Monday, April 25, 2016

Parting of the ways

It happens in every relationship.  There is an initial rush when you see it for the first time - and in the classic Dork Tower Igor voice you think "It must be mine!".  More and more it grows, eventually filling all available space.

Like all gamers, I often seem to have little self control.  Rather than dwell on the kickstarters I HAVE backed, I prefer to look at all of the ones I have resisted.  I have been pretty good about only buying games, and more specifically miniatures, for games that I actually play.

But I still manage to accumulate more stuff.  Prizes from tournaments, swag bags, or the box from which I ended up using one bit.

I have never sold a painted miniature.  Ok, I did give my very first warhammer army (vampire counts) to my oldest son when he first started playing the game - however that was more of a passing of the torch.  He still plays undead (though it turns out he later sold my old models).  The time, blood (it isn't truly your army if you didn't cut yourself at least once when cleaning / trimming / converting it after all :-)) and sweat I've put into them - I just can't give them up.  But boxed, unpainted minis, especially those that have been sitting in the basement for years - I really have no attachment to them. Especially for games I don't even play, or no longer play.  Or armies that I have finished.

I'm at the point in my life where I'm not gaming on a shoestring budget.  A good job, kids having moved out and being (for the most part) self sufficient (and if there isn't a better parenting win than that then I don't know what it is) actually leaves me able to get new games or minis when I want them.  But there are still some things that I can't quite justify.  I want a battery operated printer to use for the tournaments I run.  I'm having problems justifying that cost to myself.  So I finally decided that it was time to let go of some of the things just taking up space that I will never use.

So it comes to that great internet garage sale - ebay.  Now I'd never sold anything on ebay before - I had attempted at one time to sell my son's Orc & Goblin army for him - but I asked too much and it didn't sell.

I put out several boxed, shrink-wrapped items - and two went in a few days at a fixed price - but the others weren't moving - and I hate waiting, so I changed them to 'traditional' auctions.

It is interesting (at least to me) that ebay is all about you being able to sell your items - however it isn't necessarily about you making much off of them.  I followed their recommendations - start your auctions at $0.99.  You should also have free shipping.  I can't do that - I already underestimated shipping on the first item I sold.  Plus the 10% ebay fee, and the 2.5% (plus $0.30) pay pal fee - it is possible to actually lose money selling something too cheaply.  So I've tried to estimate shipping that is reasonable but covers the actual cost without knowing final cost ahead of time.

I put up a "buy it now" price on the items as well - a bit less than the previous fixed price.  Yeah, nobody touched that.  The auctions were all set for a week - a bit more reasonable wait than a month. But not less stressful.  Of course in this day and age of smart phones I have the ebay app and get notifications (with a satisfying " ch-ching" sound) every time a bid is placed.  So I'm watching these - and seeing if they are actually going to go for enough to actually make a bit of money.  It didn't take long for somebody to make the minimum bid of $0.99 on everything - I kind of figure these were just people trying to get anything they could super cheap.  It is once you get a second bid (ok, only $1.25) on an item that you feel like it might grow.

Of course the final hour is the worst - waiting, watching and wondering.  How many people are waiting until the last minute - how high will it go (or how low will it stay)?


What I am finding is even before the auctions are over, I'm thinking of what more to put up there.  No nice good box sets - but old sprues I will never use?  Baggies of unassembled minis w/ cards for other games (which I got in a swag bag, but only wanted a few of the minis).  There is also a sort of leveling system, and it is fairly important as it means the money from the sales is available a bit sooner (not a bad idea - if you haven't established a good record as a seller they hold it for up to three weeks - to give the buyers time to complain or return things.  So simply make 25 sales, for a total of at least $250, and be an active seller for more than 60 days.  So I'm not quite half way to the first requirement, more than half to the second - and for the last, well only time will tell.

Now you don't always have to wait 21 days - if you buyer posts positive feedback after the sale, then it frees up your money a couple of days afterward.  So if you do buy things on ebay - there is a reason to leave feedback as soon as you get and are satisfied with your items.

So it looks like I have at least one more round to try - time to start taking some more pictures and getting items up, as well as ("ch-ching as I write this and an item goes up a $1.75 with 37 minutes to go") packing items and getting them ready to ship tomorrow.

One thing I've already learned is that pay-pal has a nice shipping label feature, with several great benefits.  It adds tracking to the package and sends the tracking number to the buyer (nice to have),  but keeps the postage first class (not priority).

And now as my auctions end in between 5 and 43 minutes I'm seeing even more bids, upping the excitement (and the money, which, in the end, is the main reason for this).

- - - at this point I grilled a steak for dinner, and mowed the lawn (some people have a backyard that is a beautiful repose from the hectic stress of their everyday life - I have a dog toilet I have to mow), before I came back - - -

Once they ended - then came the big rush as payments came in, a combined shipment was negotiated, shipping labels were printed up, and a stack of packages started to grow.

Among all of this frenzy was me listing new stuff (because I like these ending on Sunday).  One was a second copy of a warmachine battlegroup - which sold in about an hour with a buy it now price that was higher than the weeks auction for the same item had been :-).  This did cause me some confusion as the second sale was paid for before the first (and I'm scrambling to see if I had the wrong label on the package until I realized that both had sold).


Of course being in the eastern time zone - some of the people in California just had to pay after I went to bed (including buying another of the new items I had just put up), so in the morning I had three more packages to get ready so I could take them to the post office all at once.

It is interesting playing the strategy (how much do I start this at, do I do postage or a reserve, fixed price or auction) and then seeing what happens - it feels kind of like a game in itself.  A little like roborally - program my item and let it go to see where it ends up.  In a way it is like gambling - but you can't really lose - maybe just not bring in as much as you might hope for.

And at least the crate that had a bunch of boxes of models that I never used (most of them several years old) is now empty - which means I have more room for more models!

Because it is all fun and games . . .

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