I'm afraid of auctions. I'm afraid of eBay.
I'm a little afraid of auctions because I won/bought something at one that I really didn't intend to buy. After a few too many beers, I started the bidding on a week long stay at a time share condo on the 9th hole at Tidewater Golf Club in Myrtle Beach. I opened the bidding with the thought that I would start the ball rolling and duck out. I bid $475...without a word to my wife, who was at home with the (at the time) delightfully happy thought that I would do no harm while I was out.
No one else bid on the package. I spent damn near $500 without talking to my wife, who does not golf, and who has no interest in spending a week living on a golf course! The $475 didn't include the plane tickets I knew we would need.
She took it well, I say with more than a little relief. Some friends split the cost with us and we had a nice week.
The only eBay experience I had was through the same friend who joined us at that condo. He liked my Tommy Armor golf clubs and bought a set on eBay. I was with him when the UPS shipment came to our office. When he signed for the box of clubs, we looked at the box, then looked at each other. The box was only about three feet long. Golf clubs...three feet long.
Apparently, my friend didn't read the description as carefully as he should have, and didn't realize the golf clubs were kids clubs! He got a great price, and his son got golf lessons to go with his new clubs.
I need a new watch strap for my watch. My watch is a Skagen, a subsidiary company of Fossil, and I love it. The watch might last forever, but the leather won't. Trouble is, only a Skagen strap will work. The good people at Skagen will gladly sell me a new strap for $25 plus shipping and handling. I'm okay with that, almost, but I wanted to see if I could find a better deal.
...Which led me to eBay. I found a watch--not just the band--but a whole watch. My logic is that I can buy the watch and have the band from that one put on mine. Why would I do that? Well...and here's where I might get sucker punched...the opening bid on the watch with the right kind of band was $0.99.
Ninety-nine cents. The seller is throwing in the shipping.
I didn't fall off the potato truck yesterday, and I was pretty sure I wouldn't get a whole watch, with the rare band that will fit my watch, for under a buck.
I bid $2.00
In an instant, I was outbid. I mean that. In an instant!
In my head I pictured someone in a far corner of this round world, rubbing his fingers together in cartoonish glee, waiting to see what I would bid next.
I upped my bid to $2.50.
I was trumped in an instant. The new bid was $2.62.
I decided to show my opponent I was serious. After taking a few minutes to research this watch, this watch I want just for the strap, to see what price it would sell for, new, retail, I was surprised to find out that the watch we (my opponent and I) are bidding on is 5 years newer than the one I want to put the band on, and retails for $125.
Armed with that knowledge, I upped my bid to 5x's the opening bid. That's right! I bid $5.00
eBay informed me I was the highest bidder. I cheered. Truth is, I was starting to want the watch, and not just for the band.
This afternoon I checked my email. My $5 bid had been topped by the same joker who was outbidding me the night before with lightning speed. I called him all sorts of names.
Tonight I hopped on and upped my bid by another buck. In an instant, so did my opponent. Aha! There's something...something...AUTOMATED... at play! Sho-nuff. I found out I can enter my top bid, and let his computer proxy duke it out with my computer proxy.
That's when I found out I can set my maximum bid, and if he ups his bid, this time I'll be the one upping the bid in an instant! We'll let his computer proxy duke it out with my computer proxy.
And with one minute remaining in this bidding war, if need be, I'll bid $25 for the $125 watch (remembering this watch will arrive with the seller paying the shipping charges), get the local jeweler to put the band from the watch I'm buying on the watch I have, and toss my "prize" in the drawer.
That is, of course, unless the mystery counter-bidder, knuckle rubbing joker from the far corner of the earth, wants the watch for more than $25. If he does, he can have it...and I'll order a new band from Skagen and be no worse off than I am now.