Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Editing What You Own: The Hassle of Selling Stuff Off

Let me begin this post by saying that the editing of our possessions is going well. We've taken a number of three cubic foot boxes to the local Salvation Army and have given away items to friends and family. There are a few items that we listed for sale on the local free, online classifieds. It has been a while since I sold anything this way and I had forgotten how aggravating it can be. While some folks we've dealt with have been great, others have tested our patience in one way or another.

One person called for her daughter expressing interest in a pair of painted solid wood dressers. She said her daughter would definitely have them at the asking price of $50 for the pair, but asked if I could deliver for extra. Not wanting to be petty or cheap, I asked the address (only five minutes from my place) so I said I could deliver at no extra charge. I was told to deliver them to the address, but the caller wouldn't be there, only her daughter. I asked if I could have the daughter's number and she gave it to me. I decided to call first as this was a little irregular - delivering before payment was received. Sure enough, the daughter was expecting us so J and I loaded up the truck and headed over. When we arrived, the daughter was in her pyjamas and I was informed that there was no one there to help us unload. She clearly had no intention of stepping outside to help us in any way. So I held out my hand and calmly explained that before we unload the truck, I wanted to be paid for the dressers.

She was flabbergasted. I suggested she consider things from our perspective: no one had come to look at the dressers, but on faith alone, we loaded them onto the truck and delivered them to her street address for free. Now we had to carry them up a flight of stairs. For all I knew, she would let us bring them in the house and then decide she didn't like them and expect us to carry them back. Normally, people pay you for used items and delivery follows after the purchase is made. She reluctantly handed over her money. We carried them into her house and left.

Then there are the folks who call and ask if you will take less than your already very low asking price before they even come to look at the item. When you ask what kind of offer they want to make you find out it is 30 - 50% lower than the asking price. J lost patience today with one caller and announced that we would rather donate the item to charity or chop the item into fire wood.

My favourite to date was being asked if I had the original packaging for an item as the caller wanted to give the item as a gift. The item was being offered for about 10% of the regular retail price and they expected the original packaging. Can you believe it?

I've been told that there are "dealers" - people who amass stock for semi-permanent summer roadside flea markets and yard sales by perusing the free classifieds and making low-ball offers on items listed for sale. You know, I have no ill will here towards them. I just wish they would level with me when they call. If someone called and said, "Listen, I'm a dealer and the price I'd be willing to pay is likely lower than you'd like to get for this item. Can I leave my name and number? If it doesn't sell at your listed price and you still want to get a few dollars for it, maybe we could talk later." If I was approached this way, I'd say, "sure, no problem." Instead, folks send one line emails like: "$50 - take it or leave it." Guess what I do in that situation? I invoke the mighty "delete" button!

Thinning out possessions is stressful. Getting a house ready for sale also poses challenges. Looking on the bright side, these classified ads have provided opportunity to "exercise" the Serenity Prayer...

.....to accept the things I cannot change (and hence sell the slip cover for $15 dollars even though the caller was really irritating)

.....to have courage to change the things I can (remember the dressers?)

.....and the wisdom to know the difference (and to invoke the delete button as appropriate).

We still have some items left so wish us luck. The solid maple china cabinet in the picture goes to a new home tomorrow...and we only got beaten down $50 on this item...not bad, not bad...

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I cannot begin to imagine the audacity of the girl who got your dressers. Can we say "princess?" Love your attitude, and thanks for the day brightener.

    Blogless Peggy/turtlemss@aol.com