With five minutes to go, my heart began to pound. Sweat moistened my palms, and I wiped them from time to time before pressing “F5” to refresh my internet browser.
An eBay auction was ending soon, and I wanted to win.
My prize? Getting to pay the price I wanted for a pair of long Gap maternity jeans.
I’m no stranger to the internet auction site, and lately, I’ve found some great deals on maternity wear. But the thing is, if you’re not careful, you could get caught up with the excitement of the moment, the desire to win–and pay more money than you originally intended.
I’m extremely competitive and if I have a chance to win something, I do my best to do so.
We need to be cautious about the language used on that site — “winning” an auction.
To avoid last-minute temptation by increasing my maximum bid higher than I’m comfortable, I do one of two things:
I choose “buy it now” listings instead of auction ones. That way, I know the final price and I’m not waiting for other bidders or for the listing to expire.
I search other web sites and other auctions to find out how much similar items have sold for. When you log in to your eBay account, you can view “completed listings” to see these prices.
If you’re seeking an item that isn’t totally unique and you aren’t in a huge hurry to own it, you can afford to pass on an out-of-control auction.
With regard to the maternity pants I wanted, I knew that the price I wanted to beat was $25. Old Navy has long length maternity jeans online for about $25 (plus $7 shipping), and several eBay auctions for the Gap line were selling for $22-30 with shipping included.
Since it’s still summer, and since I’m not particularly pregnant-looking yet, I knew I could take my time to bid on these auctions.
I found a listing for cute pants in my size, and the price was right so I gave it a shot.
I established my maximum price: $23.51 with shipping. I knew that if several bidders wanted the item and the price jumped higher than that, I would not continue to bid, since I knew I could find similar items somewhere else.
I didn’t bid until the last minute, and I put my maximum price in at that time. I didn’t want to risk increasing my max bid by $1 or so at a time, and then have my computer freeze and miss out. Some people choose to bid in small increments, hoping they’ll be able to pay less. That strategy doesn’t work for me.
I ended up “winning” the auction for cheaper than my maximum price. I paid $23.72 (this includes a $1.30 charge for package insurance, so if you want to get technical, it was $0.21 more than my max price).
I know that some bidders are really annoyed at people who swoop in and win an auction with just moments to go. Sorry. That’s how the game is played. If you wanted the item, you should have set your maximum bid higher. If someone else was willing to pay more money than you, then they should be able to buy the item.
How do you bid on eBay? What great deals have you found on that site?