Thursday, February 19, 2009
My Little eBay Problem
Before I went all hardcore with the parenting thing, I sort of collected limited edition Barbie dolls. It started with a Nicole Miller Barbie (complete with handbag) and became increasingly random and expensive. Before it became clear that it was either food for my child or Vera Wang Barbie, I fed my addiction via eBay. At some point, I went cold turkey and bowed out of the bidding scene for years.
But I got sucked back in. Frustrated by my inability to find clothes I liked locally, I stumbled onto an eBay shop that carries some of my favorite brands at rock-bottom prices. It started with that plum-colored jersey dress I wanted for my cousin's wedding. I got it brand-new for 29 bucks — down from $130 at retail. Then, another up-and-coming designer I liked was having a full-blown warehouse sale. We're talking $100 skirts for $15.
But I knew I was in trouble when I discovered that eBay is geek heaven. Every rare comic book, graphic novel and artist-signed print you could ever want is out there. I should have run like the keyboard was on fire, but no. I just had to click on a signed George Perez Wonder Woman print and make a bid. On Thursday, I duked it out with a buyer who wanted that print just as badly as I did. I took it personally when s/he outbid me - twice - and muttered about how "This b**** is going down. It's mine." I could not be reasoned with.
See, George Perez authored and illustrated one of my favorite Wonder Woman volumes back in the late '80s, and this print was gorgeous. I could just picture it in my future office, my geek pals green with envy.
This is why eBay is so dangerous. You tell yourself that you will not, under any circumstances, pay more than $25 for something, but one or two bids later, you're too far gone to adhere to those limitations. You're pissed off that someone is trying to take this thing that you absolutely must have, despite not even knowing about it two days prior.
I lost the auction. My rival outbid me at the last minute, but there is a happy ending: The seller had a second autographed print and asked me if I wanted to buy it at my final bidding price. Of course I did. All's well that ends well.
But I'm giving eBay a wide berth from now on, because my children have gotten used to eating.