EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2108 - August 31, 2009     4 of 5

California Governor's Garage Sale Called a Success

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California announced that its "Great California Garage Sale" was an economic success, with over seven thousand people visiting its warehouse in Sacramento over the course of two days. "With 6,000 items for sale, including more than 600 cars in total, Californians took advantage of state surplus property that was priced to sell quickly. The sale made more than $1.6 million for the state's General Fund." However, the online component of the sale was not without its critics, including some eBay sellers who raised eyebrows at the state's refusal to accept PayPal for purchases.

The Los Angeles Times newspaper interviewed Auction Cause President Eric Gazin, quoting him as saying the state was "leaving a lot of money on the table" due to poor eBay ads. Gazin also pointed to the state policy violation in referring customers off of eBay, prompting an eBay spokersperson, who acknowledged the violations, to tell the Times, "we're sensitive to the position the state finds itself in, and we're happy to be helping them to raise the profiles of some items that they have for sale."

The state said it sold 15 cars signed by the Governor on eBay, along with several Garage Sale items on Craigslist, and during Governor Schwarzenegger's visit to the warehouse on Friday, he signed a personalized leather jacket that was listed on eBay (link).

Over 470 vehicles were sold at a live auction onsite, at an average price of $2519, producing a total of $1.202 million for the state (link). In the warehouse, thousands of surplus and unneeded items, as well as some fixed-price vehicles, were sold for more than $398,000.

When announcing the sale, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said the idea was sparked by a Twitter conversation in which he asked the public for new ideas on the state budget.

Information about upcoming sales and auctions will be posted to the state's DGS auction site (link).

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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