Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Latest eBay Experience

During a recent conversation with my friend Al, he asked me if I would be willing to sell a few of his treasures on eBay. Always happy to help out a friend, especially if it doesn’t require much in the way of work, I agreed. When I arrived at his home several days later to view his treasures, I suddenly realized this was not going to be my usual eBay offering.

It seems that Al has reached that place in life where he feels that it’s time to clean out and reduce the clutter. The treasures he wanted to sell would be classed as military memorabilia that he aquired while serving with the Army in Korea. He also had a small electric router that he received as a gift more than thirty years ago he no longer needed. My first thought was oh boy, who is going to want a 30+ year old router that may not ever work! Aside from the fact that the router reminded of the robot R2-D2, I figured it had little hope of selling. As I placed the treasures into a bag, I politely reminded Al that if he was hoping to get rich, the sale of these items was unlikely to accomplish that goal!

The R2 look a like

One constant on the eBay auction site is the element of surprise. The following day, I listed the router for sale with an asking price of five dollars. My rational was that since the entire body of the tool was metal, its value as scrape might approach that figure. A couple of minutes after listing the router, I went back and check and already 10 people had visited the page. Over the course of the seven day auction, the page received over 100 hits and several bids. The auction closed and the router sold for thirty-one dollars plus shipping and handling!

I am left to conclude the following about eBay:

1. There seems to be no limit to what people collect
2. If the price is right, people are more than willing to part with their hard earned cash
3. If a 30+ year old router can get 10 hits in less than five minutes, there are a lot of people out in eBay land who might want to shut off their computers once in a while and go out and enjoy the sunshine!

To date, the sale of Al’s treasures has netted him sixty-one dollars; he is not getting rich, but at least he can afford a tank of gas.

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