Not sold on Ebay

When I spotted the stack of old Archie comics at a garage sale this summer for only 50 cents each, I bought all 122 of them. What prompted me to spend a whole month?s worth of garage sale cash on a single stack of comics? Nostalgia? Collector fever? Nope. Pure greed. EBay greed to be precise.

I looked at that tower of comics and saw a stack of money just waiting to be made. All the way home I shook my head at how some people are so lazy that they lack the initiative to list items on EBay themselves and I patted myself on the back for my fortitude. I admit, it made driving rather difficult, what with all that head shaking and back patting taking place, but I managed it. You can do anything when you put your mind to it.

This took place in July.

On the first of December I finally dug the stack of comics out of the hall closet and sat down to make money just in time for Christmas. The way I saw it, I could easily sell each comic for at least ten bucks. For once, we would not be having a credit card Christmas. This year I would be able to pay for all our gifts in cash. Clever cash. Fortitude cash. EBay cash. Comic book cash.

I logged on to my computer and went to the EBay site. While I have never actually sold anything on EBay, I have bought a few things. Buying stuff on EBay is easy. Selling stuff could only be easier.

Things went well until I got to the picture part. I had no picture. Worse, I had no digital camera. I heaved a sigh, scratched my head, pulled a calculator out of the drawer and figured out that if I spent $200 on a camera, I still would have over a $1000 left for my pocket.

The good news is that the camera store has some excellent salespeople working for them. The bad news is that the camera cost $427.69. Plus tax. The good news is that its megapixel capability is amazing. The bad news is that I don?t know what that means. The good news is that it only took me two and a half days to figure out how to take pictures of my comic books and load them onto EBay.

EBay is so cheap it?s silly. You can list an item for only 35 cents and the picture is free. Free! Unless you want the picture to appear beside your title on the main page. That costs another 25 cents. To put a fancy border around your auction to prove you?re serious about ebaying and to ?improve visual appeal? only costs 15 cents. To highlight the listing, make the font bold and add an item subtitle totals another $3.75. To put the item in a second category, such as ?Collectibles? as well as ?Comic Books? doubles the insertion fees. Well, sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

Now, as I said, I knew I could easily get ten bucks a comic. They were old comics, after all, but I?m no fool. The trick with auctions is to lure bidders in with a cheap starting price and then let the frenzy build from there. I listed each comic with a starting price of only 99 cents. I leaned back in my chair, grinned and waited for the bids to fly in. It occurred to me that I might have grossly underestimated the comics value. With such an inviting starting price, I could end up getting twenty bucks a comic. Let?s see, twenty bucks times 122 minus the camera and insertion fees . . . Well, that?s still a lot of Christmas money.

I sold three comic books.

For 99 cents each.

Of which EBay demanded 5.25 per cent for helping me to sell it. Then Paypal charged another 2.9 per cent plus 55 cents for use of their handy payment service.

Does anyone actually know someone who got rich on EBay? Because I?m thinking it?s an urban myth. I?m also thinking no more schemes to get rich on EBay for me. I can?t afford it.. No more garage sales neither. At least not until Christmas is paid for.