It usually happens when I’m innocently looking for something and end up on eBay. I start browsing and first thing you know I find something I simply must have. My body takes control of my common sense and forces me to bid.
It’s the fever — auction fever. Once you decide you want something enough to bid on it, you can’t stand it if someone else bids higher than you do. To avoid the fever, I have to not bid at all and just firmly delete an item from my watch list so I won’t be tempted.
A blue sapphire ring caught my eye. I knew it wanted me to own it. I don’t even like sapphires, but this one was calling my name. There were other rings that were similar, but I wanting that one — just my size too.
And so it begins… I bid on it, and someone else bids higher. The emails from eBay start to arrive. “Your bid has been received.” I knew that. Then, “You have been outbid.”
And when you look at the website, the red flag is there “OUTBID” so you are sure to see that you didn’t bid high enough. “Don’t let it get away. Bid now.”
Oh, these people have it down to a science. And when you bid as much as you can, someone else always can bid more. And so it goes.
The only salvation is the time limit. The minutes tick away one at the time, and the vultures set in wait so they can outbid each other at the last minute. Instead of the green check mark saying “You are the highest bidder, hope you win.” You get the red X saying, “Sorry, you have been outbid.”
But not to worry, they have suggestions for similar items that you can bid on.
I know the ring probably isn’t a sapphire and the silver probably isn’t sterling. I’m really better off if I don’t win. Buying jewelry on a place like eBay is not a very good idea.
Bids starting at only 99 cents for 14K gold and diamonds? I don’t think so. There seems to be no truth in advertising on the Internet. They can say anything they want. Even things that are stamped 14K gold can be counterfeit. When similar items sell for $300 or a thousand, I’m certain it is not real gold, much less real diamonds.
You have buyer protection, sure, but in the end all they can do if the seller refuses to return money is shut down the account. With my suspicious attitude, I’m not going to win much in the cut-throat world of eBay.
But the blue sapphire continues to sing the song of the sirens.
As luck would have it, I win the ring — a blue sapphire, or at least a blue something. In the evil game with eBay vultures, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.
At first I felt a little bad for the people that lost… until I realized there are a dozen other rings listed just like the one I bought. And the losers are getting consoling emails from eBay, right now saying “Sorry you lost this time, but here are some other items that you might like.”
There’s always the next time… and the next… and the next.
So, if the ring is blue quartz, or glass, and not sapphire, so what? Who will know the difference if I don’t tell them? As long as an item is worth what I paid to me, it is a good deal.
The email from eBay comes, “Congratulations, you won the item in the last few seconds.” I’m feeling pretty special until I realize that I didn’t really win anything — I’m buying it.
The next email from eBay is the bill.
Copyright 2010 Sheila Moss