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I got an interesting e-mail on Saturday evening.  Basically, the e-mail was from an American who had been living in Davao City for a couple of years or so, and he said that he was ready to return to the States.  I didn’t really know why he wanted to return, but he did mention that one of the reasons was because he felt that it was the best thing for his child’s education.

Anyway, the main point of this fellow’s e-mail was that he had some stuff that he needed to sell, because it was too big and too heavy to ship or take on the airplane when he goes home.  Basically, there were 4 items that he needed to get rid of:

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  1. A Whirlpool Washing Machine (US style washer)
  2. Three Air Conditioning Units

Well, I almost just deleted the e-mail, because I really don’t need any of the stuff, and I really don’t know anybody who does need such items.

As far as the washing machine goes, we normally have a laundry lady who takes care of hand washing all of our clothes.  Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, both our maid and our laundry lady quit, though, so we were shorthanded around the house.  While we were looking to replace them, our kids and nieces were taking care of washing the clothes.  I don’t mind the kids doing a few chores around the house, I did chores when I was a kid.  But, I would prefer having a laundry lady and letting the kids do other things than the laundry.  Also, I know that over the years, Feyma has been wanting a “real” washing machine.  We brought a washing machine with us when we moved to the Philippines, but that died many years ago, and we have gone with the laundry lady since then.  I remember that a few years back, a friend of Feyma’s moved back here from the States, and she bought a washing machine at SM, it was P38,000, and I could tell that Feyma wanted one.

Because of the fact that our labandera (laundry lady) had quit, and the fact that I knew that Feyma really wanted a washing machine, I figured that maybe we would buy this one, even if we didn’t really need one.  After further communication, the fellow told me that the washing machine had been used only 10 times, because his mother-in-law could not afford the electricity cost of using a washing machine.  The new cost of the washing machine was P38,000, but he said that his asking price was P15,000, with the machine being in “like new” condition.

Feyma and I talked about it, and we decided to go have a look at the washing machine, and also at the air conditioner units as well.  Like the washing machine, we did not need the aircon units, as we already had air conditioning in all of our bedrooms, and they worked pretty well.

On Sunday, Feyma and I took a drive out to Mandug, on the outskirts of Davao City to have a look at the items.  Indeed, the washing machine looked like brand new.  The aircon units did not look new, but appeared to be in great condition, and they blew quite cold as well.

So, although we didn’t need any of the stuff really, we decided to offer P20,000 for the entire lot.  That was quite a bit lower than the asking price for the lot, but like I said, we really did not need the stuff, and the guy really did need to get rid of it before leaving town.  At first, the fellow rejected my offer, but I told him that he could hold on to the stuff until he was ready to leave (next month) and that if he had not been able to sell it, he could contact me and I would take it at the price I had offered him.  I shook his hand, and turned around to leave, at which time, he changed his mind…

Hold on, hold on, OK, I’ll take your offer!

Like I say, I was not trying to give him a low ball deal, but it just came down that he badly needed to get rid of the stuff, and I really didn’t need it, but was willing to take it at the right price.  Our of the items we bought, the one that we wanted was the washing machine.  We will keep the washing machine (it works great, BTW), but we will likely sell the air conditioners.

About 5 or 6 years ago, I got a similar deal from an American who was leaving Davao.  I bought a ton of stuff from him, even including a pickup truck.  Got a great deal at that time too.

So, basically, the combination of this deal I got a few days ago, and the deal I got a few years back got me thinking.  If you live in the Philippines, and decide, for one reason or another, that it’s time to bug out and go home… what are you going to do with your stuff?  This fellow who sold me the washing machine told me that he had been trying for months to sell the stuff, but he could not find anybody with money to buy it.  It’s true that most expats really don’t have any money, and live hand to mouth in a lot of cases.  But, if you have big stuff like aircon units and a washing machine (not to mention a pickup truck!), what will you do with the stuff.

I have an idea in mind about a possible way to go on this kind of “need to sell.”  I’ll tell you my idea in a few days, but for now, I would like to hear your ideas on how you would handle it if you needed to get rid of your big stuff that you could not move back.

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Ron
Ron
8 years ago

I would give it away. I would find a school or an orphanage that could use those type of items. I would only require them to pick it up and move it. Ron

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Ron

Hi Ron – That’s a noble thing to do, no doubt. It might be hard to find a school or orphanage who would take such items, though. On the washing machine, people here just don’t use them – they have their laundry washed by hand. On the aircon units, most schools and such would not use them because of the electricity costs. If you had a vehicle, like a car or truck, that might be accepted, but would be a huge donation if you gave it away.

Brent Johnson
Brent Johnson
8 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Bob, most (all) schools won’t have aircon in the classrooms in the PHL because of the cost of electricity, but you can bet the principle’s office will have it blowing cold air. Saw this in the two schools that a couple of my in-laws teach at. Kind of disgusted me that the administrators worked in comfort and the kids/teachers sweated it out. A micro-level example of the tendency for government/administrative corruption in the country I guess.

Tom Ramberg
Tom Ramberg
8 years ago
Reply to  Brent Johnson

There are a few that have aircon. The wife of a friend is a elementary teacher. He sponsored and installed the aircon and his wife made a deal with the parents that they will share for the electricty. There are other classrooms with similar deals.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom Ramberg

A few – “few” being the key word.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Brent Johnson

Exactly, Brent. A few classrooms have aircon, but not many, and mostly in the exclusive schools. You are right about the Principal’s office!

Ricardo Sumilang
Ricardo Sumilang
8 years ago

I’d sell the washer back to the Whirlpool dealership where they can resell it at a discounted price, perhaps to a student boarding house. Students would probably much prefer to study on weekends than spend time doing their laundry by hand.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago

If you think the Whirlpool dealership is going to buy it, Ricardo, you are dreaming… or smoking something that you shouldn’t. 😉

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Bob;
Maybe if it was a Maytag, as that guy is very lonely.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

He’d probably travel all the way to the Philippines just for a little company, Paul! 😉

Ricardo Sumilang
Ricardo Sumilang
8 years ago

No, not dreaming, just responding in a polite manner to your call for comments about what to do in a situation like that, and I’ve given you my personal opinion. As for smoking, I never have smoked what shouldn’t be smoked in the past, not today, not ever. In fact. I don’t smoke at all.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago

Ha ha… calm down Ricardo, I was just teasing you. Perhaps you are not familiar with American slang or sayings, but “you’re smoking something” is a common thing to say, and really does not have anything to do with whether you smoke or not. Yes, you were polite, and I believe that I was too. I don’t see why you seem to be offended by what I said. I was just driving home the point that no Whirlpool dealer in the Philippines is going to buy back a used machine.

Ricardo Sumilang
Ricardo Sumilang
8 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Somehow it’s the person. If Paul Thompson said the same thing to me, I know its an idiomatic expression, and would think nothing of it. By the same token, if someone else said the same thing I said to you, like John Miele for instance, your response would be different. I guess we both are reacting to the messenger, not the message. We’re cool.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago

Hi Bob; I see this a few times a year; I’ve picked up some great tools and other Items. As for your question, I have no answer, as I subscribe to the Mindanao Bob school of thought; “I’m here for the duration!” I think I told you about the retired American who live up the road. He sold his house for one half of what it had cost him to build it. (3 years old and very nice) for P1, 000,000.00 and one airplane ticket to Las Vegas Nevada. Plus he left it fully furnished and it was all new… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Hi Paul – Wow, that house really was a good deal, no doubt on that!

My problem is that, while I love getting super deals, I also feel bad for the guy that he is losing out on a lot of money. I do feel, though, that I helped the guy get rid of some stuff that he was having a real hard time getting rid of too, though.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Bob;
I understand what you’re saying, But if the seller sets the price and you pay it. You’re really doing him a good turn.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Yeah, that’s really true, Paul. It takes a worry off his shoulders.

Tom N
8 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

You did help him out, Bob. The reality of it was that it was not worth – in that context – what he hoped to get for it.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom N

Thanks, Tom.

Neal in RI
Neal in RI
8 years ago

Bob
I have done before here in RI and I am sure it would work in the Phil.
You would be amazed at the kind of crap you can get rid of by putting it at the curb with a sign”Free”. I am thinking there in the Phil you would only have to turn your back on the stuff with no sign and it would disappear.
Nothing wrong with helping a Guy out and turning some of the stuff over and making a buck as well.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Neal in RI

Hi Neal – Not everybody can afford to give away a $1,000 dollar washing machine for free though, let along a truck worth $7 or $8k. Sure, giving stuff away for free is pretty simple.. but what if you need the money?

Neal in RI
Neal in RI
8 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Big $$ Items would be a problem.
Small stuff I guess it would depend on how desperate someone was to get rid of the stuff, I mean if you needed to leave the country fast you would have to get rid of it. Time for a new business adventure “Mindanao Bob’s PawnStar” don’t want to spell this one wrong.lol

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Neal in RI

Ha ha.. “Hardcore Pawn with MindanaoBob!”

Mars Z.
Mars Z.
8 years ago
Reply to  Neal in RI

Ha ha Neal, heard a story like that here in the US? Some guy wants to get rid of some big items like refrigerator so he put it in the curb with a “free” sign. A few days gone bye and no takers. He replace the sign with “Only $50.00 dollars”. The next day, somebody stole it!

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Mars Z.

Hi Mars, thats called perceived value, my friend! A free fridge is a piece of junk, but a fridge for just $50 is a steal!

Jim Hannah
Jim Hannah
8 years ago
Reply to  Mars Z.

Love it; I tried to get rid of an old but functional bicycle when clearing my shed last year, and put it out on the road expecting someone to “steal” it, but after three days the darned thing was still there. My daughter suggested putting a sign on it saying “free – please take”, but I thought better and stuck a sign on it saying $25, and sure enough, it was stolen the next night.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Hannah

Hi Jim – I wrote an article on this topic a couple of years back, maybe you and others would be interested: Perceived Value.

Mitch Madden
8 years ago

“Bob’s list”. Bob,you might be familiar with “Craigs List” Over the past few years & just recently I have purchased 2 large RV’s, 2 Trucks & 2 cars directly from sellers using Craigs list. In my opinion,it is a model that could work very well for foreigners moving into our out of the Philippines. Pinoys,could benefit as well. Shopping local, directly between buyer & seller via internet. For example “Bob’s list Davao” “Bob’s list Cebu” & so on. Buy,sell,trade,barter,wanted etc. Every possible category can be employed. IE: Autos,Appliances,Real Estate,Tools,building materials, etc.etc. I bought a truck one month ago using Craigs… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Mitch Madden

Hi Mitch, watch this space, you never know what might show up here!

Mitch Madden
8 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Will do Bob. hehe If I see something I am interested in physically near to you,It would be too costly to come have a look.And then there is shipping! Wow. Too expensive! That’s why I was suggesting Bob’s List. Bob’s List can be set up by region & category for foreigners who want to buy/sell when they arrive or leave the Philippines or just have a need. Of course Filipino’s could join in as well,but the basic premise is to help foreigners out. Bob’s List can make arrival & departure easier for many people. Heck,when foreigners begin communicating via Bob’s… Read more »

RandyL
RandyL
8 years ago
Reply to  Mitch Madden

Mitch…SUILT.com is pretty much the Philippine version of CraigsList.com or BackPage.com.

Mitch Madden
8 years ago
Reply to  RandyL

Randy,Thanks.

Leon Andrews
Leon Andrews
8 years ago

Hi Bob,
What size are the aircons, my bedrooom wall unit is starting to get weak & will need repplacing soon.

Cheers Leon…

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Leon Andrews

Morning, Leon. How goes it? These units are a bit small. I got one unit that is larger, but I am going to keep that one. Right now, I have only one for sale, but it won’t be available until around the beginning of August (I let him keep it until he leaves). I think it is 3/4 ton, but am not 100% positive.

Don
Don
8 years ago

At ADB, we have a lot of expats returning home who sell just about everything from cars to kids clothes at a bargain. We have an intranet and I forward the listings to my friends outside the bank.

I use Suilt to buy stuff (I got my pet there) from time to time and its pretty much like craigslist for the Philippines.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Don

Good ideas, Don. Thanks for sharing.

John Miele
John Miele
8 years ago

Bob:

I wanted to buy my mother in law a washing machine, but the electricity cost was mentioned. She hardly ever uses the aircon we bought up there for the same reason.

Your article makes a really good point… Many people move here without giving the slightest thought to “What do I do if I need to leave?”.

If your friend had bought or built a giant house, that would present an even bigger problem. With a rental, you don’t need to deal with that.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  John Miele

Very true about the renting, John. It works for me!

Tom Ramberg
Tom Ramberg
8 years ago
Reply to  John Miele

Something that I also noticed is that foriegners tend to pay too much and add too many extras to a house and so the result is a house that is unsellable. I have seen one house that is worth maybe 2.5 mil but the owner is proud for some reason to proclaim that he spent 6 mil constructing it. You can pay Kano price but you cannot sell at Kano price unless you find another victim.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom Ramberg

I couldn’t agree more! Spot on.

Axel
Axel
8 years ago

I am already working on a Blog for our subdivision and there will be space for buy and sell things. There’s many expats here. With a little time, the subdivison blog will surely reach out to a bigger area, even our sub is rather big.
As i will be the first to see those ads i can also buy the good things and sell with a little profit. Since i not intend to leave Philippines, i have the time to wait for the right buyer.

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Axel

Hi Axel, good luck with your new site! I hope it is very successful for you.

Dave
Dave
8 years ago

We had to return to the USA last year to get help for our autistic child, and also found it difficult to sell some of our more expensive belongings. I sold many expensive things and tools, at pennies on the dollar, to our church, and we had garage sale type afternoons for the church members after Sunday morning services. There were so many ladies wanting my wifes cookware that we had brought over from the US three years previously, that I conducted an auction one afternoon. I have never had so much fun in my life doing that auction! Didn’t… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Dave

That auction does sound like fun, Dave!

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