I have been trying to get a couple of photo light stands (to use at Toastmasters meetings for our new videotaping project) for cheap over the past several days, I've bid on 16 (aside from the two I'm currently in on) and watched another 11 (that were already out of my "want to pay" range when they came up), and they've closed anywhere from $5.00 (I was AFK at the time, dammit) up to $21.51 ... for a stand that supposedly lists for $99.00 retail.
Most of the time, I've been just plain beat ... the highest I've bid has been $7.75 (with $12.00 shipping), and there have been what I assume are small photo shops that are going over the top of me because they're able to land these for less than wholesale ... I'm guessing that if they get these at $40/unit delivered they're still ahead of the game, and I can't fault them their thrift (but I'm hoping to pay less than $40 for two).
However, I just lost out on one auction due to at least one bot. This auction was ending at 12:30:00 ... and this bot (from a user with just 2 points) came in with bids at 12:27:22, 12:27:41, 12:27:52, 12:28:03, 12:28:13, 12:28:22, 12:28:30, and 12:28:44 when it finally went over me ... however, another bot (either that or somebody "hovering" over the auction) came in with a higher bid at 12:29:39, and the active bot continued with bids at 12:29:51 and 12:29:59 ... I'm pleased to say the motherfucker did not win (the other did), but that means that I'm likely to find myself losing at least one subsequent auction when this shithole tries again.
This bot crap drives me nuts ... it's like baseball players pumping up on steroids ... it's fucking cheating and I wish to hell that Ebay would kill it off, because it ruins the fun of bidding on stuff ... nothing like thinking you've won something, and getting ready to send off your payment, when WHAM! some goddam bot snatches it away in the last few seconds.
I am currently having lurid fantasies involving baseball bats and a lot of blood and broken bones.