The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Ebaying for Beginners

Posted by Exile on July 28, 2008

Having a hobby is one thing. Financing it is another. I have a couple of simple harmless interests that keep me out of trouble and afford me some pleasure at a reasonable cost. I go fishing once or twice a year. The license isn’t expensive and it means I can sneak off to the beach and catch dinner once in a while. I collect good scotch whisky, but only buy it when I go abroad and can pick up a bottle tax free. My real passion, if one could call it that, is my pipes. Smoking them, caring for them, and inevitably, building my collection. Which isn’t cheap. So I do it slowly and with care. I know what I like and when I do see a pipe I want, I tend to go for it. Lately, I have discovered that most of the classic models, at some point or another, come up for sale on Ebay. I just had to try.

gavel My first attempt at Ebaying involved registering as a buyer on the auction. One has to register and give certain information about oneself. Reasonable enough I suppose, both for the site administration and for those who sell there. So having done that, I went deeper into the electronic jungle auction. I saw lots of stuff I wanted. Much of it was going for a song but one has to be careful. Finding a pipe I liked and wanted, I made a tentative bid. To my surprise, I was suddenly the leading bidder on a fine little pipe. It remained so for a few days and then I was outbid. Determined to have my way, I bid again. Once more in the lead, I kept returning to the site to see how it was going. (Actually, Ebay will send you emails telling you if you get outbid on an item.) This was going well. It went well right up to the last minute, literally, when some swine somewhere placed a bid right at the point of my wining the auction and I never had the chance to bid again. The auction closed two seconds after the bid changed in his favour. Damn. I watched all this unfold before me on my computer screen. I felt cheated.
Since then, I have won the same model pipe in a different auction. Probably a better pipe than I first bid on. And cheaper.

One learns as one goes. I have learned to bid higher than I expect to have to pay. This discourages those last minute bidders, or defeats them at the last minute. Gazumping my bid by one dollar or pound or whatever at the final seconds of the auction won’t happen again unless whoever is bidding against me really wants the item.. I make my mind up about what I will pay for an item and that is my maximum bid. I don’t buy at any cost. What would be the point? I could buy new if that was the case. I read the descriptions of items thoroughly before I decide to bid. I check to see if the seller will send the item to me. Some insist that they will only ship to their resident country and not abroad. I am picky about what I want to buy. I expect certain standards of condition and appearance.

Since my early attempts, I have won three items on this auction. Two were great successes, one was not. The item was as it was described, it just wasn’t as good as I thought it should have been. Luckily I didn’t pay much for it. I can take the hit at six dollars.

The next and most obvious thing to do, is to start selling on Ebay. I have a few pipes that I don’t smoke and yet can’t bring myself to throw away. These pipes are all in good condition but merely don’t suit me for one reason or another. That could be shape, size or finish. Either way, I could perhaps offset my buying with a little selling.

Maybe I just found a new hobby?

2 Responses to “Ebaying for Beginners”

  1. Highstump said

    You have the right idea on your Ebay bidding. I use the same method as you. Decide what my top dollar bid will be and then walk away. I go back when the auction has ended and I either have the item or I don’t. (I really like your two new Petersons by the way.)

  2. prying1 said

    I’ve bought and sold on eBay for years although I’ve slowed down on both quite a bit lately. Early on I had another seller tell me, “I never list anything for less than I’m willing to part with it for.” I had bought 3 old O’Henry books that I thought were worth much more than the dollar bid I had placed and won them for. (reasonable shipping too!) – I offered to back out of the deal if he so desired and he would not. Instead the above quote that I took to heart.

    Decide on the item’s value to you before you list it so you won’t cry while later packing it up.

    Sounds like good advice.

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