Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sitting docked on eBay, wasting time

Like it? 
In every man's life, there comes a time when he stands in awe of all that surrounds him and calculates how much he could get for it on eBay.

It happened to me recently. I looked around my apartment, pockets empty with a week left to payday, and saw wads of cash -- all of it locked inside items some sucker hasn't bought yet.

For instance, I own hundreds of vinyl records: jazz, blues, pop, hard rock, rare ones I didn't let myself listen to. I used to keep them fastidiously alphabetized on a bookshelf until last year, when the bookshelf collapsed in pieces. My collection weighs about 300 pounds.

After a search for another shelf strong enough to hold my collection -- I figured titanium-enforced concrete -- I waved my copy of Freddy Fender's "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" under my wife's nose.

"Somebody will buy this on eBay," I said. "People buy all kinds of inane stuff on eBay. These just collect dust here."

My wife looked at me, then at Freddy. "That's actually a smart idea. Hold on a sec -- I'm trying to figure out how you can screw this up." She glanced away for a moment, then said, "That's actually a smart idea."

So I'm putting part of my record collection on eBay! After expenses, I figure I should make somewhere between $3 and $950,000. With eBay, you never know who's a multimillionaire Freddy Fender fan.

But like any good businessman, I've got to think ahead. What will I sell after the next teardrop falls?

So I researched commonly sold eBay goods. My favorite eBay items are the ones everyone has around the house, the ones no one can put a price on.

Haunted items, for instance. Auctioneers on eBay make a tidy sum every day on everyday household objects possessed by malevolent poltergeists. Everyone has at least one haunted appliance or objet d'art lying around in the garage -- why not trade it in for a little payola?

A quick check of eBay turned up Item No. 5580163845, "Haunted Vase & Contents Was Grandmas." A longer check reveals that, thankfully, the contents are not Grandma.

"I Believe that it is haunted because of the wierd things that have been going on, not to be talked about!" is the bone-chilling description. It includes a picture of what looks like a mushroom-shaped bong with a towel on it. With 12 minutes left to go, three people had driven the bidding up to $5.50 for this unique treasure.

"The Contents that might be haunted are a gift, believe me you can have em!" I'm betting it's dirt from a desecrated Indian burial ground. It could also be mold.

Think it's just useless shit? Hardly! That would be Item No. 6177975304, "Coprolite Fossil Reptile Dino Dung." For just $14.99 you can own half a dozen pieces of ancient history -- very icky pieces of ancient history.

"Dino Dung or 'Coprolite' is the Fossilized Excrement or 'Poop' of a 35 to 65 Million Year Old Reptile (Dinosaur, Turtle, Giant Sloth, etc.)." It's true -- sloths are reptiles. "These are nice shaped specimens," the description adds helpfully, meaning the rocks look more or less like poo.

I'm thinking, since I have a decent yard, there must be some fossilized turds in there somewhere. Did Fall River have dinosaurs? And sloths -- what about them?

Or I could get in on the racket of so many other successful eBayers -- like the woman selling a saltine that she drew Paula Abdul on, or the other guy hawking a grilled cheese sandwich, or the pregnant woman offering the naming rights to her twins ("Bank of America, if you keep playing with your food so help me there is no dessert! That goes for you too, Disney Presents The Pixar Animated Film 'Cars'!").

But the best racket has to be selling money.

There are no less than four "mystery wallets" for sale on eBay. People are bidding hundreds of bucks on wallets stuffed with cash. The unfortunate thing is, with mystery wallets, you could get much less than you paid for. On the other hand, most of the wallets look like Buxtons. They make a nice wallet, Buxton.

Item No. 5578715638 is "Daddy's FAT Mystery Wallet." "This wallet is used and now retired and as you can see is holding A LOT of REAL US Dollars!!" Who doesn't like US Dollars? And who doesn't like a mystery? Some say the mystery is how much loot is packed in the wallet! Others say the mystery is why anybody would spend money to buy money. I say the mystery is, why didn't I come up with this scam first?

After my research, I came up with a list of stuff around my house that I'll be selling on eBay. Now, because you look like a nice guy/lady, I'm letting you in on the ground floor. I'll give 10 percent off to any reader who wants these magnificent items! Did I say 10 percent? I meant to say 1.0:

HAUNTED CAN OF FURNITURE POLISH: I bought this can of Lemon Pledge more than six years ago -- and it still has Lemon Pledge in it. I suspect there is a mischievous demon inside. It frightens me. I also don't like dusting. Please take the Pledge off my hands. Bidding starts at $50.

GRAPEFRUIT SHAPED LIKE A YELLOW SOFTBALL: What an amazing coincidence! I was sitting down to enjoy a grapefruit, and all of a sudden I noticed the striking similarity! Spooky! We'll open the floor at $800.

DERISIVE NICKNAMES FOR SALE: Coming up with snide monikers for people you don't like can often be a chore. Should you attack their weight problems or their glasses? "Ass" -- suffix or prefix? Let me take care of that for you -- banana-face! See how easily snotty nicknames come to me, Tube Top? The power of instant mockery can be yours, with an opening bid of $250.

MYSTERY SOCK FILLED WITH NICKELS AND POWDERED SUGAR: How many nickels are inside? Why powdered sugar? These are just two of the mysteries surrounding this sock. Remember -- this is not a lottery! You're just buying the sock! Any money or sweetener inside is a special prize! Starts at $2,500.

WHAT COLOR SHIRT WILL I WEAR ON JULY 19TH? BLUE OR BROWN? Ordinarily, I just throw on a shirt. Not July 19! You make the call! Consider the power you'd wield over my life. I think $1,900 is a fair price. Bid early and bid often!

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails