BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

More eBay mysteries ...

OK, so Pinky aint' pondering what I'm pondering ... but here I am once again pondering the "whys" of eBay, or at least those of the behaviors exhibited in the Pokemon cards corner of it.

Today 3 auctions closed for a particular card (Kabutos ex, #97/100 of the Sandstorm set) that Daughter #1 was missing from her collection. Now the "ex" cards are special holos that are high-value cards, and I'm always on the look-out for being able to get these at some discount (ideally at 1/7th of "reference retail") off of what they could be bought for on the web (in this case, I had "reference" prices of $7.00, $8.00, $14.99, and $19.99 from various sites).

Now, the three auctions were set up quite differently, the first one had a starting bid of $2.00 but only $0.50 for shipping, the second had a $0.99 starting bid, but shipping (calculated by zip code) of $3.08, and the third of these started at $0.99 and had a $1.50 shipping charge. I bid on (I was the second of only two bids) and won the first (for a total of $2.75 with shipping), but continued to "watch" the other two, both of which ended up going for $5.50 (plus shipping), one with six bids and the other with seven. Obviously, my instinct to go for that first card worked out well for me, but I was suprised that I didn't have to "fight for it". What "market forces" would have the first auction go for a $2.75 total with just two bids, while the second went for $8.58 with 7 bids and the third for $7.00 with six bids?

Admittedly, on both the latter two auctions there were a couple of "newbies" (one with 5 and one with 9 feedback points) doing most of the bidding on both of these (each winning one of the cards), but they weren't the only "action" on those auctions. And, also admittedly, if one figured in shipping on top of even the "low retail" (which runs about $3 at those sites), these auctions went for slightly less than it would have cost the winners to BUY the cards outright ... but still it gets me scratching my head when I see stuff selling for anywhere near "retail"! {edit: and in cleaning up my expired "watch" list, I found quite a number of cards that had ended up going at auction for considerably more than they would have cost on one of my "reference" sites ... I guess an uneducated buyer is the salesman's friend!}

Oh well ... I guess it was all those years in Marketing that just won't let me leave this stuff un-analysed. I'm happy that I was able to pick up the card for a 72% discount, but part of me still wants to "crack the code" on this eBay thing!

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