Wedding dress hard to part with

Another new category for the site. While I wait for my employment ship to come in, I’ve been stepping up my activity on eBay. As viewers of the vlog can attest, I picked up some leads from a guy who moved to Southern California but has a Website that gets a lot of local traffic. Good for him, and good for me. In addition, my own activities as a Trading Assistant on eBay has generated a couple of leads, including some sports merchandise (mugs, hats, keychains etc.) that is in the queue to be added this afternoon through the weekend.

I’ve sold on consignment for about seven years, mostly for friends but for a lot of strangers too. There’s a reason they’re called “strangers,” I might add. The purpose of this category is to share some of my experiences, as well as indirectly plugging my consignment service.

I’d like to start off with a key point that no one understands: Your stuff is worth less than you think. The reason it cost more when you bought it is because it was new. It’s used now. In addition, you have no leverage. The reason why goods cost what they do in a store is because the owner is assuming liability of the item, meaning that his money is locked in that whatever.

When you’re selling something and are desperate to move it, you are at the whim of who has money. The best deals are obtained when you have money burning a hole in your pocket, and someone else needs money to pay bills. You can imagine the mindset of some people when they show up and would like to bring me on as their Trading Assistant.

And that brings me to today’s subject. This is one of the leads from the guy in LA, so it’s always a surprise as to what it is they would like me to put up for auction or list as a fixed price. Today’s contestant had gone with another TA who has disappeared off the face of the earth. I guess she had a bad experience with a handbag, because she was looking for me to be the one to sell her wedding dress.

Every listing on eBay has a story behind it. Some of them are downright boring. (“I opened a pack of 2009 Bowman Chrome baseball and pulled an autograph card.”) This one was not the most exciting but entertaining nonetheless. She was engaged five years ago and for whatever reason did not tie the knot. So she still has this $1,100 wedding dress NWT — that’s “new with tags” in eBay parlance — complete with receipt, measurements: the works. I knew there would be trouble as soon as I heard “I’d like to get top dollar for this.”

Who doesn’t want top dollar? Why do the other dollars even exist, except merely to serve as placeholders? I suppose that only I would get into a business dominated by greed and then act like money is not a big deal, but here I am. And I’ll tell ya: Some of these guys find it refreshing. And it results in referrals and more business. Which is what takes us to where we are now.

So after the song and dance of what this dress’ history is, she decides to talk about terms. As an aside, the first thing I try to do with anyone is discuss terms, because I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I charge a little more than some consignment sellers because I am reachable 24/7 and provide a good service. Also, more importantly, I am not hurting for consignment business right now. I’m not swamped, but keeping up is occasionally challenging when you work in job interviews, dice training, KSCU and being a good boyfriend.

Let’s recall that the reason we are discussing the dress in the first place is because the one selling her handbag has disappeared into the ether — with her handbag! With that in the back of my mind, I am then told that this other seller is charging only 30%, and would I be interested in lowering the 38% I charge?

Any successful businessperson knows to take everything on a case-by-case basis. The easier it is to work with someone, the more of a break I will give them. And to steal a phrase from a friend, the pain-in-the-ass rule is always in effect.

It’s obvious to me that, after complaining about another TA (and therefore coming to me), you don’t really have any leverage. But when you then try to play him off of me to see if I will lower my rate, that’s insulting. If you’d like a lower rate, ask for one outright, and if I want to know why, I’ll ask. But when you tell something that’s clearly a misguided truth at best, it ruins your integrity, and it makes me not want to sell your item.

When I was looking at houses, my girlfriend at the time and I looked at a nice condo in the Villages in Saratoga. The seller was going to go into foreclosure soon, and she likely was going to have to do a short sale. To top it off, living in Saratoga has long been a dream of mine. (So was living in Willow Glen, so clearly I am quite happy at the results.) However, the woman selling the unit was unbearably extroverted and insecure. This is the worst combination of person for me, compatibility-wise. It’s ridiculously distracting, and it makes me not want to deal with you. Everyone is insecure. But when you’re trying to sell something for $400,000, you should think before you speak. It’s expected that something is going to be hidden, and when you lay it all out there for the world to see, it leads people to wonder what is being held back.

Or as my now-ex put it, “if you can’t stand the person, don’t buy the house. You’re going to have to work with this person intimately and directly (it was a for sale by owner) for six weeks, and you’ll go insane.” She was right, and I knew it. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to that unit, but I don’t regret the decision to walk away for a second.

And it rings true here as well. As it became clear to the woman with the wedding dress that I was not interested in changing my terms to match the unreachable trading assistant’s, she changed her tone and could not wait to get off the phone. I was set up twice to deliver the obvious zinger: If the other seller is so great, then why not have him sell the wedding dress for you? But, I did not. Maybe because I knew I would write about it here and get my satisfaction that way. Regardless, I maintained my professionalism, wished her luck and let her hang up on me. Because that’s what I do.

It’s got to suck to look at this wedding dress after five years and be reminded of everything that went along with it. Whether it’s because he cheated on her, or he died, or she had second thoughts or something else entirely, no association with that dress is going to be a healthy one. And now she’s just going to have to keep looking.

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