Granted, the reason I’ve never won anything on eBay before is because I never bid on anything, but still, this is a big deal.
Actually, precisely because I never tried before, it’s a huge deal.
I’ve bought a lot of things from the site using the wonderful “buy it now” feature. “Buy it now” makes sense to me. “Buy it now” is clear, direct, easy. “Buy it now” doesn’t require any mind gymnastics aside from maybe the question of can I afford this. When I have the opportunity to eliminate doubt from an action, to take charge and not rely on luck, I’m going to take advantage of it.
Why people like bidding on eBay items–deliberately introducing suspense and doubt into their purchasing process–was something I could never understand. Why would you, if given the chance to make your odds entirely in your favor, turn it down and risk not only paying more but losing the item forever? Why, if you could lessen even a small amount of worry in your life, would someone knowingly increase it?
Having now won my first auction, I still can’t begin to answer those questions. (And please note I only bid on the item because “buy it now” wasn’t an option.) Watching the clock tick down as it neared the end of the bidding period, waiting to place my bid until the last minute–as I’ve heard was a pro strategy–I was a nervous wreck. What if someone jumped in and started pushing the bidding up to an amount I wasn’t willing to pay? This hour of switching back to the browser to double-triple-quadruple-check the time remaining would have been for nothing.
The most intense moments came as I placed my bid with less than a minute to go. My computer suddenly started loading the pop-up boxes extremely slowly. Finally I thought I had placed my bid but then was asked for an upper ceiling, and the first number I entered was too low. I had to refresh the box with only 6 seconds left in the auction, and by the time it loaded, I was sure time had run out. Once I submitted the bid, a page loaded that said the auction had ended, and I saw there was 1 bid. Since I hadn’t gotten mine in before time was up, that meant someone else had won.
So that stranger did exactly what I had tried to do–get the bid in just under the wire–and did it successfully. I could try to explain the deep pain of regret cutting into my chest, but I still don’t think you would fully comprehend how much it hurt.
Then–I refreshed my email and saw the sweetest words: YOU WON.
My bid had gone through, no one had been bidding against me, and I had been completely alone in my neurotic worries the entire time.
Was it worth it? No. Why anyone would deliberately put themselves under that sort of stress is beyond me. Would I do it again? Only if the item is my own limb that has somehow been unattached and put up to auction.
And even then, only if there aren’t any other bids on it with 2 minutes left.