I wrote a couple months ago (here, if anyone cares) about how I was selling my friends' comics on eBay (with some surprising results) and how my lack of knowledge of what sells despite my vast eBay experience may be a sign to slow down and take stock. I just had a couple doors left to knock on.
Well, I have knocked on those doors. I have sold almost all of my friends' comics, and I have reached the 1000 positive feedback plateau (Feedback is, of course, the backbone of the eBay community. Without feedback, there's chaos.) I think reaching 1000 is pretty good for a single guy who sells mostly his old crap, with out a store or anything to back him up. Especially when you throw in the fact that some people have never left any feedback, and a few wankers even left negative. However, my personal negative feedback-side looks back and has to wonder a.) where the money went, and b.) why didn't I think ahead and come up with some kind of system to keep track of it all? Maybe then I would know where all the money went. I started out just trying to score some extra cash for my Ken Griffey, Jr autograhped baseball (In '99, when I thought his career was pretty much over), and when that sold, I began looking around my house a little. Next thing I knew, most of my worldly possessions were gone. And so were some of my friends'. It wasn't something I planned on doing. It was just an easy way to make money and I was poor, so that was it. By the time I thought, "Hmmm, maybe I should organize this a little better," I figured I had sold most of my crap and it was too late to start worrying now.
Some of the problem stems from the changes over the years. In the beginning, when checks and money orders were the norm, I would simply deposit them and ship the item. When Paypal came around, I jumped right on board (No waiting for checks to clear! No waiting for the money order to be mailed). However, a friend of mine warned me early on that Paypal was not a bank and had no insurance, so if you had any money in there and the site was to crash or something, there's a chance your money would be lost forever. I had no evidence if this was true, but I was scared enough to always transfer my money to my bank account right away whenever I received a payment. So, transferrring those few dollars every couple days never really made much of an impact on my balance. Also, in the early days of Paypal, they had an option where you could pay your bills online through them. So, my plan was to knock down my credit card bills and pay the occasional cable bill by transferring the money directly from Paypal and not even needing to put it in my bank account. they eliminated this feature pretty quick for some reason, and so my brilliant plan went awry.
*** Now, an astute observer might point out that I still could have just kept track of what I was making on eBay and still just used that money for bills. However, an astute me would reply, "Fuck you." ***
So, here I am, after more than a decade and selling more than 1000 items on eBay, most of them being toys or keepskaes from my childhood, and I have nothing to show for it. That's a lot of packing tape, boxes, padded envelopes and trips to the post office, and in the end, what did it get me? A little satisfaction? Yeah. The thought that it's possible I could be even worse off had I not sold all that stuff? Definitely. But mostly, nothing to look at and say, "See? That's what I got for all those toys."
Kind of a hollow victory, no?