Sunday, July 7, 2019

Losing on purpose

When I shop on eBay I usually avoid auctions and go for the buy-it-now choices. One reason is I don’t want to invest time tracking the auction and making bids. Another reason is an article I read a few years ago that said auction winners pay too much. That claim is based on the idea that things are worth only what someone is willing to pay. If you win the auction it means all the other bidders thought the price is too high. Sure, you might still get the item at less than market price, but that just means the market price is also too high. And, yes, the buy-it-now price might also be too high, but at least I didn’t need to fiddle with the auction process.

So, the other day I went looking for a replacement for my nearly obsolete phone. I had read a lot of reviews and watched several user videos. I made a choice and found a handful of used ones on eBay. But they were all at auction. Okay, okay, I’ll bid on one, despite my aversion. Then I was out-bid. So I raised my bid, and it stuck for the rest of the day, with four days until the end of the auction.

Later eBay sent me an email pointing out other offerings of the same phone. One had a buy-it-now price lower than my bid on the other phone. Rats. Was there a way out of the auction? I couldn’t find it. I could only wait to be outbid, to “lose” the auction.

So I waited. And waited.

Finally someone bumped up the bid. Thank you, whomever you are, for allowing me to lose.

UPDATE: The winning bid was way over what I was willing to pay.


  1. When I bid, I do automatic bidding and put my max price at the price i'm happy with. if I lose, I lose. And I don't track stuff.

    1. I guess I would've known I could do that if I had gone with the auction option more often.

  2. I was facing the same planned obsolescence on my old phone from Verizon. I looked at getting a used phone and realized in the long run buying a new Iphone 6s for cash from Verizon would get me a new phone with a brand new battery and the ability to put insurance on it too. Now my 4s which is still working but no long connected to Verizon, has become my music player, audio book reader, wifi browser for cafes and libraries, etc. It will likely also become my offline GPS unit since I don't have one of those that is current. It was not worth anything on trade in or resale, might as well keep on using it for other stuff.