I don’t do a lot on eBay. Except maybe search for things I want. And the few times I bid on something that I want, I end up losing it in the last 60 seconds of the auction. But every once in a while, I find some things that I don’t need anymore and decide to dump them out on eBay, thinking I’m going to get some extra cash. As I found out, it doesn’t always work that way.

Old Cell Phone
old N-Gage

Back in late 2004, I won the above pictured cell phone from an online tech blog contest. I would keep it for sentimental reasons, but I used the phone, had fun with it, and saved the blog post that announced me as a winner. So this thing sat around for at least a year before I got around to starting the auction. When the auction ended, it went for a bit more than I expected, so I was pretty happy.

Not so old Bluetooth headset

At the same time I posted the above Nokia N-Gage QD, I also listed an older bluetooth headset that works well, but one I don’t use anymore. In the last two years, I went from having no bluetooth headsets to five. And since this had sat in its box for the same amount of time as the N-Gage, I might as well sell this one and get rid of something else I don’t need/use.

it's big, but works well

Of course, I wasn’t expecting the auction to close at the price it did. Did it close higher? HELL NO!! .. wait … let me rephrase that… FUCK NO!!


After eBay fees, I ended up with $4.84. And here’s the proof….

someone got a good deal
At least someone got an incredible deal

Ok. You can’t always do well on eBay. But at least shipping would only be $4.00 (which is what I calculated it to be at USPS.com, leaving me with a whopping 84-cents from the auction (not including what eBay would take out for their listing and selling fees)


I boxed up the headset and took it to the post office to send off. Here’s where I got my next surprise… postage rates went up on May 12th. Dammit! ok… calm down…. they couldn’t have gone up that much, could they? How much more of that 84-cents would I need to send this off?

this is what I spent to ship it

$5.45… hmmm…. let’s see…. doing the math…. it COST me an additional 61-cents…. that’s $.61… to sell this item. AND I still need to pay eBay listing and selling fees. So let’s just call it even buck I lost on this sale.

Better Luck Next Time

So the lesson I learned from this was:

  • plan for extra shipping charges
  • find items that people are actually willing to pay more than $1.29 for

  • simply keep all of my unused items in the storage box where they had been happily sitting.