Thrift Shopping For eBay

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Guard Your Cart While Shopping at Thrift Stores

You might think that guarding your cart is not that important while shopping at thrift stores right? I mean it's just a bunch of other people's junk? Well if you, like me, believe that, "One man's junk is another man's treasure" as the saying goes, you will want to guard your cart when shopping at Goodwill and other thrift stores. Recently I have had two bad experiences happen to me because I wasn't guarding my cart.

The Cashmere Sweater Incident

The first instance happened when I was shopping in a Goodwill store. I had all of my items in my cart and was headed to the check out area when I decided to just stop by the men's sweater area to see if I could find any cashmere sweaters. I had recently been doing research on what types of clothing sells well on eBay and I read that cashmere sweaters always sell. So you can imagine my excitement when I found a camel colored men's cashmere mock turtleneck sweater on the rack, with absolutely no holes or flaws. I excitedly put it into my cart and because it was the last item in my cart, it was on top of a pile of clothes. When I got in line, I realized that I had forgotten my wallet in my car, so I had to run out to the parking lot to get it. Wanting to keep my cart in a convenient area, I asked the cashier on the end of the line of cash registers if I could keep my cart near her while I ran out to the car to get my wallet. She said, "sure" and I parked my cart between her and the jewelry counter, at the front of the store. How long does it take to go out and get a wallet? Not very long. I imagine it was actually less than five minutes. I came back in and retrieved my cart and headed to the end of the line. As I was standing there I looked down and it seemed to me that something was missing. I counted all my items, and knew I had found 12, but only 11 were in the cart. Then I realized it: the cashmere sweater, my prized purchase of the day, was missing!

I got up to the counter and the cashier, trying to make conversation, said, "Hi, how are you today?" I am sure she didn't expect a real answer but I gave her one anyway because I was so annoyed. I said I was not doing very well because someone had taken a cashmere sweater out of my cart. She looked at me a bit wide eyed and asked very quietly, "Was it tan?" I was surprised that she asked this and I said yes. She told me she checked out a woman, and while she was checking out the next customer, a younger woman that she assumed was her daughter, the lady came back, threw a tan sweater onto the pile and told the younger woman to pay for it and she would pay her back. I was really annoyed and told her where my cart was and that I had asked the cashier on the end if I could leave it there. She must have gone by, saw the sweater, grabbed it and headed back to the cashier. I was so upset that day and felt I had actually been robbed. The cashier felt badly too, as though she was somehow part of this injustice! I assured her it wasn't HER fault. BUT then someone mentioned to me that the woman might have thought that was a cart of items to be re-shelved and that they were up for grabs. That was the only way that was emotionally healthy enough for me to resign myself that the sweater, my very first cashmere treasure, had been taken, and so that's what I will assume. BUT from that day on, I always head first to the men's department of the thrift store I am in, find a very large shirt, or coat and hook it to the seat in the cart, so that my treasures underneath will be concealed from prying eyes. Then before I go to the checkout, I put the shirt or coat back on the rack I got it from. Here's a photo so you can see what I mean.

The Potty Break Incident

The next time something happened because I wasn't guarding my cart was just a few days later. I went into a thrift store outlet (my favorite place to shop for eBay items) and I had put four items into my cart and realized I had to use the rest room. I parked my cart at the end of an aisle not far from the rest room, and was in the rest room for only a few minutes. When I returned, my cart was GONE! I thought at first that I just didn't remember where I had left it, so I wandered around a few aisles to see if I could find it, but it was nowhere in sight. Although it wasn't a full cart (thank goodness) those four items had taken me a half hour to find, so it was wasted time. I looked around at the carts nearby shoppers were using and my items weren't in them, so I decided to check a few of the racks and see if my items had been put back. Sure enough, there they were all hanging back on their original racks. The store was fairly busy so I was surprised the clerks had had the time to discover my unguarded cart and put the items back! I think I will make up a sign on an index card stating not to touch the cart and that I will be right back and keep it in my purse for just such occasions in the future. I mean, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go, right?!

After these two back to back incidents, I have certainly learned my lesson. When you have shopped at thrift stores, either for yourself, or to sell on eBay, have any of you had any trouble with items disappearing from your cart when shopping?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Shaking in the Aisles at Goodwill

Periodically when I am in a thrift store, or more often than not, at a Goodwill store, I come across an item so amazing in terms of eBay profits, that I feel a bit dizzy and start to get a little shaky. Some of you who may not be eBay sellers may think I am crazy. But those of you who search thrift stores, Goodwill stores and yard sales for buried treasure know exactly what I am talking about.

A few of the items are worthy of sharing with you so here goes:

I was looking through a bin at a Goodwill not too far from me a few weeks ago. I was disappointed because I hadn't found anything worthy of the trip at first glance. So I found myself looking a bit harder in areas of that Goodwill store that I would normally not pay much attention to. One of these areas was the stuffed animal section. I know that there are some people that do really well selling plush on eBay. Ordinarily, I was not one of those people. But after the find below, which is a stuffed Marmot by the Steiff company, made in West Germany, I have changed my tune. I always look through the stuffed animal section now.

When I first saw this guy I didn't think much of him. But I am learning to read tags and when I noted a metal tag in his ear, I actually had a little bit of a chill run through my body! LOL...I'm not kidding! I peered at it through my glasses but couldn't read it at first. I think my brain was just not computing that I had found a Steiff stuffed animal in a bin at the Goodwill store! But when I brought it over to the light and read the name,"Steiff" on the tag, I nearly jumped for joy, and began, just a tiny bit, to shake with excitement. I asked a clerk what the cost of stuffed animals was and he said unless they are otherwise marked, it was $1.01. I have gotten into the habit of ONLY allowing myself to go to Goodwill stores on Sundays, the first day items with a certain color tag are marked down 50%, and Tuesdays, when as a senior (55 and over) EVERYTHING in the store is 25% off. That day was a Tuesday, and so with my 25% discount, I scored a Steiff stuffed animal for 76 cents! It hasn't sold yet but prices on the internet for this exact animal run $19 o $25 so I just have to be patient and wait for the right buyer.

By the way, if you, like me when I discovered this little guy, have no idea what a marmot is, it's similar to a ground hog/woodchuck. Silly me, I thought it was a beaver and couldn't find any for sale on eBay when I originally looked him up.

Next was this absolutely gorgeous men's Pendleton red plaid shirt. There it was, just sitting in front of me on the rack at Goodwill. It was beautiful; as beautiful a specimen of a classic men's red plaid shirt made by Pendleton can be. I knew whoever bought it would be VERY happy with it, so I snapped it up for $5.75 and of course it was on a Tuesday so I only paid $4.35 for it. It sold for $24.95 within 24 hours of my listing it and I made a clear profit of $12.70.

I was at another Goodwill store and had recently read that Dansko shoes/sandals are good sellers on eBay. I was soooo excited to see a pair of women's Dansko shoes in a Mary Jane style on a shelf at Goodwill. I grabbed them for a closer look and my mind was racing a mile a minute. I actually looked around to see if anyone else in the aisle had spied my treasure. I was all alone in that shoe aisle, quivering with excitement!(Okay, I will admit it doesn't take much to get me excited!) I took them home and listed them for $34.95. I was happy when they sold within a week. But alas, they didn't fit comfortably on the woman who bought them on eBay so she sent them back for a refund. I decided since they had sold so quickly, I would experiment with the price a bit and listed them $5.00 higher at $39.95, and they sold in 24 hours! Wow, that was thrilling! I ended up having to ship them to California, which costs more from where I live than shipping to the east coast. But I still made a profit of $17.00 and was quite happy with that. AND to top it off this second customer gave me fantastic feedback and said they were even better than I had described them. I love a happy customer!

Although I would like to find things that sell for this much of a profit and more on a regular basis, I still need to have items that are lower in value to sell things regularly and keep the money coming in each week. But I will always be on the lookout for treasures that I can sell on eBay and make a higher profit. My average sale earns about $12 in profit. I am finding that sometimes what I consider an eBay treasure may not actually bring me a huge profit, but is something I know is very good quality and will sell well on eBay fairly quickly.

How about you? Have you found any treasures that brought in some good money on eBay lately? What is the average profit you make on your eBay items?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

You Can Find Brand New Items to Sell on eBay

Just for fun, I want you to take a guess at how much you think I paid for both of these items, in total, before you read the rest of this post. So go ahead and guess how much you think I paid, in total including tax, for the blouse and jacket in this picture, and write it down or just keep it in your mind.

I love a good bargain and I got 2 bargains at Kohl's this past week. It all started a few weeks ago when I went to Kohl's to use a gift card I received for Christmas. I waited to use it till I got a 30% off coupon in the mail. As I always say," A sale is good, a coupon is good but combining a sale with a coupon is golden." While I was at Kohl's I decided to buy some gifts I needed for an upcoming birthday, since they were having a great sale and I had the 30% off coupon to use on the gifts. When I checked out, I was given $20.00 worth of Kohl's cash to use the next month.

On Monday, I went to Kohl's determined to get something as close to $20.00 as I could. I was shopping for me, because we have a trip coming up and I needed something for it. But I could have just as easily have been shopping for new items to resell on eBay. I bought this blouse, normally $36.00, on sale for 60% off at $14.40, and the jacket, normally $36.00, on sale for 70% off at $10.80.

I also had my 30% off coupon to use. Then because both of them were on sale racks that said "take an additional 20% off the lowest ticketed price," even I was surprised when the clerk told me the final amount. I think she was surprised too! The total amount I paid out of pocket was...ready for it... 17 cents!

Now I am keeping these items for myself, but I am writing this on my eBay blog to show you how it is also possible to purchase items on sale in regular stores and resell them on eBay too. You just have to be a bit creative about it.

Okay, time to fess up...how much was your guess as to how much I paid for those 2 items? You can leave it in the comment section below...happy shopping, for yourself, or to resell on eBay!