Saturday, 2 March 2013

Opper Angry over eBay

At the Children's Protection Society Op Shop we regularly sell things on eBay, like this yellow Kartell lamp, or specialist things that most likely wouldn't sell in the shop.

The other day I got an message from an angry eBay seller who raised some fair points:
  • aren't people supposed to buy from the shop of "opportunity" to then re-sell
  • you are federally funded, have cheap rent, labour etc and when you get free "donated" goods you put them on eBay
  • ultimately you'll ruin everyone's business in the second hand market
On our side of the fence, we want to raise the most money we can for the CPS and with eBay, we know the value of things and can sell them for more than we could in the shop. We also want to keep our customers happy with cheap clothes, books, prints, jewellery, household items etc, and we do.

What are your thoughts? Would you be prepared to pay say $150 for a collectable from an op shop? Are op shops there to supply second hand dealers? Are the prices too high at op shops these days? 


mothertheresa said...

That is a fantastic lamp!!! and if it was something that I wanted I would pay $150 at an opshop or on ebay! By the sounds of it that ebayer is being greedy and selfish, charities are there to help those in need, not his business! It's fantastic that opshops are able to utilise eBay to maximise their profits and there should be no reason why they shouldn't sell items for the most they possibly can. If there's a willing buyer, great!! I guess the only thing opshops need to keep in mind 'in store' is their stock turnover. There's no use having stuff sitting on the shelves forever because it is too expensive. Many a time I've seen Kmart (or similar) brand clothing in opshops for more than it was brand new! It is also important to keep things affordable for those that can only afford to shop at op shops. In the end, op shops do what's best for them and what makes the most profit for their charity, and that's the important thing! And even though some opshops are selling online, or have boutique stores, there will still always be the little opshop, piled high with 50c bargains that you can rummage about in for hours. The type I love best! :o)

Corinne said...

I like knowing that op shops do a good job of raising money for charity. Collectables and interest items fetch money, the very stuff charities need!

I agree with Mother Theresa- overpricing items continuously is not a good thing, and indeed it actually means there are some shops I choose not to go to anymore. In this case, however, you shouldn't be worried.

I think CPS is great! (And it's right next to the best brownies ever.) (Second to my Mums.)

Vintage Bird Girl said...

I don't see any problem with op shops selling on Ebay. One of my local op shops seems to put anything remotely collectable in a cabinet, with a picture attached from Ebay saying what it's worth. In this case it was a kitchen clock priced at $150, when in reality I would only pay $20 even on Ebay. I've received nasty email having a go at me for shopping at op shops, insinuating that I'm greedy for doing so. You just can't please some people! As a collector I love finding a bargain at an op shop, but I don't think the low prices are there to benefit dealers can sell things at a huge profit.

Lyndel said...

I have been an Op shop Volunteer for over 10 years, and we sell to fund our Charity (Meals on Wheels and a Day Center for the elderly in our Area). We put stuff in the shop for what we think it is worth, if we feel a customer will pay $150 for a lamp, we'd price it as such. If it doesn't sell in a week or 2 we drop the price. We do not sell on eBay simply because we don't have a volunteer with the skills and time to do it.
Op Shops are not there to be the 'wholesaler' for 2nd hand dealers, they are there to raise money for their charity.
and yes, I also sell on eBay and do scour the suburbs for bargains in Op Shops and Garage sales, but never mind if the shop has higher priced items, buy them or leave them. your choice, but don't bitch about it cause someone else also knows it's worth a bob or two.

Anonymous said...

i dont see a problem with the op shops selling on ebay... the person who is complaining is obviously a collector who buys stuff cheap and then flogs it off on ebay or at the market himself for more money.
i love op shop bargins, but when its for a charity then i hope they get the money not some cheapo looking to make a quick buck

Asa-Marie said...

When I was living in Melbourne, a local Op Shop frequently bought and sold goods at the Camberwell Antiques Center. All they're doing is maximising they're profits and that is what you're doing in your op shop. However I do see people having a problem if you were to sell thin store for $150. But it is simply solved - devote a shelf to collectables/vintage etc, do your benchmark value research and be sure to advertise with a sign that those products are collectable. I don't see why an op shop or charity shop shouldn't be able to ask the same amount of money other places would for such items...and if other people support the charity then they will feel the same way too.

reread said...

People are idiots - if you can get moe money on eBay knock yourself out - it's all for a good cause!

objects of whimsy said...

its kinda sad though

some of my prized possessions were wonderful opshop finds. The 'value' was secondary to the experience of findin something well made and of quality for not a lot of money.
The idea was that you paid some money for something that would otherwise get thrown away. I dont bother opshopping much anymore because its not worth the trip to the store that is usually full of junk and now we know why. The quality stuff is on ebay. Its great that you are getting as much profit out of a donated item but for me it has killed the magic of the opshopping experience. Charities now miss out on money I would have spent there which I dont anymore.

Im not blaming the opshops as we know there is so many more secondhand dealers around now that rape the charity shops of anything decent but what used to be a fun way to spend a day is pointless and disappointing.
The 50 cent bargain bins have 50 cent quality items in them and most of them are not even worth that.

Charlie said...

It's a hard one. I agree that op-shops should be thinking of their end customer, and for that the eBay option is a great choice. But like objects of whimsy says the thrill of getting a great item (for your own personal enjoyment rather than as a tight-arse on-seller) is rapidly diminishing as op-shops seem to be employing people who are aware of the value of things and mark prices accordingly. There are a number of op-shops now that consistently mark everything high, including, as mothertheresa says, items that are near to their normal retail price, that will not get any of my business. It is ironic for them because I will happily spend a lot of money in op-shops. I'm all for having a section where special items cost more but you need your bargains. And I guess op-shops wouldn't be doing this if it didn't work for them. I just wonder if they know they would possibly get more from some of us if they charged less.

Blonde One (Deb) said...

Living on a tight budget we love visiting the op shops. We happily donate quality items and are always impressed with the way our family is treated!

I think over pricing makes things difficult. Sometimes it would be lovely to afford some of these beautiful items. Some are so overpriced that it is way out of reach. I totally understand the charity side and agree that the shop should make as much profit as possible. Where do you find the happy compromise without allowing just one or two individuals to profiteer?

Anonymous said...

I think the charity should definitely be able to maximise the funds they can raise for their charity.

Mostly people are looking to the op shops for affordable things so I think its perfectly reasonable to put items that might bring more on ebay

Kellie @ Delightfully Ludicrous said...

I think that's a bit cheeky of that person, actually. It's not up to them to decide how much you can charge for things you're selling, op shop or not.

Gina E. said...

Well I think this person has a damn hide to make any comment at all about how an opshop sells their goods. It is none of his/her business. I know people who go around as many opshops and garage sales as they can, buy up all the stuff they think they can on-sell, and do it either through eBay or at suburban Sunday markets. I say good luck to them. I don't have time to go to all those opshops and garage sales, so I'm delighted to find something I like at a local market or on eBay, seeing as I'm not the one spending time and money on petrol!

Anonymous said...

I used to go to a certain large op shop in the hope of finding a bargain, until the day the lady manager took a customer out the back to get the stuff she had been saving for him. there was heaps of good things that he got for next to nothing and he was obviously a dealer, confirmed when I saw him at a big market selling it all for astronomical prices.
I think that this is wrong!

wongwear said...

Op shops don't operate to help people who can pay $150 for a lamp.

As long as charity shops are selling the range of essential and non-essential items that lower income people need or want then I am happy.

If they can earn a mint on some items then go for it. It doesn't matter if it is on ebay, by tender or in a shop. If I have something to give away I would be extremely happy if the charity can earn a packet on it. This is my form of donation. I may not give cash but in kind I may have some little gem that is much better than a cash donation. I would feel cheated if someone bought it and then on sold it for a big profit. The first cut of profit is the charity's.

Charities often have very expensive functions to raise money. I don't feel that I am deprived because I can't afford to go. It is a matter of earning big dollars where and when you can. These functions take a lot of effort to organise. The big money is deserved.

But as I say some items must be affordable, even if it means the person at the counter gives the occasional extra discount or freebie if they feel the customer cannot afford something.

CPS Op Shop said...

It's great to read your comments!

We think it's fair to make the most of the donations by selling them for what they are worth. eBay makes it very easy and cheap to do this.

On the flipside, we make sure that everyday essentials are cheap and that we help those in need by distributing clothing and books for free. In fact, we try to find homes for as much as we can down to broken pottery for mosaic makers.

It's a balancing act and while the thrill of finding something really valuable might happen less, there's always something you didn't expect to find when you pop in for a visit!

susannah said...

I thought the point of an Op Shop was to raise funds to give to the charity/organisation it supports? I love the hunt for a bargain as much as the next person. I also buy things at Op Shops because I love vintage, the variety and the quality is often far superior.
Many people make a living trawling Op Shops to sell on Ebay. My only issue with that is they often snare the bargains before me haha (oh the pain of seeing an ebay seller with a basket in an op shop with an item in it you covet!!!!!) Plus I think that ebay sellers have unfortunately pushed op shop prices up (some shops are a little absurd with their pricing! You really have to know your stuff). A local op shop has a cabinet with printouts of similar items from ebay to justify the whopper price tag. The only problem is the store does not have the same market as ebay and just because an item is listed at a price does not mean it will sell for that price. I think the CPS is VERY smart to sell collectables on ebay. It makes sense, and who can begrudge all that cash going to the Child Protection Society!!! Not me!! However I would LOVE to find that lamp for $5 LOL That would give me an Op Shopper high!!

susannah said...

Plus it is tragic many op shops may discard that lamp as they do not sell electricagoods!! I am so glad you could save it and at $150 it has most likely found a good home that treasures it :)
Keep up the awesome job CPS!

Dianne said...

Totally agree, good on you for doing your research & listing collect less on eBay. I would much rather the charity got the money than the collector buy an item for $2 and sell it for $100. I sometimes see collectibles on op shops for a very low price and wish they would put a bigger price or list it on eBay instead!

Anonymous said...

The angry eBay seller probably is the kind of person who steals from charity bins.

Debby said...

I believe that it is about making money for your organization. I'd be inclined to believe that the person complaining is the same person looking for prizes to put on e-bay and make money. I think that in the end, fund raising is what you're about. And no, in my experience, most thrift store shoppers would not pay $150 for a lamp.

Stella said...

Did you see the episode of the Auction Room. Someone donated a table to Sacred Heart that was worth in the thousands. They went back to the family that had donated it and the family said it's what they wanted - it was their way of donating money. The table was sold at auction. Valuable goods are often donated with intention of the op-shop raising money. That is why they exist.

DIAN said...

As a regular op shopper and an ebay seller I feel in two minds about this subject.

I think that if an op shop puts something for sale at a price and I am happy to pay that price I can do what I want with it. The oppy makes their money and I have a little pin money.

Much of what I buy in the op shops is for myself - i.e. craft items, clothes, tea towels - gifts for my daughters and grandkids - glassware, table ware, art works - or toys & clothes for the twins I mind. The rest goes on ebay.

I am happy to buy old linen doileys etc that are stained or damaged and use them in my textile art projects.

If someone donates goods to the oppy I think they anticipate that it will be sold to help others in the community. Whether that is by providing goods at an affordable price or vouchers and goods and services to those in the community that they serve. If I pay over the odds sometimes I am ok with that.

I like to go into a clean, organised oppy with friendly staff and this costs money too. Rents, electricity etc all come into the equation.

I have been known to spend $150 on one item in an op shop. It would be good if those items were still available for those who like to rummage around. It is not about getting something at an unbeleivably cheap price but finding something you love.

Taking these things out of the retail area I think might be counterproductive. If all I can find is the lower end items then I will not find the shopping experience worth the time4.

Just my rather confused thoughts.

Oh and of course we are recycling too.

cookiecrumbs said...

Wow, I read that post and immeadiatly disliked that eBay seller! I think I agree with most comments here. Op shops are there to support a charity, and if collectibles like that lamp (which was awesome, by the way!) can be sold on eBay to support the charity, then heck yes they should!
Yes, sometimes you will see things and think they are overpriced - but I think that gets balanced out by the crazy bargains you also find!
So that eBay seller thought *he* deserved the profit, instead of a charity? What a tool.

Anonymous said...

The Salvos sell collectable pieces on their website.

objects of whimsy said...

Charities valuating donated items and then selling on ebay I accept as a necessity its just not an experience that I enjoy and even though I say that I dont opshop anymore and I dont I still volunteer my services to not for profit organisations and donate money the conventional way. I cant afford to purchase most of the items I like on the charity ebay site and accept that where maybe in the past I may have had a chance of being able to own something of quality is now not accessible to me. So I can only gather that opshops are now for the very poor and disadvantaged who rely on charity to survive and the cashed up buyers who think $150 for a lamp is an opshop bargain.

"there's always something you didn't expect to find when you pop in for a visit"

unfortunately this is true its usually trash that you throw out a few months later or you realise pretty quick why it was donated and then sold on cheap and has to be thrown out.

Aussie Jo said...

I see no problem op shops selling valuable donated items on ebay. People (and that includes me) donate to op shops because it is an easy way to get rid of items no longer of use. I have donated many good quality items to op shops and I want the op shop to make as much as they can from them.
I think second hand dealers who go into op shops and try to brow beat, often elderly helpers into giving them quality items for nothing so they can resell are total scum. (I have witnessed this occurring and hung around to see if the person needed support)