the new awesome

whatever we are blogging about, that's the new awesome

Sunday, September 10, 2006

eBay Challenge is the new awesome

Sometimes you like to take a Saturday morning and combine all of your favorite things:

a) rules
b) garage sales
c) making millions
d) hanging out with emily cox

Hense, eBay Challenge. The idea is to hit up a series of local garage sales looking for deals, then go home afterwords and immediately put them up for sale on eBay. You choose categories in which to compete (we chose: apparel, accessories, and housewares) and whoever makes the largest percent increase from the items sold, is declared the winner! (and you keep the cash afterwords)

I called upon Emily, who is one of the few people I feel has the style sense (and desire) for sifting around dirty piles of second-hand items.

This was going to be a serious competition.

Garage sales are great because bargining is allowed (and encouraged) and the price point is usually lower than in thrift stores. We stuffed our pockets with one dollar bills to maximize our bargining power. Then we went to work.

The funny thing about going garage sale shopping near the Castro is that sometimes you get all excited and reach for a Flash Gordon record, and dont even realize that there is also a big pile of gay photos/movies right where you are reaching. Just mixed in with all the other stuff. You would be amazed at how many times that happened during this trip (only the really tasteful one pictured here, dont worry mom.)

Em and I are both seasoned second-hand junkies, so we shared and perfected a few key garage sale scoring techniques:

The Bird in the Hand
Ask how much an item is. If it does not sound like a fair price to you, raise an eyebrow and put the item down. Walk away if you want to make things really dramatic. Eventually return to the item, and pull out the exact amount of money that you would like to pay for the item. Hand it to the seller, waving it in their face if you would like, as if to say 'take it or leave it.' Since most people at garage sales would prefer to just have the cash in hand than hassle with bargining with you any more, many times they will take whatever you offer them, as long as it is still reasonable.

The Bait and Switch
When you find an item that you really like, don't ask the price for it right away. Instead, pick up a similar item and ask the price for that. When they tell you the price, look offended and put the item down. Then, take the item that you actually want to purchase, show it to the seller in an off-hand way and say "okay, well how much for this one?" Many times they will come down in price for you because they could tell that you didn't like the first price offered. Little do they know, you didn't even want the first one!

The Lump Sum
For a seller, even better than selling one thing to you is selling five things to you. If you want to purchase several things from a seller, often you can get away with bringing a big pile of stuff to them and saying "I will give you X amount for the whole pile." They take it. They do.

So, after employing these tactics and hitting up all sorts of garage sales, this is what we came home and stuck on eBay:
Up for auction, Em has some super cute vintage Scotty Dog hankies($1), a classic American Apparel Ringer tee ($1), some pre-cut quilt squares that someone spent a lot of time sewing and ironing (FREE!).
Her total investment: a mere $2.

I am selling some Camper sandals ($5), a cute Le Tigre polo shirt ($1), and an old Jack Daniel's tin ($1). I obviously focused on brand name recognition, but my initial investment was a little higher, AND i paid more for extra photos.
My total investment: $7.

Both solid contenders with different strategies. Who is going to be the winner of our Ebay Challenge? Results in on Saturday, Sept 16.


  • At 11:25 PM, Blogger emily said…

    R. Gholdston is SOOO going down. Wait, am i allowed to buy my own stuff ? ;)

  • At 11:28 PM, Blogger bex said…

    no, emily. that would kind of defeat the purpose.

    And, um. I already have someone bidding on my shoes.

  • At 12:08 AM, Blogger Aluwicious said…

    I might have to bid on those hankerchiefs. People make fun of me for carrying one around but they always come in handy. I could use to colored ones.

  • At 6:42 AM, Blogger Tyler said…

    Results are in on September 9th? I applaud you, Rebecca, for having the balls to make me go back in time to find out who wins.

  • At 9:57 AM, Blogger bex said…

    i secretly want to buy those hankies from emily as well. but that would be like shooting myself in the foot. because i am taking this challenge VERY seriously.

    trash talking section:
    UPDATE. I have 9 people watching those CAMPER sandals already. And 3 watching the le tigre shirt. Boo-yah!

  • At 12:31 PM, Blogger aaron d.w. said…

    i'm glad that it's based on percentage increase of the cost of the items. were the campers worth the $5, rebecca?

  • At 12:50 PM, Blogger bex said…

    ha ha. even after reading your comment, tyler, i didnt realize til right now that i had listed the wrong date. sheesh.

    and aaron? only time will tell. the $5 campers were a risky investment, so let's see if they have the selling power i was banking on. we might need your math skills to figure out winning percentages when all is said and done.

  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger aaron d.w. said…

    fine. but i better get the fields medal for this. after all, that russian doesn't seem to want it.

  • At 2:04 PM, Blogger emily said…

    Mo Trash taking:
    Mwahahahahahaha! Rebecca! You have no hope. As any good mathematician will tell you, since I paid nothing for the quilt squares, if i sell them for ANYTHING I will have an infinity type of increase.

    Evil plots are my specialty

  • At 10:07 PM, Blogger veeda said…

    the winner is welcome to cupcakes at my house. you can use your eBay profits on a plane ticket.


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