From the Assistant’s Chair: Sell Your Crap!

So you’re at the local drive-in, sitting in your hot rod with a swell filly named Loralane, and you’re necking her like there’s no tomorrow. Then the roller skating waitress glides up to your car and asks if you’d like the Moon Over My Hammy special, and Loralane says she won’t go to the box social with you this Saturday night unless you get her some grub.  But you reach in your pockets, pull them completely inside-out until a moth comically flies out, and it indicates to both Loralane and the roller skating waitress that you are not only broke, but you’re too poor to even afford a wallet to not hold the money you don’t have in the first place. Then she goes off with Butch from the Green Cobras on his dirt bike, and you go crying home while “Earth Angel” by Marvin Berry ominously plays from a mysterious location in the distance.

You know what your biggest problem was? That’s right, associating with those dastardly Green Cobras in the first place! Second biggest problem? You need a bunch of money! Well, if you’re in charge of your own post-production company then you are bound to have a ton of out of date equipment, because this industry is a constantly upgrading, uphill climb. And the higher you climb, the harder it will become to keep carrying all of your old stuff that you barely use anymore. So sell it!

I know, eBay is not a new concept to anybody, and I’m not one of those power sellers that make their living entirely off of selling things on eBay, so perhaps, if you wanted to be a jerk about it, you could nullify my entire philosophy on selling used goods, and go read a different article from Johnny P. Sells-A-Bunch with his fancy green star. But hey, I have a 100% positive feedback rating, that’s good, right?

One of my jobs as an assistant here is to sell old equipment and other various items in between my other tasks, when I have time. I try and squeeze in about one item a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. I’ve sold a bunch of items that have gone out of use around the office and made a bunch of scratch doing so. It’s not Donald Trump money, but it’s a decent amount of change for not doing a whole lot of work, AND it also eliminates the clutter of things you don’t need any more. Frankly, it prevents people from tripping over all the extra crap in the storage room. Hello money, goodbye lawsuits!

I would strongly suggest bailing on quasi-sentimental things, and just getting rid of them on eBay. Now, sure, you should probably keep that family heirloom pocket watch that your father gave you 10 minutes before he was tragically eaten by a great white shark, but do you really care about that wolf statue you got from your vacation in Arizona six years ago? Yeah it was a great vacation, but the only item you have is this stupid statue of a wolf, and you don’t even like wolves! You were in the airport gift shop and realized you didn’t buy any souvenirs, so you pitched out $60 for this handmade wolf statue.

Seriously, I would suggest taking a picture of it, that way you can always be reminded of the wolf through the photograph (if you actually desired to) and then try and scrape $20 for it on eBay. Do you realize that $20 can get you five Spicy Chicken Sandwiches at Wendy’s??? Or roughly NINETEEN Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers!!! What is the wolf statue getting you, sitting on your shelf…? It’s probably just getting you a nice collection of dust, and is in no way contributing to putting four Baconators in your stomach.

This might just be me personally, but I don’t really need a bunch of memorabilia to remind me of where I’ve been. Pictures are enough, just look at pictures, they don’t take up space, and they actually remind you of something more than the gift shop where you bought a wolf statue. That’s what I think of when I look at souvenirs, I think of the details of the store in which I purchased it at, not the vacation around it, that’s what the photographs are for. Maybe the wolf statue is a bad example, you probably don’t even have a wolf statue. And if you do, you probably bought it from me on eBay.

So thank you for funding two weeks worth of vanilla Frostees for me at lunch with your $20. I hope the wolf statue looks great on your mantle…

Sorry for the rant, I was just happy to get rid of that wolf statue. But the main purpose for this article is to show you a nice program that makes dealing with eBay a breeze. It’s called iSale, and it’s been around for a couple years, but it’s current version (5) is really good. I’ve used it to sell a ton of things around here on eBay, the profits of these items that we no longer use go right back into the company. Perhaps if you wanted to make a little extra money and didn’t think about selling things, this will nudge you into doing so.

Selling things not only helps you, but clearly helps whoever is purchasing them as well, since they clearly want what you are offering. iSale is pretty much a simple interface that creates good looking eBay templates, and let’s you plug in the details in a very clean and compact menu. When I buy things on eBay I do tend to get creeped out by the lame looking, one paragraph/sentence default descriptions that you see on some peoples auctions.

Clients and other various other people who have walked past me while I’m using iSale look over my shoulder and say “Wow! That looks easy! I would love to sell a bunch of junk I have, but I’m no good at using eBay…” Then I say “Yeah, can’t you see I’m trying to work here…?” And then they leave the room whispering something under their breath. I assume it’s about how awesome iSale is. All you have to do is set up your eBay account in the iSale preferences menu, and then iSale will do all the work in terms of dealing with eBay, I literally no longer even need to sign onto the eBay website. It essentially does everything the eBay auction setup does, but better, and faster. You don’t want to be stuck using eBay’s “awesome” design templates, do you?

Are you serious? That looks like something I would find on a crappy Geocities site. Well, I take that back, saying crappy Geocities site would imply that there are also non-crappy Geocities sites. The eBay templates look like standard Geocities sites.

But after the account setup, you pretty much just select a template, in which there is probably something that relates somewhat to the item you are selling:
















Plug in all of the useful information in the very neat menu interface:
















I think that looks a lot better and more coherent than the jibber jabber of the eBay item setup…
















Then you take some pictures of your item. I always take my own pictures, it’s much better than just finding a product image online and doing a copy/paste job on it, it looks more reliable to take pictures of the actual item yourself. I like to take photos with poor lighting (yeah… that’s right… the poor lighting is on purpose… yeah…) and try to include my hand in the picture whenever possible.

Then you can drag them onto your template in the “drop picture here” areas, and you don’t get charged 15¢ for every picture after the first, assuming they can all be uploaded through your MobileMe, or FTP, or Macbay.

But just fill in the template where it tells you to fill in, and you’ve got yourself a very good looking eBay auction (probably as good as it could look, especially for how easy it was to do).

Then hit “Submit” and your auction is good-to-go!

The Suite Take

With iSale you should no longer have the excuse (in whiny voice) “But I don’t know HOW to use eBay…!” I’m pretty sure I could train my Mom to use this program if I wanted to (which I don’t). Yeah, it is $40. But if you think about it, if you upload 10 pictures of your item each auction, 9 of those pictures would cost 15¢ each on eBay, coming to a total of $1.35 per auction of 10 pictures. So the price of iSale will pay itself off in about 30 auctions! I guess if you only want to sell one or two things and then stop, maybe consider getting your nephew to help you out or something. But I highly recommend iSale if you are planning on selling a bunch of stuff on a consistent rate.

And apparently iSale 5 has a new integration with the iPhone, so you can take pictures and create the whole auction on the fly with your iPhone! I haven’t tried this so I can’t vouch for it, but it sounds pretty cool. Just throwing that out there!

So get on with it and sell that awesome wolf statue!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.