A part of my role at DGM is to manage Salvos Stores eBay store.
Now, this isn’t your average shop. The eBay store acts as an online outlet for second-hand items varying from knick-knacks to thingymabobs.
Imagine for a moment, the most convenient op-shop.
You simply have to click to get there and when you arrive you don’t have to shuffle through boxes of scarves or decipher what fragrance the previous owner wore while you sneeze politely by the coat rack. All of the items are presented to you in list form, they feature a range of photos from an array of different (sometimes, panoramic) angles and they are priced in your favour; auction form.
There’s no human interaction required and best of all, once the item is yours, it gets delivered to your doorstep!
The majority of the time, the items on the online store are one of a kind, or definitely one-off if you’re looking at earthenware. But, something that attracts me to the store is the sense of the unexpected that awaits the customer (and me) each week.
Every Monday, we are greeted by a friendly delivery man who carries over boxes of assorted items that are rearing to go up on the page. Then comes the unveiling and evaluating of items, before dolling them up (dressing our mannequins), and photographing them.
Sometimes the unwrapping and unboxing of the items is exciting enough to warrant a glib and glamorous description, though my brief time in this role has taught me that not all items that arrive fall into the ‘fabulous’ category.
Some items that arrive are just plain strange. We’ve received everything from Samurai swords to a taxidermy stole, not everything can be uploaded. Some items have been subjected to workplace pranks (namely, the fox fur stole) and others get scoffed at and placed into the returns box.
90% of items that are just right, get pictured, described and uploaded and then we wait. Counting down the days, watching the watchers and answering every possible question.
“How tall does that clown stand?”
“How filigree is filigree?”
And “Please, oh please, do you post overseas?!”
Then the day comes. The auctions ends, we award our items to our successful bidders and carefully package them for the post. Not all items fit into the convenient little parcels assigned to them, so we improvise by making custom cardboard cases and bubble wrap buffers.
A highlight of my eBay experiences at DGM was the illustrious ‘McHugh Tasmanian Kelpie statue’.
This ceramic dog arrived one morning, wrapped in butcher paper and bubble wrap, like most of our delicate items. However, this was no ordinary dog. This particular statue was worth over $1500.
With all due respect to Mchugh, I thought this puppie was secondary school Ceramics project that needed a new home. However, the customer who managed to find it through all of the antiquities inhabiting cyberspace, treasured it beyond belief. The man bought the item outright after toying with the idea of bidding, then flew into town and met us to pick it up. The item shocked us all, not only was it a home to a small family of spiders, it was a rare and valuable piece of art, which just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover, or a dog by his jowl.
Somewhere across this great southern land, someone has precisely wanted this exact item, and somehow they have found it in the vast marketplace that is eBay.
Come Monday morning, we’ll do it all again.
-Posted by Souha