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It’s a familiar first-world problem: we see an item online and it’s love at first sight. I need that! Forgoing our fiscal responsibility we click onto the store page, fully prepared to shrink our bank accounts just a little more in order to score an amazing piece. But our journey are cut short by two devastating words: “Sold Out.” However, when you’re a sentimental shopaholic like I am, “sout” is more of a challenge than a defeat. Somewhere in this vast cyberspace there is or will be a listing of the particular item I am looking for.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with these tactics, but for anybody who isn’t, I just wanted to give you the rundown. I’m always hunting for items online. Even if I’m in a physical store or thrift store I may opt to hunt for the item online due to size or price.

In this case, it happens to be these F21 boots that I first saw on The Curvy Alt-Girl’s blog.  I don’t typically shop at Forever 21 but I was going to make an exception for these babies. Alas, they are sold out in every size except 6. I’d prefer a size 8 for comfort.

So what’s the first step? Well, obviously, click the “Sold out in your size?” button, so you can receive an email IF the item is restocked, and that’s an IF. But that’s not good enough for me, so I had to take it a couple steps further.

The first place I turned to was eBay. Now, the issue stores such as Forever 21, H&M, Zara, etc, is that specific pieces they are harder to find than smaller brands! There will be an abundance of items in which you are not looking for, and to increase your chances you need to do multiple searches.

Take cues from the original listing. Start out by copy-pasting the original title into the search, as long as it isn’t too long. Maybe throw in the brand name as well. That didn’t work well for me.

 My next search was “Forever 21 combat boots” and these were the result:

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Next, was “Forever 21 thigh highs:”

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Then, “Forever 21 lace up boots”

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Well would you look at that? Except I’m not a size 10! But it does tell me that these search terms are effective. I did save all three of these searches, though I’m sure only saving the last two would suffice.

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I do not recommend narrowing down your search by the filters. For example, you may be trying to find black shoes but they may be listen as “Not Specified,” so if you save that search with the filter you may miss the item you’re looking for. When you’re hunting down items it’s best to stay broad. Not everyone has the same mindset and will not use the same descriptors.

If you’ve already combed through all the results, so make sure to set the “Sort” option to “Time: newly listed” next time you look at the results. That way you aren’t looking through a bunch of listings you’ve already seen.

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So far, eBay has been unsuccessful. But of course, we have other options. Personally, I use Poshmark. You can also search Mercari, Depop, and Vinted, but I don’t frequent these sites often.

I used the same methods on Poshmark and found the boots, once again, not in my size.

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And by the way, if you see a listing titled “ISO” it means in search of, so the person is asking if anybody has the item. If they’re looking for your size watch out, they may snag a listing before you can.

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***One big advantage to Poshmark over eBay is the shipping rates! It’s 6.49 for just about everything! On eBay, shoes are much more expensive to ship – those $40 size 10 boots cost almost 13 bucks to ship. No me gusta.

But the good thing is that people ARE listing this item, so chances are it will pop up eventually. Now that the hunt is over, the waiting period beings. If I manage to find these, I’ll definitely be doing an update! Of course, now I’ve begun to wonder what I’d wear these with, and if they’d look good on me. Maybe the few weeks between finding the item and being able to purchase it will change your mind.

By the way, there may be dupes! Especially when you are shopping on F21. I found these look-a-likes for the same price with free shipping. But whether or not the quality is the same is a gamble when you’re looking for higher-end items. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Overall, it’s up to you if you want to gamble with a dupe.

Anyway, here are some pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Don’t get screwed on shipping! It does NOT cost 10 dollars to ship a shirt from Michigan to New York, or even to California. Shoes and jackets are obviously more costly to ship. Poshmark has flat-rate shipping which is nice. Be sure to factor in the shipping cost.
  2. Don’t let people screw you! Popular brands and items may be sold on the second-hand market for more than they were originally sold for. Let me tell you: it’s probably not worth it.
  3. Beware of buyer ratings of eBay! eBay has GREAT buyer protection, but do be wary of the buyer’s ratings. It’s still a pain in the ass to get a refund when your item never shows up.
  4. Beware of sizing and return policies! Ask questions about the fit/ask for measurements from the seller. Always read the return policy in case the item doesn’t fit.

My final tip is to neurotically check everyday until you find what you’re looking for.

Happy hunting,

-Knurly