The ANZAC Connection on eBay
One of the golden benefits of owning an eBay business is that I can justify business write-offs virtually anywhere I travel.
A really cool place I like to browse is the Goodwill Outlet located in Hillsboro, Oregon. Recently, we had an opportunity to visit that community thrift store for a second time.
Allow me to interject a bit of information at this point. Sometimes, when I'm shopping for fruits and vegetables at a grocery store, I occasionally am surprised when a housewife bumps against me as she reaches for an avocado or a clump of radishes. I'm always so conscious of respecting other people's personal space that I'm temporarily startled when I get jostled. Maybe I'm just overreacting, but then again, as a below average quarterback in high school, I had lots of experience getting sacked. So, admittedly, there's a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder going on in my brain. Then again, perhaps God was simply giving me a chance to pad my resume for the day when I would be hunting for castoff treasures at the Hillsboro Goodwill. The Big Man Upstairs, I've come to learn, has a very unique sense of humor.
I have good reason to mention the preceding paragraph.
Usually, shopping at a thrift store consists of walking around a warehouse of sorts where items are organized into several different departments. There's a clothing section, perhaps the largest group. There is an area for glassware; a section for collectible household items like vases, figurines, mugs and bowls, cups and saucers, and plates; a mini-library of books, magazines, record albums, DVD's and VCR's, and audio cassettes; an area devoted to electronics and video games; wall displays featuring grab-bags of miscellaneous items, usually paper products or ephemera; an art section; and so forth. Peppered here and there throughout the shelves in random fashion are tin canisters, toys, board games, and sundry knickknacks.
Essentially, then, what you see at most thrift stores are items that have already been processed--scrutinized, priced, organized, and shelved--by the store employees.
Shopping at the Goodwill Outlet in Hillsboro is a whole other ballgame. Huge bins resembling aisle-long laundry carts, are periodically brought out onto the floor. The pile of items inside the bins may have had a rough once-over assessment by the crew in the back, but for all intents and purposes, they come straight from the people who just dumped them off at the donation bay area of the store.
A group of very enthusiastic shoppers line up at designated areas. You can just feel the cocktail mix tension of what I refer to as the 3 A's --Anticipation, Adrenaline, and Attack mode--filling the warehouse.
As the signal is given--and to this day, I don't know what that signal is or where it comes from--people immediately begin dumpster diving. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but I can think of no better visual imagery I could concoct for you than by using the D words. All I know is that I'm literally pushed and prodded by dozens of hands, elbows, shoulders, heads, and hips. It feels like I'm at the Seahawks game at Qwest Stadium in Seattle when the San Francisco 49ers come to town and the osprey mascot is leading a stadium-wide Wave cheer.
What's a guy to do except push and prod back? I mean, this concept of reverting back to caveman days and establishing territoriality while shopping at a store in the midst of American suburbia is a strange one, but I'm all for being a team player...never mind that the game at the moment happens to be rugby shopping.
I Took the Licks, But My Wife Scored!
It didn't take me long to figure out that I was in the midst of seasoned NFL (No Fuss Locating) veterans. I threw a few passive-aggressive looks and uttered a few silly grunts, but it fell on the deaf ears of overly zealous pickers. I was way out of my league here.
Someone bumped me from behind. I spun and was about to say something stupid when I discovered that it was my better half. Oops!
Oblivious to and therefore unsympathetic to my near-death plight with the ravaging pitbulls, she held up a shiny rectangular object and said, "What do you think about this one?"
Wow! was my immediate response. Having paid my dues in the trenches, though, I simply responded with a "Yeah, that's pretty cool."
How does my wife do that? Here I am, bruised and battered from Grandma Moses over there who mistook my arm for a castoff book before she tossed a broken rolling pin over her shoulder at it while going through the pile in front of her. And my wife, none the worse for wear, makes a pretty good find.
"Where'd you find the tin?" I ask, trying my best to cloak the significant other envy.
"Over there." She points at a bin against the far wall. A bin I'm positive I already gleaned. "Nobody seemed interested in it, so I grabbed it up."
I want to interject here that there are a lot of tin canisters that are worthless. Usually, they're the Christmas tins that are so very, very common at yard sales and in thrift stores. People usually pay no attention to them. Don't get me wrong. Some holiday tins are valuable, but they're more the exception than the rule. Then again, it's as true today on eBay as in days of yore--One man's trash is another man's treasure.
The tin that my wife had retrieved, however, was definitely unique. At least, I had never seen one like it before. Because I habitually forget my reading glasses in the car, I asked her to read some of the text on the bottom for me. She obliged me, and the more she read, the more convinced I became that this attractive tin was to other metal canisters what the June, 1985, Afghan Girl issue was to other National Geographic magazines. It definitely was a keeper.
The tin was in great condition, bearing just a couple of hairline scratches. Whenever I list my items on eBay, I go overboard in reporting even the most minute defects. That way, if a person happens to complain, I simply point out the part in my description where I had honestly reported the blemish. If I were a buyer, I'd want to know up front what to expect. Anyway, it's a system that has helped us maintain 100% feedback over the past twelve years.
At this particular Goodwill Outlet, customers' goods are priced by the pound. Since our haul was less than ten pounds, we were charged at a rate of $1.59 per pound. The tin weighed maybe ten ounces, so we ended up paying about a buck for it.
Before we left the parking lot, I had mentally plotted a rough draft of my description and what I was going to ask for it. I can be such a fool!
The eBay Description I Wrote for the ANZAC Tin
Collectors Edition VFW Anzac Cookies Tin
(Note: Listing is for tin only; there are no cookies.)
- Unique tin is a tribute to Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
- A product of Australia
- UNIBIC--Traditional recipes baked in Australia
- History--VFW has served our country with support from Americans who served and sacrificed in our nation's wars; VFW has more than 1.8 million members; Mission Statement: Honor the Dead by Helping the Living
- ANZAC--Australian-New Zealand Army Corps formed in 1900; Allied with Americans in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq
- To boost troop morale overseas, the women of Australia and New Zealand baked what became known as the ANZAC cookie
- Similarly, Australian-based UNIBIC and VFW have teamed up to promote the welfare of those on the front lines of freedom around the world
- Approximately 9-3/4" x 7" x 3"
- Basic colors are silver and gray; secondary colors are black, red, yellow, blue, and white
- Profiles of two soldiers in raised relief (3D) on the cover of the tin
- Very good condition; 3 very tiny scratches (1 to 3 millimeters) on the bottom of tin as well as a few small dings on the bottom and at the upper right edge, but certainly nothing that detracts from the core integrity of this beautiful tin
- A superb addition to the diligent tin enthusiast's collection
- An excellent choice for the military veteran you wish to honor
Thank you very much for viewing and participating in this eBay item listing.
Here's More Delightful Information For You
- Veterans of Foreign Wars - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is a wonderfully written article about the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Wikipedia rocks!
- The ANZAC Biscuits
My wife found the tin, and we were blessed with the sale of it in a relatively short time. But here's a fascinating complementary story about the history of the delightful ANZAC biscuits that were once stored in that tin.
My Hunch Pays Off
Okay, so here's some of the thinking that goes into my pricing strategy.
First of all, I follow my gut. When my wife startled me from behind, and I first laid eyes on that shining silver tin canister, I was instantly attracted to it. The embossed lid that showcased the profiles of two soldiers was quite appealing. The designer had done a fabulous job.
The writing on the underside suggested a theme of connectivity. The tin was an ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) salute to the American institution, Veterans of Foreign Wars. It was at once a tribute and a thank you to its American allies.
Proceeds from the sales of the cookies--or biscuits , as Australians and New Zealanders refer to them--are used to promote the welfare and morale of allied troops overseas.
Innovation. Connection. Dedication. Promotion.
Each of these is a powerful concept in itself. Linked together as one, the potential is entrepreneurially explosive!
Using the simple listing to the right, I priced the ANZAC tin at $24.99 with an additional $8.83 USPS Parcel Post Mail shipping fee for USA destinations and approximately twice as much for USPS First Class Mail International charges.
I set the bait, dropped my line, and forgot about the tin.
Literally just a week after returning home from Oregon, on July 27, 2012, which just happened to be my 60th birthday, the item sold. I mean, what are the odds? As I always do whenever we make a sale, I thanked God right away.
As elated as I was, that was only the half of it.
The customer I sold the ANZAC tin canister to just happened to be...
How's that for connective irony?
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