Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What it sold for: Holy CRAP only 4 Sales edition

This week was bad - I had those two open cases and just as I cleared them out eBay automatically opened a non-paying bidder case for me. Add to that I only have 60 items listed because all these open cases disqualify me for free listing promos and you get a week like this one.

Four sales.

Only one was thrifted:

Body by Jake add-on - Paid 2.99 and sold for $11.70

I hope the person realizes this is an add-on because I can't handle more open cases. I said "add-on" in every sentence but buyers don't read.

So eBay - send me more free listings. Help me help you make money.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Turns out I have a McCoy pottery collection

gradually, unexpectedly and fully purchased to sell  on eBay!

Crystal candle holder - 1.49
2 Yankee Candle holders - .99 each
Birdie - .49
Pinch pot - .29

There were two but one was chipped. I'm starting to recognize this stuff before turning it over!

I don't know what this little set is for. I'd guess mini planter but its so small the plant would have a short lifespan. Maybe its for fake flowers (eww).

At first I thought these uneven dice etchings were made by a lazy buyer but then I turned it over

Since the holes are under the sticker they must have been sold that way. I hope whoever decided to ruin such a gorgeous crystal by forcing them into looking like die was fired. I also hope whoever hired the person who did the actual drilling was fired. It goes without saying the person who drilled such uneven holes should have been fired too. When an employer doesn't give you a template you make your own!

These ridiculously heavy iron candle holders still have $19.99 price stickers underneath so I hope they sell quickly.

I am linked up to

Mohu Leaf Review: Updated for 2014

Remember the Mohu leaf antenna I purchased and returned back in 2013? It pulled in the exact same channels as my original RCA antenna from 2011 so wasn't worth paying extra for. The folks at Mohu saw my review last week and were nice enough to send a new antenna for me to try out.

I originally reviewed the base model, which costs $40 on Amazon. This one is the Mohu 50, which costs $70 on Amazon. Since my original posting I moved 2.9 miles southwest. My old apartment was on the first floor of a three story home. The new antenna would go on the second floor of a 2 story home. Its higher ground as evidenced by the view:

Don't be overtly impressed - tons of places in North NJ have views of the NY skyline if you know where to look.

The new packaging is downright generic compared to last year's awesomeness:

I guess blanket statements appeal mostly to lawyers :/

The contents were very similar. The antenna looks identical (although its been 1 1/2 years since I last held one) and they still use that white connection cable.

Props for branding the cable but honestly Mohu - most of us have open tv stands and nothing is more distracting than a white cable. Camouflage is good.

The Mohu also brought an antenna amplifier which can be plugged into the wall or a tv's usb port. My tv has an unpowered usb port which is used to provide diagnostics so I'd have to plug it into a jack.

My old RCA has the same setup but the amplifier only pulled in extra asian game show channels so I never use it.

First the control group - trusty old RCA. I just realized this angle makes the antenna look as large as the tv! Call it sitting on the bed laziness.

Sixty channels isn't bad. I had 39 in 2011 at my old-old apartment and 41 in 2013 at my old apartment. Remember how often I used to move? Its nice to have a Forever Home.

Channel 11 is one of the channels, by the way!

Next up the Mohu. The RCA antenna's wire is permanently attached but the Mohu's has to be screwed in. Its nice to have the option of buying a shorter/longer cable or a regular black cable if you dislike the white.

I don't know why the coax cable doesn't fully screw into the base. While I doubt this will lead to electrocution I have watched a lot of Wile E. Coyote and hate seeing exposed metal.

I put the Mohu in the same spot and used the mini blinds to hold it up. Channel 11, check.

69 channels! A full nine channels more than the RCA.

Time to test the amplifier. Like I said, the RCA also came with an amplifier but didn't improve the signal in my last two apartments so I didn't bother digging it out to compare this time.

Same set-up but this time the amplifier is linked between the antenna and the coax cable with another cable running down to be plugged in (off-camera but trust me, it is there).

Only 48 channels this time.

I guess amplifiers aren't meant for my area because I've tried them at three separate homes and every time adding an amplifier results in fewer channels.

Verdict: The Mohu leaf yielded better results with nine more channels than the RCA. The RCA is $39 on Amazon and the Mohu is $70. Still if one of those nine channels is one you're interested in the higher price tag is worth it. For example - in my old home I was interested in channel 11. If the more expensive Mohu had retrieved that signal I would have definitely purchased it.

Picture quality remains amazing with antennas. I had the flash on and was pretty close to the tv so these aren't the best photos but trust me - the quality is full HD.

The only minor antenna annoyance is channels are set up in decimals. If I want to watch channel 11 I punch in 11, then push up to 11.1. Plain old 11 is a blank screen. The reason for this is rather clever: "With digital encoding a normal TV channel does not always occupy the full 6 mhz bandwidth that the old analog channel did, so stations can add sub-channels." Source. If you consider those channels extra-free bonuses its much easier to overlook the extra button pushing - or just set pre-set channel favorites on your remote.

Full disclosure: we have cable on our main tv in the living room (these pics were upstairs). My husband and I enjoy watching DVR'ed shows together and he likes sports channels but honestly? We have cable because of the dvr. I think the only cable shows we watch are Storage Wars and Thrift Hunters.

So if you're trying to cut costs and have an HD tv its worth trying one out - the picture quality really is identical.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How to get details on your eBay defects

Kim asked how I got details on my defects. Easy peasy:

Seller Dashboard is under the Account tab.

What percentage of your transactions had defects is the first thing listed. I'm confused because my percentage went down (as it was supposed to after all those calls last week) but I still show the same number of defects.

Also I know my tracking says 96% but this number is undependable. USPS doesn't always dock their scanners so transmissions are often delayed. Not a big deal - it eventually catches up.

Anyway click on the little arrow on the left side of the defect percentage.

Clicking on the arrow will drop down all this information. Click "download a report" to see which items are causing your defects.

At this point I always have to log back in. Do that then click Expand to see more details.

See what I mean? This page still shows I have 6 defects. I guess I need to set aside an hour or two to call eBay next week.

What about you? How is your defect list looking?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book review & Contest - Tim Gunn's Guide

This book was such a fun read! The tone is incredibly casual with lots of quirky anecdotes.

More importantly I read it at the perfect time because I have a secret. While I've worked to only keep what I know to be useful or beautiful around the home I hardly ever parse my clothes closet. Sure, I'll binge purge sweaters once a year or donate a random top but a real purging? Nope and I sure need it!

You see - I used to work at Liz Claiborne and we had sample sales all the time. We could buy garments for $1 but there weren't changing rooms. I'd come home with trash bags full! Trash bags. Full of clothes I hadn't tried on. Disastrous.

This was a few years ago and while I have pared down most of what I bought (I had to!) I was still lugging around brand new items I never wore. These were invariably items which needed some kind of alteration, were oddly colored or just purchased because they were cheap enough and I might wear them "one day."

So back when I lived with my roomy I bought them. Then I lived alone for two years and now I've been married in this house for over a year and those clothes? Still being lugged around.

This is what I I want to store until next summer. Four tanks and three pairs or shorts.

These are what I'm keeping. Tanks on the left get worn under cardigans (my favorite), jeans, short sleeve, long sleeve, cardies. Since I was putting away summer I bought out the sweaters. Around the house I wear long sleeve cotton tees and keep those in drawers. While I know I tend towards burgundy and soft fabric I hadn't visualized it until my closet was organized.

Reading about a fashion icon's spartan clothing collection really made me look at mine - something I haven't wanted to do. It was easier to continue sorting rather than minimizing. The book guides you through different questions in order to help find what you should be keeping/buying more of.

This huge tub is full of summer tops I don't want or haven't worn. Somewhere in that stack are brand new tank tops I purchased at the sample sales because they were cheap. They are generic cotton tanks in different colors but I prefer clothing with adornment or sheen so never wore them.

and dresses!? HA! See all those wonky colors? So Liz.

Oh and do you want to know how many little black dresses I own? More than 10. Want to know how many I wore in the past year?

Just the one I purchased THIS SUMMER for a wedding.

There are two reasons for this - I loved black in my 20s and back in high school I had the best English teacher - Mr. Mullen. He would intersperse all sorts of advice into daily lectures. One day he talked about fashion and emphasized how important it is for a woman to have the perfect little black dress.

He didn't say we needed a dozen of them.

"Clothes do not exist to humiliate their owners."

I love the illustrations by Laine Roundy.

I always hear about vanity sizing but didn't realize it only happened to lower prixed items.

So yeah - I really liked this book and am grateful it finally got me to organize my closet.

Instead of donating this book I'd like to mail it to someone interested in reading it so let's have a contest! Its been years since I held one!

To enter - leave a comment and make sure I can contact you if you win. If your name links to your blog that's fine. However if your e-mail address is a big secret make sure you leave it in the comments. I will run the contest until next Sunday and mail it Monday.

Good luck!

Friday, October 17, 2014

This retroactive defect rate is hogwash!

I don't know what eBay was thinking with this "one year retroactive" nonsense. You know what I was doing a year ago? Providing good customer service, closing cases and not staying on hold for hours.

I understand eBay doesn't want to deal with e-mail and putting anything in writing but their hold times are ridiculous. For the amount of fees they charge they can afford to hire more customer service reps!

Here is my current defect seller dashboard:

Click to zoom in if you need to.

Defect rates are based on percentages. Right now I have 479 sales for the past year. That number is obviously fluid and changes daily. Based on this number I am allowed ten defects for the year. See how many are up there? 6.

The 10/4 "item not received" case is bollocks says tracking. I complained during Tuesday's call and this defect will supposedly disappear.

The 4/4/13? Never arrived because USPS lost it.

The 4/16? I mailed ink inside of another box. The buyer opened a case because she didn't open the outer box and assumed I mailed her the wrong thing. I responded and she closed the case. We were polite and she was apologetic.

See the correlation between these three cases? All were out of my control but I am being penalized. I did the obvious thing - set the phone on speaker and called my favorite toll-free number.

First I got a low-level guy named Brian who served as a bridge to Real Customer Service. Unfortunately it took me 30 minutes to get to Brian and for me to get to the next person?

Another hour.

News wasn't good.

SUPPOSEDLY eBay can't remove any defect older then 120 days for any reason. Any reason.

I call hogwash. How can a company retro-actively penalize sellers for something which happened outside of the dates they are willing to work with them on?

Sure - if you want to penalize me for instances when stuff arrived broken - that's fine. I had a direct hand in those. Penalizing me because USPS lost a package or a seller didn't open a box? Unfair.

Unfair and uncool eBay.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Random Roundup - Its been a while Edition

Ear is still stuffed up but I had a lot more energy today. Maybe I'm getting better :D

Here is a bunch of stuff I want to talk about today:

Formerly Underperforming Coleus went back to underperforming after a week in the basement. The internet says bringing coleus in for winter is a death knell and if I want to save some for next year I need to clip branches and root them in water. I don't have space for a bunch of vases and I think they were 6 plants for $2 months ago. I'd rather just pay $2 again next year. In the meantime I put the coleus back outside to enjoy the rest of the unseasonably warm weather.

I went to the Salvation Army and bought this one marble tea light holder for .49. Its a great price and lovely but was the only worthwhile thing I saw. The garage sale crowd must be back to shopping at the SA and buying the stuff I want!

I put it on the left side of my desk. I really need to hang up artwork.

My desk is full of thrifted tchokes. Here is that Dartington heart from last year.

On the right is that unidentified ram on that rock I bought the other day. Check out my useful stamp dispenser being useful! Ahh memories.

I swung by Home Depot to buy tulips - man they are overpriced compared to Lowes! I did find these outdoor pillows clearanced down to $1. You can't even find pillow fills for $1 and trust me - I've checked!

If you have a sweet tooth you have to try these cookies. Crunchy caramel, white chocolate chips - need I say more? They are on sale for $1.50 at ShopRite this week.

After complaining about not reading enough yesterday I made time to read my leather bound "Halloween Decor" Jeckyll and Hyde. I'd forgotten how hard it was for Jeckyll to give up Hyde. Stevenson said Hyde never regretted not being the pious Jeckyll but he always thought of Hyde with wistfulness. The last time I read this story was probably twenty years ago and I was much more optimistic of people's natures then. The line didn't jump out at all.

Speaking of diminished optimism - did you guys see the new TOS for eBay last night!?

They now own all our photos and text and can use them whenever, however they want:
"When providing us with content or causing content to be posted using our Services, you grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise any and all copyright, publicity, trademarks, database rights and other intellectual property rights you have in the content, in any media known now or developed in the future. Further, to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law, you waive your moral rights and promise not to assert such rights or any other intellectual property or publicity rights against us, our sublicensees, or our assignees."

By agreeing to the TOS we waive our right to ever enter a class action suit against them.
(They caps locked this one so it would be more yell-y)

They finally admit listings are hidden from buyers for various reasons:
"Accordingly, to drive a positive user experience, a listing may not appear in some search and browse results regardless of the sort order chosen by the buyer."

There was a lot more and none good but what can we do? eBay doesn't have competition.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thrift her? I barely know her!

Small thrift whilst volunteering today:

Large plate - .25 or .50
Small plate - .25
Viking Bowl - .50 (for eBay)
Books - .20 each

These are Hazel Atlas plates. I passed up a stack of them months ago at the Salvation Army because I didn't know what they were and they cost $2ish each. The larger one is 9" across and would make an adorable cake plate. They are only worth $7ish to eBay so I will probably keep them.

Aside - check out this 30 piece set someone is eBaying: http://www.ebay.com/itm/30-pc-Vtg-Hazel-Atlas-Pink-Crinoline-Ruffle-Beaded-Cups-Plates-Bowls-for-6-MINT-/171501332850?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27ee46a972

I used to read a lot but when I read as an adult I feel unproductively guilty. I started reading again the other day and its nice. I got a sciency-book, a fluff book and one of those "be happy" books. I don't like storing books so they will probably be re-donated once I'm done.

This feels like a textbook. How cool would an entire class devoted to the pyramids be!?

The Madonna book has a cd. I'm going to give it to eBay.

Ear is still stuffy so I avoided the Salvation Army today. Its probably best - eBay hasn't given me free listings this month so I'm backed up, as usual.

I am linked to Sir Thrift: http://sirthriftalot.blogspot.com/