Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bidding on eBay Antiques

By C. M. - August 31st 2017.

For the past three years I have been making a habit of buying antiques off of eBay and I have learned a number of things both about bidding on eBay and about myself.

  • The bidding can sometimes get crazy.
  • I really need to avoid anything where the bidding goes crazy, and so I have learned to set a maximum amount I am willing to bid.
  • While there is a wide variety of antiques and collectibles to choose from on eBay, I generally prefer to stick to the older items that are in really good condition.
  • I have learned that I need to set a limit for how many antiques / $$$ I am willing to spend in a given year. This way I don't end up spending a ridiculous amount on antiques each year.
  • I also restrict myself to buying antiques at one time of the year, typically July to September. If I manage to get my purchases done by the end of August, that is a good thing.
  • It is wise to restrict yourself and set limits.
  • Always check to make sure they actually deliver to Canada. Some Americans refuse to ship to Canada.
  • The shipping price might be more if they are shipping from the USA to Canada, so confirm the price.
  • When possible, try to bid on products that are already in Canada. Makes the whole shipping thing easier.
  • Plus I prefer to spend my dollars on Canadians when possible. Keeps the wealth in Canada.
  • Sometimes you can get a sweet deal because nobody else bids on a particular item.
  • Check out the option to Buy Now. Sometimes you can get pretty good deals there too.
  • If making an offer for a Buy Now item I will sometimes bid $5 or $10 less than they are asking.
  • If the seller suddenly ups the price of shipping "for no good reason" and it is suddenly a different price that what the courier quoted, something is fishy and you should cancel your order/payment.
  • Watch Lists are handy for tracking the bids of multiple items that are similar so you can see how high the bidding goes and decide if you even want to bid at all.
  • Never bid on something you don't actually want. I haven't made this mistake yet thankfully.
  • Never bid on something until after you confirmed they do ship to Canada and the cost of shipping to Canada.
  • You can always change your mind and refuse to pay. The item will go to the next highest bidder.
One of these days I am going to teach my mother how to sell her old records on eBay - the old records she never listens to that is. Some of them she does actually listen to regularly. At which point I should mention my parents also has numerous other antiques in the barn she could sell too.

If she learned how to do that it would give her a new hobby to do in her old age. ;)

Plus it would help to get rid of "old junk" and clutter that is in the shed, garage, barn, basement, attic and so forth. Some of it she will no doubt keep for sentimental reasons, but others... why not sell it?

And the same goes to you, the readers, do you have old stuff you don't really need you could sell?

I know I have a few things I do not need. Various books, comic books, a stamp collection, a coin collection... I imagine some of them could fetch a pretty penny.

One of these days I should sell such things. Just as soon as I find the time.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Buying Things Off Facebook = Bad Idea / Waste of Time

While I like the idea of buying something off Facebook from a friend, buying things from STRANGERS on Facebook is actually problematic.

The concept seems like a good one. Someone has an used product they want to sell or even trade and they are looking for other people on Facebook to sell or trade to. But actually doing so sometimes comes with problems.

Two recent incidents have caused me to swear off any more attempts to buy things off Facebook. In the future I will be sticking with Amazon, eBay, Craigslist and similar websites.

THE FIRST INCIDENT

A woman was looking to give away a baby feeding pillow designed for newborns. I wanted to get it for my wife, but I was so busy and the women lived further away so picking it up was going to be difficult.

Ultimately there ended up being delays and the woman ended up giving it to someone else. By the time I was able to go over there and get it, she informed me it was already gone. Fortunately I did not have to waste a trip.

Instead my wife ended up getting a near identical pillow from a store near us that sells used goods for babies and toddlers (Once Upon A Child, located at 1386 Bayview Toronto).

It wasn't free, it was $10, but that was still a very good price compared to the $50 to $70 the pillow costs at regular stores. Buying it an actual store ended up saving time and transportation money, so I am happy with the result and don't mind that it wasn't free.

THE SECOND INCIDENT

A guy named Guillermo Aristizabal posted a Korean SKB horsebow for sale, plus 18 arrows, assorted arrowheads and all his archery gear. And he was asking $200 for it.

Which frankly was a really good deal.

So I immediately contacted Guillermo Aristizabal and arranged to pick up the bow and everything ASAP.

I got off work early on a Thursday, I send him two messages (one via Facebook and a 2nd to his phone) both telling him my ETA, traveled for an hour to North York to a suburban neighbourhood and was only a few minutes from his home when I get a text from him...

The jackass had sold it to someone else just minutes earlier. He knew I was almost there. He knew I was en route and had been for almost an hour.

So... context. I spent $6 on travel expenses to get there and back via public transit.

It was very hot and humid outside and his home was 20 minutes walk from the nearest subway.

He knew I was on my way and what time I would be arriving.

But the jackass apparently did not think, did not have the sense of etiquette to warn me that someone else might beat me to it and that I was wasting time, effort and money to get there in a hurry.

What a ****ing ***hole.

So I had to turn around and walk back to the subway in the heat and humidity, having completely wasted two hours of my afternoon that I could have spent doing something productive.

CONCLUSIONS

After the second incident I basically determined there would not be a 3rd time. There is no way I am buying anything (or trying to buy anything) from a stranger off Facebook ever again.

A friend or family member, certainly.

And the reason why is because a friend or family member would never waste my time like that. A stranger has no bond of friendship or kinship, which binds them to be nice to their friends or kin.

A stranger is also not a company. They have no reason to observe any kind of customer service to protect their reputation.

This is why I have chosen to use Guillermo Aristizabal's name on here. The guy is an ***hole for wasting my time, money and effort. If he knew someone else was on their way to pick up the equipment he should have told me in advance and I would have known not to waste my time.

And time is more valuable than money typically. I personally value my time at $40 per hour, which is the rate I charge my clients usually. So wasting two hours of my time, plus $6 travel expenses, means he wasted $86 worth of my time/money. To say nothing of the heat and humidity.

An ***hole like Guillermo Aristizabal deserves to have a bad reputation, just like a company selling things and having horrible customer service deserves to have a bad reputation.

So if you are buying stuff online, via Facebook for example, don't buy anything from people with a bad reputation. They are probably just going to waste your time/money. Sadly there are no websites, to my knowledge, that track the reputation of people. There probably should be.

And that my friend is some valuable consumer advice.

At least on eBay there is a seller reputation number, out of 100, which tracks feedback from buyers. The best sellers have 100% all the time and try really hard to keep it at 100.

So now I am going to go browse bows on eBay. At least they deliver. At least they don't waste your time/money outside in the heat and humidity. And frankly the fact that they track a seller's reputation is a breath of fresh air in comparison.

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