eBay Now and Then

I opened my eBay account, ClubRed97, on July 28, 1997 and started buying and selling long before anyone in my circle of friends knew what eBay was all about. When I first started selling, the process was much more tedious. At the time, digital cameras were something we only had at work and many Sellers took their pictures with analog cameras and then dropped them off at a one-hour photo place to get them developed. Those prints were scanned to their computers and one picture of his or her item was uploaded to the site. Seller would type out a brief description then waited for their auction to end. Once a winning bidder was determined, Buyer messaged Seller with their zip code, Seller packaged up the item, made a trip to the post office and someone at the counter calculated the shipping cost. Seller returned home to email Buyer with the total cost and Buyer either purchased a money order or sent a personal check to cover the cost of the item plus shipping. It was common for a listing to have verbiage reminding Buyers that personal checks required a 10-day hold until the check cleared the bank. Once Seller received payment, there was another trip to the post office to stand in line and purchase postage for the item. It was a relief to have the package out of your hands and on the way to Buyer. The package would arrive in 3-10 days and Buyer would typically leave feedback 1-2 days later. A typical transaction took 30 days to complete and all parties considered anything less ‘lightning fast’ shipping.


Today’s eBay experience is vastly different. For me, the days of listing or buying an item from an auction listing are long gone. I’m more of an instant gratification person and too impatient to wait for a listing to end. I have my PayPal account that I opened in 1999 and I can’t remember the last time I had to stand in line to purchase postage or even drop off my packages. Today, I don’t even have to leave the house; the postal carrier comes to me to pick up my packages! Buyers have greater expectations than years prior and want their packages on their doorstep in 3-5 days. Nobody wants to pay for shipping and the same device that allows us to take pictures and create a listing is the one we bought so we can be reached at any time in any place for any reason.

eBay then and now. Founder Pierre Omidyer and current President and CEO, Devin Wenig

eBay then and now. Founder Pierre Omidyer and current President and CEO, Devin Wenig

I don’t remember the first item I sold on eBay, but the first item I bought was a Jewel Tea serving bowl. It was a gift and I have no doubt that it will be back up for sale on the site for a few more bucks that what it was purchased for.

I bought and sold on eBay for many years as a hobby and loved every minute of it. When I unexpectedly lost my job in June 2012, I decided to step it up and see if I could make a real living doing something that I love! I kept busy listing and selling and sourcing and buying while looking for an office job. I went back to work full time for about 2.5 years while building my eBay business to a point where I was comfortable enough to just focus on selling on eBay and not have a second day job. I have met many wonderful people from all walks of life and some I call dear friends. Folks that have shared their business model and success stories convinced me back in 2012 that I could take what I was doing as a hobby and turn it into a real business. I’m grateful and appreciative for the eBay platform that allows me the means to do something I love and enjoy. It is a dream of mine to work at eBay and I hope to be able to cross that off my bucket list one day!