You've got to be kidding me

Update: If you’re searching for images of the Montauk Monster, please see this post. If you are seeing ads with this post, I apologise; it is WordPress who have put them here, not me.

You’ve got to love eBay, don’t you? Between finding a sweater for a bargain in just the right colour or a copy of an old favourite book, it seems like you can find just about anything if you look hard enough. And then there are the bizarre auctions. I’m never quite sure what to make of those. Some are fun… others are so dumb they make your head hurt.

Why would people want to bid on some of these things? I can understand that a time machine has novelty value but buying someone’s used tissue? Or a hairball? Ew. I don’t need the tissue, the thought of it is enough to make me sick. And then today I saw Nana the Banana octopus. “Nana” is a used banana skin which has been dressed up as Nana Walker Bobana, a fake President… it’s so stupid I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

But it gets worse. Just after Nana I saw this: the body of an alien found on a beach in Florida. It’s possibly the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. And it went for $53! Are they out of their minds? If you’ve got too much money, give it to a charity, don’t waste it.

I don’t even see how it’s supposed to resemble an alien. It looks fake to me or like a turtle without its shell… and why are its arms in a superhero pose? I guess it just proves that there’s always someone who’ll buy anything… especially if it’s dried and preserved with “little otherworldly scents”. ๐Ÿ˜•

It’s interesting seeing everything that’s been created in the wake of eBay’s success. Most of these bizarre auctions are silly but they’ve become so popular that they’re an entire industry now. Without eBay PayPal wouldn’t have become as widely used as it is now and eBay’s support of Skype has helped it to become successful. It’s spun off a number of online auction tools – and that’s not even mentioning the sniping websites that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.

Sniping’s the main thing I dislike about eBay. Perhaps it’s the kind of items I bid on (usually CDs and DVDs) but I end up getting sniped in most of my auctions. I don’t mind being outbid but I hate being sniped at the last moment; it doesn’t break any of eBay’s rules but it’s infuriating and if I were a seller I’d be tempted to leave negative feedback; annoying as it is for bidders, the sniped bid is usually much lower for sellers, so they don’t like it much either.

We do have maximum bids, which in theory should protect bidders, but most people prefer incremental bids and it’s really up to eBay to level the field. But they won’t as sniping is part of the experience. And maybe it is… I’m just bitter as I’ve been sniped four times this week and two came in the last five seconds. But more people will do it if it seems like it’s the only way they can win.

I think the truth is that eBay needs a competitor. At the moment other auction sites can’t match its size and eBay’s dominance has allowed its auction services to stagnate even while branching out into other areas. It needs to become relevant again and perhaps competition is the best way to do that, which would benefit the consumer. Whether there’s a legitimate competitor out there, though, I don’t know… eBay might have too much of a monopoly already.

Anyway, I’ve just been frustrated; I hate being sniped and then I saw those bizarre auctions and it reminded me of how bloated eBay has become. I wonder what you think? Do you like eBay? Do you think a new competitor would be good for eBay? Does bid sniping bother you? Is it an alien, a turtle or something else? Let me know what you think. ๐Ÿ˜‰

10 thoughts on “You've got to be kidding me

  1. lmao I think you’re right about it being a turtle with out it’s shell….. don’t know why the arms are positioned as they are though. It’s funny at first, but now it’s just creepy.

    CJ: It does get creepy, doesn’t it? It reminds me of those art exhibitions made out of body parts… at first it’s interesting, but then it’s just morbid.

    The arms are strange; they almost look too thin to be real. I still can’t believe someone paid $53 for it! I hope they’re not going to cook it or something. Ew. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  2. cj, the answer is simple, the pic of the Floridian alien was purchased as it reminded the buyer of an old boyfriend. She plans to make a dart board out of it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS there are a few attempts to nudge ebay —sorry but their names totally escape me at the moment. I bought a few things and was satisified but the sweet thing about ebay is their warranty. People who misrepresent their products either from lack of knowledge or just down right swindlers are knocked down a notch with E-bays protection policy. This past holiday season I did most of my shopping online and 2 sellers were culprits. One totally misrepresented and the other did not ship the entire contents….even after I made inquires prior to buying. Friends told me ebay would assist. Ebay quickly and efficiently ruled in my favor and all my money including the shipping was promptly refunded. Hence, the big boys can stand behind their service while the competitors just don’t have the clout.

    CJ: You know, Deb, you might be on to something there! I’ve often wanted a dartboard for that, but I think I’ll stick to a wooden one. ๐Ÿ™‚

    There are some other good auctions sites out there. Bidville is one of the largest after eBay in the US and uBid is good for resale products. One of the interesting ones is Etsy, which is mainly for handmade products. But none of them are of the scale of eBay yet, so it’s hard to convince sellers to use them when there are fewer users to bid on auctions.

    You’re right, though, the main problem with these sites is that they don’t (and can’t) have the same level of protection as eBay. What to look for is if they support PayPal. You’re still protected if you use PayPal away from eBay; not to the same degree but more so than with other services. Etsy also has a policy where they’ll intervene in disputes. But that’s still the biggest advantage of eBay and probably the only one who could match it is Amazon.

    I’ve been lucky with eBay; I’ve received everything and a couple of items were misrepresented but were refunded without problems. You hear stories, though, so it’s good to be careful… what happened to you sounds nasty. ๐Ÿ˜•

  3. eeeeewwwwww! *super ghastly look on face* I just had to read your comment when i was eating didn’t I. I know I’m cheap and all, but $53 on a dried up turtle + shipping and handling is a complete waste of money.

    the world has gone mad. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    CJ: LOL! Sorry about that; I should have put a warning with this post, Don’t Read While Eating. It certainly makes you feel a bit squeamish, doesn’t it?

    And knowing eBay I bet the shipping and handling was marked up, so it’s probably like $100… I guess there’s someone to buy anything. The world went mad a long time ago! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Oh! that means you haven’t seen the entire section on used socks. Seriously, they have them.. and we’re not talking about the pretty socks that I’m so fond of.. nor stockings of sexy girls. We’re talking gym socks in the used socks section. I have my theory as to why they are there. Some auctions can go really high too. I do believe some have gone far higher than the price for that alien you mentioned!

    I suppose in a way there seems to be a market for everything. Perhaps it’s a lesson of: if you can think of it, they will invariably be trying to sell it on ebay. Like the time a young fella was trying to sell his virginity.

    As for the sniping, why haven’t you gotten in on the action? ๐Ÿ˜‰ It is hella annoying, yes. After the first few times it happened to me (mostly with new shoes and pretty sweaters), I decided to watch my bids. It always helps to slip in your maxium bid in the last 5 seconds just in case. That way you never show all your cards and can play that last ace up your sleeve for the win!

    CJ: Hi Bombshell, thanks for the comment! I almost split my side laughing about the socks. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have seen them but I like to know who’s worn my socks before I put them on, so I steer clear of eBay for that kind of thing. I saw a 3 pack going for $56 earlier, though, which left me speechless. You can get those new for $10 at K-Mart! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    Probably the most innovative auctions on eBay are those advertising ones, where pregnant women auction ads on their stomachs during their pregnancy. I find those very strange but they go for hundreds, so I guess it’s a business model. One guy even advertised a permanent tattoo on his forehead… I wonder what he’d do if the company went out of business?

    A few people have said that about sniping. I usually place bids on the last day but personally I don’t like to snipe… if I do it too then I’m not really setting much of an example! It’s not really sniping that bothers me; it’s the websites I don’t like. If a human places a bid at the last moment, I can live with that. But using these websites to do it, I think that’s cheating; and I hate being outbid by a machine!

    I have a theory about that, actually. I think that’s how the Terminators will rise; first we give them control of eBay, then before we know it we’re at war with all the machines! Too far-fetched? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. CJ, your writing is great and so much fun to read!

    This alien is very creepy. Perhaps it’s a dried chicken carcasse with head and arms attached?

    It reminds me of League Of Gentlemen’s “Beast of Royston Vasey”…

    “I can only conclude that we have been confronted by a new speciesโ€ฆsome form of monstrous basilisk, the like of which the world has never seen.”

    Which turned out to be created from the local zoo’s goat, pig and a chimp!

    (Sorry, I’m League of Gentlemen mad).

    K

    CJ: Hi Kara, thanks for stopping by! And for the compliment; I love writing and blogging but it’s a long process for me, so knowing people enjoy it makes it all worthwhile. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    It could be a chicken carcass; it looks about the right size and shape. I’m actually starting to find it a bit sad now; to think someone is doing this to the remains of some poor animal is quite disturbing… but I guess there’s someone who’ll buy anything.

    I don’t think I’ve seen The League of Gentlemen but that’s too funny! It kind of reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons where Bart catches a three-eyed fish. I’ll have to check out the show, though; sounds like my kind of humour! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. yes you really should of put a warning, it does make me a bit squeamish….especially since 90% of the time I’m reading and commenting, i’m also eating. ๐Ÿ™‚ *pops handful of jelly beans in mouth*

    so turtle+shipping and handling = approx $100…. do you know how much jelly beans I could of bought with that money? a lot! people these days. *shakes head disapprovingly*

    @Kara: lol “Beast of Royston Vasey” that was funny. the mouth part does look like a chicken beak was attached to it. ๐Ÿ˜€

    CJ: Ah, so you’re another who likes to eat and comment, NW? I am too; usually just peanuts but I love chocolate! How do you type if your hands get sticky from the jelly beans? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And I agree; why can’t they do something constructive with their money? I mean, think of all the lottery tickets they could buy… they could get dozens and still lose! ๐Ÿ˜†

  7. I wasn’t planning to comment on this post since I don’t use ebay and therefore can have no useful opinion. However it seems serendipitous that I received this invitation to someone’s online store in my email spam this afternoon: “Used g-strings for sale”
    Um, no thank you, on so many levels… ๐Ÿ˜•

    CJ: So you don’t use eBay, Muse? I thought you might have used it to get rid of your desert spoon. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have a love-hate relationship with eBay but it’s been great for some of the music I like, which isn’t available over here.

    Used g-strings? Ew. I guess there really are people who buy that kind of stuff… but why? Actually, no, I don’t want to know! Isn’t spam fun? ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  8. u know, thats just a piece of wood to me ๐Ÿ˜‰ nothin Special ;P just well carved… u can see the splinters, and stuff, idk.

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