Selling on eBay

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(My eBay shop “majorxu” page above, 08-19-2023, do you want to guess which item got sold, which didn’t 🙂

(Update 05-29-2024) Some packing and shipping tips: make sure we get a good, also decent sized packaging, otherwise the item may get lost during USPS shipping. I noticed two recent items (one is a buy from China, via eBay), another is a small item shipped from Springfield, MO (education sector, probably want to save on cost, used a very small box). Both got lost in the process for a while – it was put in the “moving through network“, before eventually showing up. USPS informed delivery helps, but we are mostly in a holding pattern in this case.

This also reminds me of a short video I saw recently: it seems the workers in the video was processing or sorting mountains of packages in China: not sure if this is domestic or International shipping. The number of packages are enormous. Also this is how a Temu warehouse looks like (I 1st saw it on Twitter/X, but can no longer see it).

Btw, “search” on X/Twitter is horrendous, I was able to find it via google search. On the result page, I click on the camera icon to go to other sources.

(Update 04-01-24) I sold a few surprising items last few days, things I didn’t expect to sell.

(Update 03-03-2024) I sold one item for the multi-quantity with variations listings below. Also I noticed one minor issue: it seems eBay does not offer the USPS 1st class mail now. So I had to pay extra $2.00 or $3.00 to get their ground advantage service. In order to avoid extra cost on my side, I changed the shipping to the USPS Ground Advantage in my listings. I still have 15 items left. Those are free items for me (10+ years ago, Courtney of Subaru America), so overall I am still okay as long as I don’t lose money over shipping and eBay fees 🙂

The reason I want to buy shipping from eBay is it has better integration with eBay payment and so on. I am willing to pay a bit extra to get this. Somewhat like what I do with Turbo Tax (better integration with IRS and the state tax authority, here in the show me state, it’s the depart of revenue).

Fixed price (buy it now) vs Auction: I gave it some more thought. One of the fairly common thing happened to me at least, is with an auction starting price of 99 cents, plus shipping. Some buyers don’t pay after bidding for it. This is usually not the case for the “buy it now” buyers. I assume the latter group is more committed buyer: they will need pay for the item when they bought it via “buy it now”. So in the future I will explore this format instead of my earlier experiment which is mostly auction.

(Update 03-02-2024) Today I created my 1st multiple quantities listing with variations on eBay – Genuine Subaru Badge of Ownership you pick Medallions many Discontinued – NEW. I also explained how to make sure the “variations” show up during listing process in the Twitter thread below.

(Update 02-26-2024) It seems eBay doesn’t like I listing Helmet there, it automatically cancelled the listing a few hours before the bid closes. Below is the email I received from eBay.

email from eBay

I just deleted the “Crutches” listing there too – as earlier I got a similar message from FB Marketplace. I still leave my crutches listing at local CraigsList. Below is the FB Market place rule regarding medical device etc.

FB Marketplace rule re: medical and healthcare products

(Update 02-19-2024) For eBay, when selling old and sometimes not so appealing items, the “unsold” rate could be quite high, one has to have a thick skin, as well as lots of patience and a big heart to continue.
On 02-18-2024
Unsold 132 –
Sold 10 – (2 unpaid; 8 paid and shipped)
Active 25 – (the main concern is not to have a distress kind of feeling)

Last but not least, it seems we lost the money made ($6 or so) from the above shoes in another pair of shoes my 13 year old bought and tried to make some money on eBay. In Chinese we say that as “偷鸡不成蚀把米” 🙂

Back to declutter, I think there are a few other ways to give away things, rather than throw them away, again one man’s trash could be another man’s treasure. They include, local buy nothing sell nothing FB groups, and charities such as Helping Hand Me Downs. The latter direct items to the families in need.

(Update 02-04-2024) Recently I realized I can sell item at 99 cents, plus the USPS Ground Advantage shipping (buyer pay), and I can make about 99 cents from the sale. The buyer’s payment for shipment covers the shipping cost plus the eBay seller fee (transaction fee). One of such items is – 4-Pack Repair Parts to fix Crocs Shoes Rivet Strap Replacement Button Fastener Do you want to guess where I got this item, or how I got started selling those? Hint: I am selling the surplus items I bought from Amazon or other places. Again: reuse, reduce and recycle.

(Original 08-09-2023) This would be my 18th year since I started to sell on eBay in the year 2005. I recall the year because that’s the year one of my nieces was born, and I visited her when she was a newborn in the southwest USA. It’s one of the few times I got to hold a newborn baby. At that time I was single and I didn’t have much chance to hold a baby. Later on, I had more chances to hold babies because my wife and I have 2 girls. I recall in late 2014, I put my baby girl (our 2nd) on my left shoulder, while I typed on my computer (laptop) working. Those are some of the highlights of my life for sure.

Back to selling on eBay topic. I understand nowadays some people would say eBay is slowly dying (here is an article I recently came across). But back in the day, 20 years ago, I recall Dick Cheney (the W’s VP), touted that “Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on eBay.” Note he gave that remark in the presidential re-election season of 2004: the economy then was not very good including the employment, note in year 2003 the US invade Iraq. I think eBay’s position then is like today’s Etsy, Uber / Lyft, and Doordash combined in terms of the number of freelance jobs being created. I know we call it gig economy now, a much fancier word.

Recently I came across James Sinclair’s YouTube video and he probably mentioned that “selling on eBay” is a hard business. I tend to agree.

Back in the days

I recall in those early days, I would buy and sell, monitors, digital camcorders, digital cameras, etc from websites such as, and using some discount codes. Then sell them on eBay. I sold quite a few. Again if you look at my eBay profile, I sold 215 items in all time. I believe most of the sales were done between the years between 2005 and 2007. I don’t think I made a meaningful profit from those (this again sorta confirms Jame’s assertion above). Once I had a complaint filed against me because the item got lost from the US to either Afghanistan or Iraq, which I have zero control. Note the USPS insurance also only covers shipping inside the US. I know this sucks but this is just life, and I think that’s probably another reason I decided to not continue selling on eBay, in addition to low or no profit, as well as in the next few years, iPhone and other smartphones got more popular and gradually replaced many camcorders and digital cameras (24 things that the mobile phone has replaced). I still remember the excitement I had when I got my 1st blackberry, and back in 2009 my coworker really hoped for the iPhone (note it was the early days of iPhone, and it was not available as the company device yet, but it was coming soon).

Different purpose: declutter

But nowadays, my main goal is to sell unused stuff, from a “reduce, reuse, recycle” point of view (refer to the picture at the way bottom to say the point). One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That’s also why I don’t care much about profitability etc. of all this. It’s not my main goal. I know from time to time I really need to be more organized and reduce the things I keep at home. Until recently I watch Holy Schmidt’s video on the topic, I was not serious enough though. That day I got a bit unhappy about my own mess or the not-well-organization of my desk. So I decided to do a little cleanup. During that, I found out that I forgot to open the mail and quite a few checks from the dental insurance company. Some checks are over one year old and I can no longer deposit them 🙁

Schmidt’s example in his video is more extreme, per se. But I can see I am coming down this path if I don’t clean up the garage, the basement, and other rooms at home quickly. So there is my incentive. I don’t think it’s realistic to sell everything on eBay. I would probably give some large items away, or throw some away eventually.

Last but not least, something left an impression, is this YouTube TedX video, To be different is good, by Jon Jandai. I think I have a lot to chew on about the video in terms of living a simple life.

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