eBay, What Would I Do Without You?


Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day – the description was, ‘Never shot. Dropped once.’

~Roy Blunt

I agree; this one's strictly WTF

 The past few years I’ve come to depend on eBay the way a Jedi depends on the Force. It’s not just an online auction site. It’s an energy field that binds me to the rest of the world and forces me to part with my hard-earned cash for things I didn’t know I needed and never knew existed. For someone who already has a sour relationship with money, eBay is online crack cocaine. I can’t quit, no matter how hard I try. I admit it’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older. But I still have the conch shell and the cool handpainted bamboo surfboard and the imported A-Team racing set from the U.K. None of which I need, of course. But all of which I wantssss, in the way Gollum wants his precioussss. It’s enough to turn me into a simpering, wizened little creature in pursuit of happiness, or bright shiny objects. Whichever seems easier.

However, like the Force, eBay also has a light side. Breathe a sigh of relief.

He got it on eBay for no reserve

 

 You see, in addition to feeding my unnecessary spending habits, eBay has also proved to be a method of financial salvation. The last few years have been a trial by fire. Not just for me, but most working-class types, not to mention the unemployed and underemployed. There has been little room for luxury and frivolity in the Great Recession. Food and gas and electricity keep going up. My salary does not. Quite simply put, this means the rare Breyer horses and the Kendo sword are lower priorities. Problem is, I already had half a house full of this stuff. Like J.K. Rowling’s Room of Requirement, I had a space stuffed full of half-forgotten treasures which I once considered essentials. And no bloody idea what to do with any of it. I could take it to Goodwill (no profit), have a yard sale (I doubted that because my tastes are so esoteric) or try Craigslist (the ever-present possibility of getting raped or killed over a $20 Bradford Exchange plate.) Enter eBay, that gallant e-knight on a white horse.

I'd have thought a cat went for less, but...

The saving grace was that there were people I’d never met, from Kankakee, Illinois to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and everywhere in between who did want all the weird stuff I’d collected all these years. Old Star Trek magazines? Off to Australia with you. Xena postcards? London calling. That creepy little severed gator head my parents once got me and I never knew what the hell for? I’m sure it’s enjoying the view from a Manhattan high-rise. I may not be getting rich selling all my previoucly treasured possessions, but it’s $12.00 here and $15.00 there I didn’t already have…and more empty space in the house. The peace of mind that goes with the sales is perhaps worth even more than the pocket money.

One of the important lessons I’ve learned as I’ve aged…and one eBay has helped to teach me…is that there’s a time and place for everything. A door to fit every key, as it were. Right now the time is not right for me to be piling up trinkets that won’t serve me in the long run. Right now it’s strictly hunker-down-and-survive mode, as it is for millions of others. Luckily eBay, along with some entrepeneurial skills I hadn’t realized I had, helped me through some of the darkest hours. If I hadn’t had the trinkets to sell, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to keep my heat on during a frigid January or take my car into the shop for new tires. I’m sure I would have found a way. I’m just not sure how and I don’t like to think about it.

I know the pendulum is mathematically likely to swing back to “happy days” sometime in the future. Since I can’t count on anyone but myself to make that happen, I’ll continue to sell on eBay to make a bit of extra cash. That saying about one person’s junk being another’s treasure couldn’t be more true.

And yeah, when and if I sell my first book manuscript, I’m buying that A-Team van I keep seeing on eBay. Call it a weakness or an indulgence if you like, but you can’t say I wouldn’t have earned it.

Ummm...definitely NOT my next ride

Ever bought or sold something really weird on eBay? I’d love to hear…send it to wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com/. Enjoyed this post? Be sure to click “Like” and subscribe to P&Q!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on September 5, 2011.

One Response to “eBay, What Would I Do Without You?”

  1. I’ve only ever sold one thing, an old camera on ebay. I must say there are A LOT of wierd things on that site though

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