Unrealistic Assessments

A phenomenon that used to be restricted to garage sales is showing up on auction websites. People really, seriously, overestimate the value of their stuff.

I’ve been guilty of this phenomenon. At the start of one garage sale a guy walked up and offered a couple of hundred dollars for all of the furniture and I was insulted and basically laughed at him.  Why, one of the tables was an antique!  Sure it had a glass ring on it that even Martha Stewart’s techniques couldn’t remove and my old roommate had set a heavy fan on it so there were a couple of divets in the wood but, come on, it was worth the $65 I was insisting on. 

You can probably guess what happened.  I was stuck with that damn table at the end of the day and sold it for $15.  The guy who made the original offer knew what he was doing but sadly, I did not.  His deal had come at the start of the day when things were shiny and optimistic and I hadn’t yet been dragged down by the cheapness of people who offered a nickel for a $5 item.

In most cases anymore, I donate decent stuff to charity. Sometimes if something has been lovingly chosen and is in really good shape I might put it on kijiji for $10 but my expectations are low.  Ten bucks won’t make or break me but at least I feel like I’ve gotten something out of it and given someone else a bargain they can brag to their friends about. People are coming to pick the thing up, they should get a break.

I’m in the market for a couple of nightstand lamps and I decided to check out kijiji before going retail, believing as I do in recycling and getting a good deal.  But I’m horrified by the unrealistic expectations people have.  Two clearly dated, shade-less lamps for $50?  Sorry, not when I can pop into Bouclair and pay less than that for two brand new lamps WITH shades.  Checking shelving, someone has posted a glass and chrome unit for $150.  It’s smaller than a similar one I just saw at Jysk for $89.99. 

You have to know the market and the going rate for new versions of whatever it is you’re selling. You also have to know that you’re not going to get your money back. And why should you?  That item has been collecting dust, been knocked over and wiped down and endured cooking smells and the dog’s curious nose and whatever else – it’s called depreciation!  Get a buck or two and be happy with it.  I predict a couple of people are going to be stuck with out-dated lamps and a small shelving unit for some time to come.