It was some weeks before Kat could arrange a day with Tiffany for their eBay adventures. Meanwhile, Kat drove around with her guilty secret still in the boot of her car. Those fishing magazines and empty perfume boxes which hadn’t sold at the market were a sad reminder of her financial pain.
The stress of juggling her credit card balance and paying interest when she hadn’t even bought anything to show for the money that was pouring out made Kat more impatient with Bill than usual.
Then one day, as she was headed home from the library (where else could she get a free book?), she noticed that someone had put a bunch of perfectly good things out on their lawn with a sign that read “Free to a good home”. She couldn’t believe her luck.
Suddenly she saw the answer to her financial woes. She would take this free stuff and sell it on eBay, along with her fishing magazines and perfume boxes. The day when Tiffany was due to tutor her on eBay couldn’t come fast enough. Kat’s mind whirled with the many possibilities. If this strategy of hers worked, she could see herself with a steady stream of acquisitions and sales, leading to more acquisitions.
Tiffany was happy to spend a day with grandma on a new project. It wasn’t baking, like she would prefer, but it would be fun. Kat explained the plan and Tiffany was dubious but willing to try. She’d never tried to sell anything on eBay, or buy for that matter. She was more of an Amazon girl. But how hard could it be?
After a nice lunch on the back porch they started. Kat already had an eBay account, naturally. The next step was “create a listing”.
“OK, grandma, what are you selling? And how much do you want for it?” asked Tiffany.
And here’s where they hit the first stumbling block. Kat knew what she wanted to sell – old fishing magazines, empty perfume boxes and the things she picked up on the side of the road. They were an IKEA side table, a full set of Encyclopaedia Brittanica and a kids’ bike. But Kat didn’t yet know how much she should list them for. She was aware that whatever price she listed them for would be the bottom dollar. Surely there would be a bidding war. But what would be the best reserve price?
She and Tiffany started their research. Someone else was selling old fishing magazines at 10 for $30. That sounded ok to her. Until, that is, Tiffany pointed out that the sale was ending today and there were no bids. Something similar happened with the perfume boxes. Further research took them down an internet rabbit hole. When Kat looked up from her keyboard, the sun was setting and Kylie was ringing the doorbell, ready to take Tiffany home again.
Not one listing had been made, and they hadn’t even started taking photographs of the items, or writing about the selling features. Tiffany suggested, “Grandma, there are people you can pay to do your eBay listings for you. Maybe you should try that?”
That’s what Kat did next. She read through many sellers’ listings and was aghast that they charged so much commission. All they had to do was sit by the computer and wait for people to bid. Why would they charge 50% commission for that? Finally, she settled on one seller who charged “only” 40% of the final sale price, and she sent them an email.
In the email she included a photo of each item, a brief description and the price she expected for each. She upped her initial expectations to reflect the commission she’d have to fork out.
The seller’s response was prompt. “I’m sorry to inform you that your price expectations are unrealistic. In general, the items you describe sell for less than half the amount you want. With my fees included, it’s unlikely you’ll make any money.”
Kat was incensed. Her stuff was good. Her things were valuable. How could this so-called “expert” not see that? She wrote back to plead her case.
Another answer came quickly. “If you insist on listing those items, I will have to charge a flat fee for my time, because I know they won’t sell. I can’t charge a commission on $0.”
It was another day wasted, and Kat still had a car boot full of things she wanted to sell.
Bill called out from the back door. “Kat, I think I’ll give your car a wash and vacuum.”
For a moment Kat didn’t process the implications of this. Then as she heard the “pop” sound of her car boot opening, she jumped to her feet and ran to intercept him. She found him peering quizzically at the bulging contents. “Where did all this come from?” he asked.
“Oh, oh, that’s just some stuff I promised to take from the op shop to Maryanne’s house.”
“But these are the same old fishing magazines I tried to throw out years ago. What does Maryanne want with them?”
“Oh Maryanne’s a terrible hoarder!”
Catch up on all the past Adventures of Kat here.