Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It is only worth what someone will pay for it

I had sort of an awkward exchange this morning with my friend S.  I met her through Craigslist when she bought something I listed.  And since then, our friendship has evolved.

I have sold a few things to her (mostly toys), and given her a bunch of things just because she could use them and I didn't need it.  But she mentioned the other day needing clothes for her son, and I mentioned that I had a ton of stuff that I was looking to clear out.

She came over and we went through about 6 boxes of things.  She picked out what she wanted and had a HUGE pile of things.  (when we boxed it all up, it fit in a box that Sassy's new twin bedding set came shipped in, just to give you an idea of size) Most were worn by Bossy, but several outfits were brand new with the tags.  Plus, I had some baby clothes new with tags that she was interested in for a friend of hers.

So it comes time for pricing.  If she wasn't a friend, I probably would have priced the items piece by piece (or outfit).  But we did it as a lot.  I was very uncomfortable with this exchange.  I was afraid of asking too much and insulting her.  She came up with the idea that we write down our numbers, and see how far off we are from each other.

Confession time....I was really thinking of a number higher than what I wrote.  But being a friend, and trying to cut her a deal....I wrote down a number about $50 less than I was really thinking.  Her number was $25 LESS than what I wrote....or actually $75 less than my original thought.

This was a HUGE box of clothes.  Shirts, pants, sweaters, fall jacket.  A bunch of 3 piece outfits.  Baby stuff.  Snow boots.  My original thought....$175-$200.  I wrote $150, she wrote $125.  We settled on $130.

But now I am kind of feeling like I should have gotten more.  It is done and I need to let it go.  But really....there were some brand new items in there.  And everything was in "school" condition.  No play clothes.

I feel weird now.  I now wonder if she offered me MORE than she would have than if I was a stranger.  I know she likes a bargain, but I am sort of feeling used now. 


  1. In most friendships there are usually give and take moments that occur that even themselves out over time. You 'gave' this time, but maybe next time, you'll end up getting more, whether it be money related or not.

    You have a friendship that should be worth more than the $25 or so difference you're worried about right now. If you harp on this, you'll inevitably damage your friendship and I don't think $25 is worth doing that. At the end of the day, you got some cash, you got some clutter out of the way, she got some clothes, and you still have each other as friends. My advice to you is to take that as you both coming out ahead and move on.

  2. It's not easy doing a deal with someone you've come to know. Yea, she gave you less than you wanted but you let her have it for less than you wanted. You have the power to say no. You can both always go somewhere else to do business so it wouldn't have really hurt either of you if you couldn't get what you wanted. just my 2 cents

  3. Think of the time and hassle she saved you having to take pictures of all this stuff, list it, and arrange pick ups. Take your feelings and use them the next time you are shopping for your children. When you realize how little the items are worth, you may find yourself purchasing less items or shopping thrift shops more. :)

  4. Just remember that you decided to lower the price yourself, so you really can't hold it against her. My girlfriend is sometimes like you and feels bad after being nice. I don't understand it. Don't be nice if you're going to feel bad about it ;)

    I haven't sold much to friends, myself, but I would generally charge them just a little bit less than market price unless they were really hurting or I really didn't need it and was just going to give it away anyways.

  5. How does that price compare to what you would have gotten at a consignment shop? I have no idea how I would price a box of clothing like that. I sincerely doubt she was trying to take advantage of you.

    If you thought some of the individual or new with tags items were too pricey, then you could have taken them out of the lot and bargained separately on those.

    We always just give things away because the resale value seems so small unless you're really into gymboree. $130 seems like an awful lot of money.

  6. @Money Beagle - I just don't want to set a precedent. There are other things she is interested in later (toys for Christmas), and I know they are worth money. I don't mind taking a bit off the top for a friend, but at some point, I have to think of the big picture. It really is more like $70 difference of what I got vs what I "wanted."

    @Kevin - yes, she could have gone elsewhere. And in a way it was a win-win. But I am still feeling awkward.

    @ Anon - very true (saving me the time and hassle of pics, etc). However, I don't feel that my children have ALOT of clothes. These were from younger days, when we needed more due to being toddlers, potty accidents, etc. Plus, I find it hard to find clothes for them second hand at this point...our stores just don't carry alot in their size.

    @Kevin 2 - I am not holding it against her, unless you I consider that I thought her initial offer was a bit low. I agree, that you cut friends a little deal....just feeling like I may have cut her TOO good of a deal.

    @NicoleandMaggie - our consignment shops are funny. I probably could have gotten more for the brand new clothes. I decided in the future, if I do this again, that I will separate things into 2 piles, and price them as "previously loved" and "new with tags."

    $130 is alot of money....but she probably got 50 things. So that is less than $3 an item.

  7. Mysti, step back and think it over. It sounds like we're all telling you the same thing but you don't want to change your mind.

    You should have been clearer about the price beforehand. Let it go and price better next time.

  8. When I buy children' used clothing lots on ebay, my price point is 50 cents to a dollar an item... $3 an item sounds pretty expensive. Even for new with tags, unless they're Gymboree or an even fancier brand, the Walmart sale clothes we get from MIL cost under that... Carter outlet sales can go for under that too. That's also pricier than the Salvation army, even for NWT stuff.

    So yes, next time sell the nicer stuff separately, since I don't think most of us can do that kind of complicated math in our heads when things are worth different amounts.

  9. I would think of all the time you saved in having her buy them.

    Selling things individually is a pain, and you've either got to be constantly fielding calls and meeting up with Craigslist people to get the stuff sold, running to the post office to mail things sold on eBay, or taking only a small percentage (and waiting!) via consignment.

    But next time, maybe settle on an amount per item beforehand if you want to sell to your friend.

  10. @Bucksome - Yes I should have been clearer about the price. I agree. I guess I am just feeling like she also should have looked at it as a friend deal, and maybe offered more than she would to a stranger.

    @NicoleandMaggie - maybe it is the area of the country. But here, there is no such thing as $1 for an item. Even at the worst Goodwill places, stuff is min. $3.

    @Jackie - In the end, yes I saved time and energy. And I learned the lesson of separating things out more before we start.

  11. I understand your frustration. It is so hard to price negotiate with people you know. (Though I think it's awesome you two kept a friendship going just based on a Craigslist sale!) My grandmother once asked me for something I had already posted on Craigslist, DVD box sets for every season of Gilmore Girls. I said, "Well... I'm selling them for X a piece, so if you want to pay that, okay!" I knew she wouldn't though, and she understood that I could get more money selling them to someone else. (She's also a hoarder and in major financial trouble, which is why I felt okay pricing her out of the competition.)

    Maybe the thing to do is go ahead and go through the toys you plan to sell for Christmas. Price them ahead of time. Then when it gets closer to the season for shopping, let her know, "Hey, I'm selling this and this and this for these prices. Do you want anything?"

    It's all good and well to cut friends a deal. But it sucks feeling like she offered you LESS than what she'd offer a stranger. (In that respect, you were doing all the giving, and she was doing all the taking.) But it's also not fair to expect her to read your mind. So pricing ahead of time might be a better way to avoid the awkwardness. "Well, I was planning to sell it on Craigslist for X. But since we're friends, how about Y..." Good luck!

  12. I understand you're frustrated. I would have probably done the same thing, write down a price a little lower than what I would have wanted because she is a friend. Maybe what's bothering you is that her price was even lower than what you wrote down and you feel she should have been more generous. However, you probably should let it go and make sure the next time your in a similar situation, price it accordingly.

  13. You can buy from Ebay from anywhere.

  14. Just my two-bits- I've gotten very picky on what I will pay for clothing. I once bought a bag of stuff for my then toddler and paid $1 an item. Some new stuff, some not so new. She just lumped it in altogether. She priced it, not I. Now, I hesitate to spend more than $2 for an article of clothing, but I recognize I have a good thrift shop here.

    I think you both won. Part of your struggle, I think, is remembering what you paid for those items. Just learn from this and let it go. But please don't look at it like you were taken advantage of! I don't see it that way, and neither do most of your readers. Challenge yourself to be more discerning when purchasing clothing for your children in the future, and keeping receipts so you can return items that still have tags once you realize you won't use them.

  15. @Jolyn - this was all little clothes....way back in the day when I was up to my eyeballs in kids stuff and medical stuff. Most of the new things were "lost" in the closet, or things I didn't have a chance to return and lost the receipt in the process.

    I know everyone things that I am overreacting to this....and maybe I am. But at least on the Ebay lots I have looked at, or bulk buying....items are never this cheap.

    I do have to admit I am a little insulted that everyone seems to think that I am spending alot on clothes, and suggesting I am more picky about how much I spend. In our area, there are few consignment or thrift shops that carry much in their size. I am talking....5 dresses for her is the total dress selection.

    I have returned tons of things that were purchased and didn't fit right, or for whatever reason didn't get worn (mostly when I tried to buy too far ahead).

    But try and look at it from my perspective. If there is a 3 piece outfit that retailed $40 (which I did NOT pay that much for) and it is brand new, and you sell it for $1 or $2. Wouldn't you look at it a little...and feel a little bad?

  16. This is slightly off topic, but I don't understand why you have the big problem with things not fitting right. Do you measure your kids' waist, inseam, shoulder size, etc, and take a measuring tape with you to the store? That would help out a lot.

    I think, though, anytime you are selling something you bought new, you are going to feel ripped off by the price you get. That's been my experience.

  17. @Steve- Yes, I measure my kids. But when you have a kid whose waist fits a 4t, and needs an 8 for is hard to find. The stuff in this pile was from when they were little, and Bossy was in and out of the hospital. There were things purchased and not returned because I just had other things to deal with.