When Jamie and Jordan Cone of Freehold, N.J., were in the market for a new camera after the holidays, they went to Secondipity.com, a likely destination for mountains of unwrapped and then unwanted electronics presents.
They’d spent all of their money on their children — Madeline, Jack, Caleb and Hattie — but still hoped to score just one present for themselves.
Before the parents headed to Secondipidity.com, though, Joanna Stern, ABC News’ technology editor, came to their home for the “Real Money” series to show them how to turn presents from holidays past into fast cash and gifts.
Below are Stern’s tips:
1. Cash in Old Clothes
ThredUP.com in San Francisco pays for gently used clothes and also sends you a bag to fill. A Kenneth Cole size 4 jacket could get as much as $8.50 and a Ralph Lauren hoodie size 5, as much as $5.
“That’s great,” Jordan Cone said. “We’ll take it.”
With two bags full — and at the door awaiting UPS pickup – the Cones scored nearly $80, about half of what they need for the new camera.
2. Go Drawer Digging for Hidden Treasure
Stern said the family’s old Nintendo DS and BlackBerry could be traded on Amazon and Boston’sNextworth.com for $30 each.
“Sixty dollars just laying in a drawer,” Jaime Cone said.
They also got $37 they got for a smartphone with a cracked screen and roughly $40 for an old Playstation 2.
With two rooms down — and $218 already tallied — the Cones and Stern kept digging.
3. Christmas Gift Cards
At GiftCardGranny.com, the Cones were offered $46 for a $50 Amazon gift card they’d received during the holidays.
Baltimore’s GiftCardRescue.com also offered $46 for $60 worth of Barnes and Nobles gift cards.
4. Skip the Shipping and Get Money While You Shop
The Cones and Stern traded in the family’s used video games and electronics at Target.
5. Shop Wholesalers for Big-Ticket Items at Steep Discounts
Secondipidity’s warehouse in Cranbury, N.J., is home to scooters, slides, ceiling fans, games, even vacuum cleaners, because when an electronic item has been opened, retailers can’t put it back on the shelf.
Instead, they send the products to Secondipidity.com, which works with seven of the nation’s biggest retailers. The clearinghouse then sells the items at discounts up to 80 percent.
According to Consumer Reports Survey, one in five Americans will return a holiday gift — $59 billion in unwanted gifts.
“For the people who didn’t like what was under the tree this year, a lot of those gifts do come back here,” said Rob Caskey, the company’s vice president. “We inspect it. We test it. We grade it.”
In the end, the Cones scored $373 and found their camera on Secondipidity.com for 25 percent off.
Click here to share your “Real Money” ideas.
No matter how lovely most of your coworkers are, there are always a few personality types that tend to bring down office morale. But you don’t have to let Mrs. Stress-y Pants or The “No” Man make your nine-to-five life miserable. Below, our experts’ tips on how to deal with the most annoying workplace dispositions in order to have a less stressful work day.
The Spotlight Stealer
You’re right in the middle of announcing to the team that you scored a new client when The Spotlight Stealer brings the attention of the group where she prefers it: back on her. When she interrupts your big news with her own, simply keep calm and continue with what you were saying after she runs out of steam, suggests Samantha DiGennaro, founder of DiGennaro Communications, a strategic public relations agency specializing in business communications. You can also lead by example by commending the entire team—“Client X signed on with our group”—instead of taking all the credit with a first-person statement, such as “I wrangled Client X into signing on.” Lastly, it can help to encourage the non-self-promoters to speak up, so The Spotlight Stealer doesn’t get to play “the hero” every time.
The Office Lingerer
As much as you appreciate your company’s open-door policy, when The Office Lingerer stops by to ask a question, then settles in and starts telling you all about his day, it’s so frustrating you wish you could put a lock on your door. New York City-based Executive Recruiter Patricia H. Lenkov asks what’s on all of our minds: “How is it that he has so much free time on his hands?!” Regardless of how he spends his time, make it clear that yours is precious. As soon as he swings by, announce a “hard stop”: “What’s up, Sam? I have a call in five minutes.” Before he gets too comfy, remind him, “That call is in two minutes, so we need to wrap this up.”
Mrs. Stress-y Pants
For Mrs. Stress-y Pants, everything is a major ordeal: filling out her timesheet, planning a meeting, deciding which restaurant to order lunch from—you name it. Though you can’t control her actions, you can control your reactions, says human resources expert Cy Wakeman, author of Reality-Based Leadership. Ask her calmly whether you can help. If she’s too flustered to accept your assistance, try to explain that she’s making the situation seem more stressful than it is. Wakeman recommends asking her questions, like "What are you believing in this moment?" and "What are the facts?” Hopefully she’ll start to see that the reality of what’s going on isn’t as bad as she’s making it out to be. But, if it seems like you can’t add immediate value to her problem-solving or that she might boil over any minute, simply walk away and move on with your day.
The “No” Man
Forget about adding your two-cents to the conversation, The “No” Man doesn't want to hear your strategy ideas or consider a more modern email platform; if you ask him to do anything outside of the status quo, you already know the answer. Don’t get caught up in his negativity, warns business expert Andrea Nierenberg, president of The Nierenberg Group, a business communications company that aims to improve employee and client relationships. Start conversations by letting him speak first and asking open-ended questions: “Andy, what do you like about our current email platform?” This should start a dialogue in which you can offer an alternative. When he (predictably) bristles at the idea of something new, ask him to come up with a solution, so the conversation becomes about what you can do instead of what you can’t.
Miss No Manners
Maybe you can hear her chewing (or chomping gum or playing music) through the cubicle wall, or perhaps she cooks smelly foods in the office microwave and leaves sloppy leftovers in the shared fridge—whatever workplace etiquette rules you swear by, Miss No Manners is likely to break them. If you’re comfortable speaking up, it’s completely appropriate to ask her to stop her annoying behavior, says Lenkov. However, if you’re not her superior, she may view your request as confrontational. Other options: Speak with the office manager or an office administrator, urges Lenkov, or suggest your superior send an office-wide email reminding everyone to observe and respect the company’s code of conduct.
Though you like to get to the office a little early so you can settle in before all the emails start flooding your inbox, The Slacker always rolls in late, leaves early and takes an extra-long lunch. Unfortunately, this means you get less done because you're constantly waiting for her to be available. Develop a rapport with her, suggests Susan Zeidman, a portfolio manager at American Management Association who is responsible for many of her company’s communications and management training programs. If she only makes herself available on a limited basis, you want to be someone she wants to see. If you’re collaborating on a project, try to come to some agreement about availability without criticizing her. Once you’ve worked out a plan together, share your plan via email with your boss or the rest of your team members so that she’ll be held accountable if deadlines are missed.
The Old Timer
Talk about a generation gap: At first, you found it endearing when The Old Timer called you “doll,” but when he started asking you to send a fax or set-up a meeting—even though you're not his subordinate—you grew tired of his Mad Men-esque ways. Determine why his behavior bothers you, says Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability. Is using nicknames (albeit borderline-insulting ones) part of the office culture? How would he react if you said, “Sure, sweet-cheeks. I’ll fax this if you grab my coffee”? Sometimes it’s easier to overlook ignorance when there’s no evil intent behind it. However, if he is trying to “put you in your place,” stand your ground. Instead of doing his grunt work, offer to show him how it’s done so he can do it himself next time.
The Finger Pointer
Whether a deadline’s been missed or a job’s been botched, The Finger Pointer is the first to announce exactly who’s to blame: anyone but her. For this personality type, communication is key, says Drew Stevens, who works with senior officers and managers to accelerate workplace productivity. Having a collaborative culture is good, but when you start a project, be very clear from the get-go about who’s responsible for what. Decide as a group who will tackle each task, then circulate an email that clearly outlines what’s expected of each group member, remembering to CC your boss. This way, should something go awry, everyone will know who is at fault.
Oprah Winfrey fans will be happy to know that, after a two-year hiatus, the popular Favorite Things list — which caused her audience members to scream, cry, and/or faint upon its reveal — is making a comeback. You can view the full rundown in the December issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, available on November 6. On November 18, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) will run a two-hour special devoted to the product roundup. But Winfrey's choices have already received some harsh criticism. Vanity Fair magazine has taken issue with some of the items on the list, like including a $450 bladeless fan Winfrey discovered while interviewing the Kardashians, calling it "obscure and realistically unnecessary." Also, as Gawker noted, many of the 48 items on the list contain are truffle-flavored foods. Where''s the variety? Commenter's' reactions were mixed, with one disappointed reader lamenting, "$88 for four bags of popcorn. Insane!" Another simply noted, "Oprah likes some expensive stuff." Can't argue with that.