I recently told you about an ingenious teenager from Longueuil who’s had resounding success with his Amazon mystery package auctions.
Well, I also got into the game. And let's say that despite some decent finds, my harvest was more amusing and pathetic than practical and profitable.
How do these auctions work, you ask? Basically, Maxime Francoeur buys returned packages from the e-commerce giant through an intermediary for blind reselling in lots of 10 boxes for $120. It ends up being cheaper for Amazon to sell them off at a ridiculous price than to examine their contents and put them “back on the shelves.”
During his pop-up auctions, the 18-year-old entrepreneur makes his profit by acting as an intermediary between the general public and the big buyers of lots. By my estimate, it generated almost a $5000 gross margin in one day when I attended his flash sale. Needless to say, with my $120 budget I earned a little less “profit” than Maxime.
Here are the “treasures” I unearthed in my lot of 10 Amazon mystery packages for $120.
6 boxes of 12 shower curtain rings
While researching the value of my first package on Amazon, I learned that there is a 12 pack of shower curtain hooks that retails for $ 145.89! Reviews are overwhelmingly positive, but one Marie wrote a scathing review: “They just keep sliding on the rod. I hate them.” It must be so very tragic to hate luxury shower curtain rings.
But I digress. Ours are worth $3.53 a box, however, their colour is so dreadful that you couldn’t pay me to use them in my house.
Value: $21.18 $ (6 X $3.53)
A laptop battery
At least the cheap shower curtain rings gave us a bit of a laugh, but a computer battery is just boring and not worth very much. #disappointed
A surveillance camera
Now that fun is getting started!
This device is ideal for people who like to spy on their neighbourhood or who miss their dog when they’re out. This internet-connected surveillance camera normally retails at a price of $89.99.
However, it’s currently on sale, which unfortunately makes our loot less profitable.
4 plastic VW wheel centre caps
We wished the person who originally bought them hadn't uncontrollably scratched the only centre cap he unwrapped. That’s an odd hobby, my dear sir!
Value: $10…but let's say $5 because of their dismal condition
A toilet paper holder
Wow! I hit the jackpot!
Note that the roll is installed in the proper direction : )
An HDMI cable splitter
There are already far too many screens in my life, so the idea of adding more doesn't appeal to me. I put it in the junk drawer in my kitchen with the other useless odds and ends.
A gaming keyboard
I thought for a moment that maybe I got something good (expensive!) with this keyboard featuring illuminated keys, but it's only an entry-level model.
I have to admit that I like the feel of the keys on my fingertips. OK, I love it!
Another computer keyboard
We’re almost on the verge of starting up our own business reselling peripherals.
Red light therapy lamp
This type of treatment makes a lot of promises, but science has been reluctant to praise it. In fact, you can watch a ton of sponsored content on YouTube where influencers swear almost miraculous benefits from passing a red light over your body. For credibility’s sake, we’ll pass!
Considering that most competing models sell for over $150, I’m hesitant to give it a try and risk losing my skin (and especially my time) with this discount device.
A lowly device charger with nothing to charge
YAY! It’s a good thing that my box full of old cables and unnecessary chargers needed another gizmo to biodegrade in it quietly for millennia.
Value: I'm not even going to pretend to find value in it.
Total value of our loot: approximately $220…USD!!!
WHAT A GREAT SUCCESS, I MORE THAN DOUBLED MY INVESTMENT!
Yes, but not really! If I tried to resell it all, the time invested in doing so and the shipping costs would obviously eat up my slim profit. There’s no way I can sell this garbage and make my money back.
In the end, I have a cool new keyboard and a camera to spy on my dog when I'm in the office. Most of all, I had fun unwrapping my loot, much like scraping a lotto scratch ticket. A $120 scratch ticket!
So, please, if you decide to participate in the next auction organized by Maxime Francoeur, go into it with a playful spirit. It’s not a good way to make money and it’s not a good way to invest. It’s just for fun!
About The Author: Mickael Destrempes
Before making a living on the web with his writing, Mickaël worked in finance and real estate for a decade. Since his switch to media, he has produced thousands of articles, video content, and advertising campaigns. In 2017, Quebecor mandated him to lead its new Porte-Monnaie platform. Since March 2021, the business and thrill-seeking enthusiast is the Content Director at Hardbacon.
More posts by Mickael Destrempes