On-line “Deals” for Your Home July 13, 2011

Ever buy a “deal” on-line, that turned out to be a “bust”? If you’ve resisted the lure of on-line auctions and “tag” sales, you should commend yourself! As someone who tells others to avoid making purchases that are non-returnable, I’m guilty of some less than wonderful purchases, particularly on EBay.

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I got all excited about McCoy ceramics and found a few on EBay that looked promising. This piece wasn’t expensive, but who wants something with a crack in it?

Then there was the fluted Shawnee vase, that looked cream colored on line, and the “drizzled” texture wasn’t as clearly depicted in the picture on eBay. In fact it’s more grey than cream and the texture is not appealing to me at all. Let’s see, who has a birthday coming up? Just kidding!

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Now that eBay’s been a huge success story for years, there are a ton of new sites that seem to be popping up every time you turn around.

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The Gilt Group is one of them. Selling housewares, furniture and collectables, they’re certainly appealing to the “well healed” shopping enthusiast.

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One King’s Lane is another “hot spot” for shopping the finer things in life. The company name brings to mind what you’d expect to be a charming store-front, on a cobbled street in London. But no, they’re based in San Francisco and refer to their on-line, “while-they-last” sales, as “tag sales”. Now if you look up “tag sale” on Google, it says that a tag sale is nothing more than what we Americans call the beloved “garage sale”. Yet the goodies here are on sale for hundreds and more often than not, thousands of dollars. If you want to see a marketing marvel, watch any of their featured sales, from collectors or well known designers and you’ll be amazed how quickly the merchandise “flies off the shelf”! I recently fell prey to what I hope will turn out to be a smart purchase.

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I purchased two vintage alabaster sconces, that are the perfect size to replace two unremarkable sconces currently in our family room. I showed the picture to my husband, who of course said, “Where can we go look at them in person?” I explained, “Honey, you buy them sight unseen, for a lot of money and they can’t be returned.”. Now show me a man that thinks that makes sense! He doesn’t exist!

I rationalized the whole purchase, thinking that there are no moving parts and even if they needed to be re-wired, that can’t be a big deal, …can it?

I have to say, it’s fun to browse, but the poor purchases I’ve made have canceled out the “value” of the good ones. So, my advise is to buy locally when you can, or at least from people who want to make sure you’re a happy customer, that returns again and again. In the mean time, I’m crossing my fingers that the alabaster sconces are truly wonderful. I’ll let you know!

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