I’m cringing a little bit as I write this post because there are many of you NKY/Cincinnati folks that would rather leave this crazy-good deal source a secret! Well, I’m kind of a brat like that. The people need to know! It’s my duty!
If you’re into the thrill of hunting for deals, but would rather not leave the comfy confines of your couch, then this site is for you. Welcome to the world of Fast Track It Online Auctions—think of it as the Amazon of garage sales (you’ll notice the sellers love calling themselves “Fasttrackazon” for that reason). This auction site operates like eBay, meaning you bid against others on items, but the item is located at a warehouse near you. You’ve won something? Great, now you just have to go pick it up.
CINCINNATI-AREA PICK-UP LOCATIONS:
- Batavia – 518 W. Main St.
- Eastgate – 8485 Broadwell Rd.
- North Bend – 333 W. Seymour Ave.
- Blue Ash – 7660 School Rd.
- Amelia – 4000B McMann Rd.
- Newport, KY – 54 E. 11th St.
Note: You don’t have your choice of pick-up location. There are separate auctions located at each of these locations. If you’d rather only pick-up from the Blue Ash location, for example, then you would need to only shop the auctions listed at that address.
Technically, Fast Track Auctions also exists in the following cities but I have less experience with the type of inventory typically found there: Dayton (OH), Waco (TX), Elizabethtown (KY), Indianapolis (IN), Las Vegas (NV), Mentor (OH), Rogers (AR), Smyrna (TN), Spartanburg (SC) and Springdale (AR). For example, the Indianapolis auctions tend to be mostly merchandising equipment, like display cases and clothing racks, from moving or defunct big box stores.
WHAT YOU’LL FIND:
Anything and everything—truly. I’m browsing now and I’ve found everything from a box of spoons, doggy stairs, an UppaBaby Vista stroller system and a gas-powered generator. Our new record player (above) was listed among patio umbrellas and baby gates. It is truly the randomness you’d expect from a garage sale and in various state of conditions (more on that in a minute). As you get accustomed to the site, you’ll recognize that certain sellers tend to gravitate towards certain types of items. Some seem more apt to be in the business of tools and garage gear, while others prefer to deal solely in household appliances, decor and furniture. Obviously I’m pre-dispositioned to the latter.
WHAT YOU’LL PAY:
You can expect to pay about 60-80% off of retail. For example, I was able to grab this $160 Bjorn bouncer for $45 which is almost 75% off. More popular items, like luxury strollers and tools, are likely to be more near the 60% mark. It all depends on the market and the need. I saw several gas-powered generators go for a little higher than normal last week due to all the storms and outage issues we had around town. The site is also getting more popular overall, so expect to do a little bit of fighting for the stuff you love. Get your bidding fingers ready. 🙂
WHERE DOES THIS STUFF COME FROM?
These sellers are in the business of buying “lots” from big box retailers. These lots include all types of items—some returned, some discontinued, some damaged—it really all depends. You’ll also see a ton of Amazon boxes in the mix. My guess is that as online shopping becomes more and more proliferous, the churn of constant returning has solidified this type of industry. In many cases, the act of returning, reviewing, restocking and relisting the item is often more expensive than selling it to one of these auction places. And for the damaged stuff, it’s a way for the retailer to still make a profit. All of this benefits us auction-goers. 🙂
WHAT’S THE CONDITION OF THE ITEMS?
The one thing in particular I love about this auction site is that it clearly states the condition of the item and if it’s broke, where and how. Each item is classified as one of the following:
- APPEARS NEW – Nothing should be wrong with the item unless noted otherwise. Item is sometimes returnable if found otherwise
- OPEN BOX – Final sale. Could be a return, a damaged or dirty item. This classification requires the most poking around. Often the box and packaging itself is also in poor condition
- DAMAGED – Final sale. Something is wrong with the item. Baskets are bent, wood tables are busted, parts and pieces are missing, etc.
Now, I would say that sophistication isn’t this place’s strong suit, so sometimes an “Open Box” item will state pieces are parts are removed, or damaged. My counsel here is to read closely and examine the pictures even closer to make sure there aren’t any surprises.
WHAT’S THE PROCESS?
The process is quite simple, especially if you’re used to an online auction-style environment.
- Sign up for your unique bidder number
- Place a credit card on file—it will automatically be charged if you’ve won (the charge will also include a ~17% auction fee plus sales tax)
- It’s time to shop! Select your preferred pick-up location using the “Filter Auctions” yellow bar and browse the auction lots available at that location (there are typically 6-9 separate lots on a given day)
- Browse for items—put the ones you really love on your watchlist
- Bid on items (make sure you’ve signed in with your bidder number first)
- You’ve won? Awesome. Your card will be charged and a receipt will be sent to your registered email address
- Print the receipt and take it with you for pick-up, along with your driver’s license
The receipt will look something like this (this is the example they provide on their website):
TIPS AND TRICKS:
- The search function on their site, including trying to browse by category, is total garbage. Don’t even try—it doesn’t work. This is rough, but you’re going to have to go through each “lot” listing item by item to find the good stuff
- Take careful note of the three times/dates associated with each “lot”—there will be a preview time (where you can go see any item you want in person), a bidding end time and a pick-up time. Make sure you’re available and your schedule is clear for at least the second and third (it’s completely up to you if you want to see it in person before bidding)
- Really want an item but don’t have time to watch the auction all night? Set a max bid, which is the maximum amount you’re comfortable spending. The site will bid automatically for you while you’re away, but will not exceed that amount.
- Take note of who else is bidding. The site allows you to see the other list of bidders. It’s easy to see who is gung-ho and who is not, which helps you gauge how easy/not easy it might be to win.
- Visit the site often. Just like with any good deal hunting, grabbing the good stuff takes persistence and frequency. Visit the site a couple of times of week if you can.
- At pick-up, try to avoid popular hours like lunch. Pick-up times are usually from 9 to 4 and at noon, the pick-up line (meaning, the line of people waiting to check out with their stuff) is looooong. It goes quick and the employees are efficient, but something to be aware of.
- At pick-up, dress appropriately. Many of these warehouses lack heat or air-conditioning. It is not fancy by any means. Also, wear comfy shoes and someone to help you if the item is heavy.
- At pick-up, you’ll need to bring two things: your printed invoice that is marked “Paid in Full” (see example above) and your driver’s license. They will not let you leave with your items without it. Ask me how I know ha!
I know so many of you are already big-time Fast Track Auction lovers. I’d love to hear more tips from you too! And if you’re just hearing of this whole phenomenon—congratulations. I hope you find the deal of a lifetime. And if you’re not a big fan of the whole auction thing—that’s OK too—here’s a post on how to find great online deals other ways.
Fun fact: About a week after I paid $400 on Amazon for our new nursery rocker, I spotted a brand new identical one on this site. It sold for $89. *bangs head against wall*