front porch trash

front porch trash

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Declarations, Statements not Resolutions

Yeah I survived the holiday seasons...all except the new year. We'll see about that on Friday.

I did get a tree up this year unlike last year with the boxed fiber optic tree that graced our family room. Ten foot ceilings and a three foot tree do not make a good combination. No matter how high up you put the tree.

This year I did get a small tree up and all aglow before the family decended upon our house. I had motivation to get everything looking festive. Our grandson is in the Army, and for now is still in training, but he already knows he will be stationed overseas in February. And he probably won't be home next Christmas because of the long distance to get back and the expense. So we wanted good memories of this Christmas. Well, every Christmas, but this one especially. So we have been festive until our teeth hurt!! Smile....

I don't usually do New Year's Resolutions. The diet one is only as good as your will power and make more money is only as good as ebay and good health is only as good as your doctor. So I have decided on New Year's Statements.

My New Year's Statements for 2016
  1. I will teach ebay buyers to read. The W on the bottom of a pair of Crocs is for Women's not Wide, for example. Faux leather is not real leather, really, trust me on that one lady.
  2.  I will joyfully refund every idiot that buys something and then has buyers remorse. Well...maybe joyfull is too strong a word. How about just refund....yeah that's better.
  3. I will get an appointment with my eye doctor....if I can see the number on the screen...maybe I should put this as number one...if I can see how to do that.
  4. I will list and sell what I buy as soon as I get home. No more procrastanation. Well....maybe I should wait on that one. Don't want to have too many statements. Yeah...wait on that one, that's better.

You can see I'm off to a great start for the new year with my statements. Now I have to go get my coupons organaized so I can cash in on the last day of the year/month and use those December 50% off coupons. And then I think I need a more procrastanation for me!!!

Happy New Year y'all

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Loving that thrift smell

My daughter and I were exploring the bag sale yesterday and I found two pair of jeans and some t shirts for my princess grand daughters. I had sorted them out to wash and left them on the floor. This morning I noticed our cat had claimed a pair and was sleeping on them.  When I went to get my camera she went nuts....a very short trip for her.

She was just napping on the bottom pair until I got the camera. Then she decided to explore the other pair.
Ummm...what is that wonderful smell? 

Essence of Thrift Store?  Love it. Really, really love it.
I love it so much it needs a hug. is so exciting here at the castle!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Where do the numbers come from?

We have a saying here in the South. When you don't want to hurt someone's feelings you just say "bless their hearts". A way to be polite and not offend.

Well ebay has struck again.

I was checking my dashboard yesterday and saw that they had raised my selling limit. Not long ago they raised my selling limit to $595,000. I laughed at that for several days.

Now I will be laughing for a week.

They raised my selling limits to $2,932,819.78. That's over 75 times what I have listed at this very minute. Where do the numbers come from? Random generated numbers? A dart board in the break room?

If I listed everything I have ever owned in my lifetime and everything I have in my stash to list now I could never reach that impossible number.

Way back when I was a newbie seller there were no limits. They just wanted you to list your stuff because everything sold and they wanted those fees. Now everything is regulated and I feel for new ebay sellers when they have to beg ebay to raise their limits. But these numbers are so totally out of reach that it's funny.

Bless their hearts....

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanks for the feedback...I think

We all work for positive feedback. Its part of the feedback game that we all play. Feedback can be a good thing or hurt your store and sales.

But this is just plain weird.

A bit of background before you judge the feedback I received.
Nike Shox Vince Carter Respect Sneakers
I  had these shoes listed for several months and no bites. I had no idea how much they were worth because there were only a few pair sold and the prices, colors and sizes were all over the place. So of course I started them high at $249.

I finally received an offer one morning last week. It was  for $100, less than half price. I thought I could push the envelope a little and counter offered with $125. The buyer accepted and we were off. I was able to ship that day since all of this occurred while I was trying to get sales packed and shipped. Money in the bank...soon.

The post office did its job and got them there quickly. The next day he left this feedback:

"The undertaker is coming beware. He is rising from he dead. Rest in piece" 

My first thought was what the h---?

Should I be upset? Should I laugh? Should I call ebay?

 In the end I decided to chalk it up to a weird guy and let it go. Six more feedback and he goes to the next page!!

Would you be upset?

Would you call ebay?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Free as a Bird

I've been huffing and puffing trying to get things in order for a big Thanksgiving. I have tons of stuff to get listed and with only little ole me to do it I am not making any visible progress. At least it looks like the same to me. Big piles o'stuff. 

It was a nice day on Saturday and I decided to take the bigger things I needed to photograph out on the deck. I only have twin beds that the grand princess' sleep on to spread out blankets, comforters, afghans and stuff like that and the room is light but not the right kind of light. So I keep putting off taking the pictures. Not any more. Out we go.

I had 5 granny square afghans to get photographed, an alpaca wool blanket, a quillo and a sleeping bag. Plus several baby quilts. Yikes, who buys all of this stuff? And why such big stuff?

I was snapping away when I heard a bird flying over with a distinctive screech. We have hawks and owls all the time since we live on the "backside of nowhere" but this was different. I kept trying to get a good shot but my cheap little camera did its best and that wasn't very good.

If you squint, just right, you can see the white head of this bald eagle. There were a pair of them that kept circling over the creek behind the house for a couple of hours. Several times one would fly directly over me and the house. I guess he decided I wasn't a tasty morsel and after a while they flew off.  That tree in the edge of the photo is over 120' tall and the bird is at least that much further away, probably more. So at 240' he looks that big. Glad he didn't get any closer to me but I do wish that I could have gotten a better shot of him.

Both the Cafe Matina and Mukka Express espresso pots from my last post sold in less than two days after listing. Both have arrived and are working great. The vintage espresso pot hasn't sold yet. The vintage train set has had 115 views and 8 watchers. I sure hope someone needs that for Christmas. It would make my friend very happy and plus I get 50% after fees.

I have been trying to list what I have and staying away from thrifts. I did go to the rescue mission thrift a couple of weeks ago and was surprised to find shoes at buy one get one half off. I stumbled up several pairs of Allen Edmonds, one black, one brown and the same size. Cost me $3.25 each. Already sold one pair for $70 and have the other left. Also recently found some Allen Edmonds York boots. First time I have found boots in that brand.

One other item I picked up at the GW outlet when I was on vacation was brass blazer buttons. I got a full set of Ralph Lauren Polo brass blazer buttons for almost free. They weigh so little that they cost about 2 cents each. Listed last week and already sold 2 jacket buttons and 1 sleeve button.
These are called Waterbury because they are made in Waterbury CT..
Also picked these from a vintage blazer, 60's-70's. monogrammed brass buttons. If I can find someone with the initials FUS or FSU I'll be all set.

Okay, enough relaxing, back to listing and cleaning.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Done with Drama

Quick update on the shirt issue.

Ebay did rule in favor of the buyer. Why? I offered a refund as required and he refused because he wanted return shipping. In the end, after 4 calls to ebay to fix things, I gave him his refund for original shipping and cost of the shirt. The same as I offered to start with. He shipped the shirt back to me. No damage, other than light wear as described in the listing. No structural damage. He never did say what the problem was and I really don't think there was one. Just buyers remorse.

Now this puzzles me. He shipped a lightweight shirt (8-9oz.), originally shipped 1st class in a poly mailer, back to me in a box, about 8" x 5" x 4", with the shirt stuffed in two WallyMart bags for $7.09 priority postage. He knew he was not going to be reimbursed for postage so why did he add extra weight and ship priority? It always amazes me when a disgruntled buyer ships something back. It never fails that they package it in a strange manner or put a small item in a large flat rate box or something stupid silly. But that is OK because.....


From now on I will not let returns bother matter what. Most returns are fine but there is always the occasional one that wants drama. I'm not going there. So there!! For the most part I try to respond in a timely manner, go silent when demands are put on the table, call ebay for help, and follow their instructions. But I still let an occasional buyer get under my skin. Which is OK as long as I keep it short and professional with the emails and don't feed their rant.

On to more pleasant things.

I have had a flurry of espresso items lately. Don't know why but I have found several electric espresso pots and other accessories. New carafes, filter holders, cup holders and related stuff.


Found this never used Caffe Mattina electric espresso pot on vacation at a VV. It has an electric base that it fits on and I looked that entire store over, twice, trying to find the base with no luck. So I purchased just the pot and listed it as a replacement part. Immediately I had an interested person who decided it was priced too high. While she was "negotiating" someone else purchased for full price. I love when that happens!! and in less than 24 hours after listing!!

Also found this one locally at a ReStore.

It had been at the store over a week, according to the tag, and I'm surprised it was still there. It is a Bialetti Mukka Express and works just fine.

In researching electric moka pots it seems that the "true espresso lovers" don't like the electric pots and prefer the stovetop ones. I have an electric Krups espresso maker and I don't really see the difference. It's all in the coffee to me

Found this at GW, locally. Don't think they knew what it was because it was $3 and taped together weird.
A vintage stovetop espresso pot. Remove lid, put coffee in right pot, flip upside down on left pot with water in base, put on stovetop, make espresso, remove top pot, replace lid, enjoy. Simple, right? This one says Italian Style on the bottom and has some lovely scroll work on the sides. Very nice, made in Italy.

At a local Mom&Pop greasy spoon we eat at occasionally, the owner knows I sell on ebay. I  found some items he needed online and he purchased them from me. He asked me to sell his train set online.

Little did I know what kind of train set he had. This is a vintage electric train set sold in the Montgomery Ward catalog in the early 60's, made in UK and is absolutely beautiful. Metal die cast cars, tiny telephone poles, trees, and in the box!!The trebel-o-lectric 000 gauge translates to an N gauge now.(I have learned a lot about electric trains recently!!) One sold recently, from an antiques dealer, on ebay for $315 on auction. I don't do auctions and I started mine higher at $499 with best offer. No offers yet and after about 50 views I have 5 watchers. Hope they are really interested in the train and not just professional watchers.

So, as always, you never know where you'll find your next treasure. Look everywhere, VV, GW, ReStore and when you go out for lunch!!!

Keep listing and hope the goblins didn't get you last night.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Good, The Bad, The Dumb

People amaze me all the time. Ebay has some really "wonderful" people and some that are just normal and great.

I sold a Talbot's men's Hawaiian shirt last week. A silk, linen blend that has the normal texture that these fabrics have and was pre-owned. Pre-owned, meaning to me that is had been worn. I think that is what it means to most normal people.

I get this message on Monday: "I would like to return this shirt it is not what I expected".

I replied within an hour or so, "Returns always accepted. Just pack securely and send it back to me"

Next message at 1:30am, "Will you refund tge (sic) shipping cost?"

I replied the next morning, "Since you are returning the shirt because you don't like it, shipping is the responsibility of the buyer."

Next message, "The item you shipped was not as described. If you don't cover all of the cost, I have no choice but to open a request and leave negative feedback."

Next message from ebay that he did open a not as described case. In the reason for the case he included these words of wisdom: " The seller will not refund the full amount of the shirt plus shipping and handling. The item was not as described. I want all of my money back"

Next was a call to ebay.
I was explaining the situation to the customer rep and he read the emails. He said to wait until the response time had run out and then call back and they could change the return request to buyers remorse and remove any negative feedback. I laughed and told the customer rep that I couldn't believe the guy was so stupid to document everything in ebay emails, but I should thank him. The customer rep laughed.

So thank you Mr. Dumb A**. I don't think this is going to make you very happy.

On a happy note I have had two recent returns that buyers sent back that were normal. One honestly admitted that the top didn't fit and the other said she didn't know the luggage was vinyl. Both were honest and paid for return shipping.

There are nice buyers out there that overshadow the "others".

Monday, October 12, 2015

Quick Catch Up

I can't believe how long since my last post. Life has been busy.

August was really slow and I cursed ebay on a daily basis...but I still listed and shipped what sold. It was my slowest month in 2 years and I am glad it is behind me.

September is when my daughter and I go to Atlanta for DragonCon and shopping. Because August was so slow I was more careful in my shopping. I think it paid off. I found myself looking at things I picked up and putting them back on the shelf/rack if they wouldn't earn me at the very minimum $20...most of the time more. I came home with less stuff (really!!)and I hope better stuff. I have listed lots of it and it seems to be paying off. Here is the haul:

 Just a bit full don't you think? See that really big IKEA bag, second from the left on the bottom? It holds almost 3 times as much as the smaller bags. I filled two of them that I found at the outlets!!!
Just enough room to see over the pile of stuff so I don't get stopped.

When I went to pick up the rental car they upgraded me to a Toyota 4 Runner. I didn't think about how high off the ground they are. Just look at all of that room to fill with....stuff. My daughter is just over 5" (on tippy toes) and had trouble climbing up on the seat. Oops...won't do that again without thinking.

Back home for a week and then back down to Columbia SC for the grandson's graduation from boot camp. No pictures, they are on my phone and I haven't downloaded them yet.It's amazing how much he grew up and matured in those 10 weeks. I thought we had the wrong soldier until we hit the pizza place and he still could pack it in. That's my boy!! He graduated on Thursday morning and about an hour after graduation it started raining and raining and raining. Serious rain, as we all now know. Some of the places on the news were places that we had just been. I can't begin to imagine the amount of time it will take to clean up all of the damage. Thoughts and prayers to everyone dealing with the flood.

October has started off with a bang and sales are better than they have been in several months. Of course sales need to make up for the past slow months so I can save some for the spring.

The Atlanta trip was a business trip and the Columbia trip was a business trip.I went a day early and I stayed a day late and went shopping in Columbia and found some very good items. One bunch of items I found at a Habitat ReStore. I found 6 boxes of vintage photo paper.(They had a vintage enlarger but was way overpriced for me) The good kind made in Germany in the 60's. I have a box similar to this, mine is a larger size and not as old, but you get the idea. I have mine listed for not as much so I hope it sells. I also have some of these, only I have an original set of 8 with an old Meopta warranty card with them. So the moral of the story is to check out ALL of the thrift stores. Mom&Pop, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village....whatever is there because the good stuff is there. All you have to do is look.

One quick tip that I learned from the Trash Elves is to keep listing...even on vacation. I was able to schedule at least 5 listing daily, with 5 day handling, for every day that we were gone and Sat and Sunday when we got back. I was able to do this because things were so slow in August. When I got home from vacation I had 34 packages to mail. More than a normal week!! I usually average between 20-30 packages weekly with low to mid range items and occasionally a big $$ item. I was able to do this when I went the next week to Columbia. Not quite as good in sales, but still sold stuff.

I want to save up enough to be able to go to Arizona for my grandson's school graduation in the Spring so I am trying to ramp up sales. Of course there is always a possibility that he will be sent to the Middle East or Hawaii after graduation. Right now I am pulling for Hawaii but we don't know. I don't know how I will make the trip to Arizona a business trip, but I am willing to try. Any thoughts as to how to pull that off?

Keep listing and shopping and listing and shopping.  Feed the ebay beast!!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Getting Better...??

After a very crappy, yes crappy July it seems that August is a little better.

Yes, I have been around long enough to know that summer is slow. But this summer has taken the cake, cake plate and all the crumbs. Of course all the "good" news on the economy isn't helping anything. I have a way for folks to perk up the economy. Buy used. Buy twice as much for half the money. Save it from the landfill.

I have had a really crazy summer. Busy, grand daughters visiting, sick, busy, SweetiePie sick, busy, busy busy. Had the car in the shop for clutch repair, not cheap. The upstairs heat pump went out and cost $1500 to get it going again. One thing after another. But I'm a little squirrel with my paypal account and I had the funds to cover everything. Thank goodness. Never, never, ever empty your paypal account out. Keep something in there for an emergency and put the rest in the bank.

Now I am trying to get ready for a road trip. Get caught up with everything before I leave and make room for my new purchases from my road trip. I have such a stack of stuff that needs to get online, because we all know that if it ain't listed it ain't gonna sell.It's almost like going thrifting when I open a tote and find stuff that is really good dollar wise that I forgot I bought. Merry Christmas to me!!

I know I should probably donate some of the things I have listed. But let's face it, I'm a cheapskate, a borderline hoarder, and don't like to throw money away, even a quarter. I don't mind donating something back to the thrift store but if I pick it up for less than 25c then I can wait for it to sell even if I only make $20 profit. I think that is a pretty good ROI.

There are advantages to going to the post office every day. See what I got at the post office:

Now this isn't something I ordered in the mail. It is something that my post office guy gave to me that he was going to donate. I listed everything in the pic except the letter holder. I used that to organize my shipping table.

When I go to the post office every day my clerk started asking me what I sold and how I sourced the stuff I sold. I told him he should try selling on ebay. I offered to help him get started but he said he didn't really want to, that he didn't have time to source and didn't know what to source. So a couple of weeks later he handed me a box with this stuff in it. I just took it and when I got home I checked everything out. The Bamboo is NIB, the post office regulation shirt is NIP, the pig wallet is NIP, the remote control is NIP, the drawing book is new, the art pencils are NIP and the Fossil wallet is new. The Invicta watch is used but everything is fine on it, very light scuffs. I got everything listed and have already sold the art pencils and the Fossil wallet.

I'm one of those people that is always on a diet, but never seem to loose weight. I like gravy, especially this kind of gravy. If I sell everything listed for the listed price I will have $190. Now that is good gravy.

Now back to listing. I have been trying to get 10 things listed a day. For me as a single person doing everything, I think that is pretty good. I find it, clean it, photograph it, store it, sell it, and ship it. I am also trying to get some listings scheduled for my vacation time to auto list. Every day I sit down to list I add one more item and schedule it for a vacation day. Even if I only have one item each day of vacation it will be something new and we all know how Cassini loves people who list regularly.

Happy listing, selling and scavenging.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

To Measure or Not

I had a simple little skirt to list last night. Just needed to make sure that is was a women's skirt and not a girls skirt. Why?

Last week I accepted a return for a denim skirt that was a size 10. I measured it and included the measurements in the listing. Only one problem. I measured it as a 10 women's and it was really a 10 girls. Why did I make this mistake? Because I didn't check the charts. There is a small difference in the actual waist size (about 2" laying flat) and since I am no where in the neighborhood of a women's 10 I just went with visual guessing. Bad choice.

So, I didn't want to make the same mistake again.

So, I checked completed listings for similar style and maker skirts. Found one and checked the listing, no measurements at all. Checked 5 more and finally someone included the measurements. I checked 6 listings before I finally found someone who took the time to include measurements.

I try to be a good seller but this makes me wonder how many other sellers skip the essentials. I am beginning to understand why buyers react so negatively when they have a problem with something they bought. You shouldn't have to email a buyer to find out what the measurements of clothing are. Some buyers take days to answer emails. Most buyers want the answer instantly, or sooner.

I read somewhere, or heard it somewhere, that you should take pictures like there is no description and list like there were no pictures. I don't think I would go that far, but I think a good description helps make the listing more transparent, not like you are hiding anything.

I have reached a similar decision that "the Trash Elves" have reached and I plan on eliminating anything unnecessary from my listing. No more templates. More succinct descriptions and I'm really trying to do better photos. Coming soon to a listing near you!

So, cut corners by cutting out templates. Cut corners by cutting out words. But don't cut corners by leaving out measurements.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Don't you just love the online selling experience? You get to go shopping and scrub gum and poo from shoes and find amazing things. Well, mostly normal once in a while amazing.

The Good

Is this not beautiful? I found this by accident yesterday while out shopping. It was sitting outside under the sheltered front area right at the front door and no price tag. I WANTED it so I asked for a price. Surprise, surprise they gave me a price. $50. (Did I forget to say I also had a 25% off coupon!!)I didn't have the truck, just my small, 2-door car. And it was quite a struggle to get it in the car. Wouldn't fit in the front seat, duh. Had to tie it in the trunk. Well sort of in the trunk. More out than in. But I made it home and now it is sitting in my kitchen by the deck door. Too hot to go outside anyway.....

Its marked Holstebro Mobelfabrik A/S Made in Denmark!! I'm not a Danish Modern person but I did have enough sense to know it was Danish. I know it was made in Holsterbro, Denmark in the Holstebro Mobelfabrik factory. That's all I have been able to find out. The Mobelfabrik designer name is good and there are a lot of different ones. No actual designer, as I can't find another one even close to the style. In great shape with some scuffs in the wood from moving it around, but nothing major. If anyone has any knowledge or knows where to find any info it would be appreciated.

The Bad
I sold this men's 14K wedding band as my first sale for July. Not bad at $399. I should say I rented this wedding band. I got a return request last week and got it back this week. So much for making ends meet. I received a note from the buyer with the return request. "You can take out the 20% if you want" You bet I want!! Still trying to get the return closed thru ebay. The CS rep told me I needed to escalate the case in order to close the return. I will not escalate the case!!! The last time a CS rep told me that, I got a defect and I had already returned the money. I will not ask for a defect again!!!

The Ugly
While I was shopping yesterday it started to pour rain. The hard, blowing, storm kind of rain. I just kept shopping and let it rain. The building I was in was steel and it sounded like gravel being poured on the roof. When I got ready to leave it was raining so hard I got soaked to the skin getting the 100' to the car. I prefer to shower with my clothes off!! But that's not the ugly part.

On the way home I noticed something on the windshield. It was something small that was right where the rear view mirror was attached. When I got home I checked it out.

A crack in my windshield. I must have happened in the parking lot while I was shopping. I have no idea what hit the glass but with wind gusts over 50 mph whatever it was hit just right and did its damage. I was raining so hard when I got in the car I didn't even notice the crack. From the drivers seat the long, downward crack is almost totally hidden behind the mirror.

And when I got the car unloaded, SweetiePie informed me that he needed to see the doctor because he had an earache, sore throat....oh no!!!

So, if bad things come in 3's I've had my quota for the month of July. I'm totally ready for August. Bring it on dog days of Summer. I can take it.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

How long does it take?

I've been very busy these last couple of weeks. I have a ton of inventory to list and I need to get my inventory organized. Two of my not so favorite things to do. I had rather be shopping or shipping. Finding treasures and shipping out sold items is much better than scraping gum off the bottom of a smelly shoe, any day.

I also had a visit from my two Princess Grand Daughters. I'm surprised that they could fit a trip in to Grandma and Grampa's house, what with their busy social schedule. But I picked them up last Saturday and we had a fun week. In spite of the fact that my car had an unexpected trip to the repair shop, we had a great week. I was on the edge of my seat when the girls had to ride in the back of the truck to the post office, but they thought it was fun. We only live about 2 miles from the PO and it is very rural and we barely saw any vehicles on the road. Still I held my breath until we got home.

So.....with all that was going on I didn't get much listed last week. I had better things to do. I didn't get anything listed on Thursday or Friday. No sales on Friday after 10am until 3:09pm on Saturday. That's over 48 hours with no sales. I have days here and there with no sales, but since I hit over 1300 items I very rarely have a day with no sales. Some days I may sell less than $20, but still a sale.

So, how long does it take....after you list something to start getting sales again?

Oh...about 9 minutes!!! I listed something Saturday at 3 pm and at 3:09 I had my first sale in 50+ hours.

Listing and selling definitely are tied together.

A sale of note last week was a men's 14K gold wedding band with 3 small diamonds for $400. Listed for about 6 months. A great way to start the month of July off!! And a plus was that my SweetiePie found it with his metal detector. And it helped cover my $600 clutch repair bill for my car. A win all the way around. Now if he finds a couple more items like that we will have the cost of the detector covered!!
Now, I just hope that it doesn't get returned.

I was busy last week with all sorts of things with the Princess'. The oldest is very artistic and when we went to the craft store she wanted some Sculpy to make things while I was teaching her sister how to sew. So after a trip to the craft store and the fabric store we were all set with stuff to keep us busy for the week.
Princess M, working on her dress. She did the whole under dress by herself. Cut everything and did really well with the seams. We ran out of time and I finished the fishnet overlay so she could take it home.

Princess H did these all by herself, with her very vivid imagination. She did one more later and we baked them so she could take them home.

Of course Firefly had to help keep things together, and pre-treat everything with cat hair.

The two Princess, as different as night and day.

A very busy week for one tired Grandma and Grandpa!!

Friday, June 12, 2015

A duck, a horse and Bobba Fett walk into a bar......

Sometimes strange things end up together in my inventory room waiting their turn in front of the camera.

I hope they weren't plotting an escape.

Rubber duckie infant bath tub....found in the free bin!!! Working Bobba Fett talking helmet for $1 at a church sale.

I've been busy trying to list all of these shoes that I have. Shoes and boots. I counted 50 and then I had at least 30 in two other totes. Our GW is loaded with boots now. Not many sandals or sneakers just tons of boots.
I found these in the front display case at my favorite thrift, the one with bag day and all the bins. They had them marked at $50. What? I asked to see them and saw that they were new from Saks Fifth Avenue along with a $50 price tag. I gave them back to the guy behind the counter and said "that's the closest that I will ever get to Saks Fifth Avenue". He said that they had been there for a while, since April according to the code on the sole, and would I pay $25. Hel... well maybe, what size are they? And on top of that I had a 25% off coupon!! Yahtzee!! So for $18.75 I have a nice pair of boots from Saks. More than I normally pay, but they are new with tags, from Saks and beautiful leather and since they aren't my size I won't feel guilty selling them.

Happy hunting and listing and listing and listing........

Sunday, May 31, 2015

ALWAYS check the free box never know what you will find.

Yard sale season is in full swing. Lots and lots of sales this weekend. So many I couldn't decide where to go. Well, not really. I knew that I wanted to hit the local church yard sale. I have found fantastic bargains there in the past and this time was no different.

The sale is run by the youth group to raise money for a missions trip. The had stuff piled high and they were selling low. Pardon the pun. Clothing and shoes were 50c each. or $2 per grocery bag. Inside I dove in the toys and found some hopefully good stuff. On to housewares and more good stuff, on to crafts and more good stuff. You get the picture.

 I ended up filling 3 large blue IKEA bags overflowing with stuff for the grand total of $8. I hadn't had time to check out the shoes and clothes spread out on tarps out front so I picked up 9 pair of boots and shoes and a vintage John Deer traveling sprinkler sort of like this. Mine is faded on top but it is all there and working. I hope I can get $60-80 out of mine. The sprinkler was $15 and the bag of shoes was $4.

For a total of $27 I got 199 items. You think I would have headed home. But you see a lot of those items were small....very small.

I hit 3 more sales on my way home. Picked up 4 more pair of shoes, a bag full of clothes for 50c each, a Vera Bradley bag and more. Just a little bit more.
That's two big plastic tubs full of stuff. New stuff old stuff, girl stuff, boy stuff. A small tote, on the upper left, of 10 Barbie dolls and clothes and shoes. One thing I loaded up on is Matchbox cars and small similar cars, trucks, fire engines. 70 to be exact and an 18 wheel storage truck. And a large lot, from two sales,of 30+ Bakugan battle brawlers.

So why am I so excited about free stuff? At the last sale I stopped at I didn't find anything but these old menus in a box. Beautiful southwest US lithographs of paintings from 1959.

All of these are menus from the ATSF Railroad Santa Fe dining car of the San Francisco Chief train and are dated 1959. They were all on the end of the table and the lady said, "oh, just take them". I thought they were very nice and thought about just listing them in a lot. That is until I did a little digging. They are all lithographs and there are a few for sale and the prices range from $10 to $100. Not all are actual selling prices but I went with a higher price. No I'm not greedy, just patient.  I have them listed for a total of $200. I don't know if I will get that price but I am willing to wait and see what happens.

So....always check the free box. The price is right!!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stinky gone!

I don't know about you but stinky shoes rank right up there with stinky bathrooms.

 I don't like either one.

And I really don't like putting my hands into stinky shoes to clean or polish them. Most of the time I will either spray white vinegar into the shoe and wipe out with a cloth or just use a cloth dampened with white vinegar to wipe down the inside. That usually works.

As for the stinky bathrooms...that is another problem here at the castle. SweetiePie likes the aerosol sprays but they make me sneeze and they are way too strong and expensive, even from the $ store. So to the web I went. I found a homemade copycat recipe for Poo Pourrie spray and it worked. Just alcohol, water and the essential oil of you choice. Simple ingredients, fantastic results.

The poo spray is sprayed into the toilet before you go. The essential oil in the spray creates surface tension on the water and when "something" enters the water the surface tension returns and the odor is contained. I tried several mixtures with different amounts of essential oil and finally found one that really worked. I just modified it slightly to use in shoes and on stinky things.

Here is my recipe:
2 oz spray bottle
2 Tbs alcohol
40-60 drops of essential oils
Put a small amount of water, about a tablespoon, in the bottom of the bottle, add the alcohol and add the essential oils. Finish filling the bottle with water. Put the spray top on,shake gently, and spray. About 2-3 sprays are usually enough to cover the water in the toilet bowl. The mixture may get cloudy and settle but just a shake is all you need to do to remix the formula. The alcohol helps the essential oils mix better with the water. You can also use witch hazel for a little bit thicker mixture but it does make the mixture permanently cloudy.

I used a small travel spray bottle to do my trials and I purchased an 8 ounce bottle at the $ store for my final mixture. One that has a very fine spray and just doubled and doubled the recipe.

You can use any essential oils that you like but you want the oils to neutralize the odor, not overpower the odor. I used lemongrass and lavender. Lemongrass smells like Ivory soap and lavender is soothing. I used 40 drops of lemongrass and 20 drops of lavender. You can adjust according to your nose. Or use something else altogether. It is totally your choice. Some people don't like lemongrass and some people are allergic to lavender. Bergamont oil is also a favorite.

This also works on stinky shoes. I had a really stinky pair of leather Sperry Top Siders that reeked of cigarette smoke. I cleaned and polished them, used vinegar and nothing helped. When I walked in the room where they were I could immediately smell them. I thought about freezing them but I was in the bathroom and saw the Poo spray and thought if it contained the poo smell surely it would work on shoes.

I gave it a try and WOW it worked. I did adjust the formula and put a little more alcohol and lemongrass essential oil and less lavender essential oil. I wanted to get the smell out but didn't want to leave an oily residue. To me the lemongrass makes the shoes smell clean, like Ivory soap, and not perfumey. I did have to spray the shoes 3 times before I got the smell out. But it was worth the extra effort to be able to sell them and know that they didn't smell. I have used the spray on a pair of sandals and really sweaty smelling chest protector. Works like a charm.

So if you have stinky shoes give this a try and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 18, 2015

New game--Real or Fake?

I love it when men sell the long lost wife's belongings. Be it a divorce or a more permanent demise they want to get rid of the girly stuff.

I was at a yard sale at a middle school on Saturday and found this seller with 4 big moving boxes sitting in front of his table. One box said, "free", the next $1 box, the next $2 box, and on the end the box was turned upside down with things on top. I picked a olfa rotary cutter mat and a vtg crewel embroidery picture out of the free box. The $1 box had a fake Kate Spade purse, some plastic Tupperware pieces and  a The Sak brown leather purse. Score on the Sak purse.
Further down the parking lot was a very talkative and "informative" seller. I spotted some Vera Bradley and hesitated because it was more than I wanted to pay. I finished looking at all the other stuff and ended up getting two different bags and two older wallets. The other bag and wallets I was able to verify as genuine. This one I'm on the fence about.

 The fabrics all feel and appear to be the real thing. Carnaby on the left, Pirouette center, and Blue Rhapsody on the right. The bottom gusset, strap and lining are Pirouette. The thing that bothers me is the shape of the bag. I can't find another bag shaped like this. I have seen other patchwork bags but not with these 3 fabrics or in this shape. All of these fabrics were available June 09 to May 10 with the Blue Rhapsody available June 09 until November 10.
The lining is correct for the Pirouette fabric and the pockets are neat, the zipper matches and the ribbon matches and there is a correct label sewn in the lining. The pull tab for the outside zipper on the top of the purse is a round silver tab. I have never seen a pull tab like that on a Vera bag.

In researching the Vera patchwork bags I did notice that the patchwork totes and purses were a little different from the normal styles. I don't need to have a listing pulled because of fake merchandise. Don't need another black mark on my store.

Any thoughts on my Vera? Real or fake?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Finally some good luck

 Yard sale is in full swing....finally!!

Our area has had lots of rain and it seems like Saturdays have been washed out with no real yard sales. I have been able to get a few little ones in here and there. But Saturday was beautiful and I was up early and on the road. Here are a few things I found.
This seems like an ideal item for this week, but not enough time to get her listed and there are a bunch already listed. I'll let her hang around until next year. If I list in the summer maybe the field will be less crowded.
Found the always popular stick blender and vtg Pyrex at a big church yard sale.More about the other items in a minute. Picked up Vera Bradley, a bark basket, assorted kitchen stuff and all at a fantastic price. And as an added bonus....brownies!! The youth group was having a bake sale!

Then on to another church yard sale in the area. It started at 6 AM and I got there about 8:30. It was small and to tell you how far out in the backside of nowhere it was, they were playing Willie Nelson hymns in their fellowship hall, on 8 track!!  Only picked up one item there of note, a boxed set of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House books, sealed. Score!!

Heading  back home I had found a yard estate sale on CL. I have such good luck at these sales. The family is having a sale to get rid of everything left after they picked everything they want. Sometimes all is left is junk and sometimes you get good stuff.

Found a bunch of cameras in the bathtub of the master bathroom, really. Eleven altogether. Some good, some not so good. I took them all in order to get a good price. Also in the bathroom,( why?), I found the typewriter. Out of the camera lot I have about 6 good ones and I think I'll bundle the leftovers into one lot. The Bose Wave radio was found on the top shelf of a back bedroom closet, shoved back in the corner. Just luck that I saw the corner and figured out what it was and was able to dig it out.
This vintage "transistor phonograph" was dumped in a box with Christmas ornaments, very trashy ornaments. I rescued it.

A vintage TransFormers Halloween costume in the box and with a box bonus Masters of the Universe mask that I'm having trouble identifying. But for 10c I think I can invest a little research time.

You can always tell who prices the items at a family yard estate sale. The guys will price guy things higher, cameras, tools and stuff like that and kitchen and household stuff will be dirt cheap. The packed-full yellow shoe box full of vintage buttons, some still on their cards, was $1, The mini sewing machine, NIB, was $2. The Cathedral Window table runner was 50c, the completely hand made Cathedral Window table runner was 50c!!!

So if you ever see a Yard Estate Sale, hit the brakes and pray that the guys did all of the pricing on the household stuff and maybe the girls priced the tools!!

Not a yard sale find but I picked this up on a recent thrift store run and as a bonus I had a 20% off coupon.
All of that beautiful work, original glass, case
and clock mechanism for a paltry sum of $4.80
 I didn't check to see if the clock part worked before I put it in the cart. I just looked at the cross stitch and the 1963 date at the bottom and picked it up. Both hands are there, but it doesn't work. I think I will have better luck selling it with the clock mechanism replaced and I can still use the original hands. Someone did a wonderful job and it breaks my heart to think that no one in the family thought it was special enough to save and dumped it at a thrift store. I'm glad I rescued it because there is someone out there that will think it is special too.

Now get out there early to all those yard sales and stock up for the lean times when there are are no yard sales.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Returned Item Insurance Coverage

When I opened an insurance claim for this package:
I was assured by ebay that return packages were full insured. As a top rated seller you receive $100 per priority package insurance instead of $50 for regular sellers. Or at least that is what I have read.

You would think that the same amount would apply for return labels.

Nope. Only $50 on a $160 claim. I guess ebay isn't a top rated seller ;)

That is totally OK because karma will get you. And I am willing to wait until ebay gets their karma back. Especially on the defect rating system.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The good, the bad and the returns

This is the good
Look what I found in my yard when I was taking some trash out. Double luck. Or does one cancel out the other? Say it ain't so, I need all the luck I can get.

I am an avid fan of Scavenger Life and have listened to all of their podcasts and can totally relate to what they are telling us. Honest, down to earth information. I often find myself laughing at something they have done because I have done the same thing. I am also a strong supporter of the silent treatment.

 This time the silent treatment didn't work. I received a return request for the vegan purse claiming careless packaging and crushed in transit. I responded and asked for pictures. Crushed in transit to me means an insurance claim. No pictures, no communication.

So when ebay asked if I wanted to escalate the case I said yes. Stupid mistake. Defect received.

I got the purse back yesterday, opened, inspected and issued refund. Oh, and a note from the seller along with pictures of the damaged purse. She couldn't figure out how to upload them to the ebay message so she just sent them with the purse. Hello, why would I need pictures now? I have the purse. Of course no pictures of the box. Then I checked my dashboard and see that I have one item that I have not resolved, the purse.

I called ebay to find out how to get the defect removed. After getting transferred to the fourth person, I explain once again and the response is read from a script that when I escalated the case it is an automatic defect. But ebay says on my account that I didn't respond. I did. I issued a refund within hours of receiving the purse back. The seller  provided no communication and no pictures to prove damage. Grrrrrrr I want to rip my hair out!!! or cry....or both.

This fiasco puts my defect rate at 2.02. Perfect, just what I need. No big sales, no discount on fees, lots of returns and defects up the wazoooooooo.

Maybe I should have been looking for 4 leaf clovers a bit earlier than today.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Don't you just LOVE returns, part II

And the returns keep on coming. I think my customers could just save time, mine and theirs, if they just asked for a return before I shipped the item. No drama.

I had a return in the works for a KitchenAid stand mixer. A very heavy sucker, that was shipped from NC to Iowa. 26lbs heavy. I tissue wrapped, bubble wrapped, boxed and double boxed the little puppy. I wanted it to get there in one piece.

Of course I get the dreaded return request. She did email me directly, thank goodness. It was making an awful noise and must have been dropped in shipping. Well, it was hard to hear that noise in an email so I decided to have her send it back. In retrospect, I probably should have called her and had her turn on the mixer, but I didn't want to get "up close and personal' with the customer. I had her do a return request thru ebay so I could just send a label that way. Done and done......until I get the package back yesterday.

Not a good sign
The bottom of the box was split. Well no wonder with only the four little flaps of cardboard and several pieces of tape to hold 26lbs in check.
I don't know how this did not just fall out.

This is the cover that goes over the place on the front of the mixer where you put the attachments. Loose in the bottom of the box. How in the heck did that "fall" out of the place it was?
Maybe this ding on the side? See the screw, it is so loose that I can pull it out with my fingers. When it was shipped that screw was so tight I didn't think it would ever come out.I know because I contemplated removing the screw so I could loosen the cover to clean the grime from the crack. I decided not to because the screw was in so tight.
This is exactly how I pulled the mixer out of the box. Nothing wrapped around the mixer, no extra box or padding. Some plastic bags were in the box on top of the mixer, but nothing to keep it from shifting from side to side in the box. No double box.The head was not locked in place so it was free to move, and the bowl had been beating up against the back of the mixer and scraped paint off.

What were these shippers thinking? (well, not thinking) That since they decided it was broken, they didn't want the mixer and they didn't care how it arrived back to me? Maybe, or maybe they just didn't care. I don't know which it was but I want to think that they don't have any experience in packing heavy items. I do think the post office handled this badly and caused the damage. But it would not have been as bad had it been packed well.

Ebay does have full coverage on return items so I'm hoping insurance will cover the damage. I filed a claim so time will tell.

Oh, and bless the lady who purchased a skirt and had the courage to tell me it didn't fit and she was returning it. About time for a good customer.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Don't you just LOVE returns?

What is it this week with returns?

First a vegan purse that the buyer opened a return request for "careless packaging. item permanently crushed in transit"  My first response was to ask for pictures and a picture of the shipping box. Yes, I shipped it in a regional rate box, cheaper than parcel select which is what she paid for and besides it would protect the purse. Wrapped in tissue, placed in the box and shipped.

Now I am a reasonable person and the only way that I could think of an item being "crushed in transit" is if the box was damaged. So I requested photos. Crickets and no photos. No other communication.

So......time expired and ebay wanted to know if I wanted to escalate to a case. Sure, I asked for photos and received nothing, absolutely nothing. Now why would I expect ebay to find in my favor? I just requested photos to verify damage, nothing like proof of what had happened or anything special. Now the purse is supposed to be returned to me and then I must refund their purchase price plus return shipping. All for something that, I believe, was not damaged at all. Plain old buyers remorse for an item that had been used and had some light signs of wear, like on the edges of the vinyl, (listed as pre-owned and disclosed in the pictures) and buyer did not want to pay return shipping. I don't know if I will get it back or not but I hope I do because I want to see for myself the permanently crushed in transit part.

And now I open my personal email and there is a message about  a Pampered Chef item that "everything looks great accept it is missing one of the rubber foots (to assist with not scratching surfaces you lay it on) at the bottom. Is there any assistance I can get from you in getting the rubber foot for it". It was new in box and I know the "foots" were there. Of course I am grateful that she did contact me first and didn't just open a case. So now I am trying to get a new "foots" from PC.

So, like everyone else, things have been slow. I have sold things but not a lot. Barely enough to make expenses. But I have this itch to go shopping. Not because I need to shop but because I am so tired of listing all of this small stuff. I'm trying to get the small stuff out of the way to get to the good stuff and I had two week ends of yard sale success and I'm tired of walking around it in the house and the itch will probably win.

Maybe SweetiePie will go with me and help scratch. I'll even buy lunch.....

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Dress Form, Taxes and 43 Years

Well, it has been a busy week.

My daughter asked me to help her make a dress form of herself. I have toyed with the idea of making one of myself for altering thrift store clothes but haven't gotten around to trying it. So on Saturday we met early and went yard sale-ing and then got down to the job of a dress form. It is harder than it looks and takes a lot longer that we thought. We got the form done but the stuffing is what took forever, especially when the spray foam that she bought didn't have a nozzle and we had to go to WallyWorld and get more. So we will finish this week-end. An interesting process.

I hate paying taxes. Absolutely hate all the prep and the nail biting and the "will I have to pay or not" stress that is on top of all of the other daily stress. This is the first time in my entire life that I have not filed my taxes on time. I had to file an extension. I know it's not a reasonable thing to think but I think of it as failing at my job. I know it will be ok and I will have my taxes ready by Monday. But it just sucks. But the day after tax day is always a better day.

It's our wedding anniversary on the 16th. I can't believe that we have been married for 43 years. It seems like yesterday, or at least last week. A friend and co-worker, at the time I met SweetiePie, said it wouldn't last. She ended up marrying his brother but only stayed married 2 years and has been married twice since then. So who is she to talk? She was concerned that we met just before Thanksgiving, got engaged just after Christmas and married just 100 days later in April. 5 months!! Of course we have had our little bumps, but just lttle bumps, and here we are. Two great girls, 3 grand children and still going strong.

So after I pull all of my hair out this week I should be able to get everything under control. I haven't listed on ebay since Sunday. Had a killer week-end last week-end and and shipped out 15 big packages on Monday.
Just sliding by with a few sales this week, barely making expenses. But sales are sales.

 I have two totes sitting here by the computer just ready to go but I can't bring myself to list until I get the taxes done. Just my thing. I want to finish one thing before getting buried in something else.

Oh...and ebay took out my fees for last month today.

I better get myself together and make some money before I totally freak out!!!! I'll be back to regular thrift store stuff in a few days.

 I can't wait for "normal" again.

Friday, April 3, 2015

14 year old Turtles?

I picket up this TMNT backpack at GW last week. It was a day that I didn't find much and this was tucked in with the luggage. It looks like there are spots but that is just a reflection. From completed items it looks like a good purchase. Check it out

What I don't understand is the tag on the inside.
"Intended for Ages 14 & up"
I don't know any 14 year old's that would use this backpack. I don't see any kids getting off a school bus at middle school or high school with this on their back.