Friday, November 9, 2007

An appoach to eBay

I have been spending more time thinking about tatting than actually tatting.

I am a full time parent (three boys with one still at home) and with the cold season started, science fairs and scouts I can go an entire day with out a free moment.

But I have been lucking in adding a few great instructional / pattern books to my collection recently.

I think like most crafts persons / artist I have a tendency to accumulate a nice supply of tools and references.

Recently I have started using eBay and have a few thoughts on that process.

I learned when accumulating a few of the made in England Aero Shuttles that my best approach was to determine the maximum I am willing to pay and if at all possible wait until there are only a couple of minutes left in the auction.

I also try to find items I want with enough lead time so I can do some research. As an example, one book I recently won was still available through Amazon market place, though not any other place at anything approaching a reasonable price, if at all. I took the Market Place price plus the standard postage and subtracted the eBay postage. This became my maximum bid.

I entered the bid with two minutes left in the auction. At that time the current bid was less than a third of my maximum bid. I saw three other attempts to out bid me occur before the auction ended. The final bid was still below the Market Place price. And even a three dollar savings will buy a ball of thread or a couple of crochet hooks.

So in this case eBay automatically increases my bid until the maximum is reached.

My latest win, so to speak, is probably the most telling about doing your research.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a crafts fair at a local church and saw some really wonderful crochet. There was one piece I really loved but my wife and I both thought this is what I make and we really do not have a lot of room for displaying large doilies.

I found a pattern book on eBay that reminded of the elements that I liked in that doily so I decided I had to have it.

Now here is where research pays off. The book is out of print and not available through any of the second hand sources I can find. But I did find that someone was selling the same book with just a "buy now" price on eBay. This should have been straight forward except that one seller used the subtitle and the other used the actual title.

The "buy now" seller’s end time was later than the auction seller’s end time so I added the buy now price to the postage and subtracted the auction seller’s postage. This gave me my maximum bid.

The auction ended early evening and I arrived home from picking up my sons mid afternoon. I checked the biding as soon as I could and saw that the bidding had already exceeded my maximum so I immediately purchased the copy with the buy now price.

I do not know how much I would have bid had the other copy not been available and I do think that the winning bid plus postage was not an unreasonable amount.

I do not know who I feel for most: The person who paid 61% more than I did or the person whose lost the bidding. There were only two bidders and at least one watcher.

Looking at the bidding the winner used a maximum bid entry. You can tell since the winning bid was placed earlier that the challengers’ bids.

The challenger quit two hours before the auction ended, so they also had a maximum bid in mind.

Well now you know how I approach eBay, I hope it helps you, except of course against me.

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