eBay assistants

Mom and Dad just came for a visit to see the new baby. Mom was just telling me about this phenomenon: for a healthy percentage, someone will come to your house and clean out your attic for you, sell what they can, and then give you a check. No muss, no fuss, and if you were never going to get around to it anyway, it’s hard to argue too much about the margin. Here’s the article in the NY Times: No Time for EBay? Here Come the Agents.

I don’t have many antiques, but I’ve got tons of books, some of which I’d be happy to pass back into the book ecosystem for little or no money. After all, it’s a sin to throw a book away, and not many places are interested in taking books off your hands. I’ve thought about listing all the books I’m done with on Half.com (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of eBay), but it’s way too much trouble. This smells like an opportunity for an enterprising teenager, if not an outright entrepreneur. For instance, because of some business strategy seminar I went to at work, I’ve got a copy of Competing for the Future by Hamel and Prahalad. Sell that sucker on Half.com and you can clear as much as $0.75. After paying eBay its share, you’d have a good fraction of a subsidized hot school lunch.

Apparently eBay has been so successful generating more business for itself that prices are coming down as attics and basements all over the world are being flushed into the daylight. There are now liquid markets and stable prices for more weird crap than ever before in the history of mankind. At this very instant, I have my pick of 45 different Hemingray #42 glass insulators (I’m partial to the blue green Hemingray #42). Better sell all your weird crap before I sell mine and drive the prices down even further.