Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dialing For Dollars (Diving For Pearls):

Getting Up A Leg Up In This Wobbly EconomyAnyone out there remember classic old game shows like "Dialing For Dollars," which Janis Joplin referenced so vividly in "Mercedes Benz" ("Oh, Lord, won't you buy me a color TV?  'Dialing For Dollars' is trying to find me/I wait for delivery each day until three/So, oh Lord, won't you buy me a color TV")?  The Reckoner has long believed that you can learn volumes about a nation's attitude toward its money, through its game shows and alternate money-making schemes...some classier than others, some shadier than others.  Like the saying says, "You pays your money, and takes your choice."

Watching his freelance income
getting cut (for further reference, see "The People's Haikus #2," below) has forced the Reckoner and the Squawker to flex their creative noggins in making up the gap. So far, one of the better outlets in our household has been...eBay.  The Reckoner and the Squawker have been dutifully combing their archives, mostly looking for books, CDs, comics and magazines to ship.

One zombified specimen (Repulsion's Horrified CD) exemplifies what we've been doing well -- in this case, a mint condition copy fetched $18.  Most of our items average from $7-20, with the vast majority going for $9-13. From our perspective, it's interesting to see what kind of quirkiness grabs the bucks...such as #1,544 of a 3,000-pressing St. Etienne Christmas CD, which had sat on the Reckoner's shelf for eons, until he grabbed it, checked its value online, and -- lo 'n' behold -- saw it go for $38!  Not bad for a sealed product that never got a listen!

Evidently, the government seems
to think that there's something to this little underground commerce thing-y...because, as of this year, the IRS began requiring PayPal (which eBay bought, remember?) to send out 1099 reporting forms for sellers who cross the "IOU, Uncle Sam" line ($600 and up). Given the stereotype of Republicans -- y'know, they'd crack kiddies' piggy banks with hammers, force-feed candy canes to diabetics, kick crutches from under cripples, yada-yada-yada -- need we point out the irony of this requirement passing muster under a Democratic administration?

That's how bipartisanship works: when they really, really, really want your money, both parties forget their differences pretty quickly. Still, if you can get past the BS quotient (eBay listing fees, for example), and have quirky things that seem in demand (black metal, anyone?), going down this road can help you squeeze out some side income to help with those never-ending bills.--The Reckoner

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