I am going to sound like such an old fuss bucket, but, remember when Ebay was..well..EBAY?! When it was FUN? When it was EASY? When it was…well..CHEAP?! When Ebay first launched it was the Internets very own garage sale site. Just folks in their pajamas like me, cleaning out their closets & garages to sell the inevitable accumulation of crap. Oh sure, some of it was not crap at all. There was good stuff out there! Lord knows I wouldn’t even own a pair of Uggs if not for Ebay! Wait, people consider Uggs as crap now, don’t they? Well, they were HOT! when I bought my pair which I do (yes!) still wear when it’s cold. (Shut up! It does TOO get cold here!)
The thing is, back then it was a great little site. No professionals. No “stores”. No “Buy It Now!” Not all those categories. And certainly it was easy as pie to list something yourself if you wanted to sell! In early 2006 I made my first foray into selling after finally deciding to thin out my purse pile. Some women are shoe whores, I’m a purse whore. And I had some very nice ones too. And I took care of them. I wiped them down with leather treatment whenever I was putting them away in their little sleeping bags after use. Kept them all warm and dry and snug in there. So they were in awesome condition and I remember each one sold for more than I had expected. I know I paid a percentage back to Ebay of course, but I also remember that listing the item was free – wasn’t it? Surely I was not limited to only one free photo?
Flash forward to yesterday when I’ve decided to clear out some more stuff. A few remaining purses & wallets that I haven’t used in over a year for sure and also venturing into selling some sports memorabilia, programs & maybe my record collection?
Well, one of the first things you notice when you sit down to do a little research into selling your item is that HOLY CRAP THERE”S A LOT OF STUFF OUT THERE!! Everyone on the planet is Ebay-ing now! No longer is it good enough to take a couple of pics of your item. No, you need to STAGE it to get it noticed. Those purses better be placed on a pure silk cloth with diamond encrusted lettering announcing it’s brand. The lighting better be model runway quality. I mean, these items need to be prepped like super stars for their photos! So at 10am yesterday I get started. Ninety minutes and dozens of photos AND several photo edits later and I think I am ready to load them into a listing. So I sign on to Ebay. Click on the Seller Tips section first to see if have a chance of getting my items seen in all the din. Ah – the Shipping tip section – excellent! I was wondering how much to charge for shipping. Of course they recommend that I offer FREE shipping to attract buyers, but um..NO…I’m not a professional or a Power Seller and I need my $5 for shipping dammit! Then I see an option to order free shipping boxes from the USPS. OK, that will save time & money so I surf on over to their site and spend 20 minutes signing up and choosing the right sized boxes. Then I hop on over to Paypal to make sure that account is updated/connected to Ebay/USPS for printing shipping labels. Now it’s lunch time so I take a break to eat a sandwich and check out some more listings to get an idea on pricing.
Now it’s 1pm and I still haven’t listed anything! OK, get started. Sell My Item – YES! First, select a category. Five menus later and I think I’ve found one that fits, but I’m thinking it could fit in about three others. No problem according to the listing page. Just add a second category (for a small fee of course). Skip that. Moving on now to your headline description. Limited to 55 characters. You want a subtitle so you can write more? Sure! (for a small fee of course). Now choose the basics which are miraculously still free – brand, new/used, color, size, style. Awesome, now we are getting somewhere. OK, now load the photos. First one is free! Sure you can load more (for a small fee per photo of course). Want a larger version of your photo to pop up when someone views the listing? Sure (for a small fee of course). How about a listing theme? You know,because it the detailed listing needs a lovely border around it (for a small fee of course). Then you have a couple of more actually free items to fill in. What kind of visitor counter should be displayed (if any) and then your full listing description – which really can be quite long so that at least has not changed! Now it is on to pricing. What would you like your starting bid to be? It can be anything you like! (for a small fee of course). Yes, the starting bid costs you. Upon clicking on the detail there I learned why so many sellers have starting bids of .01-.99 even if the item they are selling is easily worth a ton more. I’d go on to explain more but the fee for insertion and pricing guide there is so complex that it made my head spin and I just picked a price and moved on! There are also fees for listing it with a Buy It Now option. Sigh. Now choose your preferred payment method and how much you are going to charge for shipping and whether or not you accept returns and how THOSE will be handled if you do. Then finally – FINALLY – you can hit submit….and you see that before anything has even happened to owe Ebay close to $5 before the dang thing has even sold (they are still going to take 9% once it does sell). Yeah, FREE SHIPPING my ass! At 4:45pm I hit submit on my last item of the day. SIX whole items.
Next time I’m just going to have an old fashioned garage sale.