Surprise gifts on Christmas often means one of two things: joy or disappointment. For all those disappointed gift getters, the day after Christmas can often mean a trip to the store to take something back in exchange for cash. Unfortunately, this can be quite a hassle without a receipt as retailers are not required to give anything in return for an unwanted gift. However, in the hope of securing future business, stores will often give exchanges or store credits in such circumstances. Unfortunately, there is always a major exception.
As any good shopper knows, stores are really stingy when it comes to returning electronics. Short return windows and restocking fees (if the item is open and in perfect working order) are the rule. So if you find yourself with an unwanted digital camera (or any other high tech toy), getting rid of it at a store is not the best option. Now what?
Naturally, the gift giver will be insulted if he/she finds out that you’ve unloaded such an expensive present. So forget the newspaper, phone numbers will give away identities. Ebay and similar auction sites aren’t a good idea either (unless you have a non-mutual friend do the selling) as, chances are someone knows your user I.D. and could pass this along. So what to do?
Enter Craigslist. It’s free (most of the time) and it can be anonymous. You are not required to have a screen name that everyone can see, which is great for keeping your identity a secret. All that needs to be done is to have your account tied to an email address. Once set up, you can post your for sale ad to your local area and not have to worry about the gift giver finding out. Should anyone you know email you inquiring about the product, just don’t reply! It’s free, easy, and can be anonymous to a point. You hopefully unload the gift you don’t want, get gravy money, and no one’s feelings get hurt. A win-win situation!
Just a last disclaimer: you are dealing with strangers, so use your common sense when negotiating a sale. Scammers are out there, so beware just in case
As a last thought for anyone uncomfortable with Craigslist, local camera specialty stores like Cleveland-based Dodd Camera (with its many Cleveland metro area chain stores) as well as West of Cleveland, Elyria-based Loomis Camera do trade-ins for gear, paying a percentage of the equipment’s retail price. So, if you don’t like the idea of Craigslist, take your unwanted gift to one of these places as, after all, whatever you’re offered is gravy money that could be better used for someone else.
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Why not check out my other columns?
National Space News Examiner
National Photography Examiner
Cleveland Astronomy Examiner
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Skip the extended warranties
The salesman’s 7 costly lies
Don’t shop this Black Friday
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Bodzash Photography and Astronomy