Photo: BrandonKleinPhoto (Shutterstock)
Many people coped with quarantine with a little retail therapy. I recently asked Lifehacker readers to share the pandemic purchases that made sense at the time, but now fill them with buyer’s remorse. From roller skates, to biking equipment, to an above ground heated pool, these acquisitions felt right when we were trapped in the depths of 2020. But in the harsh light of a vaguely post-pandemic 2022, the sight of them—now unused, intentionally or not—haunts us.
Maybe you’ve accepted that one of your pandemic purchases is officially a waste of space. However, it doesn’t have to be a total loss. There are plenty of options to go about selling whatever objects fill you with buyer’s remorse. Here are some tips for selling off your worst pandemic buys in a post-quarantine market.
Be strategic and sell locally
We’ve previously covered the various pros and cons of using Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor. There’s also OfferUp, another solid online option for buying and selling locally.
All three of these platforms are popular, localized alternatives to marketplaces like Craigslist or eBay (which have a reputation for being sketchy). The biggest reason to skip the wide reach of eBay and instead opt for local marketplaces: avoiding the hassle of shipping and handling. If you can get a buyer to come pick up the item, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort.
There’s always someone out there willing to buy your stuff
While many of us are trying to sell smaller items like guitars or skateboards, let’s say the quiet part out loud: Tons of people are getting rid of Peloton stationary bikes too. It was a pandemic-craze-turned-meme, and if you’re angling to sell your s, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are still some loyal or aspirational bikers out there looking to buy.
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Leah Ingram, founder of the blog Real Sophisticated Consumer, sees bikes selling for an average of $1,000. I saw similar numbers after joining the Peloton Buy/Sell/Trade (BST) Facebook Group, which is technically “private,” but approved my joining within minutes and has nearly 210,000 members. Many of the allegedly “barely used” bikes available there were selling for several hundred dollars under $1,000, which is a significant deal considering the current price for a new bike straight from Peloton is around $1,500.
How to sell your pandemic purchases
Cast a wide net, but keep it local. Feel free to copy and paste the same listing across platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and OfferUp.
If your item is barely used, show proof. This might mean screenshots that show under 50 rides on your Peloton, or including plenty of photos of the object from different angles.
Set your location on Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and OfferUp in order to find buyers who are willing to pick up your items directly. Or, if you’re able to do so, offer to drop the items off to the buyer. You could consider tacking on a personal drop-off as an additional fee, or you could include it in a high price point for the item.
Find online groups specific to the item you’re selling. The general Facebook Marketplace is full of buyers who seem to think a Peloton should only cost $200. However, the Peloton-specific BST Facebook group is dominated by buyers and sellers who have done their research and know how much each item is reasonably worth.
Do a factory reset before you sell. Tech items like a Peloton store personal data that you’ll want to remove before sending them off to new homes. Check with the manufacturer to figure out how to do this (you can find information on wiping a Peloton on the official site).
Pets are not Pelotons
This shouldn’t need to be said, but here we are: Many people adopted pets during the pandemic that they now regret. Lifehacker reader Eriq Jaffe commented that they “volunteer at an animal shelter, and can confirm that a lot of people that adopted dogs should never have done so.” They go on to say that “anybody who considers an animal a ‘purchase’ probably isn’t the right person to be bringing an animal into their home in the first place.”
Again and again, we see stories about people returning their pandemic pets. Unfortunately, this is one form of buyer’s remorse that you can’t undo on Facebook Marketplace. You made a huge investment when you adopted a living animal. Try to rise to the occasion, even if that means finding your pet a new home via friend or family member.
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