The real costs of eBay selling; a short story.

Here at Pure Amiga sales HQ we strive to offer the best service and help that we can to our clients, past, present and future. With the excellent eye for detail and the strive for a product as near factory fresh as possible, Pure Amiga Sales and Technical HQs always, always, strive to be at the top of their game.

But, once in a while, something crawls out from under a rock, raises its slimy head and spews a diatribe of rubbish. These trolls pervade across all areas of the internet and we do encounter a few. Here follows a little story….

Amongst many other items, we refurbish keyboards. These keys are from an Amiga 500. These keys have been carefully removed, cleaned thoroughly with a non abrasive plant based cleaner and then whitened, naturally, in sunlight; a process which takes quite a few weeks here in the north of the UK.

amiga 500 keys dark

Here we see the before image. Nice and beige are they not. A patina of dirt, and that all too common beige/yellow colouration. It is the sale of one of these cleaned keys that attracted this particular conversation. Lets go over some prices so that I can highlight this particular cost case.

On ebay, we list these individual keys, as a replacement service at £4.50 including free postage. Below is the cost breakdown of what we actually achieve from this sale

  • Sales price £4.50
  • Ebay fees after sale £0.92
  • Postage cost – Royal Mail large letter 50g £0.96
  • Cleaning fluid cost £0.10
  • Travel to and from post office at national rate of £0.47 per mail for private vehicle use £0.94
  • Packaging cost £0.15

Now, if you work this little lot out, that leaves, from the original £4.50 sales cost, a grand total of £1.33. £1.33 per key. This life changing sum does not include any factor for the physical time taken to clean the key, to rotate it in sunlight to ensure all over coverage of UV for cleansing. It does not include any time to list the sale, package the sale, answer questions …. you get the idea? It also does not include any cost for the actual purchase of the original key! We arent donated products, we do have to actually buy our stock in.

£1.33 ! That buys….. well, it certainly does not buy that frothy mocky latte choco superlative coffee from the highstreet shop does it?

But because of the total cost to get a cleaned and brightened key through someone’s letterbox, we recieved messages calling us “creatures”. They believed we should obviously be giving them away free. Its not often that something gets my back up, but I’m seeing such trolling quite regularly now. A few days ago a wonderful manufacturer involved in the Amiga scene was trolled because his product was good but “too expensive for them to afford”. This particular example was a bespoke item, custom made for the Amiga community to a very high standard using dozens of specialised suppliers, and quite likely offering very little profit to the manufacturer in return. But because it’s not as cheap as a generic, mass-produced item on Amazon then the critisism flows freely.

We need, as a community, to help each other. True, some of us run a small part time business, but just stop and think, this business does not fund itself, the sales of products allow the purchase of new products etc etc. And a profit does need to be made. That fancy coffee does not realistically cost the amount that’s paid for it, people don’t question the cost/profit ratio on that drink. We ebay sellers and enthusiasts are no different, just far far smaller!

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