eBay Addiction [Long]

This is how you know you have an eBay addiction problem, or at least feed an addiction via eBay:
You go to sleep when you are currently winning bids for five items for which the bidding will close in about two hours, and you think to yourself, “Please, let me not win any of these bids.”

Some preface: I do things by mini-addictions. I find something new to interest me, I throw myself into it, for a couple of weeks I live and breathe that subject, and then I know considerably more on it than could be expected, and then I move on.

So, here’s some description of how eBay captivates you, and how some sellers fail to make use of it. Also, some things to pay attention to.

The way in which eBay really captures you is because very few people do the smart thing; deciding how much you’re willing to pay for the item, bidding that much and walking away. eBay of course helps this by telling you when you’ve been outbid.

Most of us enter an amount we feel comfortable with, then if it doesn’t get accepted, especially if we see the winning bid is less than a full raise higher than our own we’ll outbid that.  The thing is, we are so comfortable with making a bid and raising it, that we often go beyond what was our initial comfort zone, and even past what is our “limit”. We are so caught up in the thrill of gambling. Because bidding on eBay is a form of gambling.

See, if you’re a wise seller, and willing to take a bet as well, you start a bid at 0.01$ and without reserve. When things go right, you won’t have two people going back and forth which merely raises the price, but about 5 people who bid and outbid one another. Because once someone bids, their chances of returning are higher, as opposed to when they come to a bid that starts high, or when they come to it and it is already high. BTW, one of the silliest things I’ve ever seen was a seller who had a reserve price and told it to us; the only thing I see it as giving him is people clicking his listing when they search for the item on eBay, because it appears cheap.

Another suggestion if you’re planning to sell on eBay: Sell multiple items. Selling on eBay is a risk, but if you sell an item you know people are looking for, the risk is not that people will not want it, but that not enough people will find your listing, so someone will get it for cheap (potentially even the starting bid). This happens more often if your item has a teeth-shattering name.
The work around is to sell multiple items. The more items you are currently selling, especially if you’re living away from most of your customers (such as if you sell to English speakers and live in Japan), people who are winning one item from you are going to look around and check your other sales, and then they will bid on them.

There’s this thing called “Sniping” on eBay, where people bid seconds before the selling closes, so if they outbid you you are left without an option to outbid them again yourself. I am not against sniping, especially as it is often done by paid services for whom you state your max bid ahead of time and they bid it when there’s about a minute left. What’s wrong with this? The person knows ahead of time what their max-bid is, they stick to it, win or lose, and it stops bidding wars. If everyone used a sniping tool, people would think long and hard how much they’re willing to pay for the item, and they’d win or lose, without succumbing to the gambling mentality.
Besides, if you’re winning, you should be putting as much as you’re willing to put, if someone sniped, you should be thankful that you weren’t pushed to raise the bid beyond what you’re willing to. Thankful!

So now I’ll move some more to myself. And well, eBay’s charms.
Part of eBay’s charm is that it’s all “One time deal!”, you are worried that if you do not bid on something right this instant you’ll never get to see it again – at least, that’s the message whispered at the back of your brain.
Thing is, it’s usually a lie. If you are seeing something new and limited edition, or old and limited edition, you may indeed not see it again, or at least not for a while. If you see something which everyone likes, but is not limited, you will see it again; if not tomorrow, then in a month or three.
You can tell eBay you want to “Save a Search”, and for 6 months you’ll get a daily email with new results matching your query. Note, it won’t tell you when the six months pass…

There’s a problem with those saved searches, one that proves to you how usually what you want can always be found on eBay, a problem exposed when you have about 6 such searches. The problem of the overabundance of desires.
There are so many items on eBay, and so many you will want, that unless you can limit yourself, you will buy yourself out of your entire savings, and then some more. I limit myself first to my money, I don’t buy when I don’t have the money; not coming to me, not promised – money in my pocket. But this is not enough, as I would live with $0 in my bank account forever more if it were so, so I now limit myself per-month, with percentages of my income.

And yeah, “But what if there’s something really really awesome at the end of the month?!” to which the answer is two-fold:
1. There will always be something amazing to buy.
2. I can take money from next month’s bank, but only next month’s. And no, this doesn’t end in endlessly spending next month’s money, because if I have anything pre-ordered, then that means a month without purchases, it happens.
Also, I’m looking for a more lucrative studential job right now, to supplament my income :D

I also have another thing going for me, many sellers just won’t ship to where I live. I can get some friends in the USA to bid for me and then ship it to me, but that lets me think if I really want the item, as it both adds another shipping cost on top, and it cumbersome. Just like using deputy services – they filter the simple ‘want’ from the burning desire.

And then there’s something that arises once you see how eBay can nickel-and-dime you, but which holds true elsewhere. I sometimes want one really expensive figure (like Saber Lily – Distant Avalon, ~$90), but since I’ve wanted that, I got several items which I wanted less, and added up to more than Saber Lily’s price. Because each item is tempting when it’s at 50% off, but sometimes you’d rather pay full price for a figure you want 100% rather than 2 you want 70%.

Of course, the question that now comes up is a different one, with a different answer for each person: Do you prefer 3-4 figures you like OK or one figure you like a lot?
I have a position on the stance, which sometimes comes up when I buy something I really want which is expensive: In years to come, after you pay for this, you won’t care for the price, but just that you have the item.

eBay is dangerous, but the reason it is dangerous is not because it is filled with filth, but because it’s filled with dream shards. And shards have a tendency to cut.
I might try to cut back for the sake of whole dreams. I will judge every purchase not only on its own merit, but also by what it means I’m not buying.

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25 comments on “eBay Addiction [Long]

  1. Kizo. . . says:

    Lol, you think eBay is evil, try Japan’s Yahoo! Auction. xD It has an auto-extension thingy so when you try to snipe at the end, it extends the time to 5 more min & you face with an ongoing bid war. Totally a different mind game than eBay.

    Ebay is a kinda a one time deal. . .mainly the price. It’s true you’ll likely see the figure come back again, but it’ll probably double the price than previously. xD I don’t use eBay much since it’s full of bootlegs & figures twice as expensive than the ones on Y! Auction.

    example: GSC’s Rider sells more than $100 on ebay, while on Y! Auction, she sells for around 3,000-4,000 yen. lol

    • lovelyduckie says:

      The only thing with Yahoo Japan is you have to pay the proxy fee and THEN pay for shipping from their facility to you. Stay wary of how the fees add up everyone!

      • Guy says:

        Yeah, that’s something I forgot to write and meant to write in the main entry actually.

        If you win figures at $100 and pass it on as that, you’re lying, but mainly to yourself. Especially when you pay an additional $60 in shipping.

        Using deputy services, you must remember that you are not winning a figure for $40 which costs $90, you’re winning the figure for about $65, say.
        This is why when I win figures, I also take the shipping into account, not living in the USA. When I compare a figure’s price to MSRP, I compare her bid price+shipping, then again, if I were to buy it from HLJ or Hobby Search, I’d have to pay shipping anyway; this is more to gauge the “Good-deal” meter.

      • lovelyduckie says:

        I have had occasions where Yahoo Japan+Proxy Fees+Shipping was still cheaper then our beloved eBay. Those items were Aegis (Alter), Revy (Alter), and ESPECIALLY Yoruichi (Megahouse).

        Table of My Yahoo Japan Purchases and how much they cost me after my fees and shipping was paid. And a Comparison to what they would have cost me on eBay.

      • Kizo. . . says:

        Lol, I am well-awared of that. Plus, you have to factor in the USD/Yen exchange.

        Other than that, even with all the fees + shipping, etc. . .it’s still cheaper than the asking price on eBay like Duckie mentioned above.^^

        I have a Japanese friend to bid for me (his commission is 5-9% depending on the items) so I don’t have to worry about proxies & their fees.

      • Kizo. . . says:

        Also $60 shipping seems like a ripoff to me. xD

    • Guy says:

      No doubt, Yahoo Japan is probably almost always cheaper than eBay, but people need to remember and consider the shipping prices.

      Bidding as if shipping prices don’t exist is where eBay/other bidding sites often get us to pay more than we intended to.

    • Guy says:

      I need friends, not for yahoo japan, but for Hobby magazine.

      I have a friend who considers moving to Japan. If he does, maybe I’ll get some Hobby Magazine Japan figures ;)

      • Kizo. . . says:

        Ahaha, that would be awesome if your friend decides to do that.

        I use tokyohunter for my HJ stuffs. If you pay a lot from him, he will lower his commission fee.^^ Plus throw in the book as well.

  2. lovelyduckie says:

    “BTW, one of the silliest things I’ve ever seen was a seller who had a reserve price and told it to us; the only thing I see it as giving him is people clicking his listing when they search for the item on eBay, because it appears cheap.”

    Agreed, the first time I encountered that I was so angry at the concept that I ditched bidding on it! Such a pointless and underhanded feature.

    I know listing an item at a penny typically generates a lot more interest…and people tend to bid more violently for that item. But I honestly don’t feel comfortable listing an item at any less then very least I feel comfortable accepting for it. I know I fail in that regard to strategically listing my auctions, but I feel more comfortable this way.

    On eBay the game always seems to begin on the last day, so often on my figures sales I have 8-10 watchers and no bids until the last 24-48 hours and then it spikes incredibly. Although I’ve also had people mess up and try to bid a few seconds too late and send me a PM asking to buy the item.

    • Guy says:

      Tokyohunter, who had the first listing on the Figure Friday post, had items for over $300 3-4 days before the bidding closed.
      Then again, he offered truly limited items…

      One time I was the only bidder on a Yoko nendoroid, for $12. The seller refunded me and said it was “lost in the mail”. So some people are uncomfortable even with that initial pricing, when it’s not a penny.

      • lovelyduckie says:

        I had a Suzaku Figma I ended up selling for $70, but I wondered if I had started bidding incredibly low if I would have gotten more. Typically I’ll start figures at around $25-$35, but if it’s something I still paid around $70 for I don’t want bidding to start any less then $40. I usually either make an incredible profit or break even on my sales (to date there are only 3 figures that I listed that didn’t sell on the first try). I’m actually drafting up a post about how collecting figures is fun AND PROFITABLE by making a table of all the profit/loss of all the figures I’ve purchased and sold.

    • Guy says:

      I guess it also depends on which figures you buy/sell and when you sell them…

      I doubt my Yoko Nendoroid would fetch me much profit, but I suspect the limited Yuki Nagato Otaku petit nendoroid (with the manga) could double its value or more.

      At least this is somewhat long-lived. I’ve had Poke’Mon cards worth $20-30 a piece, and now I doubt I’d get $3 for them ;)

  3. bluedrakon says:

    ACK – eBay is an evil and vile place that sends your mind and cash into limbo. I used to be highly addicted to it myself as I brought artwork from there all the time (last count was at 1250 pieces).
    I have the same issue with placing the high bid, going to be hoping for the best, but usually end up losing. I used to get upset, but then decided to go the way of the more calm soul. If I was meant to have it, then I would of won it.

    One of the things I miss was the ability to see who was bidding against me. I would review their previous and currents bids on other items to see if it would be a good idea to go to “war” with them. It also helped to see if a seller had a friend that was bidding against you so the buyer would get a better price (shilling). I have seen this and it sucks that now you never know if it is happening to your or not.

    But even if you go outside eBay to forums and such, you still run into the nuts who want stuff for nothing. You saw what I wrote on my blog today.

    • Guy says:

      True. The “protection” seemed odd to me as well.

      Also, we all want something for free, but most of us realize that since we don’t want our stuff for free, we’d have to accept paying others as well. And yeah, I saw.

      The only thing I get back to sellers about is shipping. Because I buy often, I know how much it should cost, so when people quote me $20 for a manga book, I ask them to look for other shipping methods…

  4. oneandonlyjem says:

    This was a very good and informative article that on eBay.

    eBay is, without a doubt, definitely dangerous and accessible to most, if not all individuals. All of the points that you touched upon are psychological workings of an individual’s mind that makes them susceptible to fall into a multitude of eBay’s traps.

    It’s hard to say something about the 100% expensive figure that you highly desire versus the 50-70% figure that you only like on a certain level. The reasoning behind that is that some deals are too good relative to the item that you can’t simply pass it up. While I have always really wanted my figures, a similar principle, if not identical is that the more expensive figure genuinely has a higher level of quality than the batch of figures attained at a cheaper price. Despite knowing all of that in advance, I just can’t say “no” to a deal that is seldom seen, if at all, which is not to say that I will always go and splurge on items that are of lackluster or substandard quality just because it is dirt cheap.

    In times like that, it really is dependent upon the person, their financial situation, stance, and what luxury items that they’d deem as the necessity versus an impromptu purchase.

    Good read. XD

  5. Tommy says:

    This was definitely worth reading. ^^

    I’m not a newbie to eBay, so this topic doesn’t really concern me anymore, but everything is so true about it. Especially how addicting it is to “watch” the item you are bidding on. I tend to go for “buy it now” items nowadays since I don’t trust eBay’s system. For all I know, the seller could have his cousin bidding against you from the other end of the city.

    I think what you said doesn’t only apply to eBay, but shopping in general as well. You have to learn self-restraint, which I have failed miserably the last couple of months, and buy what you really want and not just something that you “want”.

    But I know all too well that it is hard to control yourself from buying something, especially if it is a hobby that you just started because you want “everything”. Just take a minute or two and think over “do you really want it, or are you getting it just because someone else has it?” That’s what I do now when deciding whether or not I should fork out whatever stupid amount of money the figure makers want to charge us for a piece of plastic.

    As for the 100% vs 50-70% purchases, I would definitely go for the “must get” figure because I know she’ll be loved for many years to come. Whereas the 50-70% figures could be retired two weeks later. I do buy a lot of “would like to have” figures from sales…which is a really great way to attain figures that you otherwise would skip on because of their price.

    I think you should touch on the topic of “Set Completion Addiction” as well. ^^

    • Guy says:

      Heh.
      I don’t suffer from “Set Completion Addiction”, so maybe someone else should.

      I’m very critical of things, so if something is not up to snuff, I dismiss it.

      There are right now two sales, a 20% discount sale for VISA purchases on Play-Asia and a really sweet sale on Toylet.
      There are several figures on Toylet I must get, but their international shipping charges are whack (this is why I hate static shipping charges, discounting the actual figure), $45 for EMS, and $40 for normal airmail, which makes no sense.
      The Asahina Mikuru maid (the blue dress version), Shigure Asa Ani, and hot damn, Mabinogi Nao Adventure version, which if the shipping was $20-25, I’d have ordered already :(
      Of course, many of their pre-sale prices are out of whack, due to USA import, customs charges, etc. So do compare to eBay and Hobby Search to see what actually is a good deal. But were I USA bound, damn.

      • lovelyduckie says:

        That sale is pretty good! I’m tempted to buy a 2nd Meifen and see if I can get the bow to fit better on this one. I’ve been torn over if the issue I’m having with the bow is JUST with mine or with them all.

      • Tommy says:

        I’ve bought from Toylet before, and they actually marked my package as gift at $20 so I didn’t get the ridiculous customs charge…gotta love the “handling fee” the smack on top of it.

        But I live north of the border so shipping isn’t as expensive as half way around the globe. Their $45 EMS to ship to you is actually pretty good considering how much the figure weighs. Last I checked, Canada Post charges $100 for EMS on a 500g package. ;)

        That Nao figure does look nice, I’ll look for more photos later.

      • Tommy says:

        @lovelyduckie I don’t think you should get another Meifen since mine have the same problem with the bow. I think it’s a flaw in the figure.

    • Guy says:

      I hates you :P

      Duckie, that is.
      You with your USA living, and your adult job, and your money!

      How do you live with yourself?
      Probably you use those figures to shore up your humanity!

      (To those who can’t read this thing without a note, I am not serious. You capitalist pigs!)

    • Guy says:

      Ah, I forgot before.

      My real issue with figures, even ahead of money, is space.

      Buggers take space, a lot of it.
      And you’ve seen my room.

    • Guy says:

      Maybe that last comment on the figures should go to the Sales thread? :D

      Current prices after emailing them:
      Airmail shipping is $35 for Nao, $45 for the other two figures together.
      Note though, their original prices are a bit out of whack, seeing that $40 for Airmail and $45 for EMS? There is usually a lot more difference.
      I got a huge package from Bluedrakon for $20 or so Airmail…
      And I paid $40 EMS for getting a PS2 slim and 6 games or so shipped to me, which came in a huge package, so I dunno.

  6. [...] on eBay, and I bid before checking her price. I was actually not counting on winning her… my eBay addiction got ahold of me. But I love Nel, so it’s [...]

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