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December 30th, 2000

Paul Succumbs to Auction Sites

Not too many months ago, I thought sites like eBay were kind of lame. I figured they were just big online flea markets, full of useless crap that no one could want. And the odd promotional item – like the BMW X5 SUV.

But I caved. My current digicam purchase saga has spilled firmly into the world of auctions. I’ve put in bids for cameras at both eBay and uBid, and have been shot down on two of the three bids (as of this writing – I’m very close to being outbid as we speak). In fact, I lost one on eBay by a measly 99 cents, which really got my goat. So what drew me in?

The potential savings. Right now my pending bid is on an Olympus D-460Z, which sells for 500 bucks. My bid is $200 under that, and that’s a heck of a savings. My earlier bids were about $100-$250 off the retail prices. It should be noted, though, that some of these people are crazy. One of the items I bid on went for the full retail price plus shipping; the buyer could’ve just waltzed over to 800.com and got the same item for the same price, brand new, from a totally legit dealer, with free shipping!

You really have to know what you’re looking for, and know the prices well. And I heartily suggest bidding only within the last 30 minutes or so of the auction; do it earlier and you’re setting up for heartbreak.

But remember: when bidding on a $300 item, 99 cents is nothing. -pm

Posted in Technology

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