UF student Dustin Buckley goes to great lengths to get his hands on Box Tops, but they aren’t going toward education.
About six months ago, the 20-year-old computer engineering junior started selling them on eBay. He has made about $300 so far.
Buckley buys Box Tops for Education from Listia.com, an auction site that uses credits. He said he will sell an item — usually one that can be emailed, such as a coupon — worth $10 and get 5,000 credits. He will then buy Box Tops for about 2,500 credits.
General Mills gives schools 10 cents for each Box Top. Five hundred sell on eBay for about $65, instead of the $50 they are worth. Buckley thinks people buy them for competitions.
“I assume maybe moms want their children to win,” he said.
He also sells event tickets, video games and free-after-rebate items.
When he first started selling things at age 12, he made profits from his own possessions, such as old Nintendo 64 video games.
When Buckley was in high school, he sold other students’ goods on eBay in exchange for 10 percent of the profit, said Luc Overholt, a 21-year-old biology junior and friend of Buckley’s.
As a UF freshman, Buckley sold Gator football tickets, and last year he started buying items on Craigslist to sell on eBay.
He just started keeping track of his earnings two months ago, but he estimated he’s made about $7,000. He made $549 alone from 16 NCAA 2012 Final Four and Elite Eight tickets. His largest profit, about $1,500, came from Adobe software.
Crystal Durham, a 20-year-old computer engineering junior, said she wished she had the determination to do what her friend does for about 10 hours a week.
Buckley also keeps a closetful of boxes and even prints his own postage at home.
Flipping is not illegal, but selling software and free-after-rebate items are often against companies’ terms of agreement.
Buckley compared it to illegally downloading music.
“Everyone does it,” he said.
Contact Samantha Shavell at email@example.com.
Dustin Buckley poses for a photo on Thursday. Buckley collects Box Tops for Education and sells them online.