Thursday, January 14, 2021

Priority (Pandemic) Mail


 Up until December 2020 sending packages by Priority Mail was fairly quick and reliable. Unfortunately, the election, pandemic, and online holiday purchases have slowed things down a bit. Normally, a priority mail package will take only 3 or 4 days to reach its destination. Last month, I had a package that took 21 days to make it to an Ebay customer. I contacted the buyer when the package reached his regional sorting facility and he was pretty good about it. I guess he had been tracking the package too because he replied "This package has had quite a trip through the USPS System." After the package was finally delivered, he gave me a good review with the comment "Great Seller - Fast Shipping". I had to laugh when I saw that.

One thing I discovered is that even though the shipping label says "2 Day" or "3 Day", there is no guarantee that your priority package will arrive on time. There is also no refund for a late delivery. You would need to use Express Mail for that. They do have $50 insurance on Priority Mail, but that is only if the package is lost or damaged. Here is the route the package took and how long it took to get there:

December 14, 2020                                     Day 1
Arrived at USPS Origin Facility
SAINT PAUL, MN

December 15, 2020
Departed USPS Origin Facility
SAINT PAUL, MN

December 15, 2020
Arrived at USPS Facility
INDIANAPOLIS, IN

December 15, 2020                                     Day 2
Arrived at USPS Regional Facility
SAINT LOUIS MO

December 21, 2020                                     Day 7
Departed USPS Regional Facility
SAINT LOUIS MO

December 26, 2020                                     Day 12
Arrived at USPS Regional Facility
MEMPHIS TN

December 27, 2020                                     Day 13
Departed USPS Regional Facility
MEMPHIS TN

December 29, 2020                                     Day 15
Arrived at USPS Regional Facility
PITTSBURGH PA

December 30, 2020                                     Day 16
Departed USPS Regional Facility
PITTSBURGH PA

January 1, 2021                                          Day 18
Arrived at USPS Regional Facility
CINCINNATI OH

January 1, 2021
Departed USPS Regional Facility
CINCINNATI OH
 

January 2, 2021                                          Day 19
Arrived at USPS Regional Facility
LOUISVILLE KY

January 3, 2021                                          Day 20
Departed USPS Regional Facility
LOUISVILLE KY
 

January 3, 2021
Arrived at USPS Facility
LOUISVILLE, KY

January 3, 2021
Arrived at Hub
LOUISVILLE, KY

January 4, 2021                                          Day 21
Out for Delivery
LOUISVILLE, KY


Saturday, December 12, 2020

2020 Ebay Reselling Results

In 2020 I decided to find out how much extra money I could make as a part-time Ebay reseller.  I've had an Ebay account since 2010, so I know the system pretty well. I have a basic account, which allows me to list 200 items or have $10,000 in sales per month. The most listings I had in a month was about 80, never coming close to exceeding the limits. During the year, I kept track of every sale, my expenses, and how much profit I made. The goal was to make a little extra money and to find out if selling full-time on Ebay is worth the effort.

Total items sold was 70 or about 6 items per month. Gross revenue from sales was $1494 for an average of $21.34 per item sold. Sounds great, until you start deducting the item cost, Paypal fees, Ebay fees, shipping costs, and materials. That came to $1034 for a net profit of $460. The average net profit on each item sold was only $6.57. The biggest fee was shipping at $407. Ebay and Paypal fees came to $211. The biggest material expense was a used laser printer for $172. Since 29 of the 70 items sold were my own, the amount spent on inventory was under $200. 

Continuing as a reseller would require that I put a lot more money into inventory. I still haven't found a niche item category to focus on. The original plan was to sell my handmade marble boards. But, they didn't draw much interest on Ebay this year. Craft items may sell better on Etsy where people are willing to pay for handmade products. Some of the most profitable items were my old big box computer games from the early 1980's. New Balance and Nike shoes in like-new condition fetched good prices. Electronics in like-new working condition also did well. I paid a dollar for two vintage Radio Shack calculators at a flea market that later sold for $45. You can't find gems like that everyday, but when you do, it makes you want to keep looking for more. I managed to maintain a 100% seller rating by shipping items quickly. But, shipping and selling fees make it difficult to justify continuing as a reseller. 


Friday, October 16, 2020

4039 New COVID Cases in One Day!


On October 15, 2020 Wisconsin reported 4039 new COVID cases in one day. The trend is moving higher in Minnesota as well, but the highest single day number has only been 1516 by comparison. Yahoo News reports that almost all of Wisconsin is classified as a COVID 'hot spot'. Other states with trouble areas include Wisconsin’s neighbors, Minnesota and Illinois, as well as Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina. The graph shows an uptrend starting in early September, which coincides with the start of the fall school season. 

My girlfriend had surgery on her knee on Oct. 12th and has been in the hospital for 5 days trying to recover from that. Before she was allowed to undergo surgery I had to take her to a COVID testing site that was about a 30 minute drive away from our home. They were only taking people who had an appointment. We arrived about 15 minutes ahead of schedule with a line of about 6 or 7 cars ahead of us. After about 5 minutes there were already 6 cars behind us. Everyone was waiting to get up to a big drive through tent that the clinic had setup in the parking lot. It was a little surreal and reminded me of a scene from a movie about a pandemic. Its a good thing we came early because it took 15 minutes to work our way up to the tent. They allowed 2 vehicles to enter the tent at a time. A nurse in a white gown with a mask and clear plastic face shield instructed us to turn off the engine. There were 3 nurses to assist each vehicle that entered the tent. After the customary ID check and appointment verification, a cotton swab was inserted deep into my girlfriend's nose. They told her when the results would be available and wished us good luck. As I drove away I'm thinking, this is one time where you want a negative result to be lucky. The result was negative, but the pain from the operation has not subsided. With more people going to the hospital for COVID treatment, each day spent in the hospital, adds to the chance of getting the virus. I have felt safe visiting her room, but do not enjoy the 1/4 mile walk from the nearest parking lot to get there.

Regarding my last post about being Geo-Blocked by my bank, the block did finally get resolved about a day after I made my blog post. I haven't seen any trouble since then and no explanation was ever provided by the bank.