OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ With the growth of online sales in used items, city officials say they've seen a decline in requests for permits for traditional garage and yard sales.
In Oklahoma City, the number of garage-sale permits fell from 1,475 during the first quarter of 2004 to 1,226 during the same time in 2005 and 1,180 in 2006, said Supervisor of Licenses Bonita Gainer.
April showed a 22 percent drop in permit sales from 2005, she said.
Meanwhile, online trading giant eBay Inc. reported new listings for the first quarter of 2004 totaled 8 million, compared with 32 million in new listings in the same period of 2005 and 84.6 million for the first quarter of 2006.
But eBay spokeswoman Catherine England said that doesn't mean the company is supplanting the garage-sale market.
``In many ways they're very complementary,'' England said. ``They offer slightly different experiences _ some people like to get out and visit their neighbors, while other folks prefer to stay in the comfort of their own homes.''
Some eBay customers use garage sales as a source for items they later resell online, England said.
University of Central Oklahoma economics professor Sue Lynn Sasser said sellers are more likely to find matching buyers in an online database search than by randomly driving through neighborhoods in search of garage sales.
Because the fringe resale economy is not included in calculations of the nation's gross domestic product, Sasser said it's difficult to estimate the larger effect of online accessibility on the sale of secondhand items.
``One thing you can say they have in common, though, is that online selling crosses all income levels, and garage sales cross all income levels,'' she said. ``One man's junk is another man's treasure. Everyone loves to find a bargain.
``I don't imagine garage sales will ever be replaced.''