front porch trash

front porch trash

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Help with Luggage and VOTE

Hi all...if there is anyone left out there. I need some help with this logo.
Is that a b or a l and r?  I can't find anything and I have spelled it all sorts of ways.

Its a laptop case that opens on each end. One end holds the cord and the other end opens to hold the laptop. Really sturdy canvas shell with nice pockets inside. Tag only says made in China. The hardware is a really nice brushed silvertone metal. Well made with nice materials so I hope it is a good brand. I am seriously stumped on this one.

On another topic.
I don't usually get political on this blog because political choices are your own and it isn't my job to make up your mind for you.

JUST VOTE...then if your chosen one doesn't get elected you are allowed to whine or complain or do whatever it is that you want to do to show your displeasure.

In line with the voting thoughts.
I saw a message on a billboard in front of a local church. Very interesting message.
                   "Who will you vote for Ahab or Jezebel?"
If you don't know who Ahab and Jezebel were you can google them. They were a married Biblical couple and were equally despicable.

Now lets all get back to listing because before you know it the election will be over and people will realize that it isn't that long until Christmas is here and they need to buy things. Maybe not old shoes but something. And they can't buy it if its not listed.

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.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Yes, I'm Crazy!!!

I may or may not be crazy when it comes to listing the bay stuff. But I don't think everything I do is crazy.

Remember this?
I listed it for $59.99 on Tuesday and 17 minutes after it went live I received a best offer of $50.00. Now, the person who responded obviously had a search saved for that particular item since they responded so quickly. I was floored that I got such a quick response because I couldn't decide on what the price should be. It was an open kit and there were no instructions. (Instructions available free on line)

I responded with my typical response when someone makes an offer so quickly after the listing goes up. That is that I don't usually offer discounts until at least 30 days after the listing starts. Sometimes that gets a positive reaction and the buyer just buys the item, sometimes not. Most of the time I will get my full price and if I don't I will wait until I do. It may be that buyer with the low offer or it may be someone else. Who cares if it sells.

This was one of the good times. While I didn't hear from the buyer right away, they did purchase the plane in about 3 hours. Yeah!!!

Of course it helps that there were no other listings on the bay right now, it is an out of production item and I priced it at a fair price.

It pays to be least this time!!!

I have the other plane listed and it is more expensive so I don't expect as quick a sale but I will keep my fingers crossed that it goes quickly.

I have a new furnace to pay for and I need all the help I can get.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Have I gone crazy?

Don't think about that too hard. For the people that know me really well the answer is obviously yes. For 
those people that don't know me very well, that would still be the correct answer, Alex.

My SweetiePie is sick. He has been for quite a while. We have been to numerous doctors and have yet to find the answer to the problem. It is very frustrating for him and stressful for me. In the past he refused to go shopping with me for inventory. He didn't like thrift stores, the smell, the dirt. But lately it is the only thing he likes doing, besides going out to lunch. Let's make this a business trip. He doesn't read, doesn't like watching tv all day. He used to made RC models. Boats, cars and airplanes. But his tremors don't let him do that any more. So we go thrifting almost every day mostly at GW because that is the only option close by. Nothing serious. Just looking and walking around and seeing other people.

Our GW only accepts cash. Yes, can you believe that? Cash and checks only. But with checks they have "the list" that they whip out when you write a check. Heaven forbid if you ever make that list.(And they don't have a bathroom. A pet peeve of mine.)There have been several rumors that they will accept credit/debit cards but nothing has ever happened. So if we go I have to make sure I have cash.

We went yesterday and saw a familiar item on top of the glass counter by the front door. A remote control airplane kit. New in the box, never used. The previous owner never even attempted to assemble the plane. Yeah!! We carefully inspected the box and then looked at the price, $49.95. I told the clerk I would think about it. I discreetly went to the back of the store and looked it up on the bay. None of this one listed but similar ones sell for $50 to $500 depending on the model and size.

In my book that looked like a good buy. We hemmed and hawed over it and I finally just bought the thing. When I got home I did a much more thorough search and found one sold in Germany a couple of years ago for $224 and one on ebay in the UK for $200. So I think I made a good choice. But I sure did resist spending that much money for one item at the time.

I got this kit at an estate sale last year and it went for $125, almost complete.

And this one was purchased last week at another GW in town. This is incomplete also but should bring between $75-100 and there is a roll of the film to cover the plane in the box that will go for $25 on its own.
But funny thing is this kit was only $3.99. Guess one of the managers knows planes and the other doesn't.

I'm not really into RC planes, just selling them is enough of a thrill for me. If you find them, then buy them.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Thank you Mr. Know it All

I had this for sale
I also had a jerk potential customer email me to inform me that I was asking too much, $35, for this piece of history. A vintage truckers hat from UGA with the bull dog and THE flag.(That is the state flag of GA from 1956-2001 and not the flag that no one wants to display. I truly was afraid that someone would protest and I would have to take down the listing before I sold the hat. But in reality it is a vintage GA state flag.)

Anyway, I had this person email me with an offer of $25, including shipping. I had it listed for $35 plus shipping of $4.25. Now, I didn't have make offer on this he just took it upon himself to make me an offer. I told him to check back after 30 days and if it was still available I "might" lower the price. Of course, I had no intention of lowering the price. He emailed me a day before the listing was scheduled to turn over for the first 30 days and made the offer again. Persistent, but I am way more stubborn that he could ever dream of being.

I don't know who the potential customer was that made the offer but I wasn't about to accept his offer. I had 8 watchers on that hat and I knew I could get my price. And it only took 31 days.

So there Mr Smarty Pants, Know it All. Pffffffffffffft!!!

And to everyone else, make YOUR price. Don't let someone else make it for you. If it is based on thorough research and past experience then GO FOR IT!!! If all else fails you can always lower the price down the road. I prefer way down the road to next door.

Now get back to work. Those tubs won't list themselves!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

We miss you Sheila and Randy

Everyone must move on.

Better jobs, retirement.

But we really miss Sheila and Randy at our little post office.

Within one week both of the regular counter people were GONE!!! One moved up to a full time job in a larger post office but he had to move to a larger town. The other one retired, a hard earned and well deserved retirement.

But I'm totally selfish. I want them back. Or at least their clones.

It used to be fun to go to the post office every day. But now the postmaster is the counter person and some days we get the temp person who fills in at various post office when vacations and sickness requires extra hands.

And the lines!!!

What used to take less than 5 minutes, on a really busy day now takes 10-20 minutes.

Now I can hear all of you asking why I go to the post office every day. Glad you asked. Well, its close by, some days I have more packages than will fit in my mail box and because I want to. My SweetiePie is disabled and he would sit home for days if we didn't go to the post office. So we go to the post office every day, if I have something to ship, and then we run errands or take care of doctors visits or go shopping. Something, anything to get out in the world. And then I come home and work.

But Sheila and Randy were a nice part of our day. Always smiling and ready to help. Quick in and out and on with our business.

While I wish them well, I kinda want them back until we get the new people "trained" appropriately.

And from the looks of things that will be a while.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It really does help...Sell Similar!!

There was a discussion over on Scavenger Life recently about refreshing your listings to keep them up in the rankings. It seems that Cassini doesn't like listings that have a lot of views but no purchases. It makes sense that they want to keep things moving and if things aren't selling they aren't very Cassini.

I began in late February with any listing that had 100 or more views and were about to renew for another 30 days. I would wait until the day before they were set to renew and end the listing, edit anything that needed changing, like the recent postal rate change, and then do sell similar. I have had 5-6 sales that hit a couple of days after I renewed and refreshed them. And more have had questions and what seems renewed interest. So, while I didn't specifically track any listing, I have seen some results. Didn't keep track of the total but I would guess $100-150 based on my average sale price. Not bad for 2 minutes of work a day.
Recent Finds
I've been trying my best to not go shopping. SweetiePie has been really great about helping when I go shopping but he looks at everything!!! I have certain things I look at in certain stores. For instance I don't look at too many clothes in GW in our area because they are more expensive, just the bins. I go for shoes and household because they are more reasonable. Today I found this primitive cabinet The wood is a little scuffed but not really bad. Each part of the cabinet door is outlined with a routed out border. The stars, moon, tiles on the roof, doors, everything is outlined with a routed border. And a scalloped border all around   the outside edge 

See the plain old wooden knob? That looks like a church? in front but what is that in the back? a hospital, seminary, or what?

I have been on a quest for old slides. I thought I had scored several months ago when I saw a stack of old Kodak carousels in GW but they were all empty. And several more times I have found just the empty carousels. Does GW throw away all of the slides or does the donor keep them? I kinda voting for the family to keep them. Some of the ones I have seen are amazing.

I finally found a few slides.
45 boxes with 36 slides each. 1600+ They date from 1961 to 1969. Its interesting that the box on the left with 18 boxes has all of the index cards filled in while after box 18 just a number on the box. I also picked up a projector at the same time for 40% off. The slide boxes were priced at $1 each, but...when I went to check out they were 40% off. Seems that they had been there since 1/24/16. How did I miss them?  I hadn't been to the Habitat ReStore since the first of the year and they were still there waiting for me!!! I just grabbed one of the boxes in the store and look at the caption for this box of slides!!
Shea stadium in 1965, Wall Street, NY Skyline, the UN building. I can't wait to look at all of the pictures. I'm sure that some are not appropriate to list but I think I can make my $28 and more.

This is one time when I was glad I took time to shop!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A New Low Point in Listing?

Is this a low point in my listing career on ebay? 

I have just scheuled cemetery burial plots to list on ebay.

A little history:
In 1964 my parents decided to purchase a burial plot with 2 extra spaces for anyone else in the family. I don't know what brought about this decision. They already had space at two different locations. It must have been the pushy salesman because I recently visited the site and saw a lot of neighbors I remember growing up. Don't get me wrong, its a nice spot out in the country with lots of open space, perpetual care so it will always look nice and good "neighbors".

After both parents passed away and were buried in a family plot, it became my job to sell these plots. No one in the family wants the space. Its not like you can call up an aunt or cousin and inquire if they would be interested in some "special real estate". Their next call would be to the doctor to get a check up and make sure they aren't going to need it any time soon.

I have tried several times with ads in the local paper and have had exactly 1 call in reference to the spaces. Its not like someone is beating down the door to get this real estate. Its out in the country where none of my immediate family live any more.

So....I thought I would give ebay a try. The customer service representative at the cemetery said most plots are resold thru word of mouth by family and friends. My dad would have been 107 on his birthday this month. I think its safe to say that most of his friends and family are not in need of my real estate. They have their own.

So I just did the math on the fees for selling on ebay and I won't be getting rich. I just want them sold. Its not like an investment property that I can rent out or use as a vacation spot.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Ahhh Spring....come on down!!!

We have been getting a taste of Spring these last couple of weeks. A day here...a day there...pollen here...pollen there...pollen everywhere. If warm weather and Spring come with pollen, which we all know it does, then me and my Kleenex are ready!!

If you remember my last post I commented that sales for March were surpassing February by leaps and bounds. Well, put my foot in my mouth. After that post I had two days with a dismal one item per day and those items were 12.99 and 14.99. Goes to show you that it doesn't pay to gloat. But on the whole it has averaged out and I did pass February sales by the 14th of March. Just in time for ebay fees!!

To tell you how dismal my February sales were my fees were only 199.20 and I have a store and the store is 179.00 per month. So I am ready for some good sales.

I have been monitoring my items as they come up for renewal in their 30 day cycle. Anything with over 100 views total I have been ending the item and relisting it as sell similar so it would wipe out the viewing history.I can't say that it is having a huge difference in sales but I have noticed a few things that have sold once I have wiped out the history and made them new. I had two just yesterday for 50.00 total. I think that I will continue to do this and keep everything upgraded. I have also been adjusting some of my shipping charges and lowereing a few prices. Sold a vtg sweater today that had been listed for 3 years. I had just relisted and lowered the price by 5.00. Must have been the magic number. Only cost me 25 cents 3 years ago.

I have been so good, trying not to go on a shopping spree. But sometimes you just can't help it. The spending bug just bites you in know. This time it was a good thing.

Once everything is inspected I'm allowed to begin the job of transforming junk into cash.

My favorite charity thrift store has undergone a transformation. It has gone from a good place to find bargains to a place that has high prices. Pants and jeans have gone from 3.49 to 4.99, 5.99 and more. Blouses have gone from 2.99 to 4.99 and 5.99. Mens blazers from 6.99 to 8.99 and 9.99. And they no longer have coupons of any kind. I haven't seen any color tag days in my few visits. Even though the have gone to colored paper tags instead of just the colored plastic tag holders. But wait, it gets better.

Bag day is back!!! Seven days a week you can get a large garbage bag of stuff for $5.00. They had bag day last year only on Tuesday and Thursday and the bags were $10.00. Finally a price I can afford.
This is about 1/3 of what I got. The rest has been sorted and moved around. A few mens wool blazers, wool sweaters, cotton sweaters, linen pants, linen blouses, jeans, ball caps, knitted winter hats, vintage sheets, pillowcases.

We went on Monday and that must have been the first day because they were arranging the racks outside and were having a problem deciding how to place them. So I got a pretty good haul that day. I only purchased one bag but I chose wisely and filled it up with 29 bulky items. Mens blazers, womens jackets, sweaters and smaller things. I also had a customer loyalty card with all the spots punched and could get 20% off, so my bag was only $4. That folks, is 13.7 cents per item. My kinda price. So good that I decided to go back on Wednesday for more retail fun. I had seen several vintage coats that I should have picked up on Monday but passed on them because winter coats and spring don't mix and I really didn't want to store them. But I got to thinking and figured out where I could put them so back I went.

On Wednesday I was determined to get the best of everything outside on the sale racks. But everything was picked over, it was crowded and I got only one 5.00 bag. But oddly enough I still packed it, not quite as full, with 29 items. That works out to 17.24 cents per item!!

I found jeans this time and several blazers and some sweaters and a dress or two. No high end stuff, just bread and butter.

And did I mention that they have two bins inside with small items. Scarves, caps, hats, gloves, bras, yuckey undies, socks and an odd variety of stuff. I picked up quite a few bras, ball caps, some winter hats and probably a couple of diseases. But everything was a quarter!! Next time I will remember my gloves. I love to dig but sometimes the yuck factor is just too much.

 A fun find in the 25 cents bin. Someone somewhere will NEED this for halloween. I picture it on a big hairy chested guy, just for fun. Real coconuts...ouch.

On a different note. Can anyone tell me anything about Carruth? I found this silver turtle, 1 1/8" long and it is marked Carruth 1999. The quality is good and it looks like silver, weighs 1.6oz, but I can't find anything about it. Carruth online looks like a handmade jewelry and art piece kinda place. Does anyone know anything else about it?

Any help is appreciated.

Okay everyone, back to listing and selling and packing and shipping!!!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Is TRS causing this surge?

After having the worst February sales of my ebay career I have been very busy since March started. That got me to thinking, dangerous as that is, about the reason January was great, February was terrible and March is starting out very good.

January this year was better than December. February was the bottom of the outhouse and now March has started off with a blast.

Could it be the getting TRS back in February?

I think that is part of it but it can't be the whole reason. I got my bar code issue fixed before the end of February, just barely and I think that may have been a contributing factor in February. Also I was on vacation for a week, but I still listed. I scheduled three items each day that I was on vacation, didn't hide my items and responded to any emails. The one thing I didn't get done was to get everything shipped on Friday before President's Day when I got back and that made everything a little late. But not too late.

I haven't checked any listings to see if they are ranked higher but my guess is that they are. I think ebay was having problems the last week of February because of the overwhelming number of stores that probably regained TRS. I hope they have resolved any problems and we can look forward to a smooth spring. Fingers crossed.

Has anyone else noticed that sales prices are creeping up? I have a range of prices but I don't usually ghave many things lower than $12.99. A few are small, multiple items that go for $4-6. I started listing higher priced items after about a year, when my "eye" had improved but the listings have been just sitting there. Staring back at me!! I don't know what the reason is but I'll take any sale that I can get. My upstairs heat pump just stopped working and I don't have a clue what is wrong or the cost to fix it. All of these recent super sales will go to staying warm.

Some recent sales

Vtg combat boots size 12...$75

And if you have swimsuits....list them now. I have sold 5 in March alone and 3 in February, and I sold several in January but I'm too lazy to go check to see how many. So list them when you get them because they aren't in stores yet and Spring Break is coming up.

And surprise..surprise I have been selling flannel pajamas. Several pair in the last few weeks. Everyone must be tired of the same old flannels and want something to spice things up.

OK...get back to listing. If you don't list you aren't allowed to shop. So list...list...list and stay well.

Monday, February 29, 2016

When I'm 64...will you still need me...will you still feed me?

Aren't birthdays wonderful!!?? Thanks Mom for getting me out in the world 4 minutes before midnight so that I have a birthday every year and not just leap year. Four times the gifts!!

If you are old enough to remember the Beatles song "When I'm 64" you probably thought you would never, ever reach that old number. When you are 15 you think that number is so far away. My how time flies when you are living life.

I did get a birthday card, of sorts, from Social Security. Never said Happy Birthday or anything but it did inform me that I could apply for Medicare in 3 months.

WHAT??? Medicare is for old name is on the envelope...must be a mistake...can't be for me...Medicare?

To quote a new movie title that I saw advertised recently:

 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Not making maximum profit

I've been watching a new seller who sells everything with free shipping. She gets most of her items from the GW by the pound outlet. She has only been selling full time for about 5-6 months.

I started watching her sales and her store when a fellow blogger recommended her approach to sales. She sells some great items, great brand names and she finds good stuff. She has a great style, photos look really good (better than mine) and she stages really well. From her shipping info I think that she could use some refinement. If you ship something poorely it reflect on how you perceive the item and therefore how the buyer will perceive the item when received. Wrap a piece of crap in tissue with a bow and it is still a piece of crap, but it looks nice!!

(Opinions are like a** holes....everyone has one and this is mine. No names and no store names please.)

This seller is selling good name brand items for what I think are way too low prices. But the kicker is free shipping. I agree with a lot of her prices but the free shipping is what I am having trouble with. If a skirt sells for $8.99 with free shipping that is not leaving much of a profit margin. I know, I know, ebay wants us to all do free shipping. Build the shipping into the sales price. I just can't bring myself to do it. As a seller, I just don't like free shipping. I do offer free shipping on occasion just because the number of similar items listed  all have free shipping. That's about the only time.

And the mark downs. If you list an item, a skirt for example, at $10.99 and it doesn't sell, then lower the price each week by $1 until it does sell then you end up selling very cheap. Look at the numbers for a hypothetical skirt that eventually sold for $8.99. I estimated that it was  purchased at the GW outlet for $.99 lb and weighed 8 oz. shipped. Shipping for 1-8oz would be the same so I assume it fell in there somewhere.

Sale price                      8.99
Shipping                        2.60
Paypal fee                       .56
Ebay fee, 9%                   .81
Cost of skirt                    .50
Poly mailer, label             .15
Total cost                      4.63
Profit                             4.36

I don't know about you but that is a lot of work for $4.36 profit. I know its almost half of the selling price.This isn't taking into account vehicle expenses, time, storage or any other fees. Just the actual cost of this one small item.

I think my time is worth more than this. The only way to make any money doing ebay this way is very large volume. Frankly, I don't think I could do business this way. My daily goal is $100. Most days I do this amount or pretty close. Some days I go over, most days not. But I would have to sell 25 items like the example above each and every day to make it worthwhile. Yesterday I sold one item at $19.99, purchased for $1. and shipping charged. I made a profit of $16.58 after fees. Imagine if I had sold one item for $4 profit.  I would be devastated. I would soon go under or burn out.

I don't mean to berate this ebay seller. I wish her all the luck.But my fear is that she will burn out fast and never know what hit her.She is working very hard with lots of sales but low dollar sales. I don't see the point of lowering listings every week when they don't sell. Customers who watch the store see what is happening and decide to wait until the price gets lowered before buying. Does lowering prices each week draw more buyers?

I want customers who buy now at the price I am asking. I set fair prices and I don't like to take less unless something has been sitting for 2 years, not 2 weeks.

Just my humble opinion. I hope the seller slows down and raises her prices and makes more money. Flame outs are never good.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Life Takes Over...Film at 11

No, I have not dropped off the face of the earth.
LIFE TAKES OVER...Film at 11

If things get really busy and I have to restructure things in the ebay selling world, the blog is the first thing to go. I type pretty fast, faster than my brain can organize thoughts most of the time. But sometimes other things are more important. Doctors appointments, groceries, laundry, vacations and stuff.

 I had been trying to get more of the dreaded "piles of stuff" listed and to list more each day. I was doing pretty good until I took off to Arizona on the 4th of February. After a week of hectic family activities it was good to get back home. But the routine was out of kilter. Thanks to the coughing lady on the plane, right next to me!!

The dry air of the Arizona desert was great but now I feel like a prune. I did get to see the grandson graduate from his Army special training and spend some time with him before being stationed in Korea. So it was well worth the trip. I even got a tattoo to celebrate. He got 3 or 4 before he left since they don't officially allow him to get tattoo's in Korea. I'm sure there are ways it is done, but not officially.He'll be gone two very long years and may be transferred more places before finally coming home.

December sales were fair. No big sales, just bread and butter stuff. Lots of boots, clothes and a few collectible items. January was really, really good. I had better sales, sold a big consignment item and overall made lots more than in December. I really needed it for the trip.

Do you take thrift vacations? I love them. My daughter and family drove to AZ from NC and it only took 3 days. Three long days. I got out a day early to get some thrifting in, make sure the room was ok, and generally be ready when they got there. My other daughter came out on Saturday so another run to the airport. But everything worked out great. My handsome soldier has graduated, grown up and shipped out. Kinda hard to let them go but he is ready. He and a couple of friends from training who will be stationed in the same camp were making plans on what to do with leave and where to go. I told my soldier to see and experience all he could because he probably won't be there again. Of course be very careful because if something did go wrong the Army would not want this angry grandma on the war path!!

This was an item I sold on consignment for a friend. I thought it would sell in December but no such luck. I had one offer in early January for $150, listed for $500, and I politely declined.(After I stopped laughing!!) My friend wanted at minimum $450. The first of February I woke up to an offer of $420 and counteroffered with $450 and it SOLD!!! Shipped to UK before I went on vacation and everything seems to be good. I checked and they had not received, still in customs. I'm crossing my fingers that it sticks.

All other sales have been really bread and butter stuff. No lows...just mediocre stuff.

I did find some great things on vacation and ended up bringing two huge suitcases back with about 80 lbs of stuff. Cowboy boots sure are heavy and bulky.
 For some reason this Brooks Bros trench coat with wool zip out lining was not priced. I wanted it so I took it to the check out and asked. It couldn't hurt. I ended up getting it for $9.56. I tried not to pass out at the cash register or jump and skip on the way to the car!!!
These boys were found at various thrifts in the Tucson area. A pair of Lucchese boots, a Nocoma exotic pair and a plain ole' pair of Red Wing Pecos boots. The Nocoma boots are some kind of snake skin. I can't decide if python or rattler. Haven't cleaned them yet.
Can't forget the girls and the guys who wear business attire. These youth, pink leather equestrian boots are Garnet Hill and the Johnston & Murphy loafers are brand spanking new.
This was an interesting find. I picked this up at the GW bins in Tucson. I know, I shouldn't have, but it was so darn cute.
A childs vintage straw cowboy hat. At first I thought the RR was Roy Rogers, but his name is usually always spelled out. And there is the big hint of an old steam engine with cowboys riding the cars and shooting at the Indians robbing the train. About as politically incorrect as you can get. I was amazed that this made it back in one piece. I packed it upside down in the middle of the suitcase and filled the hat with a dirty t shirt. No additional damage.

Now if I could just get over this creeping crud that I picked up on the plane from the generous lady in the next seat I could get back to work and list this stuff. Why do some people get on the plane and cough, cough and cough. She covered her mouth but I could still feel the air move everytime she coughed.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Those crazy offers....killing me!!

I have come to dread the message alert on ebay. I think its another question or an offer when I don't have an offer on an item.

Now, I don't mind offers. I sold something just recently from an offer on a pair of boots. The boots were $135 and I accepted an offer of $120 and we were both happy. Now I don't consider an offer of $50 and  free shipping on a heavy  item I have listed for $99, plus shipping, a reasonable offer. I got the same offer from the same person on two different days. Did she think I didn't notice that she had the same user name? Did she forget I already responded to her offer? I don't know. But the item is still for sale at $99 and there are others the same price, some higher and some lower.

I spend quite a bit of time trying to find just the right price for what I'm selling. I don't want to overprice or underprice an item. I check sold listings and current listing and try to find a happy balance. It makes it hard when sellers routinely list items with really high prices and then take 50% or more off the original price. Now, before you start writing those harsh responses I understand everyone has the right to price items as they see fit and to discount or not. It just seems like lately that a lot of sellers are going overboard with the 50% off and its killing me. And I understand it is better to put something on sale and sell it than to pull it and re-donate it. And I simply do not like free shipping. When I go to the post office someone has to pay for the's not free.

I need to make a sale just like everyone else but I also need to make a decent profit. I'm not talking about 1000% profit but a reasonable profit for my time and energy to get an item in front of the buyers. I know some sellers are able to get stuff at outlets and pound stores for next to nothing. I can't do that. My GW never runs sales, no color tags, no bulk sales, no discount of any kind. They had rather send it back to the warehouse than come down in price. The bulk store is 2.5 hours away, for the closest one. My GW's also don't have carts or customer bathrooms, but that's a whole other rant story. I do try and shop the local church thrifts but they are getting savvy and a lot of the bargains that I had been finding are not there anymore. You have to really look for the good stuff. Yes, I'm talking about you $2.50 Allen Edmonds shoes that sold for $100!!

Is it too much to ask sellers to price reasonably and not put everything at 50% off ? Don't get me started on free shipping. I will accept offers on items when the offer is reasonable but drop the price by 25-40% AND free shipping. Give me a break lady who wants those Disney scarves for next to nothing.

I've worked hard this past year to get educated to buy better stuff and my store is full of stuff that I think is better quality and therefore priced higher than last year at this time. Yet my sales for December are significantly lower than last December. This year I sold about 2/3 of what I sold last December. My sales for January and February were really good last year and I hope that is the case this year. I think...knock on wood... that I can get TRS back in January and if not I will get it in February.

Better merchandise should yield better sales? I don't know what else to do. Keep listing, and listing and getting things shipped as quickly as possible. I do know that losing TRS has something to do with sales being slow due to the search ranking.

But come on ebay, I'm starting to think about those theories. The dark, ebay is against me theories. I don't want to but I'm slipping to the dark side....hello Darth.