The Lazy Neopian's Guide to Restocking
Restocking. Sitting for hours in front of a computer, refreshing at mind-numbingly monotonous intervals, waiting for that special something to come along, that r98 that will make you a millionaire overnight. Or even cheerfully letting that pile of pixels representing a gigantic profit margin pass you by in favour of many, many other cheaper items you will then price up and add to your shop.
When you put it like that, it doesn't sound much like fun, does it?
But consider this.
Restocking seems a bit painful for the lazy Neopian. All that time and effort spent buying, and then selling. However, if you buy, for example, a 1200 NP slushie that usually sells for 1500 NP, that is a 300 NP profit for about a minute's work (if you follow the lazy restocker's pricing guidelines below). You could play a game for two or even three whole minutes for less than that! Imagine the time you are really saving yourself if you make 1000 NP profit for that small amount of work.
The problem with restocking is time. Buying time, pricing time, listing time, time taken posting on the Neoboards and haggling with the pricier items from your haul. And then you sell it all and start again. But as much I'm far too lazy to restock with any regularity, I do love having shiny new Neopoints to spend on pretty things. So here is a quick guide to restocking for lazy Neopians.
That elusive r98
Forget it. Pretend it doesn't exist. Sure, you may stumble on a Candychan at Wintery Petpets, but the reality is that for the most part you'll be staring at an empty shop or worse, a shop stocked full of items you don't know the price of. And then you'll be tempted to buy something expensive because, 'surely it must be really valuable if it's that price, and I'd better grab it before someone else does'. So you buy it, and spend the next month sobbing bitterly every time you see your 50,000 NP Wet Snowball Wand sitting in your shop, unsold at 300 NP. Yes, there are quick profits to be had, but not if you want to enjoy your Neo time the lazy way. There is also the danger of having an adrenalin rush from snagging such an item, which will then render you full of energy and feeling like you could possibly stand up and go finish your homework, or fold the laundry. Too risky.
Auctions and Trading Post
It is possible to snipe a fantastic bargain at an auction, and the vague finishing times can work for you. Instead of sitting perched on the edge of your seat, with ten auction pages open waiting for those last few seconds to whack your bid in, you can just check the list for anything finishing in less than half an hour, enter the price you feel like paying and have a cup of tea. You either get it, or you don't. If you don't, someone else has just paid more than you think the item's worth, so chuckle a little to yourself and move on. On the Trading Post, stick to items you know the general price of, and that you know you can sell without too much hassle, and enter a bid. Remember, though, if you win an unbuyable, you might lose some valuable time (that otherwise could have been productively spent staring at the wall) having to trade the item back to someone. So if you venture to these areas, think carefully before you buy.
Half Price Day
Some time ago I wrote an article for the Times about HPD shopping, full of useful tips about getting prepared and spending your hard-earned NP on cheap items to resell. I still enjoy HPD when I can participate, and admit to a little thrill of the chase when I'm frantically clicking on a super cheap rare item, but that involves time, effort and, well, sitting up. I say that for the lazy Neopian, the best bet is committing a lazy hour or two in a slow moving shop like the Slushie Shop or similar. Not a lot of profit per item, but they sell slowly so you can buy a lot of them.
Boxing Day Sales
This is truly where the lazy Neopian can score a bargain and make a tidy profit. See, the thing about HPD is that everyone has to sell what they bought. And just some of those people will need to sell right away, in order to buy even more. So a few hours into HPD you'll start to notice items appearing on the shop wiz, priced quite a bit cheaper than the next one down. These are from people who have bought the items half price, and are selling for a small profit in order to buy more. I refer to the day of, and day after HPD as the 'Boxing Day Sales' because of this phenomenon. Make a list of a few common items (slushies, hotdogs, chocolate) and buy the cheap ones. Wait a week, and sell them at their regular price. You'll make a tidy profit and feel all warm inside about giving another Neopian a chance to continue their caffeine-fuelled click fest throughout Neopia.
Stocking your shop and pricing
This can take hours if you have a few hundred items to list. Here are a few tips to make the process less painful:
1. If you have more than one of any item, stock them in groups so you only have to price it once, and not ten times if you stock them separately.
2. Check the wiz for prices only once. Price your item slightly more expensive than the cheapest item there. Then, if it hasn't sold in a few days, lower the price slightly. It's much quicker to do this than to repeatedly refresh the wiz for each item in a bid to find the absolute lowest price.
3. Actually, that's it. I don't have the time or inclination to make a long list.
So there it is! It really is possible to make a profit through restocking while still being incredibly lazy. Wow, that took time. I need a nap.