Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Online auction alternatives

Here is my list of online auction house alternatives. I'm purposely leaving out the obvious - eBay, Amazon and Yahoo!. Opinions are my own, naturally.

SellYourItem Been around awhile - at least a couple of years - and still hanging on, SellYourItem is a reincarnation of Gold's Auction, which was founded by a disgruntled eBay PowerSeller. SYI has a core of faithful sellers who have stuck with the site since its inception and continue listing. Biggest plus is that, last time I checked, listings were free to insert (fees charged only with a sale), and sellers can choose a 30-day auction length with up to three autorenewals, allowing them to list and then forget about it for 4 months. Seems to have a high proportion of international bidders, which to me is a positive.

* Update * SellYourItem is shutting down as of February. Announced the same day I posted this plug.

Overstock Auctions Launched autumn 2004, Overstock's new auctions area is showing great promise. I personally like Overstock.com and have ever since I learned how much the CEO's heart is in encouraging native economies, arts and crafts (check out the Worldstock section of Overstock proper) and ever since Overstock ran a free shipping special to service people in Iraq and Afghanistan (probably no longer running but I am not sure). Overstock has the capital to sustain the initial launch time to get an auction house running, so I have more confidence in its staying power than many I've seen come and go. Plus it didn't hurt that an Overstock rep called me personally to announce the launch and invite me to list. Flattery will get you anywhere, baby. Oh, and another thing: I emailed a technical question through their help option very late one evening, and when I checked email first thing the next morning, I found not one, but two, personal responses, and my problem was fixed. How refreshing.

WagglePop A new startup from another disgruntled eBay seller, scheduled to launch in February 2005. Lots of initial interest from sellers. Whether the buyers will find it will be the big question. I am personally underwhelmed, so I hope WagglePop proves me wrong.

AuctionFlair Still evidently in the very early planning stages, AuctionFlair is (yep, you guessed it) the baby of yet another disgruntled eBay seller. I know nothing of it except that it is "accepting reservations for userIDs" and is putting together an informational email list for an upcoming launch. If you sign on, use referral twinglemimi+1, the lady who referred me there. (I don't need the referral.)

And lastly, OTWA Auctions I have high hopes for this one, as it is the brainchild of such wonderful people - Jim and Crystal of Online Traders' Web Alliance. I am anxiously awaiting what they come up with. Have a look around the message board and see what you think.

Tuthie and Thynthia Move In (a doll story)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

It all averages out

I am a little young for this but I think I'm starting to have hot flashes.

Of course when it's ten below outside and the bedroom is still freezing even with a down comforter and a warm husband, I don't actually mind. I end up pretty much right in the comfort zone.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Under the radar

This is big news to the smaller eBay sellers, but is probably under the radar of most of the planet. Yet anybody who buys on eBay had better take notice. eBay is raising fees for its smaller Stores and for many of the features sellers have grown accustomed to using, like Gallery (those little pictures that show up when you are searching for something), Buy-it-Now (for when you want to cut to the chase and just buy something outright without waiting out the auction) and ten-day auctions.

eBay is seeing many of the smaller sellers closing their Stores and moving offsite, but management doesn't care. Once the "world's garage sale," eBay now caters to wholesalers and manufacturers in the Far East. It reminds me of what has happened to many small-town flea markets here in the USA: They used to be made up of folks cleaning out attics and basements who had some really interesting things to offer, but now many of them are taken over by the belt-buckle-and-cheap-tee-shirts crowd. What fun is that?

What this means for eBay buyers is a) higher prices as sellers compensate for their own higher costs and b) less selection as the small folk are forced out.

I have two eBay Stores at present. One, Sweet Gal Decals, will be closing and moving to an offsite website within the month. The other, Lulabelle's Place, will probably stay for awhile while I figure out where I want to go with this.

My shallow thought on the subject?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

More ice

Great. School's canceled AGAIN. Dear son got up with his alarm clock anyway to play Halo 2. Why can't I get him up with his alarm clock when there is school?

Never mind, it was a rhetorical question.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Father and Daughter Togetherness Day

The following is an essay my eldest wrote for 8th grade English. The assignment was to write an autobiographical sketch, something she remembers from her life. She says, "This is as nonfiction as nonfiction can get!"

This is Father and Daughter Togetherness Day, when I’m supposed to learn to love sailing as much as my daddy does. We’ll see.

Dad parks our Jeep in the parking lot at the lake. He leaps into the boat, installing the mast and pulling on ropes. He tells me to get my life jacket. At this, my stomach turns over. Earlier, he told me that our little Sunfish sailboat couldn’t flip over! Now he’s saying I need a life jacket?

Dad gives me a rope to hold onto while he backs the Jeep up so that the boat trailer is in the water. I’m not sure why I have this rope in my hand. Oh, now I know. It’s because the boat wants to float away. Guess I should have held the rope tighter.

He loops the rope around a cleat on the dock and climbs into the boat. He tells me to step into the boat, but when I put my left foot in, the boat scoots away from the dock so I’m doing the splits. He grabs the rope again and hauls the boat back to the dock. I get both feet into the boat this time. Now he throws me a paddle and tells me to help paddle us out into open water.

Now he says to pull the rope that brings up the sail. “Do it fast! As soon as the wind hits it, we are going to start moving, so you need to get it up fast.” So I do. I haul so fast on that rope that the sail catches on something and I nearly tear the rope right off the sail. Dad yells at me. Boy is this fun so far. “Get it, get it!” he yells. “What? Where?” I shout back. I look where he’s pointing and he yells at me again, “Don’t look at ME, it’s over THERE.” Finally I see where the sail is caught and I pull it free. The sail goes up.

A few minutes pass. My heart has just stopped pounding when Dad announces, “OK, I’m going to let you be in charge of the rudder.” He thrusts this piece of wood into my hands. I guess I’m supposed to be telepathic and know what to do with it. He tells me to move it left. So I move it left. “NOT THAT WAY!” he yells. “LEFT! I SAID LEFT!” So I figure I’ll try the other way. I push it RIGHT. The boat moves to the left. I guess this is what he meant all along. So far we have not hit anything and the boat has not turned over, so I guess things are going well.

We start to really pick up speed. He tells me to move the rudder again, but it slips out of my hand and zings across the boat. The boom (that huge piece of metal that is just the same height as our heads) flips across the boat. The boat does a 180-degree turn and nearly lies on its side. We keep turning. We aren’t done yet. We are still turning. I can’t reach the rudder to stop our turn. So Dad decides to go on the side of the boat that is dipping down to the water and reach out to grab the rudder. Just when it looks like the boat is about to tip, he grabs the rudder and pulls it back to the center.

The rest of the sail is a blur. I can’t remember much else. The one thing I do remember is that that wasn’t the only time I dropped the rudder. I did it again, about ten minutes later.

I could conclude by going on about how much this day helped me grow closer to my father and to understand and appreciate him and what a great day we had together. But this is supposed to be a nonfiction essay.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Roadshow from St. Paul

I'm watching Antiques Roadshow, where a lady just showed off a wonderful red Bakelite cherry brooch. The appraiser said it's worth about $400. Not on eBay, anyway, but I'm sure I'll never own one now, because everyone will believe her.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Those of you who pray

Please pray for my mom and dad today if you will. Mom is having a mitral valve replacement today.

UPDATE: The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration have her on their list for prayer once an hour for the next 168 hours! What an awesome weapon prayer is in faithful hands.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Rachel's Cows

I'm so proud of my eldest! She's a month short of 14 years old. Yesterday, her last day of winter break, she finished piecing her first "real" quilt top. She has done a doll quilt before but this one is about double-bed sized. She's calling it "Rachel's Cows," after a young friend of ours who has a certified organic dairy.

This is really a gorgeous quilt. The pattern is Scotch Plaid, and she fussy-cut center blocks of cows standing in grassy fields with sunflowers and white chickens. The other colors are brown, green, white and deep red. The border is gold and red.

We've been going back and forth on whether to hand quilt it ourselves or send it out to be machine quilted, and last night she decided that she'd really like us to hand quilt it. My husband says it should be a great bonding experience for us as it will take us YEARS!

I'll post a picture soon.