August 2nd, 2005


You were just itching for a Pokemon update, weren't you?

OK, so these bore the heck out of everybody, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I know, I know ...

However, I feel the need to log in any bright spots that work their way into my piss-and-moan-worthy existence; so, when I snag a great deal, you hear about it! Yes, it is pretty pitiful that getting a good deal on some stupid Pokemon cards will frequently end up being the least miserable part of my day ... but, as I've frequently noted, it does indeed "suck to be me" much of the time.

Anyway ... today I snagged five auctions (out of about 10 that I was watching and/or bidding on) for a total of 56 cards. The total I paid was $10.41 (including shipping), for cards that were "worth" upwards of $165.50 (that was the total for the "cheap site" ... which is also the one that sells the reverse-holo cards, so is my main "reference site" ... although the "high site" had the six regular holo cards out of the 56 at about 3-4x the price, or $15-$20 a piece, so the "delusional value" could be much more). So, my "fraction of retail" came in at more than twice as low my "target" of 1/7th of retail, hitting about 1/15th! This is good, because, frankly, we really didn't "need" a lot of these cards. Daughter #1 was missing four of these ... and while the total paid was still under the "value" of those four cards, it did temper the celebratory fist-pumping, etc. On the upside, getting the four cards she "needed" for less than retail AND putting in over $150 worth of cards into her "trading binders" is not bad for spending a sawbuck and change!

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(no subject)

A thing snagged from stonemirror's journal:

LiveJournal Haiku!
Your name:btripp
Your haiku:don't want bealzebub
with a few months back they were
asking crazy i
Created by Grahame

It was odd that this wouldn't work in the Semagic client ... had to go to the "update journal" page so that the cut-and-paste ended up with something other than code! I actually liked my first one best, but "lost it" when trying to get the client to display the form thing here.

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things that confuse me ....

On eBay, that is. Yes, another "why do things go that way on eBay?" post. You know you want to watch.

OK, so today I was watching/bidding on a number of Pokemon card auctions, all from one seller, all being multiple-card auctions, of holos, reverse-holos, and mixed holos and reverse-holos from various sets (each auction being from one set). In general terms, there wasn't that much difference in the various auctions, while the content was different, it was thematically similar, and should have been flagged by various similar searches. Frankly, I bid on stuff that we didn't "need" because I saw I could get it for the minimum ($0.99) bid, and this particular seller has an amazing shipping policy of "combined shipping for all auctions for $1.00", so I knew I wouldn't be driving my costs up (aside from the actual bids) for adding on the extras (and I got 3 out of 5 for the minimum).

Now, maybe it was me, but (aside from obvious stuff, like the holo auctions being "more valuable" than the reverse-holo auctions, and ones with a couple of dozen cards being more valuable than ones with a half a dozen cards) these were pretty much on an even footing, with no "OH WOW" deals particularly standing out that would draw attention.

That said, there was ONE of these, out of all of them, that had two last-minute bidders swoop in and run the prices up. Now, a few of these had had some "action" previously and had moved out of my target price range, but those were all pretty much over by this morning. This one, however, had three previous bidders, but was (up to about 5 minutes till close) at only $1.50 ... I was watching it, planning on coming in over the top of the high bidder (who I knew was right at $1.50 due to the way the bid history played out) in the last minute or so. These two bidders came in, though, within seconds of each other, and had tripled and more the price within a minute or two. I could tell that these were likely "live" and not bots due to the timing of their bids, and they one-upped each other until about 1:30 out, when things went quiet ... the lead bidder "capped" his bid with a final extra with about :30 left, but it was over at that point.

What I don't "get" here is why THAT auction out of the 10 or so very similar ones? Admittedly, it was for a couple of dozen reverse holo cards, so had an obvious "value" level that anybody familiar with Pokemon card pricing would immediately recognize, but it was not vastly different from any of the others. Why did it get a bidding war, and not the others. Aslo, what would trigger two bidders coming in right at the same time? I assume this could be simple coincidence, but it likewise struck me as odd.

Once again, I find myself wanting "to get a handle on" the inner workings, the hidden currents, the unseen patterns of eBay! This just stood out as a "WTF" moment to me ... how did that particular auction get that level of attention, when others, closing at pretty much the same time, with similar descriptions, by the same seller, didn't? It makes my brain hurt sometimes.

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Wow ...

I've been "doing" this Pokemon stuff for a couple of years now, ever since Daughter #1 started wanting the cards two summers ago. I'd occasionally caught "whiffs" of actual real-live wholesale suppliers for the cards, but had never quite been able to track one down.

Well, tonight I was a-Googling around, looking for a set list for the upcoming Unseen Forces set, and I was about 10 pages into the Google results when I hit a site that was selling a box of six cases (of 36 packs each) for the amazingly low price of $118.44 ... which is pretty remarkable given that the typical price for a single case I'd seen at places that were pre-selling them was $74.00! I knew there had to be "real" wholesalers out there who sold to the stores, but I'd never tracked one down previously. I'd seen some promo pieces from Nintendo which said that the suggested retail on the "booster packs" of the new set was $3.29 (although around here everybody prices packs at $4.49!), so $2.06 ($74 ÷ 36) did not provide much of a mark-up. A wholesale of $0.55 ($118.44 ÷ 6 ÷ 36) per pack sounds much more plausible!

Of course, the challenge is to get the wholesaler to sell to you. I guess I could probably use the tutoring biz as a "front" (since we deal with kids and all) to order them ... or I suppose that if I got off my butt and started to market the bought-to-be-sold Pokemon stuff I have sitting around on eBay, I could use that as the "company". It does boggle my mind that it took me two years of doing a LOT of web searches on all things Pokemon to stumble over one of these. Obviously the "card pros" out there are buying their supplies from this sort of source, which makes the up-front costs very manageable (given the re-sale value on the one holo card per pack). While I have never really aspired to be a "card pro", this might be the spark I need to actually start selling stuff on eBay!

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Oh, and ...

By the by ... a likely side-effect of my having the new glasses is that I will once again be able to transcribe my scrawled-in-little-notebooks poems onto the computer! I had to pretty much give up on that a while back, as the distances needed for decoding my illegible scratches and reading the in-put on a computer screen were not compatible with my previous visual parameters. Now I should be able to do both again. Lucky you!

Not so lucky me ...

... this is how my "raw poetry" looks.

Needless to say, it would be easier to decipher if it were in Linear B! There was a time when I wrote right into the keyboard, but that faded for some reason, and my cramped scribbles on 4.25x2.75" pages seems to have been the format of choice for my more recent blitherings. Of course, I have not actually written anything in quite a while, but I do have a rather hefty backlog of stuff that I have yet to transcribe!

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