eBay User

The UPS guy is messing with me. He has driven by my house three times today and only five families live on my street. I am awaiting the arrival of a used Conn alto saxophone, my latest purchase made through eBay. The online, set-time auction site has been synonymous with online shopping since the “dot-com boom” of the mid-1990’s; but in recent years as the monsterously large site has been nudged out of the public spotlight by the emergence of copious competitors, I have still remained faithful to eBay.

If you have ever used eBay, you know that you can buy just about anything. In a small town like mine, there are certain pleasures that cannot be bought nearby (like authentic Japanese Tron posters) or are difficult to find in stores (like stylophones or melodicas). In the way that the internet has made information exchange available despite geographic separation, eBay has made the purchase of items practical, collectable, or whimsical, possible to anybody with a PayPal account. eBay is my favorite site, and as a user since childhood, I can trace my life in an otherwise unseen way by tracing my bids, won or lost, on my account. I can justify any bid I have made, reliving my former interests as I review each item.

As is true with any business, frequent users are encouraged to learn the tricks of the trade if they want to master the site, but in the process of proficiently learning the art of online auctioning, I have been able to pick up more than a few lessons that translate well to the real world. I have learned that there is a time and a place for everything, and while you might be ahead, it is important to stop and evaluate what it really means to you.

If you are fighting over an impulse that is bringing you nothing but stress, remember there will always be another auction and while it might not be today, your moment will come. While it is always important to believe in yourself, there are times when it is important to know your limits as well as your strengths. If you know you can stay up until the last minute of an auction, more power to you, but if you are asking yourself if you could buy the same item hassel-free for the same price at a store, then you are probably in the wrong auction.

Just as I have learned the importance of self-awareness, I have learned to know what to expect and to be prepared to live with the cards that I am dealt. My first purchase of Arrested Development DVD’s taught me that some people have different definitions of “very good condition.” My sega Genesis taught me that parts aren’t always included (specifically a controller or power supply). My Homer Simpson phone taught me that a package can only protect itself so much when it goes through eight UPS offices. Even now as I am awaiting a saxophone that was described as “slightly used,” I am prepared to take life as it unfolds and appreciate what I get, rather than resent what I do not.

The truck is long gone and it looks like I am going another night sax-less, but you learn to be patient when you rely on a brown truck to deliver everything you buy. Besides, what do you expect when shipping and handling from Japan is only $15.60?





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