I’ve been wanting to write Adventures in ECommerce Part Two.
A lot has transpired since Part One, which I wrote between the time Obama was still prez, and when we finally installed The Tangerine in the White House.
We bought an auction lot of five big boxes of items from Amazon, some of them brand new, a few that were a little damaged, and some that weren’t worth bothering with. Those items I donated to the Vets.
We were very busy packing and selling inventory in the weeks before Christmas, and we spent quite a bit on two-day shipping. Two-day shipping isn’t much more than standard shipping, but a friend pointed out that if you sell 50 items, you spent an extra $50.
Lesson learned. Some of my items were fairly heavy, so shipping costs were high.
I didn’t have to buy any packing materials. We used saved bubble wrap, crumpled paper, and boxes we already had.
There were a few misadventures; things that didn’t work, and customers who wrote and said their items didn’t work right. I refunded their money without a problem. One large, expensive item didn’t work once it arrived with the customer, and it was the most desirable item in the lot.
It was a WiFi cooker. It had worked here, but didn’t work for her. I found the company online, and told her in an email that if she sent it back to me, I’d contact the company and ask them for a new one. That’s what I would do. She must have done just that, because I never heard from her again.
Don’t be afraid to call a company and ask for a replacement item.
The worst part of the whole endeavor was that I hadn’t updated my banking information in my seller’s account, and Amazon didn’t ask me to until after the first disbursement to me. They’ve sent me checks for years.
The upshot is, they deposited the money to a non-existent bank account that’s been closed for seven years or more, and they claim they can’t find it. After I complained to the attorney general in Washington state, they claimed they sent it to my current bank account.
Long story shorter, after numerous phone calls and emails, I’m taking Jeff Bezos to small claims court in Vegas. Think he’ll show up? It’s no big deal to file, so I’m hoping they’ll just pony up already, before Mr. Bezos has to hop a flight to Vegas to defend Amazon in a suit for less than his suit probably cost.
I’m still selling items here and there, and mark ups being what they are, I have nice deposits coming in even after Christmas. I intend to be prepared for Christmas this year, start selling earlier, and sell just toys or pet accessories.
After that adventure, we moved on to computers.
This got exciting. We hired a computer repair guy to teach us what he knows. He comes over on Sundays and gives us lessons in the care, purchase, and refurbishment of computers.
We met him at a pawn shop two weeks ago for a lesson, and looked at various laptops that were on display. He taught us some of the things to look for that make a laptop purchase from a pawn shop a good buy.
In the course of the lesson, Steven spotted a thin laptop sitting closed on the shelf. He could tell it was a new model just from the slenderness of it. The clerk pulled it down, and we opened it.
It was a brand new, maybe six weeks old, Lenovo Thinkpad, T460. It sells on eBay for anywhere from $500 plus to almost a $1000. It was $200. I think the shop had mis-marked it as a Dell, but I didn’t understand how or why.
Steven said he’d buy it if I didn’t, but I was already lusting after it. My old computer is slow and small.
This thing is faster than any computer I’ve ever used. It has a bios marker, a back lit keyboard and a joy stick. I was determined to re-sell it on Craigslist for $580 and someone actually did come over to look at it for his daughter.
He didn’t trust that the bios scanner worked, so he left until I could download the software. I called the company, Lenovo, and found out he could do it himself. And the best part is the computer is warrantied until 2019. All anyone needs to know is the serial number.
I kept it. I love it. I got it for $200. It’s not a profit, but it’s not a loss, either.
I gave it one more try on Craigslist. I don’t want to sell computers on eBay, it’s too risky, too much shipping and packing materials, etc.
I got a couple more responses, one from a woman who sounded sincere. Could she pay me through Paypal? She’d even pay for shipping. She was at work and couldn’t come to see it and pick it up.
That was okay, I replied. I’d be happy to deliver it. I don’t want to use Paypal. I’d prefer cash. Where did she work?
No reply. I don’t trust Paypal. At least not for big items. So, that’s when I decided to keep it for myself.