mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why do I deal in this crap?

I spent my lunch break today yelling at my computer screen, at one point asking "why am I a complete failure at everything I try?".

No, it wasn't an online dating site - I was bidding on an online auction - online bidding, local pickup. The seller was a guy I've seen at a bunch of auctions, and who I've bought from a previous online auction and did well. The outburst above was after a questionable strategic move - there were two identical items, and the second one - the one i was bidding on sold for way more than the first one one, which was sold by the time I was out bid - but the rest of my disappointment boiled down to the fact that other bidders were willing to pay way more than I was for stuff - willing to pay more, in some cases, than the stuff sells for on eBay. i ended up winning only a couple lots, and probably won't make much off them.

This was the second auction-related disappointment of the week. I took off Wednesday to go to a large monthly consignment auction because they had two sets of items I was interested in - bank-seized office equipment at 11 and very high end studio mastering equipment from an estate at 5. The office equipment was pulled from the auction for legal reasons - the bank didn't give the legally required notice to the debtor that they were going to sell the stuff - and the audio equipment on the auction list was mostly not there - evidently the family had compiled the list, and then the dead guy's girlfriend had taken all the good stuff before the auction. I still ended up buying a couple lots - one of which I think I will do very well on, and one of which I think I overpaid for. I'll probably end up either breaking even or making a very small profit.

And I'll spend a lot of time writing descriptions, taking pictures, and packing and shipping stuff, none of which is particularly fun. I also spent a lot of time and frustration at the auction, and at the yard sales and flea markets I go to. Sure, I get a rush when I buy something and know I'm going to make a bunch of money, and when it actually sells. I've had some major wins this year, but also a couple pricey losses. But is it worth it?

After all, I use weekends and nights and the occasional vacation day for this, and that's supposed to be fun, but much of the time it's more stressful than work... well, ok, maybe not that bad, but it certainly doesn't refresh or relax me. And it means that my house looks like something out of Hoarders, except much of my junk turns over pretty quickly and gets replaced with new and different junk.

But it does make me money. But I've hit the major financial goals - bought a house, have enough saved up to buy the truck I want and pay cash. I can afford to buy my lunch, feed my cat, and spring for the occasional latte. I don't travel, I don't eat out, or go out, or do anything expensive. While I'll tell myself that having more money will help me attract women - I mean, don't they want a guy who can afford to support a family? - I suspect that lack of cash is the least of my problems when it comes to dating.

I've been trying to be more selective about what I buy, especially in terms of the stuff I sell at flea markets, and I've started to get rid of some of the stuff that I'm obviously never going to sell, and to be more agressive about listing stuff. But I've also realized that getting those big wins means going to more auctions, more sales, more obscure places - and that means more time, more frustration, more wondering if it's really worth it.

I had a coworker ask me if it was really worth the time - could i make the same modest profit some other way? But this has it's advantages - I have flexibility, I set my own hours, I can do more when I have time and less when I don't. That wouldn't be true if I was doing consulting or working a second job.

The office equipment that was pulled from Wednesday's auction is supposed to be sold at the next auction in mid-December. And I already have a half day's vacation marked on the shared Outlook calendar at work so I can be there. Even though i'm not sure why.


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