You might think of eBay as the go-to place for picking up the knick knacks of yesteryear — and it is that — but it’s so much more. If you’re in the mood for something a little more shiny than a boxed up Speak & Spell from the ’80s, for instance, eBay has plenty of 21st century deals on electronics and technology right here.
I like shiny and new stuff, too, but I won’t deny that I get a little nostalgic for things I collected when I was a kid. I’m not really sure if I’m more of a child of the ’70s or a child of the ’80s. Maybe I occupy a space that astrologers would call “the cusp,” since I feel like I have a foot planted firmly in each decade, shoed in the trappings of both.
My love for Star Wars and general technology, for instance, originated in the ’70s, but it was shaped more definitively in the ’80s (and certainly didn’t end there — by this point, it’s safe to say it won’t end in my lifetime). If you follow anything I do, you probably know that I’m even more of a collector today than when I was as a kid; a nearly collapsing shelf of Darth Vader memorabilia bears witness to this fact. It makes sense, really: my mom had to enforce strict storage regulations in our full house growing up. As a result, a lot of my cherished keepsakes couldn’t make the passage from boyhood to… second boyhood (who wants to grow up? Not this kidult!).
I could scour the local thrift stores and flea markets to try and track replacements down, but I’m a bit of an indoorsman (it sounds cooler to me than homebody). So my first instinct is to go online to see what I can find. And what’s the first place I always look? eBay. Why? It’s the most likely place to find anything I’m looking for — from old trinkets to new novelties — and it’s been around since 1995. A convenient rating system lets me know, at a glance, if I’m buying from a seller who’s been deemed trustworthy by the community or has a few dings from deals gone bad that might deserve a second look before money changes hands.
Hey, for all I know, I’m rebuying stuff that my parents got rid of at a garage sale 30 years ago! But if it’s being sold on eBay at a reasonable price by someone who’s been positively endorsed by other eBayers, I’ll bid on it. We’ll call it a storage fee.
If you want to see some of the fun, geeky things from the ’80s that I’ve managed to track down, have a look at my Five Ways Geeks Remember the ’80s Guide at eBay.
You may be surprised to note the absence of Star Wars stuff — I could be avoiding the low-hanging fruit to give you something unexpected, but maybe I’m just saving it all for another list. Time will tell! Let me know what you’d like to see in future eBay guides!