Friday, February 09, 2007

A Tale of Two Recliners

My eBay profile lies. It says I've only been a member since 2004. This is not true. I distinctly remember bidding on (and winning) something at some point before 2002. In fact, I still own my prize (that I paid way too much for because I'm competitive and I did NOT want the other guy to get it.) I also remembered that I do not like eBay….but I really couldn't tell you why….before yesterday.

This is significant because a couple of my friends are moving and selling much of their furniture and belongings. They're selling the big stuff on eBay. (Big stuff = 42" plasma TV, mattresses, furniture, kitchen stuff, lawn tools…etc.)

The boyfriend was torn over the TV which was listed at $640.00. I mean, TORN. It was such a great deal, but did we really need it? Do we have the money in our budget? I was okay either way, and at first it was funny to watch him agonize. He eventually decided that we didn't really need it. (read: I decided we couldn't afford it.)

Then I realized that I really really really wanted one of the rocker/recliners that my friends were selling. Remember the chair that Laney ruined? This recliner would fill that space PERFECTLY!! I was psyched! They had two of them, each listed at $99.00. I put my bid on one ($100.00 – don't judge me. I love a good deal as much as the next girl, and I'm eternally optimistic that things will work out the way that I want them to) and watched the bidding on the other recliner skyrocket. I thought it was kind of funny (and fortuitous for me ) that two people would be fighting over one chair, when there was an identical chair that I would get for a steal!


Eventually, one of the bidders on the other chair reached his max, got beaten, and seemed to give up – only to move over to MY chair. (I had already taken ownership in my mind.) WTF? I was unbelievably angry when I got the first "You've been outbid" e-mail from eBay (not to mention the second and the third). BOO to that garbage. I was trying to figure out if there was any way I could find out who this new bidder was and have someone physically intimidate him.

Did I mention that I'm competitive?

So, I was torn. In my mind, there were two different paths of behavior that I could take.

1) I could sit at my computer for the last 2 hours and 24 minutes that the bidding was open, and bid about $5 higher than anyone who beat me until the bidding ended. This would require constant refreshing of my computer screen, less sleep than I wanted, but ultimately, I would be happy knowing I got the best deal possible, AND that I beat out any other sucker who thought they could get away with taking MY recliner.

2) I could be rational, decide exactly how much I was willing to spend on the recliner, put in my maximum bid, and go to sleep. I would find out what happened in the morning after a good night's sleep.

Option #2 did not look nearly as appealing…but I realized that it might be less rational to go with option #1. There was a slight possibility that it was just my competitiveness that was making me want to sit at my computer all night while constantly refreshing my computer screen. I was leaning towards option #1, but I knew that option #2 was what I should go with. It didn't help that the boyfriend was telling me, "There's no way you can put in a maximum bid and just go to sleep. That's not how you work. You wouldn't be able to sleep. Why don't you just set the alarm and wake up 15 minutes before the bidding ends?"

So I did what any girl would do when she knew what she should do versus what she wanted to do. I called my moral compass.

With the boyfriend laughing at me, I called zlionsfan and explained my dilemma using "So I'm trying to be a better person here…" as my intro and using many colorful expletives to describe the guy who was driving up the price of MY recliner. After patiently listening to this diatribe (frequently interrupted with, "Boyfriend, shut up! Quit laughing!") zlionsfan calmly said,
"So why haven't you put in your maximum bid yet?"I hemmed and hawed…
"What's the maximum amount that you wanted to pay for this recliner?"
"$99.00. But this other guy ruined it for me!"
"Well, then you've been beaten. Go to sleep."
"And let him win? I can't do that. I can't just put in the bid and go to sleep. I just can't. I'm competitive."
"Yes you can. Because while you're competitive, you also don't like to throw money away. You don't like to spend more money than you have to."

This was true. While I mulled it over, the little devil on my shoulder said, "But you can't let that other guy win!" I explained to zlionsfan that perhaps I would just set my alarm.

"That's fine. But if you're throwing money out the window, I'll just come over and stand outside your window and you can throw it to me instead."
"Fine. Fine! FINE! I'm going to put in my maximum bid. I just want you to know that I hate you."

So I put in my maximum bid and went to sleep (The boyfriend decided to pitch in a little as my valentine's day gift. I was excited about this.) I got up this morning and I have a new recliner…never mind that the other one went for less than what I paid for mine. It's just a new reason to add to the list of reasons why it is that I hate eBay.

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