Originally Posted by quietstorm
I agree, there is so much irrational behavior in eBay due to people´s emotions.
However, there is a large amount of eBay users who´s objective is not to win but to acquire at a low price as well. For this, people use for example sniping, either by hand or by using sniping software. The practice of sniping, however, is of questionable value, whether it´s totally evil or not. I do have a feeling that eBay would be more "friendly" when it only had an auction format with extended closure.
I've thought about the moral angle quite a bit.
I think sellers could do worse than to sell to habitual snipers like myself. I always pay promptly and i never try to back out of a purchase.
Mathematically speaking, everything i do only increases the price, but again my objective is to spend less and get more, so, I suppose that if i bid early the sellers would potentially make more money.
On the other hand, it's undeniable that much of commerce boils down to compromise at best and taking advantage of fools at worst.
I have the luxury of having a friend who grew up in a pawn shop. We'll call him "Dave" (because that's his name). Dave behaves as though he has a moral duty to take advantage of a willing fool - that parting a fool from his money is something that somebody, eventually, was going to do, so it may as well be him because he'll at least be pleasant about it.
Dave puts my acquisition habits to shame. Aside from the ebay game, he regularly trolls pawn brokers, consignment stores, flea markets, liquidators, and anybody else potentially selling on the cheap - especially if they are uneducated about what they are selling.
So i can always tell myself that the people i'm buying from could have it worse - Dave would probably separate them from what they're selling for less money.
I have seen Dave walk past the short end of a rack of 100 or more pair of men's shoes in a flea market at a full and purposeful gait, stop short, turn around, go half way down the aisle, and select the one $300 pair of hardly-worn loafers being offered for $10.
This is a guy who knows, at a glance, which of the old broken watches in the bin in the glass case at the pawn shop has a solid gold case worth far more as scrap metal than the asking price.
Dave and i have similar acquisition strategies - he's just far better at it than i am.
When i go looking for something potentially expensive on ebay, I go looking for the the one that is listed in the wrong section, has a confusing title, blurry pictures if any, and if at all possible is being sold by someone who doesn't know what it is.
I recently realized that HD-DVD is largely equivalent to blu-ray, and since it's a dead format, most of the 480+ titles available are actually cheaper in HD-DVD format than as a regular DVD. I now have somewhere around 90 HD-DVD discs, only a few of them total twaddle, and purchased at an average price of substantially less than $2/ea.
When i went looking for a 3rd generation hd-dvd player with 1080P output, I found the one most poorly listed and paid about 60% of the going rate on ebay for that model. This was a totally typical acquisition for me.
If i hadn't bought my HD-A30 for $37, someone else would have bought it for $36.
I have a hard time believing that it was evil of me to find that transaction, step in 6 seconds before close of auction, and insert one more dollar into the pocket of someone who, lets face it, is simply bad at ebay.
But i also know that if i had stepped in two or three days before the close of that auction and placed my bid - which was for about $2 less than the going rate for an HD-A30, the seller might have made more than $1 more than he otherwise would have.
And i do feel a little like I'm taking advantage of a willing fool.
A fool who threw it in a box with some wadded newspaper and closed it up with a single layer of packing tape. I'm surprised that it arrived intact - but i knew the guy was bad at this sort of thing when i decided to buy it from him, so i didn't leave him negative feedback for poor packing.