Saturday, April 23, 2005

Do you know what you actually have?

I frequent a certain popular (most of the time) online auction site that provides no end of amusement to me. Why is it that some folk are so certain about what they are listing -- regardless of whether they are remotely close to identifying an item correctly or not? Have you noticed how many "hard to find" or "super rare" things come up when you do a search? I was looking for some odd, small item and the search for it brought up 60-70 of them ranging from $3 to $50 (those $50 ones were the "super rare" ones). Apparently some folk can't take 2 minutes to search the auction site to see if anyone else has actually listed the same item and see what it's selling for. Marketing 101 anyone? Then again, maybe there are enough people who believe the descriptions and just buy the stuff without verifying it themselves. d-;

Sometimes it feels to me like we're in such a hurry we can't be bothered with accuracy anymore. I collect lace of various types and vintages. There is a fair amount of information available online for identifying lace. The lack of two minutes worth of search to attempt to verify what kind of lace they will be trying to sell is obvious when you see the picture. There are instances when there are no bidders because the listing is so obviously off. I sometimes manage to find real bargains. I do periodically find myself sending a seller information about their item. I figure there are people who probably charge for that service but folks don't seem to be making a killing on their online auctions for the most part (at least those I know who are doing it part-time or trying to rid their houses of overload). (Google that item before listing it!)

Of course, there are also wonderful books to help identify myriad items one might want to sell. Many of them available at your local library. (-- hmmm, do people go to the library anymore with book prices ridiculously low in some cases from online used book sellers?)

Speaking of used book sellers...

My husband and I sell used books from time to time in online auctions and also have our own meager website. Sometimes it's hard to sell a book when it might push us below our cost to acquire the title. This happens periodically when someone online at auction or listing with a used book consolidator has the darned title listed for 0.99. We still enjoy doing it. We pick up loads of books to read first then resell. Luckily, if you watch your inventory closely and don't spend too much on it, one or two good titles can pay for a batch of boxes that will have 50 titles not worth more than 0.25-0.99 each. Then there are the titles you pick up for next to nothing only to find out they are listing for $50 or more -- but, that's only good if there are actual buyers for it at the price everyone seems to be listing it for.

(We have a title like that around right now. It's an inocuous fiction novel that was published in the 1970's. There it was in a box of 40 books we paid $10 for. The listed price from the usual online used book sellers ranges from $185 - $721... get real!! I've seen it listed by the same sellers every time I do the search. I have a copy but, what is someone really willing to pay for it? In fact, I think more copies of this book have come onto the used sellers market recently-- almost all listed at $185-198. So, doesn't that indicate it is less scarce than people thought? I'd like to get $200 for it too but I seriously doubt someone is going to pay me that much. Maybe I'll list mine at $125 and skew the market. They'll be getting a better copy than some listed at $185 -- ours isn't Ex-Library -- and I'll be able to buy a couple more $10 boxes of books. ;-)

Okay, off the soap box for tonight.

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