Adventures on eBay

eBay Logo in Papyrus FontBack in college I made some extra cash selling stuff on eBay. My dad collected antiques, and long before my family decided to sell things off wholesale, he decided to sell some stuff online. As the resident Internet geek, I set up an eBay account and started getting items ready. My dad went to a lot of antique stores and flea markets, so we had plenty of stock. Mostly it was old watches and cameras, though we sold a variety of other things as well.

It sounded like a great way to make some good money in a hurry, but in truth it was bust-ass hard work. First I had to photograph each item, then crop the photo and make it look good without getting too Photoshop heavy. Then I had to write the copy and set the starting price/reserve price. Then I had to wait a week, answering questions while working on other items. And then came the most labor intensive part, the shipping.

While the other steps could be automated so some extent, there was no template for shipping. Each item had to be wrapped individually and driven to the post office for shipping. Maybe it was just me. I liked the photography and copywriting (it was practice for this blog, after all). But dealing with the dusty old items and making sure things arrived in a timely manner, well, that was harder. It didn’t help that I was still an undisciplined 20-year-old. Without a boss watching over me and an hourly wage, it was easy to slack off. Then I would have a bunch of irate customers. That made the whole operation more unpleasant, which made me want to slack off even more.

After a few months of this, I gave it up, went down to the mall, and got a job schlepping around furniture and Christmas ornaments while listening to canned music. It wasn’t an improvement, but it wasn’t a demotion either. It was just another way to make a living, until I could get a degree and figure out my life.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer, photographer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at http://steve-lovelace.com.

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  1. February 12, 2014

    […] people bought them, in fact, that they’re not really that rare nowadays. A quick search of eBay will turn up dozens of vintage 49-star flags for around twenty bucks. So even though the 49-star […]

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