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I'm a FREE RADICAL on eBay!

Updated on September 8, 2013
Sony CCD-FX425 Handycam Video 8 Camcorder
Sony CCD-FX425 Handycam Video 8 Camcorder | Source

Alright, I Admit It!

Thrifting is an addiction.

As a full blown addict, I'm thankful that I have several sources within a short distance of my home that are eager and willing to feed my habit.

While I work full time at it almost all week long, I cop most of my scores on weekends. I'm just glad my wife comes along for the ride. She was primarily my enabler in the beginning, but now she's a full blown thrifter herself.

We each have an eBay account with which we fence our respective finds. In the process of our daily grind as hustlers, we hold true to the adage--

The couple that eBays together stays together!

A markerSonBridge Community Center -
1200 Southeast 12th Avenue, College Place, WA 99324, USA
get directions

Sometimes, I'm a Lone Ranger

There are times when I travel solo.

And like one of my favorite mentors on YouTube, The Redneck Picker, is fond of reminding his viewers, I keep my head on a swivel.

Even with a full blown case of cervical arthritis, the eBay juices keep my neck well greased to do its hula hoop gyrations as I travel through whatever Dodge City this marshall can clean up. In other words, I rarely miss an opportunity.

The Sony camcorder in the photo above was one such opportunity.

I found it yesterday at a thrift store about a mile away from home. The name of the store is SonBridge Thrift and Gift Store. The formal retail store is a well-organized and attractive shop that has a pleasant middle-class boutique ambiance. But it's the warehouse section of the store, an adjoining structure with its own separate entrance, where I dig up some surprising treasures.

Along the right wall of a hallway leading to the warehouse area, several cardboard boxes containing freebies are stacked on a long table. In these boxes, one can find old books, religious tracts, hymnals, the occasional old yearbook, children's books, toys, mugs, plates, glassware, and other items that Sonbridge deems appropriate to designate as free items.

When I saw the Sony camcorder, the first thought that crossed my mind was: There's gotta be something wrong with it. How could anything as fabulous as THAT end up in the slush pile?

So I did the unthinkable.

I Walked Away From It

And in the split second that I turned my back on it, a thought balloon hovered over my head like a nosy UFO, and through the dry ice mist emanating from the oval telescopic aperture came the face and voice of my fellow hubber and eBay buddy, Radcliff.

"Dude, I can't believe you just walked away from a beautiful pick like that! Whassamatta with you?"

Caught off guard and feeling somewhat embarrassed, I turned around to respond with a perfectly reasonable explanation when--to my amazement--a flying Zeppelin bumped my noggin. Seeing stars, I saw a bespectacled Kevin Costner sitting comfortably in an easy chair.

"Son, come on over here. You need a moment with Bill."

And all of a sudden, it hit me! That wasn't Kevin Costner. That was my good buddy, billybuc, living large and loving the good life in Olympia!

It's comforting to know that when I'm about to do something foolish, I have my friendly muses holding up the red flags.

So I Picked Up the Camcorder, Bag and All!

I have never shoplifted in my life, but walking away with this cool camcorder, even if it was a freebie, had me feeling a bit strange. I'm just glad my wife was the designated driver in our getaway car so I could slump down a bit further in the passenger seat.

When we got home, I quickly did some research on eBay and discovered all kinds of listings for camcorders with variations of the phrase, non-working for parts. I was encouraged to see that some of these sold for decent amounts in the $20 to $50 range.

As it turned out, the camcorder was in excellent cosmetic condition. I just didn't know if it worked or not. In my description, I wrote--

To err on the conservative side, I am offering this up as a non-working item FOR PARTS ONLY. That way, if it does indeed work, it'll be an added bonus to you.

We'll see how it goes.

Dot Warner, Star of Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs
Dot Warner, Star of Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs

FREE is a Friendly Word

This past week, at the very same thrift store, I also found four mugs and a vintage book about shearing sheep Like the camcorder, these items were free.

In addition, after I took the above items to my car and was returning to the SonBridge warehouse to look for more items, I saw sitting on the sidewalk in front of the huge sliding door two large 32" dolls. One was a Dot doll, and the other, a Holly Hobbie wih her own mini-me doll. They had been carefully and purposefully placed directly below a simple makeshift sign with the word, FREE, written in large bold letters.

These dolls were in excellent condition, and I puzzled over why anyone would want to get rid of them. But my bewilderment only lasted a nanosecond as I quickly snatched both dolls up and proceeded to give them temporary housing in the trunk of my Ford Fusion.

Again, I felt like I was committing a misdemeanor. I mean, come on! These items, like the camcorder, were in topnotch condition. And I got them for FREE?

I can't wait to list these great finds on eBay! (And I'll provide you with any sales updates.)

Whether you're a seasoned seller or a newbie, don't overlook those free items you might come across from time to time. You just never know when a freebie takes off like a Katie Perry firework!

Holly Hobbie Doll With Her Very Own Mini-Me Doll (Thanks and a big shout out to Barbara Kay for helping me identify this doll!)
Holly Hobbie Doll With Her Very Own Mini-Me Doll (Thanks and a big shout out to Barbara Kay for helping me identify this doll!)
Hey, I'm free! How 'bout you?
Hey, I'm free! How 'bout you?

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @kikalina

    Yes! Dot Warner sold for $22.09 plus $20.17 shipping on 12/2/13, and the Sony camcorder sold for $19.87 plus $14.67 on 12/19/13.

  • kikalina profile image

    kikalina 3 years ago from Europe

    Any updates on your finds? Did they sell?

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, Barbara! I sure appreciate the heads up! At my earliest opportunity, I will definitely do the research. As you can see, I'm a tad bit rusty when it comes to the dolls. : )

    Aloha, my friend~

    ~Joe

  • Barbara Kay profile image

    Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

    Check and see if the doll is Holly Hobby. It might be.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Absolutely, CraftytotheCore, these amazing thrift stores, usually church-sponsored and charity-oriented (thus making for a multiple win-win for all of the local community and economy) are some of the very best sources for eBay inventory or personal use. And if they're in wealthy areas, even better yet. The per capita population of millionaires in Walla Walla isn't anything to sneeze at, but overall, the are is predominantly middle class. Still, every once in a while, we're pleasantly surprised with a treasure of a find. Thanks for stopping by! Aloha, my friend!

    ~Joe

  • CraftytotheCore profile image

    CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

    You had me at, "But it's the warehouse section of the store, an adjoining structure with its own separate entrance, where I dig up some surprising treasures." Oh yeah! My kind of shopping! The Borough of Stonington, CT (a very wealthy area a few towns over from me) has a wonderful little charity store. I love going in there and finding treasures.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Dahlia, are the boot sales in the UK alive and well at this time? A huge influence in my decision to sell on eBay came from an Englishwoman who specializes (or used to, because she may now be retired) in ephemera--vintage and antiquarian postcards, advertisements,and other paper products. She made a small fortune, and now she has a steady income writing and selling eBooks about those experiences. Our conversation here, therefore, can be viewed as a form of completing the circle. : ) Thank you for your gracious and faithful presence at my hubs. Aloha!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    I definitely will, Karen, follow up on these items as they sell. It can take a little time because the competition is great out there, but patience is eventually rewarded with a sale, as I've come to learn over time. Thanks for stopping by and loyally supporting my efforts here on HP. Aloha!

    Joe

  • livingsta profile image

    livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

    Another interesting hub from you Joe. Thank you for sharing this experience of yours with us. Have a great day my friend. Voted up and sharing :-)

    Dahlia

  • Karen Hellier profile image

    Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

    Wow, another interesting one. That's amazing. Great job. Will you do a follow up on this and tell us how much your free stuff sold for...when it sells? I can't wait to hear a follow up.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    I definitely will, Rajan, thanks to enthusiastic and appreciative Hub friends like you! Aloha, and have a wonderful weekend!

    Joe

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    Another one of your classic lessons on finding free stuff and how not to lose it! Lol! I do love this series on the nuances of ebay business. Keep these coming, my friend.

    Aloha!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Great questions, WND, and thank you, by the way, for coming by to visit again. Okay, how do I ship? Well, I make sure that I weigh the item, packing materials, and box I'm going to use ahead of time. I usually ship by priority mail or parcel select. In this case, I chose the less expensive way of parcel select since the package weighed between 5 and 6 pounds. I think sometimes the older, the better, because there are those who are into collecting vintage items. Vintage is 20 years or older. If the item is bid up to a large amount, I buy insurance. If not, and it goes for lower amount, like $10 to 20, I usually don't unless it's going overseas or is very fragile. I either have the customer pay for shipping or include the difference in the price and provide free shipping. These are individual options, differing from seller to seller. Thanks for your interest, and I wish you the very best!

    Joe

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

    Wow, I have my daughter's old camcorder. Does it matter that its an oldie? How do you ship that? With insurance?

    Learn something new. That's fantastic.

    A great funny hub and I enjoyed it since I had a long work day.

    Good for you on your great finds in your thrift stores.

    You are moving along nicely in this challenge.

    Always enjoy reading what you have to say.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    I think it's more like hand over finger! Hi, Bill! It's a struggle, but the healthy addictions of eBaying and writing and all things related do indeed fill the holes in the heart and soul. I'm preaching to the choir, but I do make more money on eBay than on HubPages. Still, like you, I see value measured in other ways with the HP writing. Seriously, as I just wrote Liz about a few minutes ago, every now and then, especially when I'm stressed and in need of inspiration, you guys pop into my head. Also, while watching Kevin Costner and Diane Lane playing Jonathan and Martha Kent in "Man of Steel," I thought, "That's Billy and Liz!" Ha-ha! Have a great day, Bill! Aloha!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, Sally, for the wisdom in your last two words. Your comments are so very much appreciated. I love your style of connecting, and I would be delighted to take a walk on the wild side! Looking forward to it, Sally! In the meantime, I had big plans to mow my lawn today, only to have the rain--almost like it's playing with me--fall heavily. Now that I've showered and am getting ready to lay down a few thousand words towards this Challenge, the rain stopped. : ) Broken camcorders sell well on eBay in the USA. Try doing a search on the UK site to see if there are similar listings and--if so--what they've sold for. Looking forward to our next bit of sharing!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Liz! Great feedback that made my day...and also fueled me for the grueling tasks ahead. I am one stubborn Hawaiian, though, and I don't give up easily. : ) I'm having a belly laugh over here imagining what you looked like when you saw the references to you and Bill. It's true...you guys pop into my thoughts every now and then...and, lately, due to the heavy stress, you both have spurred me on without even knowing it. THAT is a great example of the pure magic of connecting. My day calls out to me like a fat Polynesian blowing a terrible conch shell! See ya at the next treasure trove, my friend!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Jim, Oregon is saturated with these little thrift shops. I shared with you before, I think, that the Goodwill in Hillsboro is hot with treasures, and all one has to do is dig.

    In the meantime, I'm sure that in your travels you'll come across thrift stores, church rummage sales, and even yard sales where people wisely use as an attractor the "gimmick" of giving away free items. A lot of it may not command any interest, but every once in a while, you'll luck out. Broken items do have a market on eBay, I kid you not! THAT was an eye opener for me. Best wishes to you as you keep your head on a swivel! Aloha!

    Joe

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    You are too funny, Joe! So Liz and I accompanied you to the thrift store, 'eh? Well that was one heck of a trip because I have no recollection of it at all...kind of like during my drinking days. LOL

    Hey, at least this is a healthy addiction for you, right? I can think of much worse things to do with your time, and you are making money hand over fist, so life is indeed good.

    Great post...keep them coming daily and soon the challenge will be won.

    Aloha,

    bill

  • sallybea profile image

    Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

    I see these big old video camera's almost every week on a car boot or at our local auction house. Up until now, I have always given them a wide berth so I look forward to your proving me wrong Joe!! Seems this daily Hub challenge of yours could soon be breeding a whole load of new e-bay sellers.

    Took a walk today, which reminded me of the way your shared with us yesterday. I took along my old trusty camera and thought of your Hub - who knows, you might find yourself taking a walk on the wild side soon Joe.

    I look forward to seeing what delights you have to show us tomorrow Joe - no pressure!!

  • Radcliff profile image

    Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

    Oh my gosh, I about choked on my coffee. Dude! LOL

    If Billy and I were literally there with you, we would all be too busy talking and laughing our butts off to get anything done.

    I love RP! He hasn't made a video in a long time. He had a show on the History channel or somewhere for a while.

    You find quite a bit of great free stuff up there. I have yet to find anything free! I do check the craigslist ads for free stuff, though.

    Congrats on your awesome free picks! It's crazy what some people get rid of simply because they don't want to be bothered selling it.

    Thanks for sharing, Joe! And thanks also for your great advice, as usual.

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    What a find, and what a creative way to sell it too. This was a good object lesson. Maybe I need to watch some of those videos.