buying on eBay: a case study in fundamentals vs marketing

Situation: I want to buy a sweater.

Like I have outlined before when purchasing something, what am I looking for? What function am I trying to fulfil?


  1. something i can wear at work
  2. something that is comfortable
  3. something that fits me well
  4. ideally something with the x-factor: makes me feel good...i will almost always attribute x-factor to the emotional

So I go and do some research on each of these and find a few options.

Options from Initial Research

The situation is that slacks, shirts, and longsleeve shirt are not comfortable, and I do not feel good wearing them (the x-factor)

  1. turns out you can wear sweaters as well
  2. t shirts are comfortable, but sweaters fit the criteria. material tends to make a difference here. wool can be supremely comfortable or can be itchy.
  3. cut is supremely important here. so i realized i could wear a size smaller than what i had been purchasing. small instead of large.
  4. the x-factor is that it fits my aesthetic. and i realize that is mostly attributable to the color and comfort. additionally, wool is more a luxury fabric and i like that.
  5. other notes - i also learned that cotton can be cheaper, but experience has shown that they do not hold their shape as well, require more frequent washing, therefore break down earlier, and are not always more comfortable.
  6. other other notes - cashmere is very comfortable, if less durable than wool
  7. other other other notes - there are certain brands that are standouts, but i didn't research into those too much

Purchasing based on technical information aka fundamentals

This information allows me to search not only for specific brands, but for 'unknown' things.
once you can do that, you are approaching new abilities.

If you can search for small mens wool sweater, and then() from photos, measurements, and questions) ascertain whether it fits your requirements, then you are a long way from just searching everything YSL has in stock because you know your size in that brand.

You become someone that can even find new brands. For example, who makes the best wool for sweaters? You can find niche brands that make absolutely fantastic products...and more than being just cheaper than well known brands...they are functionally superior.


I purchased what I expect to be a beautiful wool sweater for pennies from a no-name (previously big name) brand.


Selling on eBay is another art altogether. To be a great seller, you need to bring together something people want with something available. You bridge that gap through marketing, education, and the more efficiently you can do that, the better off you can make a sale.

That is to say, you might not buy the same stuff that you might want to keep. An easy example, based on function, if you have size 13 feet, you are probably buying size 13 shoes, but to sell, probably 9-11 sells easier (bigger market).

Unless you can somehow corner the attention of a nice segment of size 13 footwear buyers...I do know of a business that did this.

Other times, the difference comes with taste. If people want Supreme, then you sell them Supreme. Unless you do not want to sell is a dance of fitting product, market, and person fit.


Emotional experience of ownership
Emotional experience of use
Art as a Functional aspect
Technical information as a transferable langauge

This article is just a brief overview of what goes into when I buy things, so benefit from my weirdness.

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