Wednesday, 11 July 2012

cowgirls guide to ebay

As I mentioned in my last post I have been spending rather a lot of time on ebay lately.
This isn't really anything new, the difference now is that I am selling rather then buying. I've always gotten quite excited when I'm bidding on something and looking likely to win a bargain, but it's even more exciting when I'm the one that's selling and watching the price suddenly rise at the end.
I swear there's been a couple of times when I almost pissed my pants had a heart attack.
I've not done too badly as it goes, it started because I had a massive clear out of my wardrobe and decided to get rid of all the things that I am too fat to fit into never wear anymore, and other stuff that I just don't want. A few times I've been quite surprised at how well things that I think aren't that good seem to do.

Did you know that a half full 25ml bottle of Fendi perfume that only cost a tenner when full was now worth TWENTY FIVE quid ?

Neither did I.
But I was very happy when I found that out.

As a result of this, and a couple of friends then saying I could sell some stuff for them (at a percentage of course - I'm no fool), I decided to try and turn it into an ongoing business. I've bought a few job lots of dresses and found some amazing things in second hand shops that I hope will sell at a profit. One good side effect of this is that it satisfies my urge to spend, but not in a way that's going to fill my wardrobe with yet more stuff that's not going to fit me going to be outdated in six months time and never worn again.

And all it really costs me is my time.

I have learnt quite a bit as it goes, there's certainly a knack to getting the best out of it, and being a generous person I am going to share these pearls of wisdom with you my faithful flock.
So here it is. . . . .

Cowgirls Guide To Being An Ebay Entrepeneur

1. Presentation is everything.

Take plenty of pictures of your items, and make sure that you show it looking as good as possible. If there are any faults show them as well.
If you are selling clothes then IRON them first.
This. . .

. . . is not the way to sell anything.
And check your lighting, too little - or too much camera flash and your "ladies chocolate brown genuine leather skirt" will just look like a wet crumpled turd.

That is how someone pictured a green dress that I also have for sell. It just looks a bit bizarre, if I was scrolling through page after page of green dresses I don't think this would catch my eye - although I might look at it and wonder how the hell you're supposed to wear it.

Whereas I used this picture :

Show back and front views, especially if the detail is on the back.
Just not like this :

When it's supposed to look like this :

The best way to show clothing, is to either buy a mannequin or get a friend to model it for you.
Just make sure that the friend you ask is the right size and shape to show your clothes so they look their best.

People need to look at something and think that's how I hope it will look on me.
And nobody wants to look like this . . .

It also a good idea to use a model who's the right gender. . .

And finally make sure the picture actually shows what you're trying to sell.

This was a listing for a job lot of underwear.
Not hangers.
Although you could be forgiven for not realising that.

2. Make your listing stand out from the crowd.

Ebay uses the words in the title to list your item in it's searches, and people search for items by size, colour, brand, style, occasion, detail etc. So you need to get as much information in the title as you can in order for others to actually see it. "Blue dress" (which I actually saw as a title) is just going to get lost amongst 35000 other blue dresses - you need to be more specific. And certain words will attract buyers more than others, anything "vintage" "retro" or any designer name is always going to get the views, as does my personal favourite "fetish".
(Which is possibly the market the fella in the last pic was hoping for).
If it is high heeled, short, fancy dress, pvc or leather then I use that label.

But beware - sometimes it might attract the wrong kind of attention and then you can find allsorts in your mailbox. . .

Pervert alert.

I mailed the second fella back and said "£20 and we might have a deal".

He never replied, but he won the shoes and a black lace bra.
I am trying very hard not to think about what he probably looks like in them.

3. Timing is key.

If you want things to do well then think about when the listing will finish. Just because you're awake at 4am or at home on a Wednesday afternoon doesn't mean everyone else is. I list everything on a Thursday night between 8 - 10pm for 10 days - then it finishes at that time on a Sunday.
More chance of people being sat at home with the laptop on then.
And I get the excitement of watching the price going up and up.

4. Let people think they might get a real bargain.

Things that start at 99p in an auction will ALWAYS get more watchers, most likely they are all hoping to get it for that price, but if they're watching it then they see it on their list every time they look at ebay and are more likely to decide that they MUST have it.
Whatever it ends up costing.
Think about it, you're more likely to end up blowing half your wages on a pair of shoes if you have to look at them in a shop window on your way to work every day. Or is that just me ?
And since your first 100 auction listings every month are free if you start them at 99p it saves you money too.
But if you really think that you want at least a certain amount for something it's much better to set that as a starting price then have a reserve set which people can't see.
If it's a reasonable start and you get watchers it's a pretty safe bet that they are prepared to pay at least that.

Of course you could just take a chance and not bother with a picture or a proper description, but set a ridiculous price and just hope for the best.

I've used that picture in a post before but it's still by far and away the best example I've ever seen of how NOT to sell anything.

5. Feedback is essential.

Leave it for your buyers and they are more likely to remember to leave it for you. And other peoples feedback is really your only clue as to how reliable a customer or seller they are.
But there really is no pleasing some people.
Ideally you want to keep it at 100%, I've been keeping an eye on mine and last week I noticed it had gone down.

Neutral ?
Who the fuck left me neutral feedback ?
I get things posted out as fast as I can and I wrap them well, I describe everything accurately, I respond the same day to any questions and up until this ALL my feedback was great. I have even had people mail me and say how pleased they were with the things I sent them.

So I looked at the details . . .

Sometimes you just can't win.
Well not everything. I had the last laugh because she paid me £8 for pair of shoes that cost me £1.99 in a charity shop.

Before I go off to check how my empire building is going let me leave you with something I never thought I'd see on ebay.

Have a look and see if you can figure out what this is . . .

Any idea ?
And no, it's not anti-snoring.
It's actually a DIY nose job device.

I'm off to see if I can make a DIY liposuction device using the hoover and some straws.
Someone's bound to buy it.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

guess who ?

Hello !!!

Is anybody still there ???

If anyone is still reading here I expect you might be wondering where I've been.

Or if I took one too many happy pills, got over the mentalpause and am left with nothing to complain about or have an opinion on.
Yeah right.

What I have been mostly doing with my spare time in the evening is ebay. I had a massive clear out a few weeks ago and decided to list my huge pile of crap unwanted stuff, which then led to my deciding that as a) I do need a bit more income but b) I really can't be arsed to find another job, that perhaps with a bit of effort I could actually properly supplement my income with it.
The good news is it's going well, I've made about £200 in a month, half of which has been reinvested in buying up a few small job lots to (hopefully) sell on individually for a profit.

It's been a learning curve - more then you might think - and the pearls of wisdom gained will be shared in the next post.
So that'll be in three months time then.
Maybe not but don't hold your breadth.
So anyway . . .

What has finally driven me back to blogger is something that I heard a few days ago, which really pissed me off, and which I have in a way checked out for myself since and came to the conclusion that what I was told was correct.

Some things are a constant in my life - like being late for work, and at times I have got a cab from my house to the station in an effort to claim back the ten minutes that some bastard breaks into my house and steals in the morning. (If only I could catch him and get those minutes back, I'd probably have enough time for a whole day of sleep). It's a 15 minute walk to the train station but less then 5 in a cab, not great for the taxi driver I'm sure but a jobs a job and actually if I really gave in to my inner sloth wanted to there's nothing says I couldn't call one just to the end of the road.
To actually get a taxi all the way to work would cost me £20.
That's a cab drivers idea of a good job.
And obviously not something I can afford to do.

There was a day last week when I was needed to be in work early and had promised I would, but of course being me I laid awake until the early hours worrying that I wouldn't get up and then as usual managed to oversleep. I rang a cab for the station but checked the time and realised that I would still miss the next train, so by the time the taxi turned up I had decided to treat myself and get it to take me all the way to work.

In this town there is really only one taxi company, there used to be lots of them but this one slowly bought them all out. Over the last couple of years they have gotten more and more foreign drivers - in fact when I thought about it after the conversation that I'll get to in a bit, it was always a foreign driver that picked me up when I got one in the morning.
It was last week, a guy from Romania.
He pulled up outside my house and I got in and explained that I had changed my mind and now wanted to make the longer journey, he seemed very pleased when I told him.
So we get talking.
And he tells me that NONE of the foreign drivers are ever given the decent jobs, airport runs, long distance journeys, they only ever get given the short jobs, especially during rush hour when traffic around the town is slow. I was a bit disgusted at that, discrimination is discrimination however it comes and it makes me fucking sick. If you're good enough for them to employ you then you should be entitled to the same work as everyone else, and we have employment laws in this country that are supposed to protect workers from injustice. And these drivers are all here legally, they have to be to get a cabbie license. The guy whose cab I was in told me he had lived here for seven years and held dual nationality. So of course being me I voiced my disgust at this very loudly.

And that meant that the driver, who was a really nice fella (no, not like that, he was young enough to be my son) realised I suppose that I am not one of the they-come-over-here-and-take-all-our-jobs-and-deserve-to-be-treated-like-shit brigade, so he opened up to me a bit more.
Get this. . .

Not only do the company actively recruit foreign drivers that are already resident in this country, they actually advertise in Poland for drivers to come here. In the advert they promise help with the paperwork, finding accommodation and a weekly income of around £1000. They charge them £2000 for this service - which is a fucking lot more money to them then the average British citizen - and it's a fucking HUGE amount of money to most of us. So they borrow the money from whoever they can, sometimes that will be loan sharks, but more often then not from family members, because they are obviously under the impression that they will be able to earn it back very quickly once they get here.

It's all lies.

First of all they aren't given any help with any paperwork. But they are given a room that they have to share in flats that are owned by the taxi company at a cost of £100 per week.
(To put that in perspective I live in a three bedroomed, two living roomed house and I pay £450 a month).
And that £100 is roughly what they have left of their actual wages after the taxi company have taken their weekly cut for the use of the car.
All drivers pay that, but there are three different prices. The lowest is paid by the English drivers (about £150pw), the foreign but resident drivers pay about £250 and the Polish recruits have to pay £350. The only drivers that don't have to pay that are the ones that own their own cars - however they only allow the English drivers the option to do that.

And on top of that they are only ever given the shitty little jobs, and they, unlike English drivers who can choose when they work, are told when they must work. My cabbie told me that the system is that all drivers have an automated thing in their cabs so that when a job comes in if they are free, or going to be near the pick up they hit a button, the control will then buzz them back to say the job is theirs, and it is supposed to be that the first person to respond gets the job. But he told me that he has stopped bothering to respond when it is a decent job because he now knows that he will never get it.

Makes me fucking sick.
I really didn't think that things like that were allowed to go on anymore. If you work in any other environment and you feel you are being discriminated against in ANY way you can go to a tribunal. But these drivers are out on the road, they can't prove they responded first because they just don't know for sure if anyone else did reply quicker. But when you NEVER get the decent work that is not an unfortunate coincidence.

I suggested he go and see a solicitor.
Because it's not just about the lack of decent jobs, it's the other stuff as well.
Sounds to me like it's not a million miles away from the slavery and people trafficking that goes on in the sex trade. These men (and they are all men) might come here willingly, but it's on a false promise that leaves the family they left behind with no means of getting paid back the money leant to bring them here, or possibly under threat if they borrowed the money from sharks. They don't complain, apart from amongst themselves, because once they are here they need the job. As cab drivers are effectively self-employed there is nothing they can do if the company decided not to give them any work - and if they can't pay their rent then they're homeless, and they can't really go home until they find the money to pay back the loan they had to get here.
Even if they had the plane fare home.
Which they don't, because they can't afford to save.

My cabbie said he has spoken to someone, and that I should keep an eye on the local paper in the coming weeks. I really hope so. Someone needs to.

Since I had that conversation I have run a little test.
Three times since I have needed a cab to make a short journey, every time they sent a foreign driver. Yesterday I called one and said I needed to go on the longer journey ( I didn't, when he got here I said I had changed my mind and was getting a train so just to the station) and they sent an English driver.

Cunts. Racist fucking cunts.
I will NOT be getting one of their cabs again, and if I really have to, because the fucking arsehole that runs it put all the other taxi companies out of business, then I will call and say I am just going up the road so they send a foreigner, change my mind, AND give him a good tip when I get out.

In other news the size of my family has increased by three.
My friend and her Son arrived on Friday and it's been great. It's really nice to have the company and living with a six year old is proving to be an interesting and entertaining experience. I'm sure there will be a few funny posts to come as a result of that.

And you may remember we lost Sons beloved cat a little while ago, well on Monday we got this. . .

I know I said I wasn't going to get another cat, but could you resist that face ?

So anyway, if anyone read this, hope you're all ok. I'll try and catch up on some reading over the weekend.