front porch trash

front porch trash

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I Didn't Fall Off The Planet, Life Keeps Changing

I can't believe that its been 2 months since my last post. Life has been kicking me lately and it takes time to recover.

Sales for July and August were in the than that...they were all the way down to the bottom of the septic system or sewer or whatever your disposal system happens to be. I mean seriously low sales. It seems that the conspiracy theories are, well mostly just in my head. I look at each and every item I purchase or list and go over it with a fine tooth comb, figuratively. Some weeks I just couldn't bring myself to list low profit items. The next week they were all that I wanted to list. I was just as up and down as my sales.

Why so up and down? Ebay has at least paid the ebay bills and given me a little something to go in the kitty, but not much. There is so much that needs to be done that now was not the time for ebay income to dry up. And yes I do have a cushion between me and poverty, but it keeps getting thinner. I've gone from a memory foam mattress to a very thin quilt batt.

I know, I know, just keep putting things, anything, into the pipeline and you will eventually get something from the other end. Hopefully cash but you never know.

I have had a few good ebay sales. I finally sold the RC plane that I have had for several months. Full price and international shipping, so that was great . A bear to pack. I had to create a box and then it was 3" over the maximum length for shipping. I was worried when I took it to the post office. I asked about an upcharge for the excess length. Do you know what the clerk said? "Don't worry about it foreign customs never measure packages." What?  This was 3". I was sure it would look like it was over to the trained "postal eye". So based on her comment I shipped it and it arrived with no damage and no additional charges. Lucky? Yes, I think so. I don't know how accurate the information from my local clerk was but I wouldn't want to do that on a regular basis. I might try to fudge on a package that weighed 4 lbs and .03 ozs because that amount would be impossible to detect by just picking up a package. But the 3" had me scared. The week I sold the plane ($249) I sold less than $100 in additional items. So while selling the plane was good, not much else sold. Good and bad. That is how everything has been lately. It almost seems as if ebay knows what you need to survive for the month and they just let that much trickle out of the pipeline. Not a conspiracy theory, just an observation

Or maybe I just shrink to what I have and make it go around. One of  Mom's favorite sayings was that it didn't matter how much money you have you always "shrink or swell to make it fit". Well here's your notice ebay, I'm tired of shrinking.

I know all of us have lots of personal issues that we are dealing with. When its something bad it seems unfair and when its something good it seems like you are finally getting something you deserve. OK, life this past year has been filled with unfair I'm ready for the good stuff. Lots of the good stuff.

This past year has been full of doctor's offices, hospital tests and new and old meds. I'm telling all of you now Medicare sucks and never pays for everything. Of course it may be just me but $340 for a 15 minute office visit just to be able to renew your meds seems excessive. Of that amount Medicare only pays 80% and if you are lucky enough to have supplemental insurance they may pay $1-5 of the balance. That is $1.00 to $5.00!! Just multiply that by several visits per week and you now have my life for the past 6 months, more or less. That isn't counting the hospital visit and all the tests there. And nothing has changed. In fact things are worse. All of this is not for me, it's been happening to my SweetiePie.  I just want it all to go away, for him to be back to his old self and we can get on with our life. But that ain't gonna happen.

I think most women handle a life changing diagnosis much better than most men. My SweetiePie can't accept the diagnosis. He has never had to deal with sickness in his own life any worse than a cold or flu. You take something for that and you get better. When your doctor say Parkinson's Disease you don't take something for that and get better. It works on your head more than your body at first.. At least that has been the case with him. I can't make him feel better since I can't read his mind. I know him better than any doctor will ever know him but I can't do anything and it's driving me crazy. And the worst thing is he has given up. How do you change that? I can make him get up every day and get dressed, take his meds and eat but I can't get into his mind and make him fight. And that is making me crazy.

Somehow ebay seems so unimportant to me now.

And yet it is more important than ever for me to be successful. I'm not old enough to start SS benefits and with all of the extra medical expenses dumped on our plate I need to step up to the plate and double my efforts to be successful. I've always done just ok on ebay but I've also wanted to do better. I always use the ebay money for things we need, not for extras. I know I have learned so much from blogs, friends and just paying attention to sales and that has given me better sales. But I need a more consistent income. And on the other hand I have less time and more to do. SweetiePie used to go shopping with me but I can't get him out of the house much any more and when we do get out he is ready to come home in 15 minutes or less. Not much sourcing in 15 minutes.And I can't go sourcing all day and leave him alone. There must be a way to do this without driving myself crazy.

I have been interested in sellers that buy from ebay and amazon and resell on ebay. That intrigues me and that might be a way to source from home. I plan to test the waters on that kind of sourcing very carefully and soon. Hopefully something will pan out.

Lucky for me I have a bunch of death piles. Unlucky for me they are from a while ago and are mostly low dollar stuff. But low dollar is better than no dollar.

Life goes on. All I want to do is make the highs and lows more like little speed bumps instead of the Rocky Mountains.

Treading water.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

If I could get my hands around Bill Gates....

Well not him personally. And I really don't want to harm anyone. But I just had an issue with Windows 10 and it has left me scratching my head.

I upgraded for free (Grand Dad said you get what you pay for) to Windows 10 a while back. Now I wish I had never heard of Windows 10.

It seems that there is a hidden admin with password that prohibits me from fixing my wireless printer. We had a millisecond of a power outage the other day and after that I couldn't print on my wireless printer. The laptop said it was offline but the printer was working fine. After a half day on the phone with Brother and my laptop maker(who wanted to sell me "unlimited" support for only $249 because I was out of warranty)  I was about to scream and pull my hair out.

You can't add a port to your laptop without being the admin and I was the admin but I couldn't do anything and it was a vicious circle.. Luckily when I added the printer I screwed up along the way and had a copy 1 of the printer so I could use that with admin powers to add the port and move on. I finally figured that out without "customer support" and it was free.

I know it doesn't make sense to vent here but my SweetiePie doesn't understand anything computer related and couldn't understand why I was so upset. His words of advice was to call someone. What does he think I was doing with the phone stuck to my ear for 4 hours?

I do believe I used every variation of every curse word that I have ever know or even thought about and then I probably invented some new ones. Thank goodness there were no little ears around to hear my rant. The cat was napping. I guess that's what  you learn when you work with 25 mechanic guys for 19 years.

I apologize to the universe and anyone who heard me rant and rage on. My blood pressure probably was through the roof.

But the problem is fixed and I can print again.

I had two packages to mail and I had to hand print labels and take them to the post office. I know, I could have probably done it from my phone but I didn't know how (I do now) and I didn't have time to figure it out. And it was only two packages.

If I drank I would surely finish off the bottle on this one.

As the customer support person said cheerfully before he hung up, after not fixing the problem...

Have a nice day!!! I'm glad he couldn't hear my response.......

Friday, July 8, 2016

You may be a shipping nerd if....

you use your ebay tape sparingly so the package isn't too busy.

You may be a shipping nerd MUST spell ebay when you seal an already sealed package on the back.

Extra shipping nerd points for spelling ebay on the front with the ends of the tape.

Are you a shipping nerd?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Buyers Don't Care....Stay Positive

I recently sold a silk scarf to a buyer in NY. It was a vintage Bill Blass that was 100% silk.
 Or so you would believe if you actually read the tag. The reason for return was too thick that it didn't feel like silk. Boom!! Not as described. I politely and professionally wrote back and stated that there was a tag on the scarf that said "All Silk". (I'm pretty sure that all means 100%). He replied and said    "the fabric is thin & semi transparent, therefore it does not work for me."
   After a few calls to ebay it was determined that it was buyers remorse and there was nothing wrong with the scarf. But the problem is not that.

The buyer opened a not as described case and that automatically charges me the return shipping. I have no choice but to approve the return or face the wrath of ebay for not handling the return and according to ebay once I agree to the return and the return shipping, they can't change that.

Now its just $2.45 for return shipping but after a while it grates on me that the buyer got away with this crap once again. And ebay let them. I did refund in paypal and charge 20% restocking fee.

This is what the package looked like when I received it in the mail.
If you think that the end of the poly mailer is open you are absolutely right. Thank goodness he wrapped it back in the tissue that I shipped it with. If not the scarf would have slipped right out of the mailer. Once again the buyer just doesn't give a damn.

Staying Positive!!...??

June wasn't the worst month for me, just not the best. July isn't looking good at all. I was prepared for slow sales over the week-end but not no sales. I had one sale on Friday night, no sales on Saturday, two sales on Sunday and one sale on Monday. Then I thought things were going better on Tuesday when I woke up to the cha-ching. But that was it. I looked at my week and I was all the way up to $224 but my total for the last 4 days was $124. That means that my sales for the other 3 days were only $100. That is sales, not profit.That is miserable and means that it doesn't even pay ebay store fees for the week. My goal is $100 a day. It seems I'm a bit off.

I don't like to talk about sales, money or stuff like that but it's hard staying positive when nothing is selling. Oh, I could have sold a couple of things but 50% off with free shipping is worse than no sales. Losing money is worse than no money. I don't like to price sky high and then take 50% of what I have the item listed for. I just think it sets a bad example for sales. I do accept reasonable offers, I just had an offer not 2 hours after it went live for a cycling helmet for half list price. What? If I wanted $50 for the helmet that is what I would have listed it for. Do buyers just look up something and go down the list making ridiculous offers (on the same items)until someone accepts?

Well, some good things have happened with all this "free" time. I have gotten more listed. Of course I didn't get the house clean, laundry done or the grass mowed, but I did get more listed. Doing everything yourself sure does suck, you can't blame anyone for the slow sales but ebay. Throttling and all that seems feasible about now.

Keep listing, it WILL get better.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Bought IT and found IT

I go to the post office every day. I know that there are things I could do to not have to do this. But I need to get my SweetiePie on the move. He would sit and think about being sick all the time if we didn't get out of the house. So....we go to the post office every day. Some days we come straight home but most days we go on and do other things. Anything to keep him moving and his mind going on other thoughts.

Of course my favorite thing to do is to go shopping, sourcing, scavenging or what ever you want to call it. Busy work?


Yesterday we went to a local rescue mission store. They have a huge store full of goodies. I have picked up everything from vintage to new in the box.

We were in men's shoes and I spotted a pair I wanted to buy. I flipped them over and SweetiePie was standing next to me and said, "don't buy those they are too worn".

 My response was, "but they are shell cordovan" See
They are vintage Nettleton and the uppers are in excellent condition, while the soles need some work. On the way home I was telling him why I picked up these shoes, explaining about shell cordovan. Then we checked the listed prices and the sold prices. I think he got the idea. Oh, and all shoes at the rescue mission are only $3. Also found a pair of Birkenstocks....Not bad

On Sunday I had to run to the town down the road that just happens to have a GW near where I needed to go. Oh....better swing by and see what's there.

As it turns out, not much on Sunday afternoon. But I did spot this on the top shelf of the knick knack shelves.
A mountain biking helmet. See the tag peeking out from under the bottom? I have picked up bicycle helmets before but the best I could find were Bell helmets for kids. Not bad but this is sooooo much better. A Giro Ionos cycling helmet. They think very highly of them in the UK. But still it should put some good change in my pocket.


Don't you just hate it when you sell something and can't find it...anywhere in your one room dedicated to storage for ebay inventory?

I sold this only a few days after listing it for $10.
It is only 2" x 3" and faded somewhat and the needle and threader are long gone.(I found this in an old treadle sewing machine drawer that I got for free at a yard sale. Bruce at the yard sale thought the treadle machine was trash!! My daughter took the actual machine, a National Two Spool, just like the one my grandmother had that I learned to sew on when I was a wee lass....)

 I remember there was a man where we went to shop on Saturday when I was little that would stand outside of the Roses 5&10c store and pass these out for money to support his family. Sometimes my mom would give him money but sometimes we didn't have any to spare. But I remember his smile when someone gave him money.

Anyway, I sold this and could not find it anywhere. I have a drawer for ephemera packets and I remember thinking that it was so small I should put it in an envelope and label it. I looked everywhere in that drawer twice and everywhere else. Finally I went back to see what else I had listed about that time and check them to see if the card was stuck to them or folded inside them or just anything. In the swimsuit, in the book, in the calculator, in the mug....BINGO.!!! I remembered slipping the card inside of a mug so it wouldn't get bent or torn. And there it was.

I was never so happy to see a piece of paper in my life.  I shipped it out a day late...but dang it I did ship it out.

So like Jim Valvano said..."don't give up, don't ever give up". I don't think he meant looking for little pieces of paper, but ebay sellers understand.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Colorful yard sale

 I always start my yard sale search on Friday. I look in my town, the one down the road, the one up the road. Sometimes there are more than I could possibly catch and sometime there are only one or two. I always look for the clean out the house yard sales. People will get rid of some gooooood stuff and never blink an eye at $1.

I had a very limited amount of time . We were doing our Father's Day thing on Saturday because my son in law had family with graduation parties and his own day on Sunday.

There was one sale in my town last Saturday that advertised itself as a clean out the house by noon and everything that is left is one price. Perfect!! I knew the address because it was just down the road from the post office, I knew it was a small house and I knew a man lived there. I would often see him on the handicap ramp smoking. I thought that he smoked out there because his wife couldn't tolerate the smoke.

What I found out on Saturday was that she had passed many years ago and he was 93 and had died in his yard. How sad and how wonderful all at the same time. To be able to make it to 93 and then just go quickly.

Someone had purchased the house and wanted to clean out everything to get it ready to rent. Great someone with no attachment to anything in the house. My kind of sale.

I got there at 8am even though the ad said 8:30. I was the second person there. They were still hauling stuff out. I started looking through this couple's life. No high end cookware, no fancy doo dads. Just basic stuff from a long life. Some things still in boxes and lots of junk that the house buyer just wanted to get rid of.

There were 5-6 people bringing stuff out as fast as they could and lining it up on the front yard. Aluminum pots and pans, sewing and craft supplies, vintage radios, canning jars, 8 track tapes, cassette tapes (Merle Haggard was their favorite). I casually asked if there were any old eyeglasses, jewelry or perfume. That netted 5 pair of vtg 50's eyeglasses.
 Not too shabby. No perfume but I did find an old gold filled service pin, tie bar thing.Does anyone know what company used this logo
That little guy in the black diamond shape.
looks familiar but I can't place him.

All total I loaded up two big IKEA blue bags with overflowing stuff for $20. In those bags I was able to stuff two pair of bib overalls, a vtg pair of denim coveralls, Shadowline NIB pajama set, the eyeglasses, a bunch of quilt squares not sewn together, a box of 160+ DMC wound on plastic cards, a service pin, several pairs of scissors, a crock from a crock pot, a storage tote, a metal grabber for picking things up, a red satin Budweiser jacket and some sewing notions.
166 cards of DMC and I haven't checked for duplicates.

After spending only $20 for everything I estimated that everything was about 63 cents each. That is 63c for 166 colors of DMC, 63c for each pair of glasses, overalls, etc. Somehow I think I will make a very good profit for 45 minutes of scavenging.

And we still had time to get to our Father's Day lunch with time to spare and a wonderful time was had by all.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Back in the Saddle--Picture Heavy

I really mean to blog more often but lately life has reared its head and demanded attention. I have been super busy trying to clean out my piles of stuff and maintain sanity. Most days I don't think I have done a very good job. But I have found the bottom of a couple of tubs so I must be doing something.

It's hot here in NC and if you don't have air conditioning you really suffer. Especially when you are the senior sector. We had our 24 year old furnace quit, die, give up and refuse to produce another BTU. Get estimates, talk to the different companies, get more estimates, talk again and finally make the choice. First, the a/c unit was working but the gas furnace died. What to do? Replace just the furnace or furnace and a/c? What brand? How big? Efficiency? I learned more about furnaces and air conditioning than I really wanted to know. Finally made our decisions and got the new units in and working great just days before it was in the high 90's. We squeaked by on that one. It's good to have ebay money in my stash to help with the new furnace/ac. trips have been scarce around here. Between my SweetiePie being sick and all the furnace details I have been limited to my sourcing. Which was a good thing. I got a lot of the piles of stuff sorted and lots of pictures and lots of listings up and even more scheduled.  I have been able to go yard sale-ing the past 3 week ends and found some amazing things.

Each day we have a doctor's appointment I have to get listings up for the next day because we are wiped out after a day of hurry up drive there and wait and wait and sometimes we have to wait for meds and just a hundred different things going on. But hopefully we have a diagnosis and that will mean that we can start with something to get things controlled. Since the end of February we have been to 6 different specialist and finally today I think we are at the right place. More when I feel that this is the right diagnosis. Light at the end of the tunnel.

YARD SALES are great!! I picked up a tote full of camera stuff 3 weeks ago. I walked up to the sale about 8am, it started at 7am, and the guy said, "Oh, I forgot that camera stuff" and he brought out a whole tote of camera stuff. I was the only one there. I was stoic on the outside but on the outside I was singing "Happy Days are here..."

The tote held an Olympus OM1 camera with 4 different lens, case, and the original box. Also in the box were 2 NIB Vivitar electronic flashes, an Olympus flash, a Nimslo 35mm 3D camera NIB, a Nimslo Opti-flash NIB, a Celestron C90, 1000mm lens(for photographing stars or anything from a distance) and the set up for the Celestron to use the OM1 to take the photos. I paid $40 for the cameras plus $2 for the tote. I estimate $500-600 if I list some things by themselves and bundle some items. SCORE.

I keep finding boots, shoes and purses. I wish I could find enough of just that type of things to fill my store. When you pick up a belt for $1.39 and sell it for $35 in a day its a gooooooo day. A pair of UGG boots for 50 cents and the soles show no wear,  Life is good.

Of course I have my share of duds, just like everyone else. I found a Living Italian Language course with I thought everything but ended up book 2 of the set was missing. There was another book in the box and I didn't look good enough. In a hurry...kick myself....move on.

I found part of an old photo album. The covers were missing and just the middle part, with the pictures mounted on black paper there. Family photos from 1941-42. Someone had a pet possum and it was forever memorialized in photos.
They name the goat Ruthie but there are no names of any of the people in any of the pictures. That's a snowman next to the possum.

This was a cool page with the airplane and the original tickets. The cost of a flight from Hickory NC to Knoxville, TN on 10-5-1941 was $15.93. A lot of money for the time.

Today after we left the dr's office we needed to make it a "business trip" so I stopped for a quick run thru of a church run thrift. They have added a section with laundry baskets mounted on a rack (someone who was handy with the hammer and nails made it) and filled it with $1 reject items. I found 7 pair of Bruno Magli women's shoes in the bins. $1 each, of course they are 7.5 AA and I don't know if they will ever sell, but into the pipeline they go. They are all cute and well maintained.

After going for over 2 months with no returns. I had two tonight within minutes of each other. One, I had shipped the wrong swimsuit. Both were black, new with tags and of course I shipped the wrong one. But she opened a return request and then emailed me to tell me that it wasn't a normal return but a wrong shipment and she needed the correct one. We worked it out and I'm sending the right one, a return tag and hopefully it will go smoothly.Grrrrr. About 5 minutes later a buyer who bought a NEW Tusk wallet wanted to return it because it wasn't as described. Then she went on to explain,"Doesn't match description or photos. The wallet is very light. Seems small. It looks more impressive in the pictures. I would like to return it." I had measurements in the listings. I called ebay and they found the case in the buyers favor so she would pay shipping and when I receive the item I can call and get the case closed in my favor and prevent a blemish on my account.

I need to get more than 5 listing a day up if I want to grow my store but I am struggling. When you have to do it all and your SweetiePie is sick the days are just not long enough. And I know it isn't going to get any better for him or me. But I think I'll just go make some lemonade...

Happy thrifting and keep listing those treasures. It will pay off.