Ebay it!

Make no bones about it money’s tight at the moment! It’s what comes of being part of “The Squeezed Middle”. But in these times of state imposed austerity where would we be without Ebay?

I discovered it in 2009 after my first son was born. Maternity pay had come to an end. A conversation with a coffee swigging, dopey looking nursery nurse about how she’d record my son’s first word in a tatty lever arch file put the kibosh on me returning to work full-time. Nevertheless bills needed to be paid and the thought of not having any cash of my own made my blood run cold.

So I found ebay…My first sale was a pair of unused red sequinned nipple tassles bought for me by a Director I worked with on a documentary in Manchester just before I got married. Inappropriate? At the time that was exactly what I was thinking as I opened it in full view of the office but that’s tv for you, dahling! However, with their Agent Provocateur packaging still in tact they went for £25 – air kisses all round! Suddenly, clutter became cash in disguise.

I’ve often thought ebay is missing a trick by not doing a timeline for sales and purchases like Facebook. Mine would tell my life story – from those carefree days of tassled pasties to the BabyDan sling in vgc to maternity clothes bundle after baby number 2, armfuls of recycled toys and now salvaged bath taps after our bathroom refurb (19 hours to go and 32 watchers).

My highs have included managing to sell a used breast pump; turning a profit of £30 on a second hand chair I bought for £45 and making a quick £13 on a Bumbo seat I bought for a song at a charity shop (the Portas effect is yet to reach the Samaritans in Willesden Green).

Thankfully, I’ve only had a few bad experiences in my 4 years of ebay buying and selling. Most farcical was a John Lewis mirrored chest of drawers which arrived (eventually) smashed to smithereens in a courier’s van worthy of a bank job that ran out of petrol 300 yards from my front door.

The seller refused to help me get compensation and instead started sending me abusive emails claiming that I led a “charmed life”. After doing a bit of research I discovered she ran a hydroponics shop and I learnt the valuable lesson of checking feedback on sellers before hitting the “confirm bid” button.

I think there comes a point in every ebay user’s life where shopping habits are influenced by a purchase’s resale value. My kids are constantly asking if I’m going to ebay this or that and it has been used as an effective threat to curb bad behaviour!

Next time you’re tempted to read one of those “How to make money in your lunch hour” articles use the time more productively to research the completed listings on ebay and sell your unwanted stuff.

I find the item that went for the most and figure out why…what was the starting bid, how long did the auction run for, when did it end, what does the description say. Another tip is never underestimate the postage. If you can’t stand the idea of queuing in your local Post Office use a courier like myHermes. They’ll pick up from you direct and they often work out cheaper.

It never fails to surprise me what sells from used perfume bottles to this season’s Primark must have…the possibilities are endless. So get selling everything, including the kitchen sink!

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About Rachel

Welcome to my blog! I'm a freelance features writer, seasoned researcher and mum of two. I love to write. My inspiration comes from peoples' stories, everyday observations, cultural encounters, all things vintage and smart wordsmithery! This is my outlet to share work, bounce around ideas and, on occasion, beat the block.

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