Why an eBay mom lowered her prices

An eBay facility in California's Silicon Valley.

Oh, how I love selling on eBay. A few months ago, I got a ridiculously huge thrill watching a bidding war erupt over my son’s outgrown size 4T winter jacket. I bought it new for $25 (overstocks! But I digress…) and sold it for $35.


While selling for me had largely to do with clearing out and replacing my two kids’ outgrown stuff, it wasn’t just about resale – it evolved into absurdly high adventure. I’d write descriptions aimed at inciting consumer riots, picking just the right words to express the groovy delights of my daughter’s outgrown party dress, the "must-havery" of her outgrown snow boots. The key point: How much could I get?

Until now.

New adjustment

In this terrifying economy, I’ve adjusted spending along with everyone else. But I also find myself adjusting what I ask of others. With salaries dwindling or disappearing all over, the thrill of the score is gone.

Our family has taken a 15 percent hit on our income, but we realize we’re still quite fortunate. We can pay our bills and continue our lives. We look around and take nothing for granted.

I’ve long been impressed with the resourcefulness and scrupulous honesty of the children’s resale section of eBay, and have loved taking part. “Excellent Used Condition” meant an item could almost pass as new. Along with the great majority of sellers, I’d list any tiny flaw – the slightest fading, or even a name written on an inside tag.

But within these parameters still lay the opportunity for me to pump things up for optimal return.

I recently realized I wanted to give a break as much as get one. Sure, I want to attract buyers. But I also want to contribute to a great resource and take part as best I can. I’ve lowered prices, and when an item possesses a particularly fabulous quality falling outside the realm of usefulness, I’ll stress that as a bonus.

Looking to give

And I find myself giving far more things away. Yes, we could use the eBay-generated income. But we’ll live with less and know that our outgrown snow boots – in excellent used condition! – will go to great use. And I wish it hadn’t taken an economic downturn for me to take this action.

I still get a kick out of eBay. But it’s more of a communal kick these days, and I greatly appreciate the feel of people pulling together in hard times.

– Contributed by Diana Fischer in Cambridge, Mass.

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