Monday, June 30, 2008

Should You Report eBay Deadbeats?

I've heard that ever since buyers figured out sellers can't leave them negative feedback ratings due to eBay's May 12th policy changes, there's been an increase in non-paying buyers (NPBs) and late-payers. However, sellers are fearful of what filing UPIs (unpaid item reports) might do to their DSR ratings, which have a powerful impact on their bottom line.

read more | digg story

Friday, June 27, 2008

Seller’s Story : Why we’re quitting eBay

"It is with much regret we are leaving the site. It has been a decision made over a period of time but when we did some number crunching again this month it became much easier to bring down the final hammer. With the lower turnover we were now doing it means the that the latest changes to feedback have put our business at the mercy of what could be a few vindictive buyers or competitors. We are not prepared to keep going any longer under these conditions."

read more | digg story

Flea markets everywhere and on the air! Too many now?

There have been a bunch of new flea markets opening in our area recently, and none of them (so far) are big attractions. Let's see... In the last few months, we’ve had new ones crop up in Moosup, Central Village, Foster, RI, Dayville, and most recently in Putnam.

I do think Putnam has potential. Allen’s on Rt. 101 in Dayville seems to have a chance and my guess is that he’ll be there with a few good dealers through this summer at least...

No official announcement has come out of Danny’s Auction Barn in Foster, RI, but it’s not looking too promising over there on Sunday mornings. Their new flea market launched back in April. People were stopping by, but with fewer than 10 dealers each week, it’s not turning out to be a destination for a day trip.

With the economy in the dumps, it would seem reasonable that more people would be shopping secondhand. But are there too many new endeavors within a few miles of each other?

Without enough dealers participating, it can be difficult for new flea markets establish a regular stream of customers. Without a regular stream of customers, dealers are hesitant to invest the time and money required to set up on a weekly basis.

Or, how about a different approach?

If you like country music, you may have caught WCTY’s Sunday Morning Radio Flea Market on the radio Sunday mornings from 7-10 am. The show can be heard the dial at 97.7. Listeners can hear callers seeking buyers for anything from campers to used cars to old wood stoves! If you get tired of driving around, you might want to tune in. It’s free to announce your wares on the air if you have something to sell, and it’s interesting to listen to while you’re driving around from Plainfield to Dayville, to Putnam, to Foster!

On the other hand...

Looks like it will be a great weekend for yard sales!

Check it out:
I just added these links to my sidebar (on the right) so you can easily reference up-to-date yard and garage sale listings each week!

Eastern CT:

Rhode Island:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bidding for a bridesmaid? What a creative way to pay for a wedding!

Kelly Gray, a Virginia Beach bride came up with a creative idea to help defray the cost of her upcoming wedding. She posted an eBay auction for a bridesmaid. Her auction pulled in 23 bids, topping at $5,700.

Turns out, the winning bidder was a guy! But he was a representative of Dr Pepper Snapple Group. He told Kelly the beverage company wouldn’t be honoring their $5,700 bid. Instead, they wanted to make a donation of $10,000 for her wedding and supply all of the beverages.

Before the auction idea came about, Kelly, a hairdresser with a 1-year-old daughter, planned with her roofer finance to spend $7,000 on the event. They would make ends meet by baking their own cake, and using an iPod instead of a D J.

Kelly’s story has since received media attention from MSNBC and The New York Times. She gets a wonderful celebration for her marriage, and the beverage company gets lots of publicity!

Click here to view the eBay listing.

NY Times Story:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Painting left at Maryland Goodwill auctions for $40,000

An old painting dropped off at a rural Maryland Goodwill store turned out to be a work by a French Impressionist. And now, thanks to the sharp eye of a store employee, the charitable organization is $40,000 richer.

The Parisian street scene, left at the store in March along with daily donations of pots, pans, old clock radios and other items, turned out to be a work by Edouard-Leon Cortes, probably from the early 20th century.

If the owner of the painting wants the money, he or she may be out of luck. Goodwill says it doesn’t keep track of donors. Donations, meanwhile, are gifts that are considered legal and final transactions.

read more | digg story

The bargain that wasn't... My new microwave won’t shut off!

I thought I had found a bargain earlier this week at Home Depot. There were two items I needed that the store offered at great prices. One was a backyard gas grill. At $49, it serves my purposes, brand new in the box too. (Just need a tank now!)

The other thing I needed was a microwave. The store had a small one on sale, also priced at $49. Not bad. But then I noticed a bigger model with more features up on a top shelf. It had a sticker on it, “Damaged”.

If you read my haggling story from last month, you know that Home Depot will routinely discount damaged or flawed items. (And sometimes perfect items as well -- if you ask!)

Okay... So I looked over the microwave. On the back corner, the casing was dented. Otherwise, it appeared to be fine. Hmmm... I thought it was good enough. Larger, with more features... I can live with the dent in the back. It was loaded into my cart and lugged home.

My son, Ryan, 19, was visiting later that evening. He’s a great kid, and always willing to give me a hand with whatever needs to be done around the house. I gave him my handyman list of to-dos, which included assembling my new grill and helping me to find the best spot in the kitchen for the new microwave. As I looked over the paperwork that came with it, Ryan plugged it in. As soon as it was fed electricity, it was running at full power — without having been turned on. We hit the ‘clear’ button and another we thought might stop it, but to no avail. I went through the manual, again and again. The only way to stop it was to open the door and/or unplug the thing.

One might think if the store is selling a damaged item, that it would still be in good working order as far as function is concerned. Today my own to-do list includes trying to return my new “damaged” microwave. It wasn’t such a great bargain after all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Putnam Flea Market off to quiet start

On Sunday I decided to check out Putnam’s new flea market. There was a steady stream of traffic going in and out despite the impending rain. The setting is gorgeous! Dealers were set up in a lot with shady trees and the water just beyond that. On the other side is an old mill.

There weren’t a lot of dealers though... Maybe a dozen or so. However, their displays included an interesting assortment of unusual items, a pretty eclectic mix of merchandise -- mostly antiques. Nicely done. I just wish there was more of it!

My stop was brief for another reason as well. My 4-year-old daughter spotted a vintage toy that I was not going to buy for her amusement, and she put up a fuss... That always means time to go.

Shortly afterwards, the sky opened and rain poured! I hope everyone was able to pack up quickly enough.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Drivers Log 30 Billion Fewer Miles in US Since Last November

A recent report states that Americans have cut back 30 billion miles of driving over the last six months. The drop was measured between November 2007 - April 2008, and is the largest change in driving since the fuel crisis of 1979-1980. With fuel prices looking to stay high, it may represent permanent change in the way Americans think about travel .

read more | digg story

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Putnam's new flea market - It's not so typical!

An article in today’s Norwich Bulletin makes the announcement: Flea market ready to roll in Putnam. You can bet I’ll be there to check it out. I first announced this project a month ago, and there’s much more in the works than the article mentions.

Greg Renshaw is an interesting man — and certainly a man with vision. Putnam’s newest business venture shouldn’t be confused with your average flea market. It’s not slated to be what you might imagine with table after table of old stuff piled on, just a stop short of the dump. Greg’s vision includes not only the sale of secondhand goods (dealers as well as individuals are welcome to sell), but also a unique display of architectural elements, an eclectic assortment of movie props, plus an area showcasing an array of one-of-a-kind vehicles — including planes & boats!

Even if you’re not a flea market enthusiast, it’s definitely worth a visit -- if only to see firsthand what new ideas are happening in our typically Quiet Corner.

Check it out on Sunday. The flea market is located in the area of downtown Putnam at Cargill Falls, 58 Pomfret Street. Hours are 8 am to 3 pm, to be held every Sunday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Frustrated sellers have nothing to say when eBay buyers back out

This morning I came across a blogger voicing frustrations about eBay's recent changes in feedback. Her husband was selling a motorcycle on the site, and their 'buyer' backed out of the deal after winning the auction. A winning bid creates a contract, and rightfully, the buyer should be required to make payment and complete the deal.

Frustration was amplified for this couple in that after getting the run-around from the buyer, they were left unable to post negative feedback.

I had a similar experience last week. I sold an outdoor fire pit to a woman who purchased it through eBay's 'Buy-It-Now' for a Father's Day gift. This was the Tuesday before Father's Day. After being invoiced, payment never arrived. On top of that, she resides outside the US. Finally, I received an email from her over the weekend stating that because the package would not have arrived in time for her to give it to her father on Sunday, she decided to instead purchase another one locally.

That's nice. She has a '1' for feedback. I won't be the one to give her number a '2'. But I also cannot report on my experience in dealing with this buyer in any public manner.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How to get your Free eBook: The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Successful eBay Selling

An eBay selling coach is offering a FREE eBook for stay-at-home Moms. Selling on eBay is a great solution for extra income because it can be done by most anyone to develop another income stream for the household. Moms in general love the idea because their kids are constantly outgrowing clothes and toys, and eBay gives them a way to recoup some of the expense of those items.

To get yours, click here:

read more | digg story

Recycling freebies: A creative method of making ends meet

At a dinner party over the weekend, I had an interesting conversation with a a young couple. After talking about my blog, the wife told me about a creative strategy they use in conjunction with Craigslist to help make ends meet.

For those who may not be familiar with Craigslist, it's an online classified ad site. Listing and browsing are completely free of charge.

This couple has a new baby and they both work, so they've got to be incredibly busy. But whenever there's a chance, they scour over Craigslist's 'Free' category, and look for anything they suspect has a resale value.

Then they resell it. In most cases, all they do is take a clear photograph, write up a detailed description, and repost the same item in the appropriate category, right back on Craigslist.

Not a bad idea really, for anyone who has the time and is willing to put forth the effort.

I'm sure there are people who may be moving who need to unload still-usable goods quickly. Or how about a family wrapping up an unsuccessful yard sale? Although donation is a better solution for most, many charitable organizations send out trucks to certain areas only a few times a month.

Posting a Craigslist ad for a freebie can be a better option than placing something on the curbside. Your giveaways will get far more exposure. However, use caution, as there's always the chance of attracting undesirables. Your neighbors may not appreciate it.

In any event, unless there are huge "FREE" signs along with your goods, many passers-by will hesitate to take advantage of your public offer.

Coincidentally, on Saturday afternoon, I scored a neat find for my 4-year-old when I saw one of those signs. I followed a yard sale posting in the afternoon, but by the time we arrived, the sale had ended and everything was placed at the end of a driveway with the big "FREE" sign. Katie squealed with excitement as she spotted the Little Tykes washer and dryer set immediately. She was lucky my trunk was empty! The set was clean and in great shape.

Better than throwing away usable items, offering free goods is definitely an option to consider. Good can come of it. Your efforts could brighten the day of a little girl or even provide a way for a young couple to raise funds make ends meet!

When it meets a need, curbside freebies are always great to come by!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cheap SUVs creating big profit for some

People are making money off of SUVs by buying vehicles at cut rate prices in the US and selling them to people in Central and South America, where gas is cheap and big trucks are in high demand. 2007 Ford F150 US purchase price: $9,000. South America sale price: $18,000. Shipping: $2,200. Profit: $6,800.

read more | digg story

To bid or not to bid: Buying at auction with friends

It’s not uncommon for regular auction-goers to strike up friendships with other attendees. And oftentimes, groups of friends will plan an evening out to attend an auction together. It’s an enjoyable time and interesting to exchange opinions about an item’s worth when it’s up on the block.

But what happens when an item comes up at auction that both you and your friend would like to own?

I’ve seen friends outbid each other in a frenzy -- usually with boisterous laughter -- all in a sense of good, competitive fun.

But more often, I’ve noticed friends refrain from bidding at all once they’ve realized who they’re bidding against.

Here’s my approach: If I’ve invited someone to come along with me to the auction, I’ll back off and let them bid. Just being gracious. Since I attend frequently, it’s more likely that I’ll come across a similar bargain offered at another time. No point in driving the price up.

But if it’s someone I’m friendly with who regularly attends the auction I’m bidding against, every item is fair game.

I've occasionally had the experience of someone taking offense when I bid against them. I don’t understand that reaction. We’re all there to participate, and competitive bidding shouldn’t be taken personally. We all know the rules, and bidding is what we’re there to do. Whoever is willing to pay more, wins. If I’m not willing to pay as much, then that item is not so valuable to me... Let’s play!

Here’s another interesting observation about bidding: Couples can be entertaining to watch.

It works both ways, but more often, the husband is the bidder and the wife is the nudger. If he gets up to go to the bathroom or snack bar, she’ll bid on her own.. and with greater frequency! Husbands too. When the wife isn’t in the next seat to him, he’ll buy a lot more — usually for stuff that ends up in the garage. It’s funny; especially when the auctioneer makes public notice of it!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Selling stuff on eBay? IRS wants its cut

The Internet has turned into the fastest and easiest method of turning unwanted items into a quick — sometimes desperately needed — few bucks or more. But experts and government officials warn that although the treasure is for the selling and the extra dough is for the getting, it's not all for the keeping.

read more | digg story

It was a busy weekend for resale

The weekend was a busy one for yard salers. In spite of the intense temperatures, people sat out with their goods and others stopped to shop. Top pick of the weekend was Colchester’s 27th annual Tag Sale on the Green, which was held on Sunday. It was a huge success.

In news up north, Allen’s Auction Hall is trying something new. Over the weekend, owner Allen Bourdia and his wife had tables set up inside and out -- along with a few dealers -- at the auction hall on Route 101 in Dayville. People were stopping. Added to that, there was a giant tag sale set up directly across the street at a private home, and another just a few houses down the street. Allen said he plans to continue the indoor/outdoor flea market on weekends throughout the summer months.

Last week, word was out among auction-goers that Allen’s auctions were ending and that a flea market would take place instead. However the Auction-Zip Web site does list weekend general merchandise auctions for this Saturday and Sunday at 5 pm on their online calendar.

For more information, contact:

Allen Bourdia
169 Hartford Pike
Dayville, CT 06241

Phone: (860) 779-2444

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

For sellers, new eBay policies require shifting strategies

A bit of advice from the Creative eBay Selling Newsletter...

If you've been paying even slight attention to eBay lately, you've seen several changes.

This article isn't another "gripe" session though. You can find those easily in many other places.

First, let's talk about your eBay feedback score as a seller. eBay has recently started counting "neutral" feedback marks as negative for the purpose of calculating your feedback rating. In one swoop millions of accounts went from perfect to less than perfect.

I think this change actually helped eBay catch up with the rest of the world... I'll explain in a moment.

First, the bright side of this eBay change is that if you can manage to keep your feedback high you'll REALLY stand out now. I went from 100% to 99.5% myself and I'm still doing fine.

BUT... It's now more important than ever that you educate your customers on the importance of good feedback.

Here are a couple ideas:

> IMMEDIATELY leave feedback for all customers that buy from you. There is no benefit in waiting since you can no longer leave them neutral or negative feedback as a seller.

> Next, in all "post sale" email and shipping correspondence with customers include a statement something like this (even BEFORE they pay):

We just left you positive feedback on eBay. Anything short of your 5 Star 100% positive feedback back to us considered to be a TOTAL FAILURE ON OUR PART because we want you 100% happy. If there is anything else we can do to earn your prompt 5 star 100% positive feedback please let us know at (email address). Here's a link to leave us PERFECT feedback once you are pleased with your experience:

Does that sort of thing bother you? Do you feel like you have to "cower" to the customer now?

I hear some eBay seller moaning statements like, "one little complaint can leave such a permanent stain."

Here's a little lesson (and a little reality) for you:

One of the reasons I like eBay as a training ground for bigger and better online projects is that it teaches you valuable lessons along the way.

Now that eBay has put ALL THE POWER in the hands of the customers they are one step closer to being JUST LIKE THE REST OF THE INTERNET.

The fact is, when you do business online it only takes ONE livid customer to CREATE CHAOS for you because they can flame on you all over the web if they want to.

I've done business with literally tens of thousands of customers and you'll be hard pressed to find complaints ANYWHERE. What you will find is RAVE REVIEWS.

My little secret is very simple.

I can't possibly expect every customer to be exceedingly happy with what they purchase, but how can they possibly complain if we go above an beyond to be available to them after the sale and quickly fix whatever issues come up? This includes extra bonuses, speedy support, and when necessary low resistance refunds.

Once again, the eBay training ground teaches us lessons if we'll pay attention.

If you are feeling "done" with focusing on JUST eBay then you need to join where we talk about eBay AND several other proven online strategies that create streams of automated income.


This advice is from the Creative eBay Selling Newsletter. Simply subscribing to Jim’s newsletter is worthwhile — even if you never buy anything — because the newsletter alone has given me a wealth of tips on selling on eBay.

Check out:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Reader asks about mysterious box found on trash treasure run

Hi Karen,
I came across your site and it was very helpful. I am new to Ebay and getting a little frustrated. I appreciate your offer to help with items that are hard to place. My family has been collecting for years. I am pretty good at researching things, but I cant find any info on this box. My Dad found it on one of his trash treasure runs.
It is a wooden box with a brass colored decorative metal on the outside. It has a dog with slippers in his mouth on it, and it says slippers inside. Maybe it's not even old, it's just very unique and interesting. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them. We have decades worth of accumulations, mostly just one of kind oddball stuff that my Dad has acquired. Let me know if you can.
Thanks, Kerry

Hi Kerry,

Sounds interesting! I've never come across anything like you have described myself, but with two minutes of research online this morning, I’m pretty sure my suspicions are confirmed.
In the Victorian era, late 1800's, the gentleman of the house would come home to his pipe and slippers by the fireplace. The slippers were stored by the fireplace in an ornate slipper box.
Source: Teresa, Woodbourne Antiques

Yours sounds like this one I found online (pictured above).
It's description and selling price:

Bonzo dog brass bound lidded fireside slipper box c1925.
SOLD: Mar 2006. $163

-- Karen

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Allen's Auction Hall in Dayville has closed

Allen's Auction Hall in Dayville has closed its doors. Thomas Nutter, a major supplier who had been handling Allen’s Tuesday night wholesale auctions, broke off to open his own auction (in Brooklyn) two weeks ago. Shortly afterwards, Allen's Saturday and Sunday general and consignment auctions auctions were ended.

Allen's Auction Hall was located in the the red building nearby Charleen’s Photo Studio on Route 101 in Dayville, CT. Word is out that Allen is mulling over the idea of operating a new flea market at the site. With a new one launching in Putnam later this month, he may have some serious competition.

The new merchandise wholesale auction is now held on Tuesdays at 4 Elm Street in Brooklyn, Connecticut. Other auctions are planned during the week.

Directions: From 395, take Exit 91 to Route 6 west enter Brooklyn. Go over the bridge Take the first left. Auction starts at 6:30 pm. Doors open At 5 pm.