May 2nd, 2005


just another eBay bitch-fest ...

Well, I'm gonna vent, but I'm not really very invested in this since I never got around to bidding on the auction in question. I'd been watching this one (for 41 packs of the Pokemon Skyridge set) for a day or so and it was still reasonable around midnight, there'd been a dozen bids and I was thinking that maybe it had "levelled off" and maybe I'd come in on it this morning. I was comfortable going over the then high bid by a bit, but figured that I'd wait for the last moment to pull the trigger on it since the guy who was leading got there via a bot, and I figured that if I went over him early it would just trigger that again.

The auction was ending at 8:48:39 my time, so it was gong to be touch-and-go for getting a late bid in and still getting Daughter #1 into school by 9:00 ... but that ended up being a moot point, as when I got back on the computer this morning I found that overnight two other bidders had gotten in (two dealers that I've bought cards from in the past), quickly followed (as I'd suspected) by a new high bid by the guy who'd been winning when I went to bed. Now, I was still interested in this, although the price had doubled while I slept, and was working hard to justify spending the now not-inconsequential amount by figuring the per-pack cost versus what I could get them for "at retail" on the web. I ended up keeping my wallet closed but keeping the Bid History screen up in a browser tab.

Well, good thing I didn't bother, since, with less than 4 minutes left, a bot bidder swept in. At some point another dealer had gotten into the game, with a fairly high bid, but this gal with the bot must have set a HUGE max bid as it not only fired off 11 bids to beat that dealer in the first 1:51 of her bid flurry, but then going up over another bidder who'd come in another ten bucks or so higher than the other guy. All in all, this bod bidder shot out 15 bids in 3:45, winning with a scant 3 seconds on the clock (I would have loved to see the single bid from the other guy beat her out!), after having doubled the price again.

Frankly, I'm amazed when folks are willing to push these things like this ... I would have been happy to have bought this at 1/4th of what the final price was, and was almost able to justify it at half, but the end price plus (fairly hefty) shipping put this auction into a per-pack price that was less than a buck under what I could get them for "at retail" at one of my "reference sites". Sure, she saved $40 versus that, but somehow it seems like it would be something of a Pyrrhic victory. Of course, some folks have more money than they need and saving a buck a pack (and, frankly, a lot more depending on where one does one's Pokemon shopping) would be enough of a "win" for them to be happy with spending a fairly solid chunk of change.

Anyway, I guess this is just another "bot bidders kill the fun of eBay" post, with a slight ironic edge to it (in a "oh, gee ... I was thinking I'd have a shot at this and it ended up way out of my range" mode). In all, the auction had 32 bids, with sixteen of those coming in the last 3 minutes 45 seconds ... with some up-bids hitting as fast as every 8 seconds! Interestingly, the other auction that I was looking at last night (for some Topps Pokemon cards for Daughter #2) closed with no bids ... I even took a pass on it (it had a "near retail" opening bid), opting to keep the money in my wallet for the evening.

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