Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cracking a Case - Solving the Mystery of eBay

by Deb Baker

The plotline in my first doll collecting mystery, Dolled Up For Murder, involves internet intrigue and on-line auctions. I had such fun learning about eBay sales that I decided to sell something at the site. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m into the learn-to-be-organized book, Sink Reflections, but there are some things I can’t bring myself to throw away or give away. But maybe I could part with them for cold cash.

The setup wasn’t too complicated. The folks at eBay don’t want to make the site difficult for users to buy and sell, which is good business sense. Within minutes, I had an account with another user id and password to try to remember. My husband took a picture of my blue hobnail epergne – a centerpiece consisting of a sculpted blue dish with three flutes jutting out from the center. It had never graced our table, had been packed away so long I forgot about it until now.

I had second thoughts about parting with my treasure, searched my memory for a valid reason to repack it, couldn’t think of a single one, so I forced myself over to the computer. The listing was kind of fun. More research to determine its category and a reasonable price based on other listed epergnes. I came close to bidding on one, but caught myself in time.

I added a reserve (the lowest bid I would accept), downloaded the photo, wrote a catchy description, and clicked the completion button. Now all I had to do was wait for the bids to come in.

Nothing happened for two days.

Then a few bids. Then a private email for a bidder. “Please tell me the reserve so I can bid it.” What to do? Why not? The auction still had a few days to go (I’d decided on 7 days). Maybe someone else would get into the action. I emailed back. The reserve amount popped on the listing. Cool. I rubbed my hands together with glee. Getting into it, adrenaline starting to flow, anticipating the end.

The finale was anticlimactically. No one else bid. My epergne sold at reserve price, at the lowest I would accept, which wasn’t that bad. But I forgot about a few things, like the box and the bubble wrap, and packaging it so it wouldn’t break. I had remembered to include postage but hadn’t calculated it correctly, so there went some more profit.

But I still had a nice little chunk of change I wouldn’t have had if it was still taking up space in my attic. And I experienced the rush of my first eBay auction. I need more of that feeling and I need it now. I’m heading back to the attic. I’m going to strip it clean. And when I’m done there, I’m going to start on the basement, and then….

eBay, I love you.


Camille Minichino said...

How inspiring, Deb. Thanks to you, I've met the Flylady and learned what an epergnes is (even got some images from Google). Not only that, my copy of Goodbye, Dolly has arrived. It's a Baker day, and I'm quite content!

Linda O. Johnston said...

I'm impressed, Deb. I've wanted to learn how to use eBay but haven't given it a try yet. Glad it worked out.