Friday, November 20, 2009

Help the planet (and your bottom line) with online auctions:

Like an angler with a bountiful fishing hole, bargain hunters like to keep their best sources secret. While I'm sure to draw the ire of other cheapskates, it seems wrong not to tell people about this cornucopia of savings.

All proceeds benefit a charitable non-profit. Buying resale items keeps usable goods out of landfills (longer) and prevents redundant manufacturing. It can also save consumers a fortune.

We married young, so in the first years of our marriage, Jim and I were lucky to buy the essentials. By the time he got the first professional job in our family, even a single dollar had meaning. Around that time I discovered antique malls and consignment sales. After a while I started looking into thrift shops. Now, over a decade later, I answer most "Where did you get that?" inquiries with some form of resale or reuse answer (thrift shop, yard sale, consignment, gift, loan from a friend).

When we're clearing out the house, I like to give usable to goods to friends and some of my favorite charity shops. It was at one of these drop-offs, when I stumbled upon

In its early days, I visited and found mostly tchotchkes requiring dusting, dolls that give me nightmares, and handbags. Beyond the amusement of the occasional suggestive monkey teapot, I didn't think it had much promise. But I didn't think the Web would catch on either (didn't Gopher already offer everything minus the images and sound? Is that really such a big deal? In my defense the early web featured the blink tag WAY TOO much).

In the time since my initial introduction has grown into a real beauty.

The savings are mind-blowing. This cool metal dollhouse's current bid is $10.99, while an identical dollhouse (possibly with fewer furniture pieces) sold online for $130 at an antique shop. The antique store has better lighting and photographs, but are they really worth the additional $119.01?

Not only can you find many of the original Fisher Price Little People buildings- from the barn to the A-frame house (that I wanted to live in) to the great merry-go-round to the school, you can also buy NEW stuff and current electronics.

Just cruising through I've found new in package games for systems ranging from Leapster to DS to Xbox 360 to PS3 to didj to PSP.

Want a DS or a Leapster?

Are you shopping for someone who likes Lego, American Girl, Hannah Montana, Star Wars, or Sesame Street?

And who doesn't love this vintage Fisher Price tabletop kitchen stove (presently with a $6 bid)?

Shipping seems to be reasonable. If you are willing to drive to the selling Goodwill, you can often arrange for pickup.

I can trust you to keep this under your hat, right? We wouldn't want the place overrun with hipsters looking for Elvis memorabilia.

***Baby Toolkit is a couple of geek parents with more opinions than should be shared. While we shop at Goodwill Industries and drop off lots of unwanted stuff there (including review samples), we are not affiliated with Goodwill Industries nor have we received any compensation for this review (beyond the joy of sharing something awesome with our readers).


Veronica said...

I just discovered last week. I thought about you, but just hadn't had the chance to call. Although I haven't bought anything yet, I look almost daily to see what's been added!

MJ said...

Okay, I thought I was the only one who felt that way about Gopher. Seriously, it forced MUCH better organization, and why did we need horrible tiled backgrounds, anyway? :-)

These days for vintage stuff I prefer shopgoodwill or Etsy over eBay (I wrote about that just this morning). Part of the thrill was always getting a good deal, which is next to impossible on eBay anymore. And also, eBay seems to be where all the horrible tiled backgrounds went to die.

Michael Phillips said...

My embarrassing tech declarations are few but big. "Who needs a hard drive? My c128 is a far superior computer and it gets along fine with a pair of disk drives."
"No one wants a bloatware GUI. The people who can't deal with a command prompt are already using Macs. 95 is overcomplicated and under-stable, and the system overhead is more than people will be willing to spend for pretty pictures." And yes, I did know about Moore's Law.In my defense, I still think Dos 6 was far superior to Windows 95, more stable, better tools, less memory and storage foot print in a day when I had just seen my first Gigabyte Hard Drive for about $4k.