You're Screwing Up My eBay!

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Blog entry by Eric posted 02-24-2008 07:20 AM 1659 reads 0 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The following is a rant, provided free of charge to LumberJocks and visitors.

I’m sick and tired of inexperienced eBayers who are jacking prices up on items I’m wanting to buy. I doubt that they are doing it intentionally. In fact, you may be among the guilty ones. Here is the kind of person I am ranting against:

You see a perfectly nice item, maybe even a perfectly nice old item. You see that it is listed for, say, $10.00. You commit and bid, thinking to yourself, “You know, I just may walk away with this beautiful 1930s tool with original box and replacement blades for only $10.00!” Let me guarantee you that you won’t. There are, no doubt, at least 30-50 (if not hundreds) of people who scour eBay every day for these old tools. They will not be troubled by your little $10.00 bid. All you have done is provoked them, along with a handful of other naive eBayers who think that they will win the tool for $10.50, $11.00 and so on.

My personal belief, and feel free to prove me wrong, is that early bids do nothing but jack up the final price of the item. Early bids get more people involved early, and will more likely result in bidding wars. All well and good for eBay and for the seller, but not for the buyer. This, incidentally, is the very same reason that when I sell on eBay, I start the bidding on every auction (no matter the item) at $1.00. I’ve only once gotten anything less than a fair price for what I sell.

I wish people would wait until the last couple of hours to place bids. I want the price to stay low as long as possible, to the extent that some people forget about the item in their ‘Watching’ list. I myself place one bid, as late as possible in the auction. I’ve already done my research and have firmly decided what my top bid will be. So if I am outbid in the end, I don’t mind.

I just hate having that bid topped with three days left in the auction, before I’ve even placed the bid. Jerks!


P.S. I hope you all know that I really don’t take any actual offense to your eBay practices. I’m merely indulging in a little whining after seeing yet another sought-after tool go over my limit with plenty of time left in the auction. Don’t worry, I’ll pick myself off the floor in a while.

[This entry was taken from my personal website, Adventures in Woodworking.]

-- Eric at

26 comments so far

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3896 days

#1 posted 02-24-2008 11:48 AM

As you said, I think the key is knowing how much you are willing to spend on an item. Then don’t exceed that amount. A similar item will likely show up later.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4182 days

#2 posted 02-24-2008 12:09 PM

yah the nerve of people outbidding you on your item!! hmph :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Josh's profile


119 posts in 3960 days

#3 posted 02-24-2008 12:23 PM

I use to sell on ebay and I’m a fan of the bid early and bid often. To me it is a little silly when there is 5 bids in the last minute. Works out great for the buyer, but the seller is the one that is going to pack up what you just bought. I don’t know. I have stopped doing much of anything on ebay. To much hassle.

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3818 days

#4 posted 02-24-2008 12:38 PM

Someone, somewhere, is typing a blog entry bemoaning people who only bid in the last couple of hours ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3805 days

#5 posted 02-24-2008 12:41 PM

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4043 days

#6 posted 02-24-2008 01:38 PM

Bid what you think the item is worth to you and win it or let it go.
In essence that’s what the final bidder does.
This stink bidding merely protracts the agony of the wait.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3844 days

#7 posted 02-24-2008 03:05 PM

I am like you Eric, in that I always wait until less than a minute to go before placing a bid but I do not go over what I have determined my preset limit to be. If I get it fine, but like rikkor says another one will appear shortly.

The biggest difficulty I have with Ebay is that buyers often are caught up in auction fever. I recently was watching a dovetail saw that sold for more than the direct purchase price from Lie-Nielsen. Go figure.

Keep bidding. If you are patient you will get what you want at the price you are willing to pay.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3805 days

#8 posted 02-24-2008 03:26 PM

Yeah, I honestly don’t have a problem with eBay or even with these early and frequent bidders. I do think it’s silly of them to “show their hand” so early, but hey, their loss. I just felt like ranting because I’m tired of watching and watching and waiting for my target price items.

I also try to do enough searches so that I’ll hopefully find that mint condition Stanley #71 router plane that has been grossly mis-listed by the seller as “Saintley Hedge Trimmer (I Really Don’t Know What It’s For But It Has a 71 On It)”.

-- Eric at

View Robb's profile


660 posts in 3956 days

#9 posted 02-24-2008 03:41 PM

I’m a fan of sniping auctions at the last minute, especially since a friend told me about Bidnapper, a service that does the sniping for you. You just put in the auction item number, and what your max bid is, then it snipes your bid in during the last 4-5 seconds of the auction. You don’t have to watch, or worry about entering your bid for that auction that’s ending at 2 am. It’s saved me a ton of money, and won me some things that I otherwise wouldn’t have.

-- Robb

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3821 days

#10 posted 02-24-2008 04:16 PM

In the end, it actually makes me laugh when stuff ends up selling at auction for more than the actual retail. I know what my max is and bid it. If I get it, cool! If I don’t, I will try again another time. If you value your time, and know that it has worth, the time people waste by sitting for hours bidding and watching has a cost. If minimum wage is around 6 dollars and hour and you waste 2 hours trying to save 5 bucks, you suffer from economic amnesia. I also hope that oyu value your time far above minimum wage.

-- making sawdust....

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4422 days

#11 posted 02-24-2008 04:26 PM

I don’t know of any counts, but I’m guessing that the number of people are growing like the counts on LJ. You used to be able to see some sanity in the bidding process.

But, then again I’m a buyer and not a seller. I’m sure the sellers are happier now.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Bulldog's profile


7 posts in 3774 days

#12 posted 02-24-2008 04:49 PM

I really enjoy auctions. When my wife goes with me she often asks, “Are you bidding?” I can now say “yes” without moving my lips.
At a ranch dispersal sale I saw a pallet of 200 T-posts go for $2.75 (each) when you could buy the same size NEW for $1.75.
On ebay I just bid exactly my highest bid. If I get it for less – great.
Unfortunaly the local auction house now requires a $300.00 cash deposit to get a number. They also reserve the right to black-ball you if you do not remove the item in three days.
Another rule I have is that if I get auction fever (yes, you can feel it) I am out of here!

Enjoy life.

-- Bulldog

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4136 days

#13 posted 02-24-2008 04:51 PM

I also snipe my eBay auctions. I use to place my bids 3 seconds before the auction ends.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3984 days

#14 posted 02-24-2008 05:06 PM

It’s a little like the auctionier said,” We’ll never let you pay too much.” I think I bought my first item at an auction when I was 12. For years I frequented livestock auctions and bought cattle and horses. I also bought at a lot of farm and ranch sales. The rules are simple; know what it’s worth, know how much you are willing to pay for it, and don’t go over it. You have to know when to get out. There are a lot of games played at auctions and on E-Bay as well. Educate yourself before you leave home. And don’t forget, “We’ll never let you pay too much!!!”

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4043 days

#15 posted 02-24-2008 05:22 PM

Thomas, like you I have a long history at the auction houses.
My personal experience with live auctions is that often the bidding war starts by the auctioneer deliberately starting the bidding at a ridiculously low point.
If it is something I want I counter bid at very near my low estimate and blow off the triflers.
The next step is rapid fire bidding where I immediately take the bid to the next level when I am out bid until I reach my maximum.
The next thing is to quit. There’s alway tomorrow


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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