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Buying and Selling on eBay: Tips, Tricks, Problems & Questions

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by HansderHund, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Tyrone MacStiophain

    Tyrone MacStiophain Senior member

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    Informal poll: how many of you try not to let clerks at the thrift stores know that you're a flipper, and why?
    I'm thinking about it because I just bought a pair of size 18.5 sneakers, which is about twice my size, and the checker asked, "so these fit you?!" I just said they're for a friend, which is my stock answer to questions like that, because I don't know if they're annoyed by flippers, or if they're going to get hip to the brands I sell, and start pricing them higher.
    OTOH, having a friend in each shop who knows what I do could be useful, or at least pleasant, so I wonder if I should just be honest about it.
    What do you all do?
     
  2. SpooPoker

    SpooPoker Internet Bigtimer and Most Popular Man on Campus Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    I tell anyone with an ear that Im reselling. Honesty is always the best policy and its afforded me many, many discounts that I really dont think I would have received otherwise.
     
  3. double00

    double00 Senior member

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    ^^^

    imo the beating heart of thrifting is getting a bleeding, shrieking deal on somebody else's terms... regardless of whether i ultimately resell, wear, etc etc.

    along with that i really only buy what is interesting to me so if somebody asks if i resell my typical (and completely honest) answer is 'well i just think it's really fuggin cool'. and really i only ever figure out what to do with things after i own them. ymmv.
     
    SpooPoker likes this.
  4. Fueco

    Fueco Senior member

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    I tell no one. My reasoning is because those are the interactions with the most potential to drive thrift prices up. I'd rather they not know the off-beat stuff they're selling for super cheap is worth a whole lot more. I'd rather pick up stuff for pennies on the dollar for as long as I can.
     
  5. SpooPoker

    SpooPoker Internet Bigtimer and Most Popular Man on Campus Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Hey @Fueco I sent you a PM the other day, not sure if you saw it.
     
  6. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    Is not checking shipping costs a thing now? I have now had three international sales in a row where the winning bidder came back to me after the sale and asked me to drive down the cost of shipping.

    I'm getting pretty tired of the whole rigmarole of getting a screenshot of Australia Post's calculated costs, penning them an oh-so-polite reply pointing out the need for tracking and all the rest of it and then gently asking them to pay what they signed up to pay for by bidding.

    I'm wondering if I'm making a rod for my own back. Does Paypal actually require tracking and signature for seller protection? (That's the reason I'm giving them for refusing).
     
  7. dazedstate

    dazedstate Senior member

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  8. dadjeans

    dadjeans Senior member

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    @California Dreamer Looking at the AU PayPal website, it looks like signature and tracking are recommended but not required as long as you can provide the date of shipment and prove that it entered the postal system. That being said, I can't imagine PayPal not taking the buyer's word over yours if they claim an item is not received.

    If anything, I would just suggest putting some text in your listings along the lines of "Postage rates will be charged as calculated by Australia Post in the Postage and Payments section of the listing. Please be prepared to pay the calculated rate. Discounted rates are not available."

    The other option is to offer a flat-rate shipping option at a discounted rate and building the rest of the shipping cost into an inflated listing price. I've had plenty of success with this. My buyers seem to be more willing to overpay on the listing price than to pay for the true cost of shipping. YMMV.
     
  9. drlivingston

    drlivingston Senior member

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    My international shipping exclusion list is extremely long now. I am VERY particular about which countries I will still ship to. I am tired of the drama and deception.
     
  10. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    If asked, I just tell them the truth -- I occasionally trade clothes with strange men on the internet.

    IME, employees like friendly people, and dislike the rude ones. Same with anything else. I don't think they're under any illusions about selling great stuff for cheap; I've picked up a couple things for myself and had the manager say something like, Ooh, purple label for five bucks -- glad you could find a deal today!

    They're mostly just annoyed when people grab things they want, as they're not allowed to themselves. My funnest thrift store moment, though, was grabbing all the cool Harley t-shirts (and one goofy sweater!) for like a buck all year, and having the checkout dude wince every time, and then giving it back to him in a big bag at Xmas.

    This was the dude who didn't hide the good Polo in the women's section. :p
     
  11. Tyrone MacStiophain

    Tyrone MacStiophain Senior member

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    Maybe a dumb question, but here goes: Is there an easy, or even a hard way, to look up the cost I paid for shipping an individual item, say 2 months ago? Now that I ship most items in bulk, ebay and GoDaddy seem to just provide a record of the bulk charge, not each individual, shipped item. Is there a way through this? If so, please explain it to me as if I were a particularly bright Golden Retriever.
     
    HansderHund likes this.
  12. Reosymes

    Reosymes Senior member

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    In My Ebay-> Selling page you'll find 'Shipping labels' on the left panel. Give the appropriate date range. I think it shows up to the last 90 days.

    Capture.PNG

    Capture3.PNG
     
    SpooPoker likes this.
  13. dreamspace

    dreamspace Senior member

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    I wouldn't really classify myself as a reseller. Sometimes, during sales season, I can find some amazing items which will sell in 2 seconds, and generate a nice profit. Do I tell them? It depends...some stores use crazy discounts (on limited items) as a loss leader to attract customers. Others just want to move inventory, as they're getting in new stuff the week after.

    If it's a last day sale, and they haven't been able to move the stuff, I just tell them I'll take it all, and say that I sell it on Ebay if they ask. One younger sales guy was actually impressed, and we had a 15 min conversation about how it works.

    The other high-end store I frequent will flat out refuse service to obvious resellers. They primarily use the discount to up-sell customers other things.
     
    AIC99 and noob in 89 like this.
  14. txwoodworker

    txwoodworker Senior member

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    5k.JPG
    yay me!

    I tell people as little as possible. The store clerks see me get into my A7, I don't want them to get the right idea of how I pay for it. They already probably 2+2 because I use a tax free account, and I ain't no reverend. I agree honesty is the best policy, but after 11 years in the military, I completely understand the "need to know basis".

    I'm going to espouse a conspiracy theory here because I don't have @Koala-T to bounce this off of anymore.
    A store that used to be A#1 for several years straight, stopped producing almost anything for a solid year plus. Then one day I have the mega Kitty score, suits, ties, etc... later that same week I see an employee from another store in there and I ask her if she moved? She said she was just helping out because a bunch of people were let go and the store was short handed. I asked why and she heard it was for budget reasons. Since then the store has been a SOLID producer again. Coincidence? Maybe.
     
    SteelGuy, Fueco, drlivingston and 2 others like this.
  15. timber09

    timber09 Well-Known Member

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    From my Sellers Dashboard, I go the following route:

    Under "Selling Tools" ---> click on "Reporting"
    Top right of that page ---> click on "Expanded View"

    You can download that report as well - and even if you go in there fairly often (I believe) it remembers the information out past 90 days. Breaks down everything per transaction - sale price, shipping charged, all fees, postage paid, etc - pretty handy.
     
    Tyrone MacStiophain likes this.
  16. AIC99

    AIC99 Senior member

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    Nice idea of small business
     
  17. Sartoriamo

    Sartoriamo Well-Known Member

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    Interesting subject. For me, it really depends on the situation. In the old days (when I would load a cart to overflowing with fodder), it was pretty obvious, but unless it's a monster thriftening, that rarely happens now. However, if asked, I will often just say "Oh, it's not all for me. I buy for a lot of people". That answer is universally well received, and rarely provokes a follow-up question. Usually just "Oh, that's nice of you". More below the spoiler . . .

    If you have a resale/tax certificate, then it's a given that people know you're a reseller. I've never bothered getting a resale cert, as the reporting is too onerous to make it worthwhile for me, but I know many of you have one.

    I've had frank discussions (usually at consignment stores where I am a frequent, high-volume purchaser), and found that staff are very helpful when they learn that there's a known trigger for a potential purchase of a large group of items, especially if they are commissioned on sales. They will often call me by request on the day an items gets marked down. I often downplay the whole thing by explaining the arbitrage nature of the exercise: that there are people in New England who love the garments that people out here don't much wear, especially suits, so it makes sense to provide these garments to people there. I have at times been permitted to go through a store just before closing, the day before the "big discount day", set stuff aside on a rack, and then just call in with a credit card the following morning to kop all of it. Saves both an early start and fighting the crowds.

    At true thrifts, particularly those connected with specific charities, my conversations will emphasize the worthiness of the cause, and the fact that I purchase a LOT more than the average Joe or Susie, which is all to the good of the charity they're working to support. In those stores, I often round up the total with an extra donation (especially if I got a Kitty for $5), and that seems to go a long way, especially when I follow up with a question about future incoming inventory, or if there's anything out back I need to be looking at. As Spoo suggested, such relationships are worth cultivating as the expression of a true win-win, and they often result in courtesy discounts or early access. Takes time, but worth it.

    That said, there's a wide variety of perspectives out there: I've run into some people who LOATHE resellers, and others who take the marginally gentler position that "the money should be going to the charity, not the reseller", and this is what underpins the ludicrous, retail-style pricing we sometimes see on "better quality items" (most of which are C-grade store brands). I was in an ACS store the other day that proudly boasted "many items available for 50% less than RETAIL!" Eh?

    So from my perspective, discussion depends on the setting, and I do a LOT of listening before I do any talking, in order not to upset the applecart. But no matter what the setting, I never, ever, ever, EVER discuss resale pricing. During one period (in another state), I bought a couple dozen recent/current Oxxford suits for $49 each over a few weeks, as they were brought out, but then a damn fool of a guy who was next in line (a smart attorney, no less, who should have known better), blabbed to the store manager that they were $4K suits. The manager looked me straight in the eye and said "well, I guess that's the last one you're getting for $49". From that day, the tags went up to $350 apiece. "Loose lips sink ships". Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

    And finally, estate sales. At those I ALWAYS disclose my intent, as it's necessary to negotiate the best possible pricing. I make it clear that with resale prices at 3-5 cents on the dollar, my acquisition cost needs to be far less than that. Men's clothing, in particular, does not usually do well at estates. [Well, of course, most of the time there's none anyway, as the guys always die first, and the clothing goes to GW before we get near it.] But when there is, I often try to make a deal for the whole wardrobe, which invariably delights the sellers. I do find that estate sale people (while they usually want to retain margin for themselves), usually also recognize the value of pushing volume out the door, especially of items that aren't usually sought after. That said, I did speak with some estate folks this morning that wanted $300 apiece for a bunch of recent Canali suits. Completely delusional, so I'll try them at $20 on Saturday. LOL.
     
    Tyrone MacStiophain likes this.
  18. drlivingston

    drlivingston Senior member

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    I am very open about what I do when I speak with workers at the thrift stores. Many of them go out of their way to be friendly and let me know about stuff that might interest me.
    Conversely, I am somewhat tight-lipped when I am in consignment stores. When asked if I am a re-seller, I do not lie. These people are not ignorant. When you are buying multiple sizes of adult clothing, they know that you are not trying to clothe a frat house. If they don't ask, I certainly do not volunteer information. They just want to make a sale. They are not really concerned with my intent.
     
    timber09 and Tyrone MacStiophain like this.

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