The art of eBay

The word “and” can make an ordinary day superb; although I suppose “free” and “food” will make just about any college student’s day.

            While tapping away methodically on my keyboard before the Spartan meeting on Wednesday afternoon, my phone buzzed gently in my coat pocket. And then it buzzed again excitedly, like a bee that had too many cups of coffee in the morning. I looked down to see an inbox with two isolated emails that raised the hair on my arms to attention in anticipation.

            These emails were from eBay.

I hurriedly opened the first email to see “Congratulations, your item has sold and has been paid for,” at the very top.


The second email was a confirmation of payment sent directly to my PayPal; hook, line, and sinker.

            Here’s the catch; when buying and reselling items on eBay, it’s typically very difficult to get the first price you list for an item, which is typically the most you would like to get. After a few days of silence, most break, dropping the price a fraction.

            With some luck, dropping an item 5 percent or 10 percent may be just enough to land a confirmation email with an “and.”

 But when that is not enough, sometimes a little double-dealing is necessary.

Scamming is not what I am doing; in fact, most would argue that I am simply being a smart businessman.

            You may want to take notes.

To be honest, I am not a fan of the bidding system, as control is no longer in my hands. As a photographer, not having control is foreign and prompts a feeling of nakedness.

            As a result, I list all items with a set price and leave them; although to a similar degree, I do not have control over when my item sells.

Or do I?

When listing an item, it is important to set the price that you would like to get for the item.

Over time, this number will probably shrink after a lack of sales. This is where settling on the lowest possible price is important. Slowly, over time, drop the price of the item – daily, every other day, or weekly – by a set amount. Those who see the item on a consistent basis will see the consistent decline and assume the price will continue to drop.

            This is the biggest mistake they can make.

When the “settle” price is hit, this is where things take a turn. Begin to slowly raise the price by the same increment in the same pattern. Those who see the item begin to ascend will have an “Oh Shit” moment at some point.

            These buyers are the most likely to bite.

When buyers realize they passed up a deal, they are most likely to grab an item before the price reaches a plateau.

            Patience is key; often times buyers are as impatient as the seller. It’s only a matter of time before one breaks.

            Just be wary of scammers, they’re everywhere, and their offers are enticing.

When using “Make an Offer,” it is important to be cautious, as I have received several offers several hundred dollars above what I ask. Often times “buyers” will email after a listing has expired, asking to purchase the item off eBay, where I am not protected.

            The gentle buzz in my pocket has returned today after I raised an item’s price another $10 after weeks of previous decline.

            Someone has bitten.


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