State's 'Garage Sale' Called a Success

California nets $1.5 million in auctions, both online and off.

by staff writer
- Aug 31, 2009

The state of California tapped into the eBay audience to generate some much-needed cash during the Great California Garage Sale.

Officials called the sale, which ended Saturday at noon, a "success," bringing in more than $1.5 million—including $58,000 from eBay sales alone. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to have the sale as a way to generate revenue for California and eliminate waste. Items were sold on eBay and Craigslist, as well as at a physical location in Sacramento.

Organizers had little experience selling on eBay and were "very pleased with the tremendous positive response… received on each and every item," notes Erin Shaw, a spokeswoman for the State and Consumer Services Agency.

However, some criticized the selling policies in the Great California Garage Sale. For instance, several critics said the state should have offered PayPal as a payment option and taken better photos of inventory, news reports say. Officials also referred buyers to the state's physical sale off eBay, which is a policy violation, reports eBay spokesman Usher Lieberman. However the auction site was "sensitive to the position the state finds itself in, and [was] happy to be helping them to raise the profiles of some items that they have for sale," Lieberman adds.

About 6,000 items, including cars, laptops, clothing worn by inmates and jewelry, were up for grabs during the sale. Items came from confiscated goods the California Highway Patrol had collected and surplus items from state departments and agencies.

The state had a similar sale in 2004 that generated $35,000. This year's total was a huge improvement, though officials had hoped to put a bigger dent in the state's $23 billion deficit.

"But at the end of the day we wanted people to leave happy," notes Eric Lamourex, a spokesman for the Department of General Services.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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