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eBay--The End of Rarity?

Many bricks and mortar antique dealers have claimed that eBay has killed the quaint little antique store.
    "Nothing's rare anymore," one laments. "People just type in what they want, they find it, they buy it."    
     Isn't that a good thing?
     I mean, the thrill of the hunt, aside, wouldn't it be a good thing to have a choice about having to lurk around in your leaky building in a blighted neighborhood waiting for that one twisted soul who collects Precious Moments Santa Claus/John Deere figurines to stagger in and find yours that you squirreled away between the Holly Hobbie 1978 Christmas ornaments and the Playmobil nativity set? Oh, certainly, you can stay in your cluttered curiosity shop, if you wish--re-stacking your vintage Playboy magazines and dusting your lead-based glazed Fiesta Ware, if you must, but wouldn't it be better to make a sale? After all, with the knowledge that the unopened six pack of Billy Beer might go to an avid can collector in Plano, IL, a dithering customer might think twice about leaving your store without buying.
     Admittedly, I'm not a collector, per se. I don't quite understand the drive to collect all the Madame Alexander Happy Meal dolls or get the complete, limited edition Star Wars figurines. I'm quite happy to see what I can do with stuff that just happens to cross my path (love trash pickup Mondays!). Though I've been able to find a replacement bean pot for my old Chambers Stove on eBay and Merimekko fabric at cut rates.  So, maybe I'm not eligible to argue. But I'll do it anyway. It's what I'm known for.
     Take yesterday's top Goodwill find:
 Classic vintage all-wool pleated Burberrys skirt. Made in England. I can't resist a beautifully made, plaid skirt and the label was an added bonus.
     Someone bought this skirt on their fall break during their junior year study abroad program in England in 1984. With a red Benetton sweater and a pair of slouchy boots--she probably felt she rocked the Sloane Ranger look. (Though there was no 1980's slang equivalent for the verb "rocked;" maybe she thought she looked "totally killer," or "awesome," or "totally excellent.")
     But then, after a disappointing, whirlwind hook-up with a British public school bad boy, she just let it hang in her closet her entire senior year. The skirt; not the memories (his name was Rupert and he was a poet!). It came with her when she got married and moved to Florida. She thought she might wear it when she went back north for the holidays. It's just that when you actually do go back north for the holidays, it's usually so freakin' cold, you end up wearing the same pair of borrowed thermal underwear, corduroys, three sweaters and your brother's parka from December 23rd to January 4th.
     Anyway, now she's got three kids and whatever nesting frenzy she went through for the last time, netted the skirt in the Giveaway Box dropped off at the rear door of the Goodwill.
     And that's where I scooped it up.
    I love me a good plaid skirt. Maybe it's the frustrated Catholic school girl in me--the one who attended the only Catholic school in the universe that didn't have uniforms and the only Catholic schoolgirl that prayed fervently each summer that they would. But God helps those who help themselves, right?
     So, I yanked it out from between the ATL windowpane plaid wrap and the pilled St. John's Bay glenn plaid fright like a thief in the night. It probably would still be there, of course. The mere thought of thick wool skirts in August in Naples is enough to give you heat stroke. I also scored at 50% off, a gorgeous cashmere pencil skirt and a BCBG MaxAzria cardigan that have been hanging there for weeks.
     And I can't wear it. Even when it does get cold in southwest Florida enough to tolerate it, I just can't pull off the plaid pleated, knee-length skirt anymore.
     Now, I can see this is a gorgeous skirt: the quality of the fabric and the colors; the details in the finishes. If I had a thrift boutique, I could hang it and hope that some tourist from Boston or Paris or some such cool-ish place wandered in, not too badly sunburned and thought of her cold rainy homeland and how very chic she would look in this after her sunburn peeled.
   Or, I could hang it in my storage closet until fall and do an auction style listing on my eBay store for twice what I paid for it--$9.99 and let the Burberry fans and collectors and plaid pleated skirt aficianadoes duke it out from there. I'm guessing it might go for around $78.00. I might ship it to Minneapolis, or Paris or Hong Kong or Christchurch or Chicago or London, where the balding, slightly paunchy former British public school bad boy will ask his wife to put it on with a pair of slouchy ankle boots and a red Benetton sweater.


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