Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Ebay = evil

I tend to go on ebay binges at certain key points in my life. I go into a frenzy of bidding and browsing and buying, and other time-sapping activities beginning with 'b' (breakdancing, bowdlerizing, boob bouncing, you know the sort of thing). Then, once my bank has sent round the heavies to do nasty things to my kneecaps, and Mr Badger has flushed all of my credit cards (and my head) down the toilet, I go cold-turkey and avoid it just as fanatically for several months or years.

The most notable of these binges occurred just before my nuptials to Mr Badger, a bit over three years ago, in what has come to be known as the pre-marriage money mentalness. This is a surprisingly common syndrome in engaged individuals, wherein your concept of value becomes completely warped, so you start to think that paying £800 for a fruit cake or £1000 for a glorified taxi with ribbons represents an excellent bargain. As you may imagine, ebaying while suffering from this disorder is extremely hazardous. Glancing through my purchases in this period is sobering, rather like looking at photos of yourself taken on a hideously drunken night, where you feel you must have been possessed by a shameless filth hound with a penchant for groping strangers and dancing on barmen. I was absolutely obsessed with getting the PERFECT presents for everyone involved in the wedding. They had to be PERFECT and they had to be BEAUTIFULLY, WITTILY RELATED TO THE ROLE THAT PERSON WAS PLAYING IN THE WEDDING. Because otherwise everyone would bludgeon us to death with their woefully inadequate gifts, and we wouldn't get to go on honeymoon, because we'd be dead. So that's why the friend who made us a tower of fairycakes had to have a silver cupcake necklace, and my old school chum who sang Ave Maria at the service needed a life-size Virgin Mary cast in bronze (not really. The bidding for that got too steep even for me, so she ended up with a musical note charm bracelet instead). And that's also why the traders of ebay gleefully rub their hands together whenever I log on, because, frankly, who else is going to buy their obscure and expensive silver-related goods?

(and yes, I did eat all of the cakes myself. Of course I did. It was my wedding, all right?)

The only good thing about this particular binge was that no one else in their right mind would be bidding for the things I was after, so I actually ended up getting some bargains. Or at least I think they were. It's all a bit blurry now.

Because, you see, ebay is not quite so evil if you only want things that nobody else wants. Its true full-force evil only emerges when you end up bidding against other people. Because then all sanity departs, as it becomes an all out loony bidding war. Not only does this mean you waste even more time watching the last few minutes and seconds of auctions tick down, so you can leap in at last the moment and outbid those other bloody bastards, it also means you spend far too much on pointless tat that would have been quite a rip off at 99p, let alone the £36.17 you ended up paying because you just couldn't face someone else having it. And neither could they. But you beat them! You beat them!! Into giving someone lots of money for something you don't actually want all that much. Hurrah!

Of course, if I was a normal, this wouldn't happen at all. Because then I'd just look at items, decide what the absolute, total maximum I would be happy to pay would be, and enter that amount. Then step away from the computer. And do other things. Like changing my son's nappy, for instance. Or speaking to my husband. But no. I must watch to the last minute, in case someone outbids me, because then I will decide that the absolute, total maximum I would be happy to pay is quite a lot more than I originally thought, because mustnotbebeaten no no no neeeeeeeeed tat.

So I had been avoiding ebay since the wedding. But then I decided I absolutely and totally must have an Ocean Wonders Cot Aquarium, which, according to Amalah, has magic sleep-inducing properties. I have already bought the ball popper thing mentioned on that page (for someone else's child - you don't think I'd be so stupid as to buy one for my own, do you?), and found it did, indeed, drive said child completely and utterly bonkers, so I'm prepared to believe absolutely anything she says. Unfortunately the aquarium doesn't seem to be made any more, at least not in the UK. In fact, the only place I found it for less than £72 was -- you guessed it! -- ebay. So back I crept.

"It'll be okay," I thought. "I'll just bid on the aquarium, and then never come back. It'll be fine."

Just like a smack addict, thinking they can take just one more little squirt of that delicious, juicy heroin.

So I bid on the aquarium, and while I was waiting for that auction to end, I had a little browse around. Just to, you know, see what was on offer. For the sort of foolish people who'd be tempted into bidding on such tat.

Fast forward to last night, where you may witness Mrs Badger sweating over the keyboard, heart racing, as she bids for a furry cow outfit. Because she has become obsessed with dressing Lumpy as a cow (of which more in a future post...). And could not face anyone else dressing their baby in this particular cow outfit. Especially not the person bidding against her. Ayeeeeeeee! Feel my wrath, fellow ebay loony!! Your child will not be a cow! Mine will, mine will!!

So. That's where I am at the moment. On ebay. Slowly but surely bankrupting myself. They have nappies, you know. And many, many cow-themed baby items.

Save me.

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