Trash collectors make big bucks

By Falice Chin

I get about $30 (U.S.) or more from random Internet users every week. The amount fluctuates according to my will, and I usually blow it all on fancy dinners and new funky shoes. How do I get this money? Certainly not through porn, not even from my famous dreadlocks website–I sell trash!

I am the new-school e-Bay junk lady who knows what kind of second-hand crap people collect. I go through garage sales, Value Village, and my own personal collection for supplies. I buy Jim Morrison flags for 25 cents from ladies who don’t know their true value and resell them on e-Bay for a starting price of 15 bucks.

This on-line auction website allows smart people like me to sell goods via the Internet, and charges me less than any pawn shop or thrift store. The basic listing fee is around 30 cents, and if the sale is successful, another five percent of the final bid amount. A few weeks ago I listed a used Metallica Import CD for a starting bid amount of five dollars, seven days later the auction ended reading a grand total of $47 (apparently 12 people were battling over it). The math is simple–50 cents of listing fee plus the five percent of $47–I owe e-Bay around $2.50, it will be on my credit card statement.

As a small-scale seller, I do not take credit cards, just money orders and cash. I also use a helpful service called bidpay ( which takes most credit cards from clients and delivers international money orders straight to my door. In all cases, I charge an extra few bucks for shipping and handling–anywhere from $2 for snail mail to $20 speedy priority mail.

Being an e-Bay seller is easy, but a keen eye on what people want and what people will pay for is essential. Not every shirt from Value Village is considered “vintage fashion.” Not all the saved-up items you consider collectibles are necessarily rare. Sometimes certain items are worth more at a particular time (my David Beckham mug would sell for much more during the World Cup). Sometimes the way a picture depicts an item will decide how many buyers will place a bid. Sometimes an item never sells, even after many re-listings. There are many points that an e-Bay seller should watch out for, but most of them come with experience.

e-Bay is a perfect way of making a side income. I’m still a full-time student, a part-time editor, and my

e-Bay side project doesn’t get in the way of either. I save the money I earn from real work, and leave the rest to my e-Bay clients. On certain weekends I make trips to thrift stores and garage sales–shopping to make money. How grand! If I become jobless tomorrow, I might just devote myself to e-Bay entirely.

They say “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” You best believe it.

Buy Gauntlet Crap!

Buy an ad!

A crappy book!

An autographed “I Hate Everyone” Strip

James’ Buzz Bear!

An old couch!

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