front porch trash

front porch trash

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I need me some "larning"*

I've always believed that most things in life can be learned. Sometimes its easy and most of the time it is hard. I'm an avid reader so that is my favorite way to learn things. And I have learned lots of things since I started selling on ebay . Some good. Some bad.

Everyone knows that it pays, literally pays, to learn all you can about what you sell. We would all be fools to just go buy something and stick it up on ebay and wait and see if it sells. I learn something every time I list an item. Even if I have listed it before. Sometimes it will be a good selling item that is no longer a good selling item. Other times it will be a slow mover that has suddenly become a winner. I always check an item as I list it just in case there has been some change in sales.

In a continuing effort to find inventory from a variety of sources I have been going to estate sales. I had been to a few over the last several months and was lucky to find a few things. My problem is that the estate sales in my area are "sanitized" before you get in the door. There are no box lots of stuff, well maybe very used kitchen tools, but little else. The kind of things that I am interested in to resell in my store are priced at just below the ebay selling price.

These estate sellers are doing their homework. Sometimes too good. On recent estate sale had a huge selection of vintage GI Joe, Batman, Star Wars, Transformers and Fisher Price. I was the second one in the door and the guy in front of me got it all. Literally, got it all. Every GI Joe piece, every Fisher Price piece, and every Star Wars piece that was priced to resell he grabbed and ran. Well, he didn't have to run too far because the person holding the estate sale was standing there to take his first load downstairs to the holding area while he grabbed more. I looked at some things on the table but they were priced at a ridiculous price. One item, a vintage Transformer something that I don't remember now, was in the box, not new or sealed and priced $90. I had looked the item up online before I got to the sale and the best sale price was $48, new sealed in the box. The toy guy didn't grab that one.I didn't even get to see the prices of the other stuff, but I know he is a reseller and they must have been good or he would have left them on the table.

I guess I need to "larn" to spread myself out and position myself at the edge of the table so that no one else can get to the table like this guy did. But I don't think I would like myself if I did.

And then sometimes you get more "larning" than you need.

I attended another estate sale in the upscale part of town hoping that I would find some things for resale. I had previewed the stuff online and saw some thing I might be interested in. No toys but several promising items. Off I go. I get in with the first group and head to the bedroom where I saw the most promising stuff. Priced too high to resell. So I start looking around trying to make my trip of 25 miles count by finding something to resell. Nothing in the kitchen that was priced to resell. No vintage linens in good enough shape to resell. No perfume, no vintage clothes, no knick knacks. Shoes? Maybe. A pair of Sperry Topsiders, with the tag!! OK A pair of Rockport loafers, maybe. A pair of Reebok, maybe. A pair of Etonic golf shoes, new in the box.OK. A vintage travel bar, NWT. OK. Total cost $52. I can make a decent profit on these.

Fast forward to last night and I finally got around to getting all of the estate sale stuff out of the bag and ready to clean and polish so I can get it in line for photos. The Rockport loafers had dust, mold and dirt, but cleaned up really good. The Sperry Topsiders, WTH, one is new with tags and one is beat up? How in the world did I miss that. I went back to the photos I had saved and found the picture of the shoes. Thinking there were two pairs and I picked up one of each. Nope. There was only one pair of Topsiders and it was this pair with one good and one bad. No wonder they were sitting in a dark corner. Just waiting for some gullible person to come along and find them.
Hey, there I am!!
But wait it gets worse. When I was prepping the loafers for polishing I checked the size. Let me check online to see what these are going for. Hummmm what size were those 10.5? What 7.5? Double check BOTH shoes and sure enough one is 10.5 and one is 7.5. WTH!!!

 What about the Topsiders? One is 10.5 and one is 7.5!!!!

Well you can imagine my heart is sinking, along with my bottom line, with all of this new "larning". How could I be so stupid? Well, after kicking myself and calling myself several not so nice names, I calmed down and realized that I was only out $4. Lesson learned. Move on.

But wait it gets worse. The Etonic golf shoes, new in the box, surely they were OK. I had looked at the size on the box when I picked them up and checked one shoe in the box for the size. Everything looks good. But when I took both shoes out of the box I immediately knew I had a problem. I could tell just by looking at them that I had two different sizes.
The previous owner was gracious enough to tape the
receipt to the lid of the box, for two pair of shoes, but I
can't read the date or size because of fading. 10.5 and one 7.5. This lesson was a bit harder to "larn" since these shoes cost $20. I hesitated to purchase them because they were $20, but I knew I could get at least $40 for them so I picked them up.

Some lessons are tough to swallow. I don't think I have ever found shoes with that much size difference in a pair before. I had a friend in high school that had to purchase two sizes of the same shoe to get a pair, but there was only one size difference in hers. A 7.5 to a 10.5 is a big, noticeable difference. Well, apparently noticeable to some people.
I also noticed when I was taking photos that the pair of loafers are different, different sizes than the other two pair. The Topsiders are left 10.5 and right 7.5 like the golf shoes, but the loafers are left 7.5 and right 10.5. Now that is really confusing because the loafers and one Topsider are both worn.

I'm hoping that the person running the estate sale didn't notice the shoe sizing like I did. I don't want to think that she did it on purpose.  

So, lesson "larned". I will check EACH AND EVERY SHOE from now on. Please don't learn this lesson the hard way like me.

*larn:  the act of finding out something the hard way


  1. Yep..I definitely check both shoes as this has happened to me in the past..but you learn from experience and won't make that mistake again. However, you still may be able to make your money back by selling them as amputee shoes.

  2. Also check the sizes even when you buy new. Once in a while the pair in box may get switched by someone trying them on. I don't bother going to any estate sale that runs by an estate company. Things are always overprice.

  3. list must be hard to find shoes if you have odd sized feet just never know

  4. I am sorry to hear/read that this happened to you. I went to an estate sale last week that was more than promising, but I didn't research anything I bought. I NEVER do that and I paid for it...immensely.

    As far as the shoes go, the original owner probably had an issue which explains why they needed to wear different sized shoes. Don't worry, you could probably still sell one shoe by itself -- although you will have to wait for the right buyer to come along. Typically, amputees will buy one shoe, so you should include that keyword in your listing. You can check out some that sold here:

    1. In researching the one shoe selling thing I read that 60% of people have feet of different sizes. I'm guessing not quite to this extent that there are 3 sizes difference.
      I checked those complete listing. Holy smoke...all of them sold.
      I had already decided to list them and see what happened. I think the new ones will do ok, the others may linger for a long time.

  5. Even at yard sales now, you've got ebayers and other resellers that are going along in front of you. I stopped at one Monday, Memorial Day, which is kind of an unusual day for a yard sale, and a guy is there telling the lady all about ebay, and how much work he has to put into it, etc, etc. He was trying to talk her into a deal where he would take her "good" items on consignment for a % of the profit. She was having a moving sale, said she was "overwhelmed" and to come back, she'd have more in a couple of wks. I know better. Not w/him to cherry pick her best items.

    1. It seems like there are more and more resellers that I see at yard sales, GW and thrift stores. I always have a story ready when the clerk asks about what I am buying. For my daughter, granddaughter, husband, niece, and anyone that I can think of. I'm not telling them I'm a reseller. You never know who is listening and I had rather keep my reselling secret in the family. Its hard enough now to find a bargain and I have a feeling its going to get harder with more and more out of work people or moms staying home to raise their children(YES!!).

  6. I feel your pain. I've done the same thing with shoes before. The good news is that you're not totally out the cash. You can sell single shoes on ebay. The previous owners aren't the only ones with two different sized feet. People with this issue go to ebay all the time to find what they need so that they don't have to purchase two new sets of shoes.

  7. Ugh, how frustrating! I bought a pair of sandals at a thrift in the last month or so that ended up being two different sizes. I do have them listed individually - no sales yet, but fingers crossed - for both of us! :-)

  8. I generally enjoy estate sales, but not as a source for reselling. The job of the sale company is to make money for the heirs to the estate, and the professionals usually know how to price for top dollar. Which is not what I'm interested in paying, but I do enjoy looking! However, no one knows everything and you can find good deals on the items they don't realize have value. Sales run by men often price the tools high and the linens low!