12 March 2012

Win Some, Lose Some

I have blogged before about the fact that I occasionally sell stuff on ebay. My relationship with ebay started off by accident when I offered to buy something rare for a friend who did not have a computer. It then progressed into selling when Kay was going on a school World Challenge trip to Latin-America. World Challenge stipulated that part of the challenge was that she had to fund the trip by her own means and I stretched that condition loosely into selling off some old toys and clothes for her on ebay to provide extra funds. I got quite good at judging the kind of things that would sell and the level of pricing (not too high to scare people off and not too low to secure a bit of profit). The purchase of a cheap digital weighing scale for my study meant I could weigh things exactly and accurately calculate the correct postage in advance before I typed the advert. I quite enjoyed doing this. I think it appealed to the hidden entrepreneurial spirit in me. I also used to love helping out on the Christmas Gift Stall at Kay's old school and always felt extremely bereft when the end of the Fete came and my sales help was over for another year. Selling was obviously in my blood.

Recently I have been sorting through/clearing out storage boxes in the cellar and unearthed loads of Kay's abandonned toys.... enough Polly Pocket houses to construct a whole street; a whole classroom of Barbie dolls; more Barbie clothes than at London Fashion Week; toddler games that would make the whole 2-week Olympic Games look boring. You name it.... she must have been the most spoilt child in the world (although every time she had a birthday party under the age of 8, she used to invite nearly the whole class, so ended up with a lot of small presents from that era!)

My ebay sales (£3 here and £5 there) soon added up. Now I know many of you are going to say that it would be easier just to give it all away to charity shops and I do give a lot away, but, as I say, I enjoy the thrill of watching things sell, the price mount at the auction, the wrapping up and the knowledge that they are going to a good home. I imagine the Barbies in their new home in Cardiff or my mother's vintage crocodile handbag in Chester or the jigsaw puzzle in Southampton or the board game in the Highlands of Scotland. I've even recently sent an item to China and another to Russia. I know they are going to be useful to someone specific as opposed to a nameless person at a charity shop.

This last fortnight I managed to make about £80. I was feeling so pleased with myself and had been musing what luxury to spend my little fortune on. All sorts of ideas sprang to mind and it was a struggle to decide which one was best. Then two days ago, the dog and I jumped into the car to drive to our nearest park for a walk. I turned the key in the ignition. The car coughed and spluttered and made a sort of death rattle sound. I tried again. This time just a squeak and a sigh. To be honest, I think the sigh might have come from me: from the car there was absolutely nothing, nada, zilch. To cut a long story short, one AA man (Automobile Association not Alcoholics Anonymous!!) arrived later to confirm my worst fears - the battery was as dead as a dodo. He managed to get the ignition started for me and I limped over to my nearest car part supplier who put in a new battery for me. The price? £82.

That was the bad news. The good news? The battery was the original one that the car manufacturer had put in 13 years ago when it was made. Both the AA man and the car part shop were amazed the battery had lasted so long. With any luck, this new one will see out the car for as long as I need it. Otherwise I'm going to have to start selling a heck of a lot more on ebay!


Kelloggsville said...

I don't believe it! Last week I sold a load of daughters old clothes on ebay and spent the proceeds on a new car battery!!! What a coincedence!

Nota Bene said...

There's something odd going on here. As I've never seen Kellogsville and you in the same room I suspect you may be one and the same. Just FYI, I didn't need to buy a new battery, so I am confident that we three are not one and the same

Furtheron said...

He provideth and he taketh away - something like that, my Mum used to say that.

Glad it was the correct AA that turned up - if my lot had come over you'd be in a lot more trouble by now, first they'd have drunk you out of tea, taken the entire car to bits - well one would whilst the other 2 or 3 offered words of advice... when it was clear that it was definitely broken you'd have got into the "I remember when old smoker Joe's car broke down on the way to the convention in Wales in 1992 we got a tow from a cow"... etc. then about time that it was clear they had to get home they'd have said "Really you need to call someone who really knows how to fix this you know"

Ellen said...

The 'Gremlins' always seem to know when there is an unaccounted for windfall waiting for a good home. Most annoying, but how satisfying to know that you made that money all by yourself. I admire your entrepreneurial spirit.

Anonymous said...

Your post made me laugh, Addy, AA (not alcoholics anonymous)!! I guess it's sod's law isn't it.

But hey, you should be proud that you made the money in the first place - it did save you £80 in effect because you could have just given the stuff away. I think it's a great idea to sell your stuff like that. Here's to a very successful and fruitful year of clearing out!

CJ x

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

You have done well on ebay Addie. I have also sold some unwanted articles and have to admit it does get a bit tedious but I am thinking about having another stab at it. All funds are going into a savings account towards our hoped for trip to New Zealand to see step daughter and family. A x

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