Before Ebay: What Was there Before?

  Chronos the 2nd 20 Mar 13

I am not talking about Ebay as an auction site as I believe it sees itself,these days, as more of a shopping website. I used to put everything I no longer wanted on Ebay but these days I very rarely sell on there what with the,in my opinion, greedy fees structure and when you add PayPal fees ,also owned by Ebay then it really has ceased to be a worthwhile effort.

But what Ebay is fantastic for is buying items in quantities not found elsewhere. I dabble a bit in computer case modding so quite often am looking for a small number of a particular size machine screws and 99 times out of a 100 I will find them on Ebay. I have a Screwfix very near me but only sell in quantities of a 100 or similar.

Another example the connection from toilet seat to pan got broken and I was all over Edinburgh trying to buy a replacement but I was told I would need to buy the seat as well which I was not prepared to do. Low and behold found what I needed on Ebay, contacted the sell and arranged to have it delivered a bit quicker than advertised. It arrived the next day total cost £3.50.

So where did we go before EBay? those of us in the building trade and the like obviously had access to bit and pieces which were needed at sometime or other but nowadays I would be lost without Ebay for the small quantities of various items.

A great plus is that I do not have to trawl around shops looking for stuff which I absolutely hate.

  bjh. 20 Mar 13

Market stalls, for a lot of bits & pieces... vacuum cleaner repairs, small quantities of bolts, screws, etc., cheap tools for an odd job, adhesives, wire, garden bric a brac .... you name it, there was a stall somewhere that sold it. Certainly, for computer and electrical components stalls existed in the 80's.

I've just ordered an in-line light switch, 99p delivered. I'm sure a DIY "shed" would sell me one for a fiver, or Toolstation for £2. Ebay; 99p all in. In the 1980's I'd have (did) pick these up from a market stall in a small rural town.

I suspect many stall-holders also run an Ebay outlet nowadays ... or maybe just run an Ebay outlet!

  john bunyan 20 Mar 13

Unfortunately the trend is away from shops that sell such things. Remember Tandy for electronics? Maplin is not so comprehensive. We had a local shop - Techno Trade - that stocked all kinds of electric stuff (I bought a male 50 amp wall socket with round pins for inbound generator supply there, not stocked elsewhere). We have a local ironmongers that will get hold of most items and sells individual bits for plumbing, and I pay a little premium there as places like B&Q only sell packs.Made my first eBay purchase this week for computer bits...

  bumpkin 20 Mar 13

There used to be local Hardware shops that kept an amazing range of items. Mostly gone now due to so called progress.

  Bing.alau 20 Mar 13

bumpkin. They used to be called "Chandlers".

  Brumas 20 Mar 13

Bing.alau old pal, We call them Ironmongers where I come from, the only chandler I knew of, apart from Raymond Chandler, was a Ship's chandler?

  bumpkin 20 Mar 13

They had different names in different parts of the country, I have even heard them called oil shops.

  wiz-king 20 Mar 13

Local shops and a shelf full of catalogues from the likes of Farnell/cpc Radiospares etc

  bumpkin 20 Mar 13

wiz-king, what, no ironmongery, chandlery or parrafin.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 21 Mar 13

Love those old shops that sell everything, root around a bit and you can find something you know will come in useful (after about 2)yrs store in the shed).

They are often named well like Bazaar or Emporium :0)

  Ex plorer 21 Mar 13

House sales were my haunt when most of the items were sold on the property, bargains to be had in all manner of objects and curious. Dosent happen now it all goes to the sale rooms.


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