I first discovered ebay well over a decade ago, when it was still relatively unknown. The clerk at a store had told me about it when I mentioned my husband’s interest in collectible chess sets. It was years before I actually made my first ebay purchase, but it was fun just to browse through the listings of all sorts of unusual items. Kind of like a giant flea market, but better organized so you could just look at the interesting stuff.
It was a few years more before we starting thinking about selling things on ebay ourselves. We’ve tried garage sales, before each big interstate move (from NJ to MI in 1998 and from MI to IL in 2004), and had very little success. Selling items on ebay would save us having to carry everything outside, only to have to carry most of it back in when it didn’t sell. It wouldn’t require sitting by the merchandise hour after hour, and it would attract people who actually had an interest in things we were selling instead of those who just happened to be in the neighborhood.
But it also required learning how to do it. We read through a set of instructions, and it looked doable but still daunting. We didn’t decide not to do it, but we didn’t decide to do it either, and the instructions vanished in the pile of paper and other junk that our desk attracts the way a garbage can attracts flies. The idea resurfaced during a period of unemployment, stalled in the complexities of categorizing and valuing the items to be sold, and was again swallowed in the sea of papers when a job offer alleviated the immediate need.
This summer, with the economy as a whole as depressed as our personal finances, determination overcame the barriers to becoming an ebay seller. This was helped significantly by a speech given in Toastmasters by a co-worker who has a store on ebay, and who described the entire process of getting started in a simple step-by-step Powerpoint presentation. Five days ago, I finally succeeded in listing my first two items.
For the past few days, I watched somewhat anxiously to see the first signs that anyone was even looking at my listings. Finally one showed that two people were watching it, and the next day the other one also. This evening (with only a few hours left in the auction), I finally saw bidding activity. Many buyers – as I have learned to do myself – waiting until near the end of the auction to place any bids.
A few minutes ago the auctions both ended, and I saw with pleasure that both items sold. The dollar amounts are small, but the satisfaction is significant. It really does work, and it’s a lot more efficient than setting up shop in the yard or the driveway. Soon I’ll have money coming into my bank account (via paypal), and then I will happily head to the post office to mail the items.
And at the next Toastmasters meeting, I’ll have to thank my co-worker for her part in getting me started.