-- G. M. Trevelyan --
eBay just got a lot more dangerous for me.
Let's take muumuus for example. In the awful heat and humidity we'd been having, I found the muumuus I had bought in Hawaii in the late '90s and early 2000s were wonderful. So I went to the internet to see if I could find two or three more.
I prefer the lighter cotton or rayon blends, in a straight style that falls from the bust to the ankles and skims the hips, with no gathers above the knee. Hilo Hattie's and the other stores in Hawaii didn't have what I like at a reasonable price. The name brand dresses run at least $70, and almost all had gathers above the bust, and the current fashion seems to be that heavy bark-cloth-like cotton. So I went to eBay, where I found lots of "vintage" dresses that were exactly what I wanted. I bought a few, none of them over $25, most well under, and I'm happy with them. There were others I liked even better, nicer colors, nicer prints, but they were over $30 (plus shipping) and I didn't want to go that high.
And then, I accidentally discovered "Or Best Offer".
I hate bargaining. One is expected to bargain in Morocco, nothing has a reasonable set price, and I hated every second of it. I feel like I'm insulting the shopkeeper when I tell him how little I think his item is worth. I suspect I paid way too much for everything, and the weird thing is that the business people sneer at you if you pay too much. It's awful. So when I've seen "Or Best Offer" on eBay items, I ignored it, and if I wanted the item, I just paid the posted price.
This afternoon I found these two dresses, exactly what I wanted, but both way out of my price range. (Photos are blurry because the only photos you can copy off eBay are the tiny thumbnails. They don't enlarge well, but you get the idea.) The brown is a classic Hawaiian floral fabric. The pink is hibiscus flowers.
Well, I figure that there's a difference between bargaining with a Moroccan shopkeeper to his face, and with a faceless eBay seller who is free to reject the offer. At least I won't see the sneer. The brown dress was nearing the end of its listing time on eBay, so I decided to try that "Best Offer" button. I made a ridiculously low offer given what she had listed the dress at, and well below my limit. I was just trying it out, you know? I didn't expect the offer to be accepted. It was ridiculous.
It was immediately accepted! My chin almost hit the desk!
I then went to the pink dress which I liked even more but had been listed at an even higher price and had another three weeks to go on its listing, made my pitiful low-ball offer, and again it was immediately accepted. (Given that if you email a seller, it usually takes a few hours for them to get back to you, I suspect that when the seller set up the "Best Offer" option, they also set the absolute lowest offer they'll accept, and that's why I got immediate acceptance. Gee. Now I'm wondering if I could have gone lower.)
Wow. I may be be in trouble now. Hunting down bargains. Temptations. Oh, my. I'm already known on eBay as a sniper. I may become known as a low-baller.
Meaning on eBay:
- Bid - how high are you willing to go? (I snipe in the last 5 seconds so I can't be bid up.)
- Buy It Now (BIN) - Pay the price listed or move on.
- Buy It Now with the 'Or Best Offer' option - How low will the seller go?