I Woke up Like This

And you know this is the truth. 

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If Loving eBay Smackdowns Is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right

I originally published this on Cowbird, and just felt like reviving it here.

At some point in the last couple of months, I made the unconscious decision to Tighten Shit Up. I’m just plain sick and tired of some things in my life, so I’ve been making moves to clean things up and make choices based on what I want, not what I’m supposed to do or feel some irrational obligation to do.

As part of this process, I’ve been going through things that I’ve hung onto simply for the sake of hanging on to them, evaluating their place in my life and putting them into one of two camps: Keep or Pitch.

A significant piece of this is the stamp collection. I couldn’t care less about postage stamps, aside from the few that feature something I really like, such as animals or pop culture icons. My father was the one who liked stamps, and so he bought them for me even though he knew I didn’t care – I think I get some of my self-defeating behaviors from him. Weeding through these tangible memories of my father breaking my chops on birthdays and Christmas, I put several sheets into the Keep pile, with the intention of eventually framing them. For the rest, I decided to swim in the waters of eBay.

I’ve purchased a few items from eBay in the past, but had not sold anything until now. People, I never knew what I was missing because it turns out that the waters of eBay are swimming with sharks, and my stamps are Grade A chum.

old cigar boxes on a dusty cellar shelf

eBay: Where Crap Becomes Catnip

Along with not caring about stamps comes the fact that I don’t know shit about their value. I based my starting and “Buy Now” prices based on quick and superficial Google searches because I just want them gone and to have a little extra loot. I was pleasantly surprised when the Native American Dances sheet sold for my “Buy Now” price. Intrigued, I downloaded the app and allowed it to send me push notifications.

Did you know that people can stalk the items you list? It’s totally true, but instead of calling it by its true name, eBay calls it “watching.” Stamp aficionados are watching my shit like it’s their job. And don’t think that I don’t know what they’re doing. They’re lying in wait, hoping that nobody will bid, so that in the 11th hour they can score Jazz Greats at the bare minimum. Fuck. That. Shit.

Just yesterday, Flowers and Fruits had a couple of watchers (they WISH they were as cool as Gilles, amirite, Buffy fans?). Today, one of them made a move, like a snapping turtle going after a minnow. This poor sod basically fired across the bow. Bidder 2 couldn’t take it and came out of the shadows with a bid $1 higher. A DOLLAR, PEOPLE. That’s huge in eBay stamp auction terms. Next thing I know, Bidder 3 emerges to break 1 and 2’s balls by upping the ante by 25 cents (3 clearly doesn’t want it badly enough).

I can’t wait to see what comes next, and not just because it’s more money in my pocket.

These bitches have bidding strategies. Over FLOWERS AND FRUITS. It’s not even that valuable! These keyboard jockeys just want to win, and they will do whatever they must in order to aggravate their competitors and score the floral-fruity prize.

I love it. It’s better than television. It’s nerd Hunger Games in real time and with less teen-on-teen homicide.

I checked my app after I put down Fast Company and before I turned out the lights last night. True story. I can hardly wait to see how this plays out. I wonder if I may be sick.

But do you know what I’m really dying to see? I have an 18-inch Gibson Girl doll on there. She has four watchers and no bids. That shit is going to heat up in the last 24 hours of her auction. I may have to make popcorn and take time off from work in order to watch World War Gibson go down. Is this what bloodlust is like? I want this wordless battle of wills measured in 10-cent increments to blow up. I see this whole online auction through a Michael Bay lens – so many explosions.

This is not good, but I don’t care. I can’t wait to get into the attic on Saturday so I can find more stuff to auction. The virtual bloodletting is so worth the time.