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Several times, I have been advised that the way one is happiest in one's job is to try to make money doing something you love to do anyway. I've steadily ignored this advice, since the one time I tried to make money doing what I loved (writing for a newspaper, in this case), it was disastrous. I ended up not loving it anymore, and it hasn't been worth it to me to try again, since I'm not willing to lose anymore passions.

Until now.

Another piece of advice I've gotten more than once is that I should become a personal shopper, since I love to shop, especially for other people, and can often find good deals on things and spot cool things other people miss. This advice has also been met with resistance, as I've said that anyone who can afford to employ a personal shopper is going to want to shop for things that are beyond my interest and shop at stores I'm not comfortable setting foot in. Nobody, I've said numerous times, wants a personal thrift shopper.

Except maybe they do, because that is what a lot of Ebay is--personal thrift shoppers. People who buy things at thrift stores and garage sales and resell them for a profit on Ebay. I knew this before, of course, but never did it myself, because I could never figure out how buying something for $5 at the Goodwill and selling it for $7 on Ebay would be worth the time.

And then last week I discovered the Goodwill bins, where all items of clothing are $1.25. Buy something for $1.25 and sell it for $7 and there might just be enough profit in it to make it worthwhile. And so I set out, for only the second time, trying to make a profit doing something I love...

I've opened an Ebay store, Your Personal Thrift Shopper. Right now, it's very heavy on clothes for babies and toddlers, because that's what I've had the best luck with finding at the bins, and because I've gotten a lot of wonderful advice on what brands, etc. are good for resale in that department. However, I'm keeping statistics of how much I put into things and what they sell for, and I'll be trying to tailor my thrifting (and therefore inventory) to meet whatever is in demand. That being said, if you have a size or item you'd like me to keep my eye out for, just drop me an email.

I'm sure, given discussions I've had here and elsewhere before, that there is going to be some flak headed my way for trying to profit off thrift shopping. It has been suggested to me that someone in my income bracket is somehow "cheating" by even shopping at thrift stores, much less buying low there with the intention of selling high(er). I've got to tell you, though, I've given it a lot of thought, and I see nothing to feel bad about. The stores in my area are stocked to the gills--there is no shortage of stuff to thrift. And the bins is the last stop pre-dumpster for most of this stuff, so buying it, even to resell, is keeping it out of a landfill, which I'm all for. Also, if it doesn't sell, and some of it surely won't, I'll either give it away or give it back to the Goodwill, so it's not like now that I'm selling things I'm going to stop giving. When someone buys something off Ebay that they could have thrifted themselves, what they are paying for is the time and effort it took the person who found, listed, and sold that item to do so. And I think that's a skill worth paying for. My time has value, and if this can draw that value out of the time I spend thrifting, then I don't think that hurts anybody. Much--even most--of what we pay others to do is stuff we could do ourselves, or could learn to do ourselves, and I don't see how this is any different. Just like anything else, thrifting can be a service.

So, if you are in the market for thrifted stuff, without having to dig through the piles yourself, keep an eye on my store. The stock should change often, as I thrift often, and as I said before, I'm happy to do what I can to fill special requests, just let me know.


The majority of thrift stores are specifically set up to raise money for something, NOT to provide low-cost shopping opportunities for lower-income folks. They depend on higher-income people shopping there as well.

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April 2012

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