Saturday, January 28, 2012

eBay -- Knowing when to quit

Oh well, better luck next time.
I just walked away from an eBay item I was bidding on. And it was very hard.

In my post eBay Reality I talked about the importance (at least for me) of knowing the total cost of an item. I ran across this Industrial Rail work caboose that I thought would be a nice addition to my O Gauge Zen Garden. (the actual item doesn't matter for the point I'm making)

The opening bid was $0.99, which seemed a like a good deal. Shipping was $9.49. Now we're not talking about an especially rare or collectible item here. The Industrial Rail rolling stock isn't on par with Lionel for desirability. Mostly they're wanted by operators who want to add cars to their trains (that's actually why the line was produced).

The Industrial Rail pieces I've accumulated have all come from the big toy train meets in York, PA. Most of them I purchased for $10 - $15, which is a fair price.

Throughout most of the auction, I was the only bidder, so it looked like the $0.99 offer would hold. But in my mind, I wasn't offering $0.99, I was offering $10.48 which included the shipping cost. It was the total amount I was obliged to pay. I had even set my max bid to $10.00, or $19.99 total. It was a little higher than I was used to paying, but not too much higher.

The current bid is $10.50, which topped my bid. It was tempting to go to $11.00. After all, I was used to paying up to $15 for these things. But with shipping, that would have pushed it to $20.99, and that's over my limit. So rather than up it to $11.00, then $11.50, and then who knows what, I'm not responding.

Taking into account the total cost has saved me from many Pyrrhic bidding victory.

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