The Thrill of the Sale by Emily Littlewood

Recently I was able to convince my husband to let go of a small part of his hoard/collectibles (vocab depending on who you ask). This was accomplished with the promise of selling the things, which was both a great triumph and a self-imposed curse. As the more computer literate of the two of us, it fell on my shoulders to post on eBay.

In theory eBay is great. Someone a few miles away or across the world could want what you’ve got. Unfortunately if I haven’t done it in a while, I forget that the process of posting your wares isn’t just throwing up a few pictures and naming a price. It’s so much more involved and time consuming. It may be one of the biggest time sucks I’ve every fallen victim to, second only to walking into Walmart for milk and coming out and realizing I’ve lost an hour. Sixty minutes vanished into thin air.

Of course, you do take pictures (so, so many pictures- trying to make every little detail of the item visible). But you also have to weigh the item and find a box it will fit in (so you can put in those exact measurements) and write up a nice little description including every flaw, every unique feature, pointing out anything that make the item worth the price.

Photo of woman throwing hands in air while looking at computer
Tired Business Woman in her Home Office by Nenad Stojkovic. CC license.

But then you have to do the research. You have to look up your exact item and find how much other people are selling it for. If it’s something newish you have to look at the cost of the item brand new, then factor in how used your item is and how much shipping will be and make sure your price is well below that of the new version. If you’re selling something “vintage” (in our case 1970s GI Joes) then you have to search eBay itself, along with other consignment stores across the web. (All this while facing the screen away from my husband, lest he be tempted to replace what he’s selling with something new.) Once you’ve figured out how much your minimum will be, get ready to do math because the “Buy it Now” price has to be at least thirty percent of your opening bid.

All of this turns out to be at least twenty minutes per item. We listed about sixty things and I lost two entire days. I tried to remind myself that I’ll essentially be getting paid for all this work once people started buying, and that we’ll be freeing up (a bit of) space in the garage and it almost made the days go faster; progressing from dragging to crawling.

I’ll take a bit of a break before doing it again, but the husband has a number of “collectibles” taking up precious space, and I’m eyeing the bigger things next.

Emily Littlewood
Emily Littlewood lives with her husband, Jason, in Raphine, Va. After getting a degree to teach English, Speech and Theater, she began working in banks. She is currently copy-editing for Streetlight and working back toward her passions.

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