The classic Shop-for-Profit on eBay Game naturally engages shop-a-holics and bargain hunters. There are two popular strategies: Buy low. Sell high. The object is to pick a winner, and buy something in a local market that’s worth more money on eBay. The fun and challenging competition is a healthy mixture of knowledge, and physical exercise, and LUCK. There is only one judge, and that’s the world market.
The Shop-for-Profit on eBay game is best played while on vacation in a strange city, or even in unfamiliar parts of your own city – you can play with any amount of friends, and the activity makes great fodder for ‘reality game show’ home videos. It works like this; friends meet and shop somewhere they have never shopped before. Make it a special expedition. Print a map showing boundaries using an online service.
Each player buys one HERO ITEM, whatever catches their fancy, but it should be an item they think is rare and worth more money online. It’s also important the item be purchased during that expedition, and the buyer save the receipt. At the end of the day’s shopping trip, each player is asked to describe their Hero Item, and why they believe it will sell for more money online.
The Shop-for-Profit on eBay game is simple. The Hero Items are photographed and posted for sale under one generic account in a four day auction. Patience is rewarded. When all the auctions close, the player with the most successful return (not the most cash, but the greatest percentage of profit) keeps all the monies and the other unsold items.
In the worst case scenario, it’s the player who lost the least, and if nothing sells then the player who bought the least expensive item wins. But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve played very exciting games where every Hero Item sold, and the secret is simple. When shopping for profit on eBay, which is a global market, buy one-of-a-kind pieces that are rare and valuable with specialty collectors in mind.
This game requires a local search service and an eBay account. When friends travel outside their area of comfort, they are usually overcome by the sudden urge to shop, and as the travel game coordinator, you can help them.
Do Not Shop in Tourist Traps! Use a local search service to select in advance the low rent shopping opportunities where it’s still possible to ‘shop for profits online’. When my wife and I stayed in Vancouver, I executed a local search from the Best Western Hotel at 718 Drake Street. I used Poynt Microsoft® Windows Live Messenger or AIM® to navigate my group away from trendy tourist areas downtown and into more sensible mercantile venues where game winning bargains might be found. Complete with Microsoft® Virtual Earth scalable map interface, Poynt is a whole new way to look at neighborhoods and select better hunting grounds.
Powered by Yellowpages.ca for Canadian listings and Superpages.com® for American listings, Poynt is a very efficient geographic business data dispensary that yields accurate maps and easy-to-understand driving directions – its perfect graphic tool for the Shop-for-Profit on eBay game.
Use Smart Keywords in Local Search
There are certain keywords that veteran eBay shoppers now avoid; words like ‘bargains, thrift’, and ‘discount’ have lost their original meaning and are now tickets to a world of cheap Chinese imports and crap. Also, on the other end of the spectrum, do not type the word ‘vintage’ into Poynt in Canada for that word has come to mean premium high culture antiquities and over-priced ‘vintage’ used clothing. In Vancouver the word will generate results for vintage jewelry right beside the hotels first, and then in the heart of the commercial district at George and Ganville St. This is a high rent, high traffic area and should be avoided by Shop-for-Profit gamers.
Shop in Older, Not-So-Glamorous Parts of Town
Use keywords like ‘second hand’ and ‘used furniture’ to find real bargain centers. I search for ‘used electronics’ because this inevitably points me to pawn shops and other places that accept used merchandise from desperate people at rock bottom prices. Salvation Army depots, Goodwill and ValueVillage are great places to shop and you should look for these in the results – the secret here is to find the central donation store where the merchandise is collected to be distributed throughout the city. I know it sounds avaricious, and more than a little unfriendly, but this isn’t about charity – it’s about buying the perfect Hero Item and enjoying a spectacular return on your investment.
Get More Results, and even More Results.
After selecting the appropriate keywords in Poynt, smart shoppers accept the invitation to view more results, and after that they get even more results – you literally see the big picture as the map zooms out to show the whole city. Put twenty or thirty points on the map and you will begin to see thrifty ‘regions’. This is how you shop for neighborhoods, and its how I uncovered the gold mine junk / pawn shops on West Hastings St at Cambie Street and Cordova St and Pender St, in what is commonly called Gastown. My best discovery was a store called Mintage located at 320 Cordova Street West Vancouver, BC.
The Shop-for-Profit eBay Game is a thrilling, real life Price is Right where players use new technology to leverage the difference between local and global markets.