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

Steve Smith

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I have naturally sloping shoulders and, since an accident, a dropped right shoulder that also drops forward. Shoulder fit is a big issue for me and, as Fueco said, it varies hugely between manufacturers. If people like me ask that question then, yes, not all of them will buy, because your item won't fit. But none of them will buy if you don't answer, and 10% is better than 0%.
Fueco has a completely different kind of business than what I have. I am not a consignor so I don't have to jump through hoops to keep the owners of the items happy. The vast majority of what I sell is Brooks Brothers of fairly recent manufacture, not used shirts like they wore in Friends on TV. So I don't have this huge range of fits and construction.

As for 10% being better than 0%. Actually, it isn't.

#1 I don't want to go down the rabbit hole of diminishing return with my time. #2 I have had a lot of experience across several types of businesses and I will tell you that there are customers that I absolutely do not want. The ones asking certain types of questions are in that group.

Example: Someone asks "How long is this shirt?" Time waster. I get out the shirt, measure it, message the info, put it away, and never hear from him again. If there is a 5% chance that he buys based upon that information then I still don't want to bother with giving it out. The math doesn't work. not even close. I can use my time more efficiently.

OTOH, if someone says "I have long arms and a short torso, how long is this shirt?" then I give the measurement.
 

noob in 89

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There was a discussion on here a while back where "pre-worn" had other connotations.
That was “well worn,” a British-y sounding term used by shoe fetishists(!). Though it also seems to be a phrase people use innocuously, and not in code...

"Owned by somebody else. Probably best you don't know what they did with it...."
I quickly changed this eBay title recently:

Somebody definitely didn’t fuck in this USED KITON SHIRT!

(I so wish you could make StyFo-like ads on eBay...)
 

California Dreamer

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Fueco has a completely different kind of business than what I have. I am not a consignor so I don't have to jump through hoops to keep the owners of the items happy. The vast majority of what I sell is Brooks Brothers of fairly recent manufacture, not used shirts like they wore in Friends on TV. So I don't have this huge range of fits and construction.

As for 10% being better than 0%. Actually, it isn't.

#1 I don't want to go down the rabbit hole of diminishing return with my time. #2 I have had a lot of experience across several types of businesses and I will tell you that there are customers that I absolutely do not want. The ones asking certain types of questions are in that group.

Example: Someone asks "How long is this shirt?" Time waster. I get out the shirt, measure it, message the info, put it away, and never hear from him again. If there is a 5% chance that he buys based upon that information then I still don't want to bother with giving it out. The math doesn't work. not even close. I can use my time more efficiently.

OTOH, if someone says "I have long arms and a short torso, how long is this shirt?" then I give the measurement.
Let's just say that I am not a seller like Fueco either, it takes me ten seconds to include the shoulder measurement in an ad, it doesn't diminish returns on my time in the slightest, including that basic information helps other people like me, and I don't consider myself to be an obnoxious person worth blocking if I ask a seller for basic fundamental information that is important to my buying decision. YMMV.
 

Steve Smith

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...and I don't consider myself to be an obnoxious person worth blocking if I ask a seller for basic fundamental information that is important to my buying decision. YMMV.
 

kbadgley84

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That was “well worn,” a British-y sounding term used by shoe fetishists(!). Though it also seems to be a phrase people use innocuously, and not in code...



I quickly changed this eBay title recently:

Somebody definitely didn’t fuck in this USED KITON SHIRT!

(I so wish you could make StyFo-like ads on eBay...)
May or may not have had a short lived second account selling “well worn” women’s shoes. Yea it got shut down lol
 

SpooPoker

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May or may not have had a short lived second account selling “well worn” women’s shoes. Yea it got shut down lol
I had used well worn in a womens shoe listing - completely trying to only say they were fucking toasted - and they took it down and it was absolute hysteria listening to the woman try and explain why.
 

noob in 89

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:laugh:

Really, though, on what basis could they shut that down? And why can’t shoe humpers just buy regular used shoes?
 

Fueco

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Fueco has a completely different kind of business than what I have. I am not a consignor so I don't have to jump through hoops to keep the owners of the items happy. The vast majority of what I sell is Brooks Brothers of fairly recent manufacture, not used shirts like they wore in Friends on TV. So I don't have this huge range of fits and construction.

As for 10% being better than 0%. Actually, it isn't.

#1 I don't want to go down the rabbit hole of diminishing return with my time. #2 I have had a lot of experience across several types of businesses and I will tell you that there are customers that I absolutely do not want. The ones asking certain types of questions are in that group.

Example: Someone asks "How long is this shirt?" Time waster. I get out the shirt, measure it, message the info, put it away, and never hear from him again. If there is a 5% chance that he buys based upon that information then I still don't want to bother with giving it out. The math doesn't work. not even close. I can use my time more efficiently.

OTOH, if someone says "I have long arms and a short torso, how long is this shirt?" then I give the measurement.

It's not at all about diminishing returns on your time. It's a safe bet that for every person who asks you for a measurement, there is another buyer who passes over your listing because you didn't provide the measurement and he has better things to do with his time that send you a note. Ebay is by necessity a two-way street: asking for legitimate measurements or other questions that aren't answered in your listing should not be viewed as a waste of time. Think of it as a learning experience.

I am not even close to primarily a consigner. Even at my peak of consignments, that revenue stream accounted for less than 25% of my annual business. Right now, it's probably more like 3-5%, and fading fast. I only have one active consignor, and she's a good friend who I sell bike clothing for her that she gets for free because of working in the industry.

Now, to the reason I asked about whether you'd worked in a regular retail job (and yes, I did mean in a brick & mortar, dealing with customers face to face). From what I've seen, if you set aside people working retail as a temporary job (students, folks laid off from "real" jobs seeking temporary employment while getting their career back on track, seasonal folks working the holidays for a little extra money, etc.), there are essentially three types of people who end up working retail long-term:

1. People who are hard workers, but are not really qualified for anything else (most people working retail jobs).
2. People who get sucked into it, and end up in a career when they'd meant it as a temporary gig. My store manager at Walgreens was this one: he has a degree in journalism, and ended up getting sucked into the management track at WAG.
3. People who are genuinely passionate about what they do. Most of my old co-workers from REI who are still with the company qualify in this category. A good friend of mine started there the same day I did in August 1995, and still works there, and has only been at three different stores (he runs the bike/ski shop at one of their California stores).

How this relates to Ebay? It's not quite as cut-and-dry, obviously, because you have to have a lot of gumption and business savvy to get your store off the ground. But honestly, a lot of people ONLY see it as a revenue stream and couldn't care less about the customers' experience. I would propose that everyone doing this even part time would be better off, and even make more money, if they actually cared about the experience from the other side of the transaction as well.

Does that mean that you have to be happy about being asked stupid questions, or not be upset when someone fucks you over? Of course not. But you bitch about it to us (that's what this thread is for, after all), dust yourself off, get up, and keep at it.

I haven't had anyone ask for a measurement in months, if not a year. But I still provide the measurements because I assume that at least some of my customers are looking at them. In the meantime, if someone asks for a measurement, they get a polite message that all relevant measurements are provided in the item description.
 

Steve Smith

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It's not at all about diminishing returns on your time. It's a safe bet that for every person who asks you for a measurement, there is another buyer who passes over your listing because you didn't provide the measurement and he has better things to do with his time that send you a note. Ebay is by necessity a two-way street: asking for legitimate measurements or other questions that aren't answered in your listing should not be viewed as a waste of time. Think of it as a learning experience.

I am not even close to primarily a consigner. Even at my peak of consignments, that revenue stream accounted for less than 25% of my annual business. Right now, it's probably more like 3-5%, and fading fast. I only have one active consignor, and she's a good friend who I sell bike clothing for her that she gets for free because of working in the industry.

Now, to the reason I asked about whether you'd worked in a regular retail job (and yes, I did mean in a brick & mortar, dealing with customers face to face). From what I've seen, if you set aside people working retail as a temporary job (students, folks laid off from "real" jobs seeking temporary employment while getting their career back on track, seasonal folks working the holidays for a little extra money, etc.), there are essentially three types of people who end up working retail long-term:

1. People who are hard workers, but are not really qualified for anything else (most people working retail jobs).
2. People who get sucked into it, and end up in a career when they'd meant it as a temporary gig. My store manager at Walgreens was this one: he has a degree in journalism, and ended up getting sucked into the management track at WAG.
3. People who are genuinely passionate about what they do. Most of my old co-workers from REI who are still with the company qualify in this category. A good friend of mine started there the same day I did in August 1995, and still works there, and has only been at three different stores (he runs the bike/ski shop at one of their California stores).

How this relates to Ebay? It's not quite as cut-and-dry, obviously, because you have to have a lot of gumption and business savvy to get your store off the ground. But honestly, a lot of people ONLY see it as a revenue stream and couldn't care less about the customers' experience. I would propose that everyone doing this even part time would be better off, and even make more money, if they actually cared about the experience from the other side of the transaction as well.

Does that mean that you have to be happy about being asked stupid questions, or not be upset when someone fucks you over? Of course not. But you bitch about it to us (that's what this thread is for, after all), dust yourself off, get up, and keep at it.

I haven't had anyone ask for a measurement in months, if not a year. But I still provide the measurements because I assume that at least some of my customers are looking at them. In the meantime, if someone asks for a measurement, they get a polite message that all relevant measurements are provided in the item description.
"dust yourself off, get up, and keep at it." Is that advice directed to me? lol.

As for work experience. Never retail. My background was military aviator up to about the age of 30. Then several businesses which I started, built, and sold, including a couple of residential real estate brokerages. I have never worked for anyone but myself after the Marine Corps.

I have started several businesses in several different fields. A business as a system. I design the system to give me the income and daily experience that I want. If it doesn't do so, then it's my fault for designing the system incorrectly.

In real estate I was strictly a manager, because I quickly learned that I didn't particularly enjoy working directly with buyers, sellers, renters, and owners or rental properties. My 'customers' were sales agents and office employees. I enjoyed recruiting, training, and supervising. Systems.

A self-aware person plays to his strengths. My strength is systems, not trying to give someone a Nordstrom-like experience. I don't want every customer. I have a certain profile of buyer that I like to work with. They seem to like working with me. I don't fuck anyone over. Not ever. Benefit of the doubt goes to the customer. This system that I have designed gives me all of the income that I need and just as importantly it gives me the flexibility to travel for several months every year.

Irritate me even a little bit, ask questions which are clearly stated in my listing, ask questions which indicate that you are suspicious about authenticity...Blocked. Screw me out of a few bucks with a dishonest return...Blocked. I'm not angry about it. I'm not worried about it. It's just business.
 

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