Around half a trillion dollars worth of stuff is returned to places like Amazon and Walmart every year. Millions of pounds of it winds up in landfills, but you can make money from the rest.
Many shoppers buy the returned items at stores like Dirt Cheap. Resellers focus on the latest crazes, such as InstaPots, air fryers and massage guns. A couple of nursing school students profiled by NPR’s “Planet Money” say they earn about $800 a week at their local Treasure Hunt store. But they have to endure crazy Black-Friday-like stampedes to get what they want, using binoculars to peek into the store before it opens. Once inside, heading in the opposite direction of their competitors.
An alternative is the Amazon Return Pallet. These aren’t neat stacks of folded jeans. They’re filled with all kinds of stuff. One of the pallets I looked at online had dozens of wigs, vitamins, baby carriers, you name it.
If you look up “how to sell Amazon pallets” on YouTube, you’ll get useful tips. One guy says he finds the stuff at 888lots.com and resells them on eBay, Poshmark and Mercari, though you can also sell the stuff on Amazon. When I checked the site, I saw four boxes filled with home improvement items, valued at $2,824 but going for $348. I clicked “Truckloads,” and saw $18,000 worth of goods marked down by 80%. But you have to watch out. If you’re listing your items on a multitude of sites and don’t keep track of what you’ve already sold, you could find yourself committed to selling stuff you no longer have.
Watch out for fraud too. You may think you’re getting a pair of $100 headphones for $20, but sometimes they’re $20 headphones in a $100 box. People can be sneaky.
The return craze started with online shoe-seller Zappos. They encouraged people to buy multiple pairs and return them all if necessary. Other online retailers found they had to offer the same deal in order to compete. Sometimes Amazon doesn’t even want the stuff back. My niece says they have told her at least twice to keep the darn things.
TURN OFF THE MIRROR ON ZOOM
An acquaintance of mine, working from home, was expected to be on a Zoom video conference call for 10 hours a day before she found a new job. Her old employer had software to monitor her eye movements and called her on the carpet when she took a seven-minute shower.
Hopefully, she wasn’t dripping wet. Talk about “Zoom fatigue.”
A big part of Zoom fatigue is having to look at your own live image while you’re on a video call. Here’s how to turn that off. On your computer, after you join a Zoom …….