BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Ebay ... you make me crazy ...

So, yesterday I was trying to score some equipment for a project The Wife is doing (long story), and found items up on eBay in the price range I was interested in parting with for them.

The first miss was all my fault ... I'd be watching and waiting, and just before the auction was going to end (a few minutes prior to the start of the Super Bowl), I got enmired in a "need to fix this NOW" thing on something I was working on, and when I popped back into the browser, the auction had ended (with a price that was well below my target ... dammit).

I then shifted my attention to an auction that was closing some time after the Super Bowl ... and went off to watch the game.

Now, I have a problem with eBay ... I hate, Hate, HATE the "bid bots" that so many people use ... it lets people with "unlimited resources" muscle those of us who want to "win" with research, guile, and OCD around time out of the game. I've had many people say "But, Brendan, why don't you use a bot?" (to even the playing field, I suppose), but I have been extremely broke for most of the past 15 years, and when I'm going on eBay to get something it's because I need/want to get it for a LOT cheaper than I can get it elsewhere. To use a bot, you need to be OK with spending the MAXIMUM you're willing to pay, which is frequently MORE than several "buy it now" offers for similar items. I want to bid to get the item for LESS than the "buy it now" deals, not MORE ... and it's a total crap shoot whether you'll be one of a half-dozen bots churning the end price up in a flurry of bids in the last few seconds.

In this auction last night I got in with 45 seconds left. My first bid was not high bid, so I quickly shot in another, which was ... and then I waited as the seconds ticked down 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 and suddenly I was outbid. TWO bots (with bidders who had not even been on the board previously) came in during the last two seconds and pushed the item well above what I was interested in paying for it (as it was, my second bid was more than at least one "buy it now" that I was considering).

Needless to say, 2 seconds out, I figured I'd succeeded, and was CRUSHED by the bots. I used to, in the pre-bot days, enjoy eBay, but any more it's psychologically damaging to the extent that I dread trying to get anything from there.

Hell, it was like a replay of the last few seconds of the Super Bowl (from Seattle's perspective, at least).

Bleh ... I'm watching 3 similar units that come up tonight ... hope I can land one.

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