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How To Profit From Holiday Gifts You Do Not Like and Cannot Return

Yea, it happens to us all sooner or later. We get those annoying and always thoughtless holiday gifts like a yearís subscription to the Meat Of The Month Club or the $1 Wine Sampler Society. I probably canít help you out with those, but if you got stuck with a seemingly outdated laptop instead of that tablet you wanted or a box of perfume imported from Lapland and made from reindeer sweat instead of a bottle of the much desired No. 5 and have no way of returning these treasures, I have a suggestion or two.

First and foremost, do not open up sealed boxes containing things you have no plans on keeping unless you absolutely must because the giver is standing over you. Second, think online auction (you know which popular one I mean so I will not add to their fame by mentioning their name). Like most people I made use of that popular auction from time to time. I even managed to sell my motherís old mini-van for a nice wad of cash. It ran great, but had little to offer in the way of looks. Still, someone needed exactly what I was selling for local store trips and such.

Despite some successes at selling or buying using an online auction, I had no idea how much that service could help me rid myself of what I considered to be old junk or things I received from other people and did not want to keep until I cleaned out my adult daughterís room. After she moved out I was left with the job of turning her bedroom into an all purpose room for my wife and I. Everything she left behind were things she did not want. It took me a day just to go through her closet. As I did I began to notice that she had a lot of stuff that was not in bad condition.

After several days I had three piles of our daughterís old stuff. One was for charity, one was for the dumpster and the third were things that could be sold. We planned to give the money from the sale to our daughter to help her get started in her new place. While a lot of the stuff was like new and mostly gadgets, old computer stuff and DVDs, it all looked outdated and did not have any sales appeal as far as I was concerned. Despite my pessimism I took the plunge and individually listed everything for sale on the online auction. Within two days it was all sold. I could not believe it! People even bought outdated workout DVD titles.

That was a lesson learned for me. Because I work as an independent contractor for various companies and have a lot of cheap relatives I always end up with a pile of bad holiday gifts. After the success of selling off my daughterís junk I decided to list all the gifts I did not want in the online auction. Everything sold and pretty quickly. The key to success at getting rid of things you got for free is not to expect to get very much for them. By using an online auction you get whatever people are willing to pay and the results might surprise you. I did not make a fortune, but I filled up my gas tank a few times with money that was more than I expected to get and very much appreciated.

Another option is bartering. You can place an ad online (you know where...itís a LIST) and offer something you have and do not want for something you might want or need. This route is harder, tends to take longer and sometimes requires the dreaded in-person meeting, but it can pay off in the end. If a meeting is necessary make sure you meet in a very public place during the day and that the person willing to swap with you bring what they have to barter with them. Never go to one of these meetings by yourself, accept an invitation to someoneís home or allow it turn it into a social occasion. If you have children leave them at home.

When it comes to bartering make sure you look up the value of what you and what you want. Never allow cash to enter into the picture; always keep these transactions as straight barters. If the deal does not feel right, walk away from it. Always try to trade up. People sometimes have a need for a particular item despite the fact that they might take a loss swapping something they have for it. That is when you can make a killing and still walk away feeling the deal was fair to all. Bartering is all about getting what you want. It that happens to both participants, everyone ends up happy even if the deal appears to benefit one party more than the other.

I know it can be tempting to try and return items to stores even if you do not have a receipt or are not even sure where the item was purchased, but be careful. If you try and return an item to a store where it was not purchased you will probably fail and might find yourself in legal trouble. Most bar codes tell the tale these days for better or worse. If you are not sure where the item was purchased and choose not to ask the giver, forget trying to return it. If you do know where it was purchased you may be able to receive a store credit without a receipt. Thatís fine if the store has something else you want. If your unwanted gift came from an online retailer or auction the returns process can be a lot more complicated without paperwork. Good luck and Happy Holidays.


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