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I sometimes find myself wondering what your average "eBay-er" is thinking! With a bunch of money sitting in PayPal, I've been desperately trying to buy some Xbox 360 games via eBay. I say "trying" because I can't seem to win a single auction!

When I spot a game that I'd like to bid on, I first visit BestBuy's site to determine the current retail price of the item. From there, I make a few more adjustments to the amount that I'm willing to bid:

  1. Most importantly, I subtract the shipping and handling charges from my maximum bid. I will never pay more than retail price for anything I buy off eBay. And buying a game for $15 less than retail price makes very little difference if the S&H charges exceed $20.

  2. If the game is used, I'll take an additional $5 - $10 off my maximum bid. If I buy a used game, I expect a little wear and tear on my item. If I were to buy a used game from EB Games, I could return my purchase for exchange if the game I bought happened to be too damaged. Unfortunately, this same level of service is not easily obtainable for online purchases - especially for those made via an auction site such as eBay. The $5 - $10 that I take off my bid is simply a way for me to feel good about my purchase should any annoyances arise after the used game arrives by mail.
Now here's the problem: every time I make a reasonable bid, someone comes in at the last minute and overpays for the item. Is this some sort of a macho-bullshit-type-thing where someone really wants a game and is willing to pay more than retail price simply to win the auction?

Recently, I made a bid of $22 for F.E.A.R. - basically a scary first-person shooter game. The shipping and handling charges for the item were $7.95; I was basically willing to pay $30 for a used copy of F.E.A.R.. In stores, F.E.A.R. sells for anywhere between $35 and $40. I lost the auction when two guys (or gals, I guess) came in and drove the price up to $37 before the auction ended. Why would anyone overpay for an item this way? Either one of these bidders could have ordered the game brand-new from BestBuy or Amazon and had it shipped for the same amount that they bid for a used eBay version of the game.

So I started looking into eBay bidding strategy tips to see if someone could explain this phenomenon. The only piece of advice I found encouraged savvy eBay-ers to wait until the last hour to start bidding. WTF?! I really don't understand this logic. If there's an item that I want, I place my maximum bid on the item and forget about it. I don't want to change my bid once it's been placed since I don't want to give in to the "gotta win it" mentality that others seem to display. And I definitely don't want to get involved in a last-minute bidding war either. I guess this advice makes sense if you're trying to win an item for very little money; however, I'm just trying to pay retail price for a damned game!

Anyway, I guess I'm just frustrated with the whole process. Just like my recent sit-and-go performance, my success rate at winning eBay auctions has dropped quite low. I'm currently riding a 0/20 bidding streak right now.

I'd be a little more upset if I didn't have a stack of fifteen games sitting at home waiting to be played...

PS: Still no poker played this weekend. I never got more than 30 minutes of uninterrupted free time all weekend. Worst-case scenario? I find some time to play poker in early summer of 2008...

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