Becoming Ebay's Beeatch - 04.12.99

Just about a month ago, I decided to take the plunge and register at Ebay. Until that point, it was one of those things that I had stayed away from simply because everyone else was doing it, but in the end the lure was too great. Sure, I had browsed around the site on occassion looking for things (and not really finding too much in the way of deals), but all-of-a-sudden it hit me and I had to register.

I had been looking at it all the wrong way before. Instead of being the person who was in an overpriced bidding war with someone over something that really wasn't worth all that much, I decided I would be a purveyor of stuff myself. I would peddle some goods on Ebay and see how I came away from it.

The main convincer was a friend of mine (a good, good friend) who had recently sold two patches on the auction services site for 36 dollars. Yes, you read that correctly. She had 2 small screen-printed patches from a small Chicago band who had since broken-up. She put the items up thinking she could get 5, maybe 7 dollars if she were lucky, but eventually the bidding rose to 36 freaking dollars. Need I mention again that it was for two small canvas patches?

Anyway, thus marks the fun of auctioning your stuff on Ebay. Not only is it addicting as hell to check in on items on a regular basis (my friend found herself checking the page several times a day to see if anyone had bid), but if you get lucky and some people go buck-wild bidding, you can stand to make a fair chunk of cash from it all.

Looking through my music collection, I found several things that I could easily part with, and the weekend that I was going to put everything up, I found a couple CD's in a bin at a store that I thought might go as well. For the first round, I decided to limit my simultaneous auctions to 5 to keep things easy, and also just to sort of get a handle on how the whole process worked.

After putting everything up at the site late one Saturday night, I went home anxious with what I might find when I went back to work on Monday.

When I got in and checked the auctions in the morning, 4 out of the 5 had been bid on, and one of them several times. Given what I had paid for the CD's, I was already turning a modest profit, and I still had several days to go.

Like any new thing, the attraction faded a bit toward the end of the week and I got so I only checked the bids on my auctions once a day. By the following Monday when I came into work, I would know how everything had turned out and what my next step was in the whole process.

When I checked my e-mail after the weekend, I found exactly what I had hoped for, but really didn't think would happen. All my auctions had gone up, and one of them had totally burst through the roof. In the end, 5 CD's that I had paid a total of 10 dollars for ended up selling for just over 60. I was revved.

I sent out e-mails to everyone who had won and they sent me back respective addresses and told me payment would be on route.

As each payment arrived, I dropped another package in the mail, until today I finally sent off the last of my items. Even after paying off my fee to Ebay for hosting the auctions (about 4 dollars), I turned a decent little profit and had quite a bit of fun.

Sure, I couldn't make a living off of it, but there was something really fun about mailing off music to people I don't even know (one was even in the UK) knowing they'll get a lot more enjoyment out of it than I did. It didn't take a whole lot of time on my part setting everything up and mailing stuff out and I even made a little cash.

I've heard stories about people getting ripped-off by others on Ebay, but since I've decided to limit myself only to selling, I don't even have to worry about that factor (if someone doesn't pay for the item they win the bidding on, I just don't send it). Besides, there really aren't that many good deals to be had because there are so many people looking at the site that it makes it nearly impossible to come away with a huge deal.

I guess that just about brings me to the end of this story. For all of the above, I say "hurrah Ebay." Even though one day my friends and I were looking around on the site and found a guy selling a pair of his used, strained underwear, I still think it's pretty darn cool. Besides, if someone is stupid enough to bid on them, far be it for me to stop them.