Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Casper finds a friendly home for Halloween

Boo !
Halloween is fast approaching! If you have any pumpkins, witches or black cat blow molds, now is the time to list them on eBay. I've sold a couple of Halloween items during October. Check out this blow mold of a Halloween pumpkin with black cat. You've probably seen this classic decoration everywhere, right? Me too, I can remember as a kid seeing them in windows in my neighborhood when we went trick or treating. Right now, there's a ton of these currently selling on eBay. I bought this one for only two dollars at my favorite little thrift store. It recently sold on eBay it for a twenty dollar bill. That was definitely a treat!

Casper kicked to the curb
You may also remember me blogging about a "freebie" I found back in June. It was a large plastic ghost holding a pumpkin. As luck would have it, I was heading home from garage sales when I spotted him. He was left out at the curb along with some other garage item clean-outs including a couple bikes and a plastic sled. This was a no-brainer as to what I should grab. I had no room in the garage for bikes and no desire to go sledding. At the time, I'd been learning about the popularity of holiday blow molds. Suffice it to say, the right ones can sell for big bucks! Throw in the fact that the ghost was free and you can be sure he was going in the back of my truck. I stored Casper away until a few weeks ago when I listed him on eBay.

I could have listed Casper back in June, but there's two schools of thought regarding the right time to sell holiday items. In this case, the most obvious thing to do is list during the busy Halloween season when more buyers are looking. But there's a downside to this're not the only fish in the sea! Many like-minded sellers are listing their Halloween items too. In the case of my Casper, currently there are 15 identical ghosts just like mine for sale. While some are selling in the range of $20 to $30 dollars, others have no bids at all. If I had listed my ghost back in June there would have been a lot less sellers to compete against. Back then, I found only one similar Casper that sold for twenty dollars. But I decided to wait until October, calculating I'd be able to sell my ghost at a higher price. But when I finally listed my Casper on eBay, guess what he sold for? Only twenty five dollars! That's a measly five dollars more then the June sale. Based on this, you have to wonder if it's really worth holding on to an item in order to sell in-season?

It's a quandary for sure, but if I had to do it again I think I'd still wait until October. While making five more bucks isn't huge, selling out of season could mean no bids at all. A no bid auction is a waste of money and time. Unless you run a store, Ebay charges you for each listing. Usually it's tallied against your monthly allotted number of auctions. And if you've already gone over your allotment for the month, eBay will charge you full freight. Either way-you pay. That's why I don't like to take a chance on running a holiday themed auction out of season. While I was hoping my Casper would sell for more, I still made twenty five dollars. That beats a no-bid June auction any day.

Casper is finally home!
But I am getting too "wonky" about auctions. The important thing is that I made $25 dollars from a curbside trash pick. Plus the story has a happy ending for Casper too! My buyer was only 45 minutes from the Money in the Garage studios. The Dude did a total solid for his buyer and personally delivered Casper to his new home. How's that for customer service? The buyer's house was pretty easy to pick out....check out the impressive blow mold collection on her front yard! If you look closely, you can see I left Casper right on the front doorstep. As I pulled away, I am pretty sure he waved goodby to me. We kinda grew fond of each other...I rescued him from the curb and in return, he made me twenty five dollars! Now that's a Happy Halloween! 

How's your Halloween selling season going? Got any scary sales you want to share with your fellow spirits? Tell us your story below.....

Pin It now!


  1. Hey Dude - it's been awhile since I've posted!! I've been busy selling Halloween costumes the past few weeks. I picked up 5 Disney Princess costumes last Dec at Kohl's on super clearance - $2.90! Of course I used my 30% off coupon and pretty much stole them. For my approximately $10 investment I've made about $68. I will definitely keep an eye out for more costumes this year to put away for next Halloween. Hope you scare up a few more sales before the 31st -- take care!!

  2. jilldoubt-That's an outstanding flip! Easy to ship too, right? What's even nicer is being brand new, you won't have a buyers complaining about real or imagined stains, smokey smell or other issues with pre-owned stuff. That's a "treat" for sure!!

    On the same subject, I've picked up the occasional Disney costume and did pretty good with them. Always something to keep an eye out for.

    Thanks for writing in and sharing your Halloween flips....Dude!

  3. I'm pretty new to the eBay selling thing, so I really enjoy reading about all your tips. I certainly don't have much wisdom, yet, to add to the timing of selling. I recently did find some items at a "free" garage sale (man divorcing, I believe) and made $71! I also have a question, Dude, about eBay bidders. I have had two no-pays recently, and I noticed they both had very low feedback histories. Do you have a policy about that, or is it just part of the whole picture? (win some, lose some) Also, one had a "hidden history" so a black mark may not mean too much. Looking forward to all your Christmas holiday tips!

  4. Your off to an excellent start if you made $71 on free stuff-that's awesome!

    "Regarding your non-pays, you can file a non-pay complaint on each buyer. Look for "Resolve a problem" on the actual auction listing and just follow the steps. It's pretty easy and if they don't pay you, eBay will refund your fees. Here's the official policy:

    When an unpaid item case closes without payment from the buyer, sellers are eligible to receive a final value fee credit to their eBay seller account. Also, if they relist the item and it sells the second time, eBay may refund the insertion fee for the relisting. Learn more about how the free relist policy works.

    Excessive unpaid items on a buyer's account may result in range of actions, including limits or loss of buying privileges."

    I don't have a set policy on buyers with zero or low feedback, although I can tell you zero feedback buyers can be trouble. There more likely not to pay you, or worse file negative feedback. As far as having a hidden history, as a seller you can no longer file negative feedback on buyers so they don't have to worry about people reading that. I think some buyers are very private and just get weirded out over folks being able to see what they re buying, so they hide it.

    Good luck with your garage sale finds, you're off to a great start. Thanks for liking my blog too, I am glad I can help....Dude!

  5. A new option just appeared on my ebay when posting feedback on a was "report buyer", so now there are three. Positive, post later or report buyer. Sounds like a good thing for sellers. Houstongal

  6. I noticed that. I guess that's a good thing, although I am naturally suspect since eBay favors buyers over sellers all the time. A few weeks ago reader "Garage Sale Addict" mentioned the flip side of that to me. In the feedback format, eBay seems proclaim in bold type to "Report this buyer". That's really encouraging buyers to make trouble for sellers. It's worthy of a whole MoneyintheGarage blog discussion at some point.

    Thanks for writing in and mentioning that change....Dude!

    1. By the time I'm leaving feedback, I've already resolved any issue with an auction. My typical procedure is to have an item sell, the "invoice" automatically goes out to the buyer via eBay. I wait about 5-7 days (if holiday time, a bit longer). I will then open a dispute on eBay. This process alerts the buyer and he then has a chance to resolve the dispute by paying. He has four additional days. If he doesn't pay by then, I close the dispute and the buyer gets a non-paying bid against them. I honestly find that contacting buyers is most often just a waste of time. Better to get the wheels spinning for a potential non-paying bidder.

      Also, if you do close the dispute with a non-paying bidder, he can't leave you feedback, negative or otherwise.

    2. Sean- Excellent points! I agree with you about contacting buyers, although I find it's 50/50 whether they respond to an e-mail reminder for payment. Usually it's some dopey kid or eBay rookie with zero feedback. After they win the auction they either don't know how to pay or changed their mind on making the purchase!

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!