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Don't EVER Look a Gift Card in the Mouth!
Opportunity Comes Knocking
When a city councilwoman comes knocking at my door, you bet I'm going to be an attentive listener.
In this case, it wasn't difficult at all. Virginia* and her daughter, Julie*, are good friends of mine.
It seems that Julie's husband, Jeff, had come into a windfall. Because of his outstanding work as an insurance agent for a prominent national corporation, Jeff was awarded a bonus at a recent ceremony. The prize? A $500 gift card for Tiffany & Co.
Now, while Jeff and Julie were both elated and grateful for the generous acknowledgment, they couldn't help but see the irony in the situation. Their personal and religious preferences are to not use any bling in their lives.
That's where I came in. Through Virginia, Julie and Jeff learned that I am an eBay seller.
Julie was in town to visit her mother, and so both women decided that they would pay me a visit to discuss the possibility of converting the gift card to cash.
Now, before we proceed, I want to share with you my personal vignette coming into this story.
*The names of people in this article have been changed to honor and respect their personal boundaries and privacy.
A Resolution Coming into Fruition?
- My Goals for 2013
Whether or not you're one for making new year's resolutions, stay open and available to the possibilities and adventures of a purpose-driven life.
8 Months Ago
On December 1, 2012, I wrote an article for HubPages outlining my goals for 2013.
One of those goals, positioned under the major heading of 2013--THE ENTREPRENEURIAL RESOLUTIONS, read like this:
- I resolve to become an eBay Trading Assistant in 2013.
To provide you with a concise definition, an eBay Trading Assistant sells other people's inventory at a commission.
The golden opportunity before me, then, certainly piqued my interest.
The Power of Intention
The Pow-Wow and the Prayer
The two women and I had enjoyed fifteen minutes of light social banter, and now it was time to get down to business.
"Joe, here's the gift card. It comes in this special box." Julie handed me the item, and I took a quick look at it. The item was quite light and could definitely be shipped out via USPS First Class Mail.
"What would you charge us for putting this up on eBay?"
I liked Julie. She got right to the point. Even so, a rule of thumb I like to follow in matters of negotiation is to NEVER be the first to mention any numbers.
So I told the truth.
"You know, Julie, I've sold a few things for my brother-in-law and an elderly woman, but when it comes to friends, I just don't know where to start. What I can tell you for sure is that I figure out the expenses and subtract them off the top. Whatever's left is what we divvy up."
"Well, Jeff would be happy to get $300 out of this."
Aha! Now I had a ballpark figure to work with!
"Okay...well, I had a chance to do some research on eBay, and I've come up with an idea of how to best list this item to ensure an optimal return."
Both Virginia and Julie leaned forward on the sofa in my living room.
"The face value of the gift card is $500. Anyone purchasing this card on eBay is going to pay just enough to get a reasonable discount. From completed sales, I've observed that a $500 Tiffany gift card can go from anywhere between $375 to $480.
"For something of this value that appeals to a lot of people, I think the best way to list this is as an auction. We need to list a starting bid that establishes a minimum yet provides potential buyers enough room to make a lot of bids. The number I suggest is $400."
I spoke slowly and emphatically because I wanted Julie to have the utmost faith in my ability to sell this item.
"I'm very confident"--again, choosing my words carefully to encourage Julie's and Virginia's belief in me--"that we can generate enough interest to have this card climb to $475."
At this point, I handed Julie a post-it note.
"These are my projected figures. eBay charges a 9% Final Value Fee. PayPal charges 2.9% of the sales and shipping amount plus 30 cents."
"Okay," Julie said.
"I also suggest that we list this item with FREE shipping. If a customer is willing to pay that kind of money, it behooves us to not charge him or her any shipping cost."
Julie nodded her head. "I agree!"
"We'll send this card off via USPS First Class Mail, and contrary to all of my other 1800+ listings, we won't make this item available to international customers. I don't want any nightmare scenario involving customs in a foreign land."
"Of course, I will insure the package and do whatever else it takes to ensure safe delivery. That said, the total of the fees will be approximately $65 to $70, and--if my projections are close, you and Jeff will have your $300 and change."
That brought a smile to both women's faces.
Meanwhile, I was actually beginning to believe what I was saying. What was it that I had learned from reading The Secret a while back?
You will attract everything you require--money, people, connections...PAY ATTENTION to what's being set in front of you.
At the conclusion of our visit and informal business meeting, I led out a prayer asking for a blessing for our eBay transaction as well as travel mercies for Julie's safe passage home to Idaho.
I had my work cut out for me that evening. But that was the easy part.
It was the waiting and the wondering if anything would really come of this that gnawed at me.
It's one thing to work on eBay for myself. It's an entirely different ballgame when the expectations of other people are riding on my shoulders.
I decided NOT to worry about the transaction. Again, I turned to the Law of Attraction.
How can you become more prosperous?? INTEND IT!!
Let's Take a Look at the Ad, Shall We?
In the spirit of teaching and sharing with others who might someday in the near future decide that they'd like to up their eBay game and try something more challenging, I offer the following contents of the eBay listing I posted that night. The lead-in photo and pictures to the upper right of this article are the exact images I used for my listing.
You'll definitely develop your own style, voice, and flair for creating listings. What I offer is by no means the template to follow. It is an example--my example--and nothing more.
Tiffany & Co. Gift Card
Brand New ~ Pin Number Still Intact
GIFT CARD NEVER EXPIRES!
A Tiffany gift is perfect for any occasion. When that gift happens to be a Tiffany Gift Card, your beloved recipient will be so grateful for the freedom and opportunity to pick out his or her very own jewelry and/or accessory.
As the above photos illustrate, the Tiffany Gift Card will arrive in a Tiffany Blue Box. For your convenience, the card is recognized at all Tiffany & Co. stores in the United States, on the web at Tiffany.com, and for all orders placed over the telephone.
If you have any questions regarding this item, please feel free to contact us before bidding.
PayPal is the preferred method of payment.
This item will be shipped via USPS First Class Mail.
Thank you very much for viewing and participating in this eBay listing. Welcome back anytime!
One week after I posted the listing, the $500 Tiffany & Co. gift card was sold at auction to a customer in Arizona.
I promptly mailed the item off the very next day.
I'm happy to report that the customer left me positive feedback, the punctuation to a smooth and successful transaction.
The selling price?
Jeff and Julie received their $300 electronically via a PayPal transaction. Per Julie's request, I got to keep the extra change.
In all, I made a cool $105.24.
More importantly, I have the confidence to set the eBay Trading Assistant machine into motion.
Hmm, there really must be something to The Secret!