I love living in 2016. I love that I can sit on my sofa in my comfy pants and scroll through items for sale in Malaysia. I love that I have so much choice right at my fingertips, mine in just a click or two. I can spend days stalking items, only to snag them during the last few seconds at rock-bottom prices, and I just love everything that sites like Ebay and Amazon bring.
Back in the day, when you had a clearout, you’d take your junk to a carboot to save a few pennies, and whereas car boots are still a thing, it’s definitely a completely different world now. Standing out in the rain for 8 hours to sell a brand new blender for a fiver just doesn’t entice me when I can take a few pictures on my phone, and click click to offer it to millions of possible buyers.
Every few months, I have this fantastic idea of doing a big clearout. I’d sweep through all our cupboards, nook and crannies and get rid of anything I don’t need and use on a daily basis. And then I’ll put it all on eBay and become a millionaire overnight. Well, not a millionaire but I’d at least be able to buy a cup of coffee.
[this is where I’d put in the picture i had of three black bags full of junk. If I had that picture. But no. Back up your stuff people!]
So there I am, spending three hours taking pictures, making up descriptions and starting up auctions. Wait five days and you’ll be rich, I told myself. Oh, how wrong was I?!
Just like myself, people on eBay are stingy.
I had this pair of boots by this quite famous brand. I bought them new for £180. They’re not making the boots anymore, but old stock now and then crops up and fetches £300. Mine were a few years old, but never worn (thanks, fat calves!). There was no box, so I thought a reasonable thing to do was to drop a reserve to £125. For something that is worth £300.
I got four queries re: reserve from people who “bid quite high” on these. The highest of these was £60. For something that is worth £300. Needless to say, these boots didn’t sell and I’m not in the slightest bit bothered.
A lot of other stuff sold though. About 100-odd items, that is. My PayPal balance was looking quite attractive for a while, and those dreams of a private jet were almost a reality! But then I spent six hours packaging the stuff up, and an hour in the queue at the post office. By the time I’d posted everything, my balance was nearly drained. And that’s when I remembered exactly why I don’t sell stuff on Ebay; I’d rather put them out to a charity shop. You see, as an accountant, you’re taught about the ‘opportunity cost of time’. Essentially, the way I see it, I could be doing some VA or translation gigs in the hours I had wasted selling stuff. So, for the 10 hours I spent (altogether) selling that stuff, I could’ve earned £100 doing something a lot less laborious. Instead, I made a profit of ~£60. I don’t have enough time to even do the regular stuff, so why would I waste my time with no return?
So from now on, I will not be doing any more eBay sales. Until the next clearout.
Have you got experience with selling on eBay?