|Re: Is eBay really THE problem?|
Message #22 Posted by glynn on 7 June 2002, 12:37 a.m.,
in response to message #12 by Paul Brogger
I work most of the day, stuck in the shop five days a week, and many of you have more grueling schedules perhaps, but I have never found time to drive to all the places and shop for all the things I've wanted. I wouldn't be collecting ANYTHING the past two years if it weren't for the Internet, and in particular, eBay.
I love the stuff I get! And if I had to crawl thrift-shops and answer classified ads and make midnight dumpster dives, I probably would never have gotten any of it.
And my experiences with personal friends and sales is that sometimes the closer you become to the seller, the harder it is to make the sale a "clean" one-- I don't like people thinking they did me a favor or gave me a special deal. I want also to be free to walk away if the deal doesn't smell right or the terms are not equitable. I once bought a car from a next-door neighbor, never got the title, and felt like a fool pursuing him for it.
With eBay, while I have been burnt a couple of times in the two years I've used it, for the most part I KNOW what is expected of me, and what to expect from the seller; we play our roles and when we do, everything goes okay. I take some risks, and understand I am taking them. I often don't know how much I'll be asked to pay for shipping; I take that into account before I bid.
Lots of you were into collecting used calcs before they cost real money. You could trade them with colleagues for a ham sandwich. But the only two calcs I ever bought before I came upon MOHPC, I bought new, way back when-- a 33c and a 15c. I remember thinking at the time that they were expensive!!
So now, having bought a 97 and a 75d and a Russian RPN Elektronika and a 25c, all on eBay, as well as innumerable mountains of other gear, mainly computer stuff, my income is the only thing I have to trade-- not my sweat and not my working hours-- and this seems good to me.
Where I live, the garage sales are full of baby clothes and bad furniture, not computers. Thrift stores here have been known to junk the old computers rather than try to deal with them. (Now of course, they eBay what they think will sell there). And the newspaper classifieds here already have two or three "WANTED: Old HP calculators" ads running; so deals are gonna be a bit thin on the ground in THIS territory, no manna from the sky to a guy who can't hunt by day.
But here at my eBay screen is a smorgasbord of stuff to examine. If I want something, it usually shows up within a couple of weeks of searching-- even if it seems uncommon. I look at the prices of the examples I have seen: and decide if I want it that much. I guess I am at a disadvantage because I do not remember how much a HP 28s, say, was in stores a short time ago-- I only see what people are asking for it and paying for it Now on the Internet. And I think on it, read about it, then bid what I feel will get it, when I feel I *CAN* get it.
When I was first on eBay, I paid much too much for a few things. I was both impatient and combative.
I have since learned that everything shows up more than once... that nothing on eBay is a once-in-a-lifetime sighting, and that in fact I can usually afford to search a few weeks prior to making a decision on the first one I see. There WILL be more of them.
This is SO true, I only have two things on my "list" of hundreds of items that I have not been able to cross off after a year (a particularly weird guitar, a particular piece of esoteric calculator accessory gear). I sometimes suspect that if I searched long and hard enough on a regular basis, I would turn up old school assignments of mine or photos of my mother's prom night.... Things are bound to turn up THERE, eventually.
As far as being competitive, THAT took a bit longer for me to work out of my system. I was feedbsck 26 before I realized that always being on top of the list of bidders was not an honor-- it was stupidity. I was driving my own prices through the roof. A lot of auctions later, feedback 86, I had to buy an expensive network analyser I did not REALLY want in the first place. But, dangit, that guy who kept sniping me on all my other auctions was not going to win THIS time! LOL, I really taught HIM-- that was one he didn't snipe!
Today, at feedback 198, I am still somewhat aggressive, I hate to "lose". After all, I spent all that time and energy searching, turned down other chances, put a lot of thought into my selection and bid amount, arranged to have the money ready-- and I'm only able to win about one of five or one of six auctions I participate in, after all that. But I'm a bit more mellow than I used to be. I bow out of many auctions where I see people I know who will want the thing more than I; if I want it more than I think they will, I put them on notice by putting in an early bid, maybe raising the going price by a dollar... and then I figure they know I'll be in the mood to bid again.
I also don't clench up about losing quite as much as I used to-- partly because I know I'll live to bid again another day, and partly because some of my biggest losses turned out to free me to bid on things that I normally would not have been prepared to deal with. And also, partly, because I now have a small group of people who contact me when they have something they think I might be interested in, so I am doing trading on AND OFF eBay, thanks mainly to my eBaying.
So, there are many things I could catalog about eBay that I hate, but I am a regular user of it, and come home nights looking at it before I even read emails. Why? It has made collecting a practical matter for me, one who probably wouldn't collect or search the whole internet to find the things I am buying now.
To put it bluntly, eBay is useful enough TO ME that I guess I am one of those with more money than sense, though I am by no means rich OR stupid. Addicted, maybe-- and the atmosphere of auctions is old and storied and lures many like me to behave, on occasion, as if they WERE rich AND stupid.
I just saw an auction, by the way, where a seller botched the listing badly. He has a heading that attracted me: HP 1980b Oscilloscope... so I look and his description is of an HP 8481 Power Sensor (?)... and then his Pictures are of another, older model of oscilloscope altogether. What a mess! But guess what? He's already got a first bidder, some guy with a feedback of 20! It's like I told a co-worker a few months back: don't throw away your dead goldfish, just eBay them, SOMEONE may actually buy them!
Hey! maybe that guy knows something I don't, and he will get that HP1980 oscilloscope for only $20!! What a steal he would get! I can't let THAT happen, now can I? ;-)