I need a new winter coat. I decide one of those stylish but warm duffel coats, with a hood and toggles, would be perfect. 

So I Google 'duffle coats' and follow a link and find myself on ebay. I scroll through a page of coats and then I stop. A black duffel coat. Wow!  My eyes open wide. I grin. This is the coat for me. I need that coat. I rush off to share my excitement with my husband Andy. (There’s time. There’s still 25 minutes until the end of the auction.)

“Andy, I’ve found a duffel coat on ebay. It’s my size: small. The starting bid is $100. It’s nearly new. It was originally $400.”

“Buy it,” says Andy.

So I rush back to my computer. (There’s now only 23 minutes and 10 seconds left until the end of the auction.) I’m tempted to place a bid for that perfect coat right away. Then I remind myself there’s no hurry. I still have 22 minutes and 28 seconds. It doesn’t look like anyone else is interested so I can take my time.

So while I’m waiting, I decide to find out whether that particular brand of coat really does cost $400 new. I Google the word 'Policot'. (Or something like that. I forget the real brand name.) And I end up on a men’s clothing site. I Google again hoping to find the women’s section… and end up back amongst the men’s clothes.

I sit thinking about this for a while. (A short while. The clock is ticking down.) Then it suddenly dawns on me that the coat on ebay is a man’s coat. I rush back to have another look. My heart sinks. My perfect coat isn’t quite so perfect after all. I'm not a small man. I’m not a man at all. I'm so disappointed.

My disappointment soon turns to relief. I’ve just had a narrow escape. I might have ended up spending $100 (plus $10 postage) on a beautiful but useless duffel coat. It’s not as if I could have given it to Andy. He’s a big man, not a small one. And I couldn’t have given it to our dog as a blanket. We don’t have a dog. I guess the cats might have liked it.

It’s not the first time I’ve made an ebay mistake. I remember when I bid $5000 for an old retro Polly Pocket doll’s house. I saw this little pink house with its tiny Polly doll (it was so cute) and I just had to have it for my youngest daughter. I wanted it so much, I was willing to pay top price. I placed my bid and sat back with a satisfied grin. I was going to win this auction, I was sure!

About half an hour later, I returned to the computer to see how the bidding was going. (There were only 33 minutes until the auction finished.) And I screamed.

“Andy, Andy… I bid $5000 for a second-hand Polly doll's house, and it looks like I’m going to win.” (How could I lose?) My voice was shaking. I was shaking.

“Why did you do that?” cried my long-suffering husband, jumping out of his chair. “We don’t have $5000!”

“I didn’t mean to,” I cried. Tears were swimming down my cheeks. “I thought I bid $50. I must have added a couple of zeros by mistake.”

What were we going to do? Andy and I walked up and down, wringing our hands. Then we walked around and around in circles. “No more ebay!” my husband ordered. I meekly agreed.

And then I remembered we now only had 21 minutes until my bid beat everyone else’s... until we had to exchange $5000 for a second-hand toy. I returned to the computer. Could anything be done?

Soon I was chatting (pleading) online with a very helpful and calm ebay person. I explained my problem and she kindly changed my bid for me... down to $50. I was so relieved. It took hours for me to stop shaking. I kept thinking, “$5000…”

As you can tell, I didn’t understand how ebay works. Of course, I would never have paid $5000 for that exquisite little house… unless someone had bid $4999 and a few cents. And who would have been so stupid to do that?

I was a newbie ebayer. And I’d had a scare. I decided I’d better get informed. I borrowed a book about ebay from the library. (If you have ever wondered who borrows such books, wonder no longer.) I found out all kinds of interesting things. I was doing everything wrong. But I soon learnt. No more ebay? I forgot all about that promise. I was soon bidding for all kinds of things. And winning.

I bid for Pumpkin Patch skirts for my daughters. Oh, they were so pretty! I bid on lots of them. I won lots of them. I paid for lots of them. Lots of parcels started arriving on our doorstep. The girls smiled a lot. That made me happy. Ebay is wonderful.

But being able to get pretty clothes for my girls at bargain prices isn’t the best thing about ebay. No; the best thing is the final 5 seconds of each auction. I sit there, mouse in hand, ready to make my one and only bid. Should I leave it one more second? Yes? No? I can hardly breathe. Now! I place my bid. There’s no time for anyone else to beat it. The clock has run down. I’ve won! I’ve won yet another Pumpkin Patch skirt! I grin.

My girls no longer need any Pumpkin Patch skirts. I haven’t bid for anything on ebay for a long time. I miss the thrill of the chase. Perhaps I should look for something else that's beautiful to bid for. Maybe a dress… a frock. (Don’t you just love that quaint sounding word?) I had a very special frock when I was a little girl. It was a party frock. 

But wait! That is my ‘F’ story and I will tell it tomorrow!

Image: Gemma-Rose wearing a Pumpkin Patch skirt.


Post a Comment

  1. E for enjoyable post! I've thought about ebay, but haven't been brave enough to try it, for the very reason you wrote of here. I just know I'd spend a thousand dollars when I wanted to spend ten, and would wind up with a gorilla...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy,

      I think I'll delete my story and place your comment in its place! It's so good. A gorilla? Oh my! I am laughing out loud and everyone is wondering why!

      Delete
  2. Never have I tried ebay, but I've used the local Danish second-hand e-papers several times. Just never for buying clothes. Clothes is one of the things, I hate buying, I always put it off until I have no more items, that are not worn out, the I hurry and find something that suits me, and fits, then I buy 3 in diffrernt colours, so that I can keep avay from the dressing room for a long time. I learn quite a lot new dress-related words from this challenge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Uglemor,

      I hate buying myself clothes too. I am always looking out for things for the girls and I can never resist buying them pretty clothes. But myself? I can't be bothered. I can do without trying on clothes in the changing rooms or taking it back when it doesn't fit... And I can never find anything that I like. I guess I should make more effort. Everything in my wardrobe is looking a little faded and worn. If I don't pay more attention to my clothes, everyone will wonder about that poor worn out looking woman who walks besides those well dressed girls!

      Delete
  3. Wait--if you bid $5,000, that's just the max you're willing to pay. So you shouldn't have owed $5,000 even if she hadn't changed your bid for you unless someone else bid you all the way up to that. It only keeps bidding on your behalf until you get up to $5,000...unless I'm misunderstanding. I bid $5 for clothing items all the time that are currently at $2. Unless someone comes along and bids it up, $2 is all I'll pay when the auction closes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephanie,

      You are quite right. Yes, there was no need to panic, but I didn't realise that at the time. I guess it pays to find out how ebay works before jumping in and bidding. It sounds like you are an experienced ebayer. A $2 bargain is wonderful. Maybe I should stick with small bids!

      Delete
  4. Oh gosh! I have been on ebay since 1997 and boy do I have my fair share of seller and buyer stories! I also put in a couple of extra numbers by mistake. Thankfully back then ebay allowed you to remove your own bids for good reasons. It was still stressful as I thought I would not be able to get it fixed before time ran out!

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    Replies
    1. Chrystal,

      Oh yes, when the clock is ticking it gets really stressful when you've made a mistake! You've been on ebay for a long time. I only had the courage to try it a couple of years ago. I couldn't understand all the rules and regulations you've got to sign before you can be a user. It looked so complicated so I stayed away for a long time. Then I found something I really wanted. I agreed to all the conditions and signed up. I must say, despite the mistakes, I've actually bought some wonderful bargains on ebay.

      Delete
  5. That was so enjoyable! (but it obviously wasn't for you at the time LOL). You are such a good writer...I was breathless..has she paid all that money? Will ebay relent? Will her husband? I *really* enjoyed this post!

    My blog is at GenWestUK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ros,

      I have learnt that those not-so-enjoyable times will come in handy at a later date. They make such good stories! Wouldn't life be boring if everything went smoothly every day?

      I am so glad you enjoyed my story. Thank you so much for reading it and leaving your kind words. I will be sure to visit your blog very soon.

      Delete
  6. What a wonderful post! I loved it as I smiled my way through it. You were certainly lucky about the $5000 bid! My husband loves eBay. I've never used it.

    Mary Montague Sikes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary,

      Can you imagine paying $5000 for a second-hand toy? Oh my! I am so glad I misunderstood the situation and everything was okay after all. Even though I would never have been expected to pay $5000, I learnt a lesson that day and now I'm always very careful when I place my bids. Thank you so much for smiling and enjoying my post!

      Delete
  7. Aaaah - Ebay :-) That's where my china replacements have come from. I've also purchase books from ebay...and spare parts for various things ;-) It is so much fun to receive packages in the mail! Love the pumpkin skirts and will have to go google them....

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    Replies
    1. Beate,

      I've also bought some great books from ebay. The girls were collecting the Chalet School series at one time. They were out of print books and when I found some on ebay we were tempted! I think I recently saw some of the Chalet School books as newly released Kindles books. It's good to see the great old series being made available once more.

      We love receiving all the packages in the mail too! It feels like Christmas. I just love ordering and buying online because we don't have many good shops near us. A few clicks of the mouse and something is on its way to our little village!

      Delete
  8. Sue I had a very big chuckle! I can just imagine your panic. I used to buy a bit on EBay from overseas but in NZ we have a site called TradeMe, it is much more user friendly and they have this cunning little trick where if someone bids within the last minute the auction extends by 2 minutes to give someone else the chance to bid. So an auction can go another 10-20 minutes if you are in a bidding war with someone. I end up yelling at the computer, "it's mine, it's mine, go away, it's mine" ... the Papa just shakes his head and walks away laughing.

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    Replies
    1. Lisa,

      Ooh! I don't know if I like TradeMe's cunning little trick. It sounds like the tension could go on and on and on... I can imagine bidding well past my intended price just because I hate to give in when there's a battle going on.

      I end up yelling at the computer, "it's mine, it's mine, go away, it's mine" ... That is so funny! Sounds like something I would do!

      Delete
  9. Stopping by on the 6th day of the #challenge, Congratulations on your blog. I'm writing about gardening and related topics if you have time or interest. Come see me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stepheny,

      You have a delightful blog! I really enjoyed visiting you. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog to say hello.

      Delete

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