Tuesday, 18 May 2004

The Stag at eBay

For a couple of years I enjoyed myself selling a huge variety of items on eBay. I gave up because the experienced antiques dealer I was working with decided to retire from the trade; he had nobly undertaken the packing and despatch of everything we sold, and apart from missing his expertise I didn’t fancy spending much of my spare time with bubble wrap and brown paper.

I found that completing a successful sale usually involved sending or receiving about a dozen emails. Most buyers are friendly and efficient and I had some happy exchanges of correspondence; I am still proud of the blue star I got for my eighty positive feed-backs. There was one buyer who dithered for four weeks, then sent a cheque (or rather, check) for the wrong amount, then said he wanted to cancel the deal. However, I forgave him when he wrote '...sorry for the incontinence'.

I have been greatly taken by an eBay story passed on to me by a Californian friend, P J Tafka, about a man in Seattle who put his divorced wife’s wedding dress (sleeveless, large, looked like a shower curtain) up for auction last month, no reserve. This produced a first bid of $1, then 113 more bids, a final winning bid of $3,850, five invitations to ball games in other states, and five proposals of marriage. The first part of the story, now widely known in the States through the talk shows, is told on a lavishly illustrated website.

Sadly, things then got complicated and less happy; there is now a book based on the story.

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