I Have No Patience, And I Must eBay

I have a ton of junk I need to get rid of. Fortunately it’s the kind of junk that I think others may want. For example, I have Gundam action figures — older ones, and I know folks collect those. I have some comics that won’t net me a dime at a shop but other folks may want. I have various other “collectables” from the past when I didn’t stop before each purchase to think, “will this do something other than take up space and require dusting from time to time?” I have clutter.

I want to unload it. Under normal circumstances I would have no problem just taking the comics to the shop and saying, “fine, no cash or credit, just take them. Make them your problem instead of mine.” I’d have no problem dumping a lot of these things off at Goodwill. The satisfaction of getting rid of stuff usually more than trumps any desire to get some cash out of it.

But…there are some things I’m looking to get. I wouldn’t mind an XBox 360 and I very much want a MacBook to replace my desktop. So if I can get money for this stuff, that would greatly help. And that means…


God I hate dealing with eBay. I hate buying from eBay and I hate selling on eBay even more. While it’s true that I once made an obscene amount of money there selling what I came to realize were vintage Pez dispensers, I just don’t have the limitless patience to deal with the people there.

Selling on eBay, for me, requires a sort of Iron Will Zen Mental Stability I can’t seem to muster up. If I just think about selling on eBay, any dreams of making some cash are quickly overshadowed by dread of dealing with the typical eBay customer, denoted here in capital letters to my regular text:

“I only have issues #14 – #56…”

“I will only ship to the United States…”

“The item is blue…”

“Thanks for bidding!”

You get the idea.

And that’s on top of the general hassle of having to pack the items, list them, figure out their dimensions/weight for postage calculation, get them to their buyers, and then hear about how the guy STILL didn’t read the description and is pissed off that no, issue #88 is NOT included and also what right thinking person would ship an action figure in anything less than a steel-reinforced hyperbaric chamber (but I won’t pay more than $3 for postage!)

eBay makes me hate humanity, and I try — despite daily looking at CNN and BGG — to not do things that make me hate humanity. Maybe I should take the whole mess to one of them eBay stores — no doubt created for people like me. There’s also the tag sale option, but we’ve done tag sales before and they’re almost more depressing. I don’t care if I never have to listen to some woman try and talk me down to a dime for something I have marked at a quarter. Tell you what, lady, clearly you need the money more than me; just take it with my blessing.

So that’s my sad tale. I have stuff to sell. I think people would even buy it. But the action of selling it (not getting rid of it, parting will not be sweet sorrow) is just more than my fragile mind can bear.

What do I do?

(Related: The Tyranny of Stuff.)

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9 Responses to I Have No Patience, And I Must eBay

  1. Amy says:

    Wandered here from jheaton’s blog. And, you may have just scared me out of trying
    to sell stuff on eBay – EEK.

  2. If your skin is that thin in dealing with other humans, then the consignment route might be your best bet. They take anywhere from 40-60% of the take on sold goods, but it usually beats garage sailing if you don’t want to deal with ebay.

    In my experience on ebay, I haven’t had near the bad experiences you are mentally insisting will happen. Had one, and only one guy not deliver what I paid for. And PayPal resolved it reasonably fast. Had a single non-paying bider. And had one person bought an item from Ruthie to send to an APO, and that was a miinor hassle.

    To see if it’s worth the hassle, search for whatever you are thinking of selling on ebay and guess as to what people are paying. If it’s under what seems worth the effort to throw it in a box (and maybe some shipping peanuts), don’t sell it on ebay. I saved myself a little script to help me sell, and ebay has made a few good improvements to the process.

    So sure, you may get an annoying question here or there, but my actual XP is not anywhere near as bad as your anticipated. I estimate shipping so I don’t have to go out and weigh the packages, and I only burned myself once. Good luck in your ebay or consignment sales if you don’t give them away.

  3. David Thiel says:

    On one hand, eBay has made many improvements to streamline the process of listing an item and collecting payment for it, especially if you use PayPal. On the other hand, the human factor always comes into play when the great unwashed are involved. While my most recent bout of eBay sales went off with few hitches, in the past I have encountered every one of the problems you’ve mentioned. (And I still get a lot of “I will offer you X dollars if you close this auction now.”) Selling more than a few items is a lot of work, which is why I only do it a couple of times a year.

  4. Mrs. Mancer says:

    CounterProductive wrote:
    “If your skin is that thin in dealing with other humans…”

    Dude–have you ever dealt with other humans? It’s not a matter of thin skin. People are by and large annoying, whether they are eBay customers, garage sale customers, or consignment-shop goungers. Even random people are often smart-ass or smug even when there’s no occasion for it.

    Mr. Mancer’s predicament comes from the desire to get rid of unused, unwanted stuff without resorting to the landfill. Everyone’s got a different threshhold for irritation, but I gotta say I completely understand where Mr. Mancer’s is.

  5. blasterhappy says:

    I have been dealing with eBay since 1999 and have 99.9%/670 feedback and I have found that good pics and simple descriptions ending in the quote “What you see is what you get!” tends to work. I don’t even acknowledge the idiots that don’t read the descriptions. I know it is a pain writing descriptions and posting pics but the listing procedure has improved in the last few years. eBay is largely a wholesale business and on rare occasions you get a good bid war. It’s all timing. There are offline posting programs you can use also that make it a bit easier. It does take quite a bit of patience.

  6. pronoblem says:

    I really wish I had my friend Rick’s ebay auctions saved. He’s sold a few dozen motorcycles and classic cars & trucks on ebay. When replying via MyEbay’s inbox you can choose to post the Q&A on the auction page if you might think that it would be of interest to other visitors to that item… well, Rick would post the ones like you’ve received with some smart-ass replies. They were always very funny. Perhaps you should try this. It might make you feel better. Please, be sure to share them.

    I gotta admit though, I’ve sold over 2,000 items on ebay and I have had very little of what you describe. I guess it is the nature of the buyers that were my market. LP collectors are pretty astute I guess, and I always described my items very well because I did not want returns… only one LP was ever returned to me because the guy debated my NM grade with his VG+.

  7. Charlie says:

    I’d think it’d depend on what you are trying to sell as to whether or not you get decent e-bayers. Sell the geek stuff and you get to put up with the unwashed, black trench coat in July, I’m a bad ass, fear me mentality. Sell the non-geek merchandise and you probably have a better experience with buyer attitudes.

  8. Mikester says:

    I’ve been selling on eBay since ’98, and I’ve experienced all those problems you’ve detailed, multiple times. The only real defense is being clear in your description, posting the shipping costs up front (with a note stating that if the bidder has special shipping considerations that may raise the price, contact you first), and posting big pictures. That won’t stop the questions that could be answered with 1) reading, and 2) a moment’s thought, but it’ll help.

    Usually, if anyone asks me a question already answered in the auction listing, I begin the reply with “as it says in the description, [etc.].”

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