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Among the many delights of Brno-based social media you can find numerous groups devoted to the sale of second-hand stuff. The beauty of second-hand shopping is that every item has a story, and our columnist Joe Emerson is here to tell you some stories…  Title image: Facebook.

Let me just start by saying I really rate these online second-hand Facebook groups. There is certainly treasure to be found and I fully support the community. Second-hand is great: save the planet and save some money, what’s not to like!? It’s also home to some comedy gold, and let’s face facts: nothing is more valuable than laughing stocks….

Anyway here are a few recurring themes I’ve noticed when scrolling through the plethora of possible purchases. Warning: There is a strong possibility I have too much time on my (second) hands!  

Pricing up

It certainly can be tough to price an item correctly. After all, you might add a little more if an item holds some sentimental value, or you paid a lot originally. Alternatively you might just be a bit greedy and fancy trying your luck! In all honesty most items up for sale seem to have a reasonable valuation, but you can find some heavily inflated eye popping prices as well. Here are some super-sized examples I’ve come across…

  • Half used Yankee Doodle candle, still lots of wax left: 600 czk
  • 5-year-old IKEA sofa for sale from cat house, wine stain on the front, needs cleaning: 12,000 czk
  • iPhone 6, used for 3 years, battery at 80% capacity. Needs new protective screen: 6,000 czk

Now, something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. That being said, here come the inevitable waves of price-reduction notifications flooding your inbox, as reality hits and it turns out the demand for Yankee Doodle candles is waning, not waxing.

Tip: If you come across an item that you think is overpriced, save it and wait for the real price to slowly (or quickly) emerge!

Similar to almost every seemingly overpriced flat going up for rent in Brno, there are some notable reactions that should ring alarm bells. Be on the look-out for any listings littered with laugh-out-loud emojis, or as I like to call them “extortion flags”.

Picture quality 

Now I’m no photography expert, in fact if you took a snapshot of my life it would most probably be blurry (Joke still being developed). However, if you fall into the same bracket, fear not, even the likes of us amateur snappers can avoid these common photo faux pas: 

  • The “shot in the dark”: The “shot in the dark”: These often catch my eye, but maybe not for the right reason. The item looks okay, but do I have to come to a haunted house to see it? If it’s dark and gloomy, that means your item is potentially being seen in the worst possible light. The perfect lighting for a funeral is probably a setting to avoid.. unless you’re in the coffin-selling business of course.
  • The “Slob Shot”: So you’ve got a bed and mattress for sale? Now there’s making your bed…. and then there’s making your bed look like it belongs in Tracey Emin’s house: condom wrappers, plates of food, screwed-up boxer shorts and so on. If you don’t get a sale, well, I’m afraid that ironically you’ve made your bed, and you will most likely have to carry on lying in it. 
  • The “What!!?” Shot: These pictures remind me of when I try and talk to my mum via video chat, and for most of the call I’m pretty much talking to her hair. Is it really her!!? Well yes I know it is, but only thanks to my newly installed hair-recognition software! Also of course the fact that she had a major role in my first ever release, “Being Born: The Movie”. 

Sorry I’ve gone off topic. What I’m trying to say is that better photos will convert into more buying decisions. We need to see it to believe it.

Detail for retail

Yeah she sells sea shells on the seashore, but….

  • What is the shell size?
  • How old is the shell?
  • Reason for selling the shell?
  • Is there any damage to the shell?
  • Is shell delivery available?

You see, lazy posting = presumption of a lazy lifestyle, which in turn raises the suspicion that you don’t look after stuff, which sadly may lead to a possible no-sale scenario.

Of course that isn’t always the case. Busy lifestyles can simply limit how much effort we can spare on the resale of an old dog basket. Also, giving your 1999 Wellington boots a 15-minute photoshoot is not likely to change their sellability, but for bigger items I definitely think it’s worth the effort.

That being said, they do say a sucker is born every minute, so maybe none of this really matters!

Happy buy and selling!

P.S. If anyone knows the best way to get wine and cat hair off a sofa please let me know!

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