Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Terrible Pawnshop

I am a trash picker. I confess. And if I weren't so worried about running into a sleeping homeless person or a hypodermic needle, I'd be scoping out every dumpster in the neighborhood for abandoned treasures.

I paid for two years of my life by trash picking furniture and other usable items off the curb in my neighborhood and selling those items garages sales. The extra income allowed me to sock away nearly my entire salary and buy a house before I turned 30. I paid for another two years of my life selling stuff on ebay. The extra income allowed me to start my own business and leave the horrible executive job that I hated.

When times are good, ebay and half.com are fabulous estate sales. You can pull together a collection of anything in a blink of an eye. You can also sell just about anything for ridiculous amounts of money and pay for your very bourgeois life selling stuff online.

I spent the day listing books on half.com. Or should I say I spent the day looking at how little my books are worth during this recession now that everyone is hocking everything they own to pay the mortgage? The last time I listed books on half.com was about six months ago. The average book price was $8.00. Now, because there's such a glut of books being sold, the average book price for my titles is $2.00.

Ebay has become a terrible pawnshop. There are sad, sad stories that go with many of the listings. People are selling family heirlooms just to buy gas so they can get to work. I can't take it.

What's that arab proverb? "My grandfather travelled by camel. My father travelled by car. I travel by jet plane. My son will travel by camel."

I'm going back to selling at garage sales because the modern world appears to be failing everyone. My mother sold on ebay. I sell on the driveway...

As my nice deed of the day I sent two eastern medicine books to one of my online buddies up in Oregon. Since he's not a fan of western medicine and avoids doctors and hospitals as a rule, I thought he would find an herbal dictionary and an acupressure book useful.

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