn over her inventory in a similar manor. Seller-1 stays the same. Seller-2 will ALWAYS be more profitable than Seller-1 because of the compounding of the returns. Making money on top of money, on top of money and so on.

      Likewise, money is not infinite, Seller-2 will have the upper hand in taking advantage of any changes in the marketplace, say for example seeing an increase sales in VCR’s. Seller-1, unfortunately, will find himself with too little money to make any additional purchases because it is all tied up in inventory.

      My point is listings don’t make you money… Sales do. Everyone’s comfort level is different and one person’s long tail is another person stagnant inventory. You just don’t want to be tripping over dollars picking up dimes.

    4. Retro Treasures WVAugust 1, 2016 at 4:17 PM

      I think I'd be willing to sit two years on something as long as it is either small, or will get me big money. In the case of the big money thing, after a year I would give it another look and see if there was a way I could sell it quicker even if I made less money.

      I would be very hesitant to list something and then let it sit untouched in an non-climate controlled storage for 2-5 years. Odds are likely it will no longer be in exactly the same condition as when you put it in.

      I try to look at my storage with a "profit per cubic foot" view. If I have this huge thing that will only make me $50, I would be better served just chucking it and replacing that space with a tub of 15-20 pairs of shoes that will make me more than $500. Now if that big thing is a quick seller and fairly easy to pack, then I would still sell it because it is not a long term shipping issue.

      Long tail + low profit per ft^3 = get rid of it and use my space more effectively.

    5. Looks like my msgs are too long. Getting blocked again. Time to join the crowd and register.

    6. Many years ago when I was working my way through college scavenging (it was called “picking” then) there was one particular flea market to which I was taking mainly English furniture and each type of piece was of a relatively uniform shape and size. I wrote a simple program in a computer science class that calculated my profit per cubic foot on the different types of furniture I could fit in my van. For example, all the dressers were pretty much of similar dimensions, all the gate leg tables pretty close in size, etc. But profit per cubic foot was only one piece of the puzzle so the program was not that helpful in real life. For example sales seemed better if I had a selection of different pieces anyway, even if some were more profitable than others. And I definitely had limited space in the van and only one day a week to sell there, so a quick turn was really more important.

    7. Why not just donate the books that didn't sell on Amazon? Use the time it would take to list all those "duds" to scavenge better stuff.

    8. Anonymous. Would be great if you even used any kind of name. Helps us know which anonymous person is talking. We're all friends here.

      We've learned so much from other sellers over the last three years. Someone shares a technique or strategy that can be duplicated and tested. It's not an idea, but a proven method.

      For example, Dan came on earlier this year and said he didn't use a template in his listing. He said he didn't even put clothing measurements or anything. It was blasphemy! But we tried listing this way without a template, description, or clothing measurements. It worked. People still bought the items and no more returns than usual.

      So what are you suggesting here that we can test?
      Are you hypothesizing that sellers who sell long tail items can sell them quicker if we lower the price? Is this something you do?

    9. I'm commenting about 2 comments at once. I don't think it's that easy to get to 1000 listings as you said Jay. You have death piles and two people. Most of not so getting to 1000 is a long process solo and with low income to source in the beginning. And if you are selling well it's even harder to get it that big because as soon as you list one thing you're selling another. I don't buy into long or short term methods completely. I have a mix of both. Rare items I sit on. If there's competition I try to be more competitive. Everyone has their own method I guess.

    10. This is what I do not disagree with.

      "All things being equal, take two sellers selling a similar trucker hat. Seller-1 has his priced at $20. Seller-2 has hers prices at $15. Seller-2 will sell hers first."

      There are countless examples shown on this blog alone where higher priced items sell faster than the same items that are cheaper. All the time. Just because you price an item lower doesn't mean it will sell faster. What it does guarantee is you will eventually sell it for less money I can guarantee you that.

      Again how does this make sense?

      "Likewise, money is not infinite, Seller-2 will have the upper hand in taking advantage of any changes in the marketplace, say for example seeing an increase sales in VCR’s. Seller-1, unfortunately, will find himself with too little money to make any additional purchases because it is all tied up in inventory."

      So you are implying a seller won't have enough money to capitalize on a buying opportunity? That makes no sense. I take the buy and hold method and I can comfortably say I outspend 99% of people involved in this blog on new inventory. How does selling an item fast for less money equate into having capital to buy inventory? I have a pipeline to and sell a bunch of long tail items on a continuous basis and have lots of excess capital to reinvest. But if I am missing something please elaborate.

      "My point is listings don’t make you money… Sales do."

      Again how do you make a sale if you don't list? Sales don't guarantee can sell a bunch of items and not make any money. But if you can tell me how you make a sale if you don't list please elaborate. The more you list the more you sell. Very easy equation.

      I understand the approach to trying to turn over inventory but saying someone will make significantly more money taking this approach instead of a buy and hold method isn't stacking up.

    11. I see the financial concepts I pointed are not being fully grasped here and my comments are being parsed to be contradicted by a random set of examples. The point being, the understanding of how inventory turnover affects profitability and combined with other measurements can give the seller an accurate gauge of success. Just as equally important as the concept of profit margin, net profits, ROI, and so on.

      Many sellers understand this concept by their actions every day without even knowing that they do. I read it here a couple times every week. Comments like… “I pick up these whenever I see them, they sell quickly”, “newer used games don’t really sell…”, “…as long as I can make 3 times on the sale”, I haven’t had many lookers…”,”Sales have been slow so I accepted the offer…” are all examples, in one form or another, of the understanding the concept of inventory and turnover.

    12. So, sometimes people need to hear something differently to understand what is being said, so let’s start with how higher turnover results in higher profitability through compounding.

      Seller-1 has one item for sale for $1 million dollars. The crystal ball tells us he will sell that one item at the end of 30 days.

      Seller-2, on the other hand, has an unlimited amount of inventory that she sells for 1c (1 penny) a piece. The crystal ball tells us that for her, she will one item on the first day of the month. Not only that, for each day for the next 30 days she will double her sales from the previous days. Day 1, she will sell one item, day 2, two items, day 3, four items and so forth and so on. So by the end of the first week her sales will have been 64 cents.

      Given a choice between the two sellers, who would you want to be? Assume COG’s=0.

    13. No one is having an issue grasping the concept. You can conceptualize all you want. It doesn't mean your concept fits the situation. Lots of concepts sound good in theory that are ineffective when applied. How is it a random set of examples when there are thousands of examples that contradict your concept? Here is an accuarate gauge of success. Money. Building a pipeline and sitting on items maximizing profits is a proven and successful model.

      You can also take your approach on turning it over quickly which is fine. The issue is you are implying the quick flip method is superior to the buy and hold method which is not even close to being accurate. You can succeed using either approach but saying one approach is superior is ignorant. It's a matter of preference. There are countless examples of buy and hold business being highly successful (the entire diamond industry) or Amazon where it's a race to the bottom.

      Let's see how your numbers stack up to buy and hold sellers because you can conceptualize all you want. Back it up with some numbers and maybe I take you seriously. Outside of that all I'm seeing is a case of those who can't do teach scenario. I know lots of guys that do great with a quick flip approach.

      In the card market this is how it works. The guys that do the quick flip sell to the guys that have a lot more money than they do. The guy with a lot of money makes a much higher profit on the item then the quick flip guy because they are patient which is the reason they have a lot more money in the first place.

    14. WOW! I give up.

    15. My last thought and without even seeing your store I know you are just theorizing everything in your head is the most simple part of your formula. You're banking on the fact you actually sell an item fast even if it's the lowest price. If you knew anything about eBay if you're selling a random used t shirt it doesn't matter if it's the lowest price. It doesn't guarantee it sells. You're conceptualizing everything without taking into account your item still might not even sell quickly despite being the lowest cost item. Again real world vs concept. You can have the perfect listing and lowest price and my cowboy boots with no size and damage just sold for more than your perfect listing.

      You can create the perfect listing and you have zero control if it sells. Conceptualize all you want. It's like an actor at an audition. They could have done everything perfect and lose out on the part to another actor that didn't perform as well for a number of factors. In theory the guy that reads the lines and looks the part should get the part every time but in the real world that is not the case.

      The problem with concepts is they are in a vacuum. I can put up a bunch of crap listings and outsell perfect listings that are cheaper all day. Why? Because I list them for more money. It's an easy concept. I ask for more money so I make more.

    16. Another issue to consider is your time. It takes time to source list and ship each item. Even with your quick turnover method, there has to be a price which is low to support the time spent.

      Even if you get stuff for free, it's sometimes not worth the effort to list.

    17. Anonymous, it does kind of sound like you've been to business school and are talking about generalized business strategies. But selling vintage, weird, or long tail items is not like selling the usual widget.

      Just do some quick research. Search for "Sold items" on eBay for any long tail category. Something that people collect. Then sort by "highest to lowest". You'll see that prices are all over the place. Why?

      Why did some buyers pay so much for the same exact item? The answer is often "nostalgia". Buyers feel differently about vintage and long tail items than they feel about a mass produced, modern manufactured item. This is why your argument of the lowest price always winning doesn't ring true. Sometimes lowest price can work, but it's not a clear thread in the collector's market. Often the lowest priced items that sell were probably bought by another seller to flip for more money.

      I'll even go out on a limb and say that sometimes buyers WANT to pay more because they feel that paying less means their feeling of nostalgia is worth less and not as important.

      Anyway, we can go on and on. I'm always happy to learn. If you have an experiment that you've used effectively to sell more long tail items, I'm happy to hear it. But I know from experience that just lowering prices on long tail items does not sell them faster.

    18. Retro Treasures WVAugust 2, 2016 at 8:49 AM

      Wholesale and retail business strategies do not work in the used ebay market. I have just watched a great local business - used vintage toy and comic book store - announce they are closing down. It sucks because they created a great atmosphere. I'm going to post their ebay store because it is relevant to this conversation:
      Look at their prices and their sold items. As you can see, they do a lot of business on ebay. They are low price leaders, and offer free shipping. They just announced they are shutting down. They wore themselves out with those ridiculously low profit margin sales. Worse, they had a store front that ate up even more of their time and money. I've been waiting for this announcement for a year because I knew their business plan just wasn't sustainable.

    19. Anonymous,

      I don't think you understand what long-tail means in terms of selling on Ebay. The application of it for selling online is different from what you learn in school. Please provide your definition of long-tail so I can better understand where you are coming from in regard to your fast flip arguments.

    20. just to chime in here- comparing my trucker hat to someone elses lower priced hat doesnt work for our business. because it's used/vintage/unique the comparison is not ONLY price. my trucker hat is genuine 1984 Conway Twitty tour hat (up for $125 best offer), the lower priced one is generic, but much cheaper. the buyer is choosing a different item even though they are both hats. my buyer could be a fashion nerd, a country western music nerd. but they're willing to pay more because it's a more unique item.

    21. brooklyn_procurmentAugust 2, 2016 at 10:11 AM

      One of your first podcasts it was mentioned that a woman was "staging" her picked items in a house and she was the real estate agent. If you "stage" the item correctly and make it look like it is worth more people will buy it, mix that with nostalgia and you can command higher prices. why would you trust a blurry pic or a picture with someones feet in it who is asking top dollar?

      @Anonymous: long-tail in ebay terms as I understand it it is an item that you are willing to hold in inventory as long as you have to in order to make the most money from it. Basically an item that you don't want a quick flip.

      I also find that if you carry a lot of time specific pieces they sell to movie sets which have a budget and they tend to spend more for an item anyway. I sold a 70's ash tray for $25..paid $2
      ...and when I checked out where it was going, to a movie set, I looked at the guys past products and he bought the same item for $5 from other sellers. So why would he pay 5x more for my item which is the same?? doesn't matter since he has a budget to look for these items
      -on a side note wish I knew how to rent out the time pieces to movie sets instead of a one time sale??

    22. "Perceived Value" is a concept I struggled with for years, but now totally embrace. To many buyers, something that's priced higher feels more desirable to the same item priced lower. This is particularly true of something like an unsigned piece of pottery, where at a $12 price point it feels like a junky student piece, but at $145 it looks like a brutalist masterpiece.

    23. I should add that I don't mean specifically pottery per se, just any random handmade item without any intrinsic/inherent value from the materials, etc.

    24. There is a danger in pricing something way too high to a sophisticated, educated niche market. In many cases you will be perceived as an amateur - someone not to be trusted.

      There is an art to pricing something to maximize profit coupled with selling the item in a reasonable amount of time. If something sits too long, it will take on a stink of being undesirable, no longer cool and fresh to the market.

    25. That's true, specially within certain categories. You need to be smart about it; it's not a 1:1 correspondence with higher price and increased desirability... Misfire too badly and you're just showing you don't know anything. But personally I'd probably rather err on the high side and have to perhaps blushingly relist at a reduced price than err on the low side and sell something for way less than it's with. Keep your feet on the ground, but keep aiming for the stars. ;-)

    26. *especially

      Darn it!

    27. I see a lot of replies to my original post here and this causes me to ask something that I've always wondered about: Why do some people post as Anonymous?

    28. Jay and friends, picking up this conversation too late, sorry, would have loved to engage real time since is a favorite topic (as some might've noticed 😊 ).
      Anyway, the concepts and theories are indeed correct and valid for standard retail and, possibly, for retailers using eBay as platform.
      As very well put by Jay, for long tailers the concepts apply in a diverse way and the theory differs.
      For those on IT, like on premises solutions x Cloud based solutions. If using former mindset to apply on the latter, lower success rates.
      For economy theory on retail, apply same mindset on long tail is synonym to failure or to underperform.
      These are common mistakes in business when we have paradigm shifts and business inertia pushes the business person to resist to the new.

    29. As usual, I'm late to the party here. I think I get what Anon is saying about earn/turn, which is relatively easy to apply to standard retail. It is the nature of our inventory which makes it harder to apply to our business. First, focus on the dollars, not the item. If I spend $10 on an item, and two years later it sells for $50, that $10 has generated $40 over the course of two years. If I spend $10 on an item, and price it at $20.00 and it sells within a a week, and I then take that $20 and buy something I sell the next week for $60, and I take that $60 and buy something that sells within a month for $200....well, it's easy to see that my initial ten dollars will produce more than $40 over the course of two years.

      But unlike the world of regular retail, where lower price is often the trigger for faster sale, our items may or may not sell faster at a lower price. So, I pay $10 for that first item , price it at $20, but it might still take two years to sell, and instead of making 40, I've only made 10 in two years time.

      What I've been thinking for scavenger sellers is that earn/turn is important, but maybe price is not the lever we should focus on. Yes, we have to price the item so it will sell (which is more art than science with most of our stuff), but the reason long tail can take longer to sell is generally because the item needs to find the right buyer, NOT because experienced sellers are pricing too high. So maybe our lever is not price, but targeted marketing? That's why I want to experiment with Social Media and so forth. What if I can spend $10, price at $50, and can sell within a week (instead of two years) because I push the item out to a pool of likely buyers using Social media? And do that with a minimal investment of time?

      Once I get my store to the inventory level I want, I'm definitely going to start experimenting with this stuff. I think it could make a difference, a hybrid of List it and Forget it and Move it Fast LOL We'll see.

    30. Retro Treasures WVAugust 3, 2016 at 10:58 AM

      Targeted marketing is EXACTLY the answer. If you can find a way to trigger a large group of individuals sense of nostalgia and steer them directly to your vintage item, then you will hit gold very often.

      A good example was a few weeks ago another one of those dumb "old things worth a ton on ebay" stories went around on facebook. On that story it states that the black diamond vhs Disney movies are all worth "Thousands of dollars". They link to some of the insane asking price ebay items but never talk actual sales numbers.

      And yet, the prices and sales spike for a week or so on black diamond VHS Disney movies.

  23. Jay: here you go.

    1. Interesting. It appears that the study was based on people's tweets. Tweeting about how much you dislike your job seems like a very bad idea. Perhaps they could do a follow-up study that shows the correlation between tweeting about hating your job and shortly thereafter collecting unemployment benefits.

  24. The missing strap ... it's in a bin with shoes!

  25. It may all just be a coincidence but since I've started hitting cell similar after 30 days instead of relist I am starting to move a bunch of my old inventory. I don't understand how it gets that buried in the search results in the first place but either way it seems to be working for me. And really it's just one more step. I was already having two bulk re-list so now I just bulk sell similar. Extra step is deleting the unsold before more gets added and get screwed and lost.

  26. July 24th to July 30th, 2016
    Total items in store: 1071
    Number of items sold: 10
    Cost of items sold: $ 38.63 (13% of sales)
    Total Sales: $ 289.94
    Highest price sold: $ 75 Vintage pewter belt buckle
    Avg price sold: $29.00
    Returns: 0

    Very happy on the return for the belt buckle...paid $5 at a yard sale. I’ve been looking at COGS the past couple of weeks. I would like to keep it below 10%. I sold older items this week so I paid more for them when I first started with ebay. Now I buy better items for less money.

    July was my 3rd largest sales month so far this year. I’m really hoping the trend continues into 4th quarter.

  27. Q: What is the least off-putting way to say your item smells? I have a NOS fabric item that is musty because the plastic was torn. I don't want to wash it and sell it used, but have to disclose. Thanks.

    1. I'd state it just like you've done here. I don't find the wording off-putting.

    2. Put it into a sealed bin with a thick layer of cheap kitty litter or baking soda underneath. That should suck the smell out of it.

    3. Brooklyn_procurermentAugust 1, 2016 at 5:53 PM

      I would state that the item may be musty but is in great shape and easily washed. Follow up with a positive

    4. May have slight odor from storage. Should wash out.

    5. Has a musty odor. I just sold a vintage game with a disclosed musty odor. I'd tried to get it out to no avail. I sold it for about 1/2 what it was going for without a musty odor and the buyer was thrilled. It was even purchased for a birthday gift and the recipient was thrilled too!

  28. Total Items in store: 437
    Items sold: 4
    Cost of items sold: approx. $9
    Total Sales: $78
    Highest price sold: $35 vintage leather dealership key protector
    Average price sold: $19.50
    Int’l sales: 0
    Returns: 0
    Number of items listed this week: 0
    Amazon disbursement - $1,040– includes ebay to amazon and thrift store purchases
    Full time ebay goal - March 2018

    Ebay to Amazon experiment – Had 1 sale. Cost $117. Sold $230. Amazon fees $23 (10%). Profit $90. Average profit per sale $90.
    Ahead I have two more weeks of heavy work on my 2nd job (ebay is my 3rd). Last week was another week of no listing, or sending in to Amazon. I truly believe ebay/amazon is my future and I struggle with not being able to spend any time there. I have a pile of stuff to send in to amazon for my ebay-amazon experiment, another pile from my industrial purchase, and a backlog to list on ebay. Oh, the humanity. But I know my best days are in front of me.
    I want to talk a little about why I picked 2018 as my full time ebay goal. First I have a family, so I need some margin built in. I know to go full-time requires being efficient. I have a physical inventory system in place (numbered totes), but I still need a financial accounting system and an inventory accounting system. My goal is to have all of my systems in place by March 2017, then have a full year of production to fill my pipeline and ramp up. 2017 would prove the viability of the model, and provide us with a financial cushion. Just curious if there are other part-time people with the goal of going full time, what are your goals and do you have a trigger point that you are looking for to make the jump?

    1. I know our trigger point was simply that we weren't getting enough work back in 2008, so we just threw ourselves into eBay!

      But if you have the time and luxury to choose, I'd imagine it'd be nice to have a six month emergency fund. This is especially true if you have a family and mortgage. And more importantly, keep listing and selling as you transition to eBay full-time. All the experience you're gaining is invaluable.

      And finally, be careful of analysis paralysis. At some point, you just got to jump in! Working on eBay full-time is definitely different from being part-time. Problems will always come up, but we just solve them as they come along.

  29. I've had a few unpaid items lately. The first one was a few weeks ago and never got a response and closed the case and relisted the item. I'm so happy for the caller with the GSP message as the other no pay/no contact item is GSP to Canada. I'm well past the 48 hours and didn't send an invoice because I noticed the shipping cost was removed. I emailed the customer about making payment or to cancel the transaction. It is the first time someone didn't pay on a non "make an offer" item for me. I'll be opening a case today. Glad I didn't send the invoice!

    1. Last week I had two trucker hats from different buyers on different days never pay. I have the unpaid assistant set up and both have closed unpaid. One sold right way after the relist. 50 cents gets me $26.59. Now if I can do that 10 times a day, I'd be a happy guy.

    2. Wanted to raise this for a while.
      For me about 15% of my sales generate unpaid cases.
      Now I do not even contact anymore, after the period I just open the case. The few ones who just forgot or something will pay when notified. I usually sell similar the minute I open the case.

    3. Retro Treasures WVAugust 2, 2016 at 8:54 AM

      Paulo, if you have a store subscription you can turn on automatic unpaid item cases. It is great. They even handle the relisting for you.

      I'll never understand why folks just go quiet when they could simply ask to cancel.

    4. Thank you Retro. I do have a sub. Will look for the config.

  30. July 17 - July 23
    Total items in store 970
    Sold 8
    COGS $17.00
    Total Sales $426.91
    Highest Price Sold Vintage Puff Iron for $174.99 paid $4.00 at estate sale
    Ave Price $53.00
    INTL -
    Returns -
    Spent on new merch $40.00
    New listings

    July 24 - July 30
    Total items in store 985
    Sold 9
    COGS $19.00
    Highest price sold a J.LO Denim Jumpsuit for $49.99
    Ave Price #31.00
    INTL -
    Returns 1
    Spent on new merch -
    New listings 24

    Had 5 sales over the weekend and one already today!

  31. Gross sales: 1,049.41
    Items sold: 48
    Cost of items sold: 158.4

    Record week. 25% of it came from late Friday and then Saturday. Using the fast nickel strategy.

    Key word tip: If you sell clothing that is a medium, type an "M" in the description instead of the word medium. I always see less listings come up with "medium" than I do "M". I saw even fewer (I thought it would be more) when I typed in "Medium M". The same is not true with "L" and "Large", more results show up with "Large" than "L". I haven't tested other sizes out or spent much time on this. Anyone else experience this? Lets share another trade secret, the keyword that automatically brings watchers!

    I wonder what percent of gross sales is your true net profit after taxes, fees, COG, and postage?

    1. Wouldn't it be worthwhile to put both "M" and "medium" in the title if you have room? (Same wih "L" and "large")?

    2. Hi FredsPremium--Could you post a link to your store to check it out? Thanks!

  32. Instagram and an Atomic starburst style clock: Tales from the GWO Thrift! This past weekend I pulled out a vintage starburst clock with cord. I showed it to a lady who picks up vintage from time to time, like I do. Turns out, she saw someone pick up the clock, really wanted it, but didn't see that person put it back. I gave her the clock in exchange for a plastic tote she had found.

    So we got talking, and I smell "Early eBay Wild West Days" opportunity on Instagram. What people there are doing, since you can't sell directly on Instagram, is putting their Shop Rules on their public equivalent to an About Me page, and posting there with a comment for offers or giving price and shipping. However, many are putting their PayPal addresses out there as well. From what I was told Instagram buyers are pretty savvy and there are opportunities for problems to happen, but not many do. In fact a lot do Shop with Me days in real time, where followers can buy from you in real time. To me that's crazy. This person will go to an antique shop, take pictures of interesting things she knows are on sale or discounted. If a person wants it, the person pays the antique shop's price on the tag plus agreed shipping and the lucky picture taker pockets the discount plus handling. Usually it's 20%.

    Will be getting my feet wet, but what I'm hearing reminds me of old eBay.

    1. Bizarre and exciting at the same time.

    2. Eve, That's interesting. That "method" has been around for years. In the pre-ebay days, I know of a book picker who would write down the titles and other info from books at his local thrift, and send out lists to interested buyers...if the thrift had already sold the book by the time the order had come in, he'd just say he was out of stock. And in the early ebay days, many antique malls banned cameras, because so many ebay sellers were coming in, taking pictures, running auctions and then buying the item only if they sold it. If it had already sold, they just canceled...this of course was way before ebay had all its rules, back in the Wild West days.

      That said, I agree that we as sellers should try to stay on top of Social Media....we are indeed opportunists, and opportunities arise all the time...if you know where to look.

    3. someone I follow who sells mostly on amazon started this way, she went to the local outlets, found an interesting item, noted sizes, colors, available etc. and posted it for sell--for zero investment that was how she started her business, LOL. I would be too chicken to try it, but some people do it successfully.

  33. I strongly recommend listening to this podcast about a woman who transformed her business with pinterest. She was shutting down her website because after years of trying to make it work wasn't coming together. Her final farewell included a pin on pinterest of a bunch of different stuff. That pin SAVED her business to her surprise. Total luck for sure but she'd gone on to learn the strategy. So her story is great and her advice is very actionable.

    When Jay said "ebay should have told us" in reference to not using templates all I think about is this interview. She goes in depth about the value of staying on top of best practices for whatever site you're using.

    That interview is here:

    and I found that interview after listening to an interview of the host of that podcast on shopify masters (I'm obsessed with shopify masters podcast! Total business geek out interviews)

    Her interview is well worth listening to as well. She talks about her business, the numbers, and what social media platforms work for her. She does go into how to really make pinterest work. (which explains why it doesn't work when people randomly post stuff for ebay for example)

    1. Thanks for the links. I'm interested to hear how Pinterest works for this person. I pin each item I list. Some are re-pinned.

    2. Pinterest is a huge resource for me and I highly recommend it. When I find an interesting piece, I create a board for the artist or company, and pin my eBay listing, among other works by the artist/company, to the board. I can quickly expand my knowledge about the piece/its creator while also getting my item out there to be seen and possibly re-pinned. I can confirm that my pinned items get significantly more views than my non-pinned pieces, but can't claim a huge sales difference; that said, it's just such a great resource for me, research and education-wise, that it's worth it. I've learned a ton on Pinterest and really recommend it for ADHD-enabled brains. You can see a single painting, vase, chair, etc. by an artist you've never heard of before and within 10 minutes have created a board that gives you a huge visual reference for the "feeling" of their work. Instant education. Also, the Pinterest algorithm is really good at figuring out what types of things you're likely to enjoy, so it's constantly throwing interesting new pieces into your consciousness and exposing you to more fascinating work. I just can't recommend it enough if you're into art glass, pottery, etc.

    3. thanks for that link...will watch as soon as I get a chance...I am confident that Social is going to become more and more important.

    4. Kate I like your ideas on how to use Pinterest. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Hi everyone,
    This is my first time ever writing on any online platform.
    First: Thank you J & R for all that you guys do an allow the like minded to do...well appreciated.
    Since I'm dipping my toes in the virtual online waters, I will keep it short. Have listened to J & R for close to a year and have been selling on ebay for approx. 18 months. There are many comments/advise/thoughts that I would like to share/discuss.
    I'll start with one comment regarding a platform that I have never heard, nor seen in this blog. Which is This platform is owned by ebay and is limited to movies, music, and books. Books being the focus point here. I have personally used this platform to sell many college and non college text books. It's purely list it and forget it. Meaning, you look up the book (or movie, music) by the ISBN #, grade your item from the drop down menu (new, like new, very good, good, etc...), write 1-2 sentences regarding condition (optional), and set a price. There are no listing fees and the item will stay listed indefinitely. The only caveat is the shipping charge. Meaning, dictates the price (($3.99 for hard cover and 2 and change for soft) media mail)).
    That's it for this time.
    More to come.

    1. Welcome Eric. Just curious about Do your books sell better there than on eBay itself?

    2. Retro Treasures WVAugust 2, 2016 at 9:34 AM

      I used to buy and sell my college textbooks from 2002-2005. It was a HUGE money saver. I basically got my textbooks for free.
      Occasionally I wondered if it was still viable but never have taken the time to check it out. My assumption was that amazon would have killed it by now.

    3. I thought was dead -- I mean still active, but not promoted and nothing sells there. I have about 200 books listed as seller-fulfilled on Amazon and I sell about 3 books a week. That's also list it and forget it, and practically no work to list. The Amazon fees are really high though. I'm a former bookstore employee and I can spot valuable books quickly at library booksales. But if is still viable, I can cross-list the same books there and just delete the amazon listings if they sell on So can anyone CONFIRM that still "works" for sellers? If you have about 200 books listed, how many might sell a week?

    4. Jay--- I I haven't sold books on eBay yet. While in college, I just listed on because of the simplicity (as mentioned earlier). Also, selling basically college textbooks leaves me little comparison in regards to genre, but it was sure nice to see those books fly to sold weeks prior to the coming college semester term.

    5. The none college textbooks that I sold on where supplemental textbooks required for classes (such as humanities, and literature classes).

  35. I don't want to get off topic or create discord, but I really think if anonymous people want to be taken seriously, they really need to create some type of identifying name.

    1. I agree with Anonymous people can stay anonymous, but just using the same handle makes it easier to follow which anonymous person is talking.

    2. Retro Treasures WVAugust 2, 2016 at 9:37 AM

      A lot of times I will ignore anonymous posters. Some seem to genuinely want to contribute. I've seen many others who just stir the pot.

      There is no need to register here. I manually type in my name every time I post.

    3. Which "reply as" option are you using that allows you to type in your name so that it appears before the date?


    4. Name/URL, then just type a name in. I have cookies turned on, so it remembers my name.

    5. LeeinTN,

      Thank you! So simple, once you know.

    6. My thanks as well! It works!

    7. Retro Treasures WVAugust 2, 2016 at 4:20 PM

      Well dag gone, I think we just solved the anonymous posting issue!

  36. Just thought I'd add to the video game discussion. There is a limit to the older = more valuable rule when it comes to video games. You have to be careful of most of the first generation that came out in the late 70's and early 80's. Games for Atari 2600, Intellivision, Colecovision are not worth much with the exception of certain specific items. Just thought I'd throw that out there before somebody goes and buys a box of Atari 2600 cartridges for $20 and then is disappointed the way Jay was with the Xbox 360 stuff. In general video games are just like any other category, some stuff is worth good money and then some of it is not worth much.

    1. Retro Treasures WVAugust 2, 2016 at 11:45 AM

      I had an app on my phone that was called video game price guide. It was free for the first download of the price guide. I would go to every system and sort by price and read the titles to get a feel for what to look for. You can do the same for the worthless games.

      Once you have looked at enough data and done enough field research at thrifts and flea markets, you can then just glance at a stack of games and just "know" if any of them are worth your time.

    2. Jason - Were games for systems like the Atari ever popular on eBay? That system was popular when I was a teenager so I would have thought it would have a big market similar to the old Nintendo systems.

    3. Retro Treasures WVAugust 2, 2016 at 1:43 PM

      Games for Atari were MASSIVELY overproduced, and there were bootlegs on top of bootlegs. It was open season and the whole industry collapsed. It's a really interesting story.

    4. Most of the Atari games aren't fun. They were grossly overproduced in some instances(they buried millions of copies of ET).

    5. I love making Linux or Windows run on devices, one of my most ancient hobbies that started by hacking into Atari and MSX.
      I added keyboard and BASIC to my Atari and used my internship EPROM burner to copy friends' of friends cartridges.
      Said part I never considered doing these things for money, not g
      even when it was not a crime.
      Typical old fashioned nerd here

    6. Thanks for the replies to my question. I spent some time reading a wikipedia page about the video game crash of 1983 which I didn't really know about before now:

      I was using a Commodore 64 back in those days. It was my first computer.

  37. I was just listening to the podcast and I heard you guys talking about the slayer shirt you sold. This summer I found a slayer concert tee at a garage sale. Husband (27) wanted to keep it. He has never listened to slayer just thought it looked cool. Couple weeks later we are at a flea market and a guy with a both asks my husband what his favorite album was. Needless to say he had no idea and just mumbled something. He spent the rest of the flea market researching slayer albums. So yes your shirt totally went to some hipster.

    1. It is funny how Slayer is a piece of fashion now. Metallica is basically a cheesy pop band.

      When I was growing up, these bands were as close to Satan s you could get. It was great.

      Now we know "Satan" is just people's fears dressed up in makeup.

    2. I don't know, Slayer has a deep and devoted following. 1986's Rick Rubin produced "Reign in Blood" is considered an all timer of the genre. Kerry King and crew still going strong to this day.

      As for Metallica, ever since the Napster debacle and Lars' whiny complaining, it's been downhill ever since.

    3. Absolutely. There's no don't those early albums are masterpieces.

      Reign in Blood:

      It's simply ironic that Slayer is now a fun t-shirt worn by teenagers instead of a band parents used to fear.

    4. Allman Brothers, Filmore East...listen, be awed.

    5. I'm still making good money on that batch of rock shirts I got at the GW. Last one sold for 50. I guess im catering to the dark side.

    6. Retro Treasures WVAugust 3, 2016 at 10:50 AM

      I've yet to find a vintage rock concert t shirt. I'm hoping one of these days to hit the gold mine at a yard sale or a thrift store.

      I've often thought of making a post on Facebook sites looking for them and make up a story about needing "junky old rock band tshirts" for a craft. I want to present it as looking for junk so as not to arouse suspicion.

  38. Store Week Jul 24-30

    Total Items in Store: 300
    Items Sold: 11
    Cost of Items Sold: $15
    Total Sales: $718
    Highest Price Sold: $250 leather jacket (50% commission), $195 70s skateboard
    Average Price Sold: $65
    Returns: 0
    International Sales via GSP: 1
    Money Spent on New Inventory: $34
    Number of items listed this week: 35

    What an unexpectedly great week! I forced myself to reach my listing goal of 300 items and wound up making my $ goal of $100 average per day in sales.

    Had two great sales - my friends leather jacket for $250, for which I received 50% commission, and even better, a vintage 70s skateboard I picked up for $5 at an estate sale. It was in rough shape, so after researching I priced it at $225 / best offer. The offers rolled in and I accepted $195. The buyer paid an additional $90 to ship it to England.

    Another fun sale was a Russian samovar with a weird doll tea cozy I picked up for free on Craig's list about a year ago and sold for $50!

  39. I know I'm late to the party in regards to discussing the eBay coupon voucher for shipping supplies. In my opinion, people whom are mainly shipping through USPS and Primarily use the Priority mail method should not waste the voucher on tape. Let me explain, the USPS will provide the red Priority tape for free when shipping Priority. What I do is simply ask the counter clerk for a roll or two and explain that I ship Priority and want the convenience of shipping from home (now they know me, so I just ask without explanation). I only use clear tape for 1st class and the occasional FedEx box. Just a little FYI

    1. not every post office will give you tape. i used to get it from my old postmaster but then they stopped giving it out. so it might work for some, but not everyone.

    2. Retro Treasures WVAugust 2, 2016 at 3:35 PM

      Tape has been a no-go at every post office for me. I've been told it is on the website and I can order it, but I've never seen it there.

    3. FedEx doesn't care if you use USPS priority boxes. So the tape should be fine too.

    4. in SoFlo Pri tapes no more. They have, they lend you to pack on store, they do not give rolls anymore.
      From I can order many USPS supplies, even some not usually available on the offices. The tapes are not available anymore, now only Priority sticker rolls.

    5. At my post office they told me they don't even have the tape on hand. I haven't seen it on the website either. Sounds like you've got a good thing going Eric.

  40. I didn't realize,
    While commuting I stop by 5 different post offices and they all happily give me 1-2 rolls at a time. I pick up 2 rolls every 2 weeks or so.
    I'm surprised they stopped giving it to you considering all the business you give them. I wonder if they would tell you no if you're in the post office packing the box and ask for priority tape. They shouldn't, so i don't see the foul play in giving up a roll or two.
    Well, I guess I feel fortunate now

  41. Interesting news coming out of the seller conference in Vegas. Here is one article I read:

    On one hand, it seems the message is that they are going to stop trying to be like or chase their competitors (eg. Amazon), and go back to what to made Ebay "unique and great". On the other hand, all of the improvements and announced changes seem geared to new product (eg. product reviews, UPCs) and trying to sell everything to everyone, not just unique or used items coming from a big community of small sellers. So, it will be interesting to see how this all develops and whether or not their fees change as a result.

    Ebay is apparently investing in a big advertising campaign in the short term. I hope this drives more shoppers to Ebay. Even now that I sell on Ebay, I still only think of going to Ebay when I'm either looking for a bargain price or something hard to find. Hopefully Ebay will succeed in getting customers to think of them in a broader sense and will have better Google results in the future.

    1. The Replays of the General Sessions and Workshops are available now. This blog post contains a link to access them:

  42. July 24-30 2016
    • Total Items in Store: 709
    • Items Sold: 17
    • International 2 GSP
    • Total Sales $1060
    • Highest price $475 vintage Yamaha speakers
    • Average Price Sold: $63.35
    • Returns: 2 fit and mistakenly ordered
    • Cost of Items Sold: $138
    • Cost of items purchased this week $40

    Slow start last week with a good finish, same this week and hoping for the same.

    As to being able to send an offer to your watchers, I'm thinking eBay wants buyers to feel comfortable with their anonymity especially if watching something of an adult nature. You do however, do something similar when you have a sale as I've often received notification that an item I'm watching has been discounted.

    I've been buying up VCR's for years, they sell for $30-$60 depending on brand. VCR DVD combos do better. If it has a remote it will sell faster, show that in the title and the 1st picture. Test both play and record features as well as FF & RW.

    My iPhone is set to automatically update apps, the new eBay app update has a few bugs, not too bad. The worst is that 'sell similar' now makes you delete each photo instead of a pop up option to keep or discard, hope that gets fixed soon.

    1. The sell similar big is really annoying. I've had to modify how I list because eBay refuses to run basic test cases before they push through an update.

  43. I just tried the new photo editing feature on the ebay listing page and so far I like it. Used it to improve brightness in photos of a beige sweater. I suppose I could have instead used the same feature in the mac Photos app that I use for cropping, but it seems convenient to have it right there on the listing page where the photos show up in roughly the same size as they do in ebay search results (whereas in mac Photos, the photo is very large when editing). Anybody else try this new feature?

    1. I tried the new features (magic wand and sharpening tools) on a couple of photos today as well. Certainly not as nuanced as photoshop tools but great in a pinch.

  44. Anyone here on the eBay Partner Network experiencing tracking issues just disclosed by eBay. I'd like to hear from you re your issues and any workarounds. Lets take the discussion offline... please contact me.

  45. On the subject of updates, for those who use chrome and like the functionality of the backspace button while scanning the web, here is some FYI: The latest update for chrome has removed the use of the backspace button to go back to the last web page. Instead you need to pres the "ALT and left arrow button". There reasoning is that many people complained about pressing the backspace button and loosing the information on the current page they entered. If you want to kep the functionality of the backspace button, then turn off the auto updates. If you have already lost this function and want it back, then read this article:

  46. Who pays over asking price plus shipping for a gift card?

    I just bought $100 Southwest gift card for $92.

    1. I've wondered that as well. I've sold several unwanted gift cards and every so often they go over asking price. Why? I really have no idea, however there are things that might explain & pay for the overages... things like eBay Bucks, or eBates (eBay usually qualifies 2%-8% cash back ongoing), or other affiliate programs.

  47. There must be a reason,look at her sold items.

  48. I want to watch the whole documentary. Definitely singing to the choir.

    1. Anna, I see that constantly. I never understand it. Who's that last fruit cake that bids.

  49. I need an easy to use, very basic photo editing program like the one ebay offers but need it as a download on my laptop. I love Picasa BUT downloads are no longer available:( Had to get a new laptop and have to keep going back to the old one to edit my photos. I've used Picasa for so long that I can whip through a folder of photos in very little time. Any suggestions?

    1. Microsoft Office has a very basic editing program. Its called Picture Manager. I haven't used it in awhile. I now use Photoshop Elements because its a little more robust than Picture Manager.

    2. I've used Irfanview for years. It actually has a lot of options, but I only use a few of them. It's easy to crop, rotate, etc.

    3. I'm with Crystal, I've used Irfanview for years, and it does all the basic stuff I need (and a lot more that I've never tried). And it's free.

    4. I'm with Crystal, I've used Irfanview for years, and it does all the basic stuff I need (and a lot more that I've never tried). And it's free.

    5. Retro Treasures WVAugust 3, 2016 at 10:39 AM

      Windows actually has a pretty good and intuitive photo editor built right in.

      I take all my photos on my iphone. There is a built in editor that I can adjust color, contrast, brightness, crop, etc.

      What you really need to do is insure you have good, daylight balanced lighting and a good backdrop. If you nail those two things, there should be very little editing, if any at all.
      If you are using a DSLR camera, the most important thing you can do is calibrate the white balance for the area you are taking photos in.

      99% of my pictures are not edited at all. At most I have to rotate a couple right in the ebay photo editor. I hot swap between square and normal 4x6 photos right in my phone as needed to reduce all need for cropping.

    6. THANKS so much scavenger life friends for all the tips and suggestions!

  50. Jen from The Trove GnomeAugust 3, 2016 at 11:28 AM

    The Trove Gnome Week July 24-30, 2016

    Total Items in Store: 387
    Items Sold: 8
    Cost of Items Sold: $0 (pre-owned or donated)
    Total Sales: $157
    Highest Price Item Sold: $60 (Small Russian cobalt net teapot)
    Average Price Sold: $19
    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: 10

    Moving is occupying a lot of my brain space right now so we hardly listed at all last week. Sold a couple of small pieces of furniture at a yard sale. Need to get busy and list larger stuff on Craigslist.