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Selling your stuff in an online auction
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Lay a ruler next to the lunchbox for one of the pictures. This will allow bidders to accurately judge size.

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Now you click on the option to preview your page. You check for any spelling errors or any mistakes in the description. You click on each of the photos to make sure they appear clearly. Then you ask your girlfriend to double check for errors. She tells you to add:

If you do not choose insurance, I am not responsible for lost or damaged items. Winning bidder pays for shipping. I will only ship to bidders within the United States.

Let the bidding begin
You are finished building your page. Now you just have to check your e-mail inbox for questions and watch your auction to see the bidding. You want to answer all e-mails as quickly as possible and remain polite and friendly, even if the bidders are not.

Day one: No one has bid. You are disappointed but hopeful -- someone will bid tomorrow.

Day two: No bids.

Day three: Someone named GreenMachine places the first bid for $9.99. No other activity occurs.

Day four: You receive an e-mail from Dbanner:

Dear Hulkfan,
Would you charge extra to ship to Alaska?

You respond:

Dear Dbanner,
No, I would not. Priority mail from the U.S. Postal Service charges the same rate for shipping within all 50 states.

Dbanner e-mails a reply asking for your name and phone number. Realizing that this bidder wants assurance that you are not the take-the-money-and-run sort of online auction seller, you politely send your contact information.

Dbanner bids $10.49. GreenMachine immediately counters with a bid of $10.99. They bid in 50-cent increments until the price reaches $20.49, with GreenMachine in the lead.

Day five: Nothing happens.

Day six: Nothing happens.

Day seven: You receive an e-mail from Shifty850.

HULKFAN -- THIS LOOKS LIKE A PIECE OF JUNK. HULK STINKS. I'LL TAKE IT OFF YOUR HANDS FOR $22. OK? SEND IT TO ME FIRST AND THEN I'LL PAY -- IF I DON'T LIKE IT, I'LL SEND IT BACK -- PROMISE. YOU'RE AN IDIOT IF YOU DON'T TAKE THIS DEAL.

You respond:

Dear Shifty850,
Thank you for your offer, but the deal remains as stated in the description.

Shifty850 bids $20.99. GreenMachine counters with $21.49. Nothing more happens.

Day eight:
This is the last day of the bidding. While you met your reserve, you are disappointed bidding never reached $40. You frequently check the auction and your e-mail but nothing has changed.

Then, at 4:45 pm, Ferrignoloo bids $21.99. Beebixby immediately bids $22.49. Greenmachine counters with $22.99. Colvin82 counters with $23.49. Retaliating bids continue until 4:57 pm, ending at $39.99 with Beebixby on top. You get an e-mail from Ferrignoloo:

Will you throw in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

You respond:

Sorry, I'm out of peanut butter. My basset hound ate all of it.

Ferrignoloo bids again anyway. Top bid is now $40.49 with one minute left. Colvin82 pounces, then GreenMachine and in the last 10 seconds, Dbanner reappears with a bid of $41.99 and the auction ends.

 
 

Next: "Get a bone for your dog on the way home."

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