Monday, June 1, 2009

Snipers on the Auction Seas (A Tragedy in 3 Acts)

Act I (In Which Our Hero Spies the Item of His Desires)

The Protagonist is perusing eBay. He spies a copy of Quarashi's self-titled debut CD.

The Protagonist: I need to buy this!

Chorus: When last you saw this item, it sold for $90. Your coffers are far too bare for such an undertaking.

The Protagonist: Nonsense! I'd never forgive myself if I didn't at least make an attempt.

Chorus: Then make your attempt, though it be in vain.

The Protagonist: Fifty dollars ought to at least give me a chance.

Chorus: Fifty dollars is a foolish number. It is neither so small as to be sensible, nor so large as to assure victory. Your efforts are both wasted and unwise.

The Protagonist: Not at all! See there? The bid is only at thirteen dollars right now.

Chorus: Four days yet remain. Temper your unchecked optimism.

Act II (In Which Ominous Signs Gather)

The Protagonist: I suppose I must tell my wife about my impending purchase.

Chrous: This ought to be good.

The Protagonist: I'm buying a CD.

The Wife: Why are you telling me this?

The Protagonist: It's sort of an expensive CD.

The Wife: What do you mean? How expensive?

The Protagonist: My high bid is fifty dollars?

The Wife: ...

The Protagonist: The current bid is only fifty dollars....wait....never mind it's at fifty dollars.

The Wife: ...

The Protagonist: Don't worry, it's a collectors item - any serious Quarashi fan would pay this much and more.

The Chorus: You talk about "serious Quarashi fans" as if they are tangible things that exist in this world.

The Wife: Are you out of your mind?

The Chorus: Our thoughts are akin.

Act III (In Which Hope Is Dashed Upon the Rocks)

The Protagonist: With one minute on the clock, I'm still in the lead.

Chorus: Sixty seconds is an eternity in this place.

{Forty Seconds Pass}

Masked eBay Sniper the first: I strike! Sixty dollars!

Masked eBay Sniper the second: HA! I strike! Seventy dollars!

The Protagonist: Wait! NO!

Chorus: Fifty dollars was already a fortune. Seventy would be too foolish even for you. Will you relent?

The Protagonist: Yes.

The Protagonist: This is ridiculous! The eBay system is built along the concept of a maximum bid being the highest you will pay for a given item. What point is there in this pointless sniping? If the user had placed seventy dollars as his maximum bid in the beginning, they still would probably have won the CD, and I wouldn't have had to go through all this nonsense. I'm sure it saved them a dollar or two, but so what? Stupid. I hate snipers.

Chorus: You are merely angry because it's a legitimate strategy and you're neither wealthy nor savvy enough to take advantage of it.


Chorus: Well?

The Protagonist: And what if I am?

Our hero resumes his searches, knowing them to be in vain.


  1. The benefit of eBay sniping is to keep your bidding intentions hidden. Early bids bring more attention which brings more bids, resulting in a higher final price.

    Automated sniping (, etc) saves you time as you do not have to be sitting at the computer when the auction that you're interested in ends.

    Also, if you change your mind and no longer want an item, if it is still active you can just cancel your scheduled snipe. If you place an early bid, you will have to file a bid retraction which could hurt you later, as some sellers put restrictions on items they offer and having bid retractions is one restriction that can be used.

    I do not see why people have a problem with sniping, as, as you mentioned, you still have to have the highest bid to win.

  2. "The Chorus: You talk about "serious Quarashi fans" as if they are tangible things that exist in this world."

    LOL!! That made me laugh hard.

  3. Well done. I laughed multiple times. But, yeah ... that sucks about the CD, my condolences.