Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sewing machines, Bernina embroidery equipment and other stuff I know nothing about...

Have you ever been to a sale and find the seller has taped a printout of an eBay listing as a comparison for an item they're selling? Don't you hate that? The seller is basically saying, "This thing is worth X amount of dollars and if you don't believe me, you can read this eBay listing!" Most of the time I get turned off to these blatant attempts to justify prices through eBay. My attitude is, "This ain't eBay...it's a garage sale!" Ebay comparisons also leave little room for negotiation. The buyer thinks they've made their case through eBay and dig in their heels. But while I loathe most eBay comparisons, there's an exception to every rule. This is that exception.   

Bernina Embroidery Module
Some months back, I was doing my usual loop-de-loop through a local thrift shop when I spotted a bulky piece of sewing equipment. For the record, you could take my sewing knowledge and pour it into a small thimble and it wouldn't even fill it. In fact, pretty much the only thing I know about sewing is that a thimble is used! So with little to go on, I stared at this particular sewing equipment like the first caveman puzzled over the creation of fire. Although I didn't know it at the time, I was looking at a Bernina Embroidery Module. The Bernina company is based in Switzerland and manufactures very expensive, high-end sewing equipment. An embroidery module connects to an existing Bernina sewing machine when doing intricate embroidery work. All this useful information I learned later. In the thrift shop I had nothing. However fortunately for me, the kind ladies at the thrift shop had printed out an eBay auction for a similar model and taped it to the unit for sale. The listing showed a Bernina embroidery module that sold for, now get this....$350!  Despite this incredible documented price, the thrift shop was only asking a paltry $40 for their model!

The useful thrift store printout!
You may be as confused as I was. If a similar model sold for $350, why was the thrift shop only asking $40? I am guessing because without the actual sewing machine, they couldn't test the unit out to see if it worked. Trying to wrap my head around the huge price difference, I read the eBay listing print out. (That's the actual printout in the photo.) The unit in the listing had a few extras things the thrift store model didn't have, including a carrying bag and some embroidery hoops. Being a natural skeptic, I did some fast research on my phone to determine what Bernina equipment was selling for on eBay. Sure enough, much of the equipment was selling for big money! Processing all this information including the potential payoff, I decided to roll the dice on the embroidery equipment.

My thrift store find went up on eBay a few days later. I couldn't wait to see if it would bring the kind of cash most Bernina equipment seemed to fetch. After a seven day auction the thrift store listing was spot on. My Bernian embroidery module, the thing I didnt even recognize when I walked into the store, sold for a whopping $305! I sure don't resent those eBay "comparison" printouts anymore!

But even though the auction was over, I didn't start counting my money. The deal isn't complete until the buyer receives the item and says they're happy with it. In this case, the buyer was on the other side of the country in California. That's a long way for a sensitive piece of equipment to travel through the postal system and arrive intact. So I carefully packed the bulky equipment, shipping it parcel post with insurance and tracking. Using the USPS tracking website, I watched and worried as it traveled coast to coast.

Maybe I jinxed myself by worrying! Over the following week, I watched in horror as my $300 score made it all the way to California, then inexplicably make a detour back east, stopping for a breather in Nashville Tennessee! I am not kidding! The buyer, seeing the same thing I was witnessing through the USPS website, started to get cold feet and suggested I refund all her money. I don't give up that easy though-not for $300 bucks!  I stalled her, saying it was probably just missorted and would be turned around and sent back to her in California. To my relief, USPS tracking showed it slowly moving west again and after a few more days, it finally showed up at the buyer's home. The buyer happily e-mailed me back to say the embroidery module arrived and worked fine! (Whew!) I let out a huge sigh of relief and counted my $305 dollars!

That embroidery module find had a little bit everything...highs, lows and some new gray hair! But it all worked out in the end. So keep an open mind when sellers use those eBay comparison printouts. There's an exception to every rule!


Pin It now!

15 comments:

  1. Wow awesome find! I always wonder how many good items I pass up from lack of knowledge when im out shopping. That's whats great about blogs like yours. Sharing and learning new things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Veronica-Absolutely, sharing tips on finds helps all of us. If you have any good stories let me know, always looking for new things to buy and flip!

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

      Delete
  2. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. I own a couple of Bernina machines and I know how expensive those modules are. Great find!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ms. Goodwill-It was an education for me on the Bernina. Now I know about them for (hopefully) next time. Just thinking about that score makes me want to run down to that same thrift store right to try my luck again!

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

      Delete
  3. Why is it that the most important and valuable parcels always seem to get re-routed? (They go west instead of south, or whatever). The same thing happened to my package last week. It took 4 days instead of 3 to be delivered. I was so mad! Glad I insured it just in case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss Clamco-I know right? It's weird and seems inevitable. Insurance is a must for high value stuff, although it seems like it would be a major hassle to file a claim with the post office. Fortunately, I've never had to file one. (I just jinxed myself-ha!)

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

      Delete
    2. I always do insurance on items over $50, and on breakable items. I did have to file a claim once, and it was actually not too painful, and I got a check a week later from the post office with no hassle at all. So don't fret if you have to file a claim. By the way, I love reading all your posts!

      Delete
    3. Casey-It's good to hear about the ease in filing an insurance claim with USPS. I'd say your right on the money with the $50 threshold, that's about my tipping point too. Thanks for the info.

      Also thanks for liking the blog, "follow" me if you haven't already done it! : )

      ....Dude!

      Delete
  4. Great sale! I have some sewing machine thingy-ma-jigs sitting on my desk right now. I have no idea where to start with them. One does embrodery so I know that can be expensive. I am just dreading them since my sewing knowledge is zilch. I love your blog. I have added you to my blogroll and hope you will do the same. www.msjokerstoybox.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I will check your blog out, thanks for liking mine and good luck selling our sewing stuff. Hope you do well with them....Dude!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I hope I can figure out how to work them just enough to resale them. LMAO! Your post was encouraging though. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yesterday I saw a mug with a valuation printout from the net in an op shop (thrift store). The valuation was $80 the mug was only $20. So I looked up final sales on Ebay and the sold items never go for more then $20. So I was really happy I didn't part with my dollars this time.

    Op shops are really doing print outs more and more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Frugal-Even "down under" they're doing it too huh? Those comparisons are really "apples versus oranges". A thrift (ops) shop is not the same as worldwide exposure on eBay with bidders competing against each other. It's unrealistic!

      Thanks for your "Down Under" report.....Dude!

      Delete
  8. Yes, those ebay sheets are horrible (except in your case). It's easy to quickly look up something on ebay and print out a comparison. But, to actually photograph your item, list it, and ship it, and pay the fees.. it's not so easy. That's why it's at a garage sale. So many people have the "WOW" factor when I tell them what I do. Everyone always asks if I can teach them. I taught two people, and within a week they gave up. It's a full time job, and it's hard. Yes, it can be fun, but it is still a job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GSA - Absolutely! If sellers could get eBay prices just by selling at a garage sale, then why bother with eBay, right? It's a heck of a lot easier to set up a table in the driveway then it is to actually photograph, list, ship then pay fees on something.

      People don't understand that it is HARD work! And I love the people who ask if you will post something on eBay for them. Sure...let me get right on that...I got nothing better to do! LOL !

      Delete