Large eBay items without the shipping cost

And, look them over before bidding on them. Some patience required.

Did you ever see something on eBay that would be a good deal if it wasn't for the shipping costs? Last summer I created a saved eBay search for "nordic track virginia", hoping to find a local one that I could pick up myself. I wanted it to exercise when it's too hot or too cold out to go jogging, and I hoped to find someone local who had bought one, didn't use it, and wanted to make some quick cash from it. The shipping on something that big wouldn't be trivial, which is why I wanted someone local.

[black acoustic guitar from ebay]

This search turned up a Nordic Track at a local store called iSOLDIt that sells things on eBay for anyone who drops them off and doesn't mind a commission being taken. A similar store plays an integral part in the plot of the movie "The 40 Year Old Virgin", as in-store displays at iSOLDIt now remind you. They had a simple Nordic Track with none of the optional electronics, so I went over to check it out. It was in pretty good shape, so I bid on it, won it, and picked it up a few days later.

Next, I created a saved search email alert for acoustic guitars that show up at that particular iSOLDIt store. (These emails don't go to my inbox, but to a script that converts them to an Atom feed, which I described in the article Hacking eBay: Turning Email Alerts into Atom.) One of the tuning pegs on my existing acoustic is shot, and it's not a nice enough guitar to justify the cost of a new set of decent pegs. A musical instrument, even more than a Nordic Track, is something that you want to hold in your hands and look over before offering money for it, so when a simple black acoustic showed up at the local iSOLDIt, I went over to take a look at it. I decided that it was worth about $100 and that I would bid up to $50 or so for it. I ended up winning it for $26, and I don't have to pay shipping!

So remember: these stores aren't just a convenience for eBay sellers; they're great for buyers as well. If there's one near you, set up a saved search or two to let you know when they have something you'd like, especially if it's something large enough to make the shipping costs discouraging to more distant buyers.