Wednesday, January 24, 2007
When the company was doing the presentation folder printing for this product, I don't suspect that they would have any foresight as to the tumultuous life that the two people in the photo would have taken on. Heck, this item might have even had some value at some point, but considering the time that has since passed in both the divorce of Diana and Charles and her subsequent death, the number of bids on this particular item speaks for itself.
The item currently stands at 1.99 GBP (or $3.95 USD), which is probably several times the amount of the production costs of the item in question, but when Diana hype was at an all-time high, it could be speculated to went up accordingly. It's interesting that the eBay seller refers to this as "a nice memory." After all is said and done, it certainly appears to be exactly that.
Jean-Paul Satre once said, "Hell is other people." I don't think he was talking about Valentine's Day, though.
Probably not something you'd necessarily see in a line of neighbourhood mailboxes, this particular eBay item is merely mailbox-shaped, and is a keepsake type item which has itty-scrap book thingies inside. It's cute, and for the right couple this would make a great gift to share.
Valentine's Day is probably the worst time of year for anyone who is single, and not by choice. I'm still thinking of the time when my sister and future husband were just dating several years ago. She's having the whole sappy-dappy, lovey-dovey conversation over the phone while the rest of my family is sitting down for dinner.
"HEY! WE'RE TRYING TO EAT HERE!"
Having kids maintain mailboxes before Valentine's Day is potentially one of the more damaging things that kids can undergo during their formative years and I'm actually sorta glad that the practice has been recognized as such, especially when you're one of those kids that don't get Valentine's cards. But, forcing kids to give to those who are socially maligned sends the wrong message as well.
With this level of bitterness, it's no wonder why I'm single.
But still, this enterprising eBay merchant has three separate auctions for a lot of 40 tasteless greeting cards, most of which you probably wouldn't want to be sending to your mom. But, if you don't like your mom very much or if you have the coolest mom in the world (neither of these things apply), this might be right up your alley.
Me, I have a sense of humour when it comes to this stuff, so I would probably get a chuckle or two...provided that I haven't seen it before. The best (worst) one I've ever seen was a birthday card I gave to one of my best friends which depicted a guy hanging from a ceiling fixture and a doctor administering a prostate exam, hanging with his finger sticking out of the patient's rectum.
"Now, sir, if you'd relax, I'll kindly issue you a prescription for your inflamed prostate."
However, most folks might opt for the more tasteful option of printable greeting cards if they're sending the same Christmas card to a list of people on their list or even designing their own on their home computer. But, different strokes for different folks.
Inflamed prostate. Like everything else in life, it's funny if it doesn't happen to you.
But when you get a product that's called "Turtle Deer Kidney Tonic Pills," (item #250076411039) it makes me think twice. Again.
Perhaps this is the end result of the direct and literal translation between Chinese and English, but one woulda hoped that the person would've been able to come up with a better sounding name. And, considering the grammatical skills of the seller in question (the product is "HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!" [sic]), this probably shouldn't be surprising. But, it could be worse..."Pocari Sweat" anybody?
The main selling points behind this product are the purported health benefits. From the auction:
Strengthening tendons and bones, enriching qi(energy) and blood, tonic kidneys and strengthening yang. It is used to treat general weakness, weariness, aching pain and softness of the waist and knees, dizziness, deficient kidneys, cold semen, profuse night urination, seminal emission, forgetfulness and insomnia, infertility, men's reduced ability.
While I hesitate to speculate on what exactly they mean by "men's reduced ability," but this is another example of using Chinese mysticism to sell a product to unsuspecting gwai-lo (read: non-Chinese). While there are some reported health benefits of traditional Chinese medicine, much of the evidence is inconclusive, and possibly due to a placebo effect. Certainly, a panacea (read: silver-bullet cure-all) these things are not, although the general populace probably doesn't think so.
My mom was trying to get me into Chinese herbs and medicine, but most of the time it tastes like absolute dirt and makes me feel even worse, although that's probably the end result of the taste more than anything else. This was the same person who got me an energy supplement in a can called "Red Rave" (a cheap Red Bull knockoff), thinking that it was supposed to assist in exercise.
I had to explain to her that it's what college students use to pull all-nighters because of the high concentration of caffeine, at which she offered to take it back to the store, but I told her that I'd use it. And use it I did.
I recall reading an article referencing interest in Chinese culture in the Western world, pointing to cultural re-appropriation such as interest in Japanese animation, the popularity of martial arts, and tattoos in Hanzi and Katana/Kanji (Chinese and Japanese) characters. As the article quips, "If this crap originated in
Completely discounting the fact that most people would probably opt for regularly sized rosaries that could fit in the pocket, be worn around the neck, or be held in the hand, this eBay seller is selling what could quite possibly be the largest rosary ever made.
Throughout my years in Catholic school, I was taught that this was a religious symbol that was to be held sacred, so I'm not sure that hanging it off a door is going to necessarily score many points with the more secular eBay users, but dang, that thing is huge. But, I can actually think of a few groups that might be interested in such a large item, like if a church just happened to have a really large statue of The Virgin Mary nearby, at which point they might be able to use it as a decoration.
But, given the time it has been since I stepped foot in church for anything else apart from a funeral or a wedding, I can't really say for sure. But, I do love how the eBay seller recommends potential uses for it - as a conversation piece or worn by a tall person. In order for this to not hit the floor, I'm guessing that the person would have to be at least 7' tall.
From the minor research that I did (I got lazy so I just wiki'ed it), I have learned that the Italian Charm Bracelet (item #260079358792) was supposedly brought from Europe after World War 2 and then started showing up again in the 1990s, where a demand was created and more modern designs were created.
With cultural re-appropriation in an increasingly multicultural society, I suppose this was inevitable, although I would assume that traditional "Irish Gifts" would be more appreciated by someone for whom St. Patrick's Day holds much more significance.
I'm just wondering what happens if the charm bracelet fails to evoke a response (like the eBay auction indicates that this item is "sure to do"). At least it doesn't guarantee it will generate more kisses (the desired response...provided that they are coming from the right people), as it'll likely garner the seller a negative rating if that fails to occur.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
For the Buy-It-Now price of $4.99 and the shipping cost of $6.00, you can be the proud owner of a vintage Paint Brush Bath kit.
The oddly-named 1950's company Dic-A-Doo appears to have been a paint accessories company, although a search of Google reveals absolutely nothing, except more eBay auctions, which also happen to be trying to unload Dic-A-Doo paint accessories.
As to whom is putting bids on this item? So far, the seller has provided the option of the "Buy it Now," so there are no bids on this product. If they were, I can only assume that they aren't people who are involved in professional house painting, although $10.99 is tough to beat for a vintage product that still has "some of the original contents inside." However, when $0.10 (in 1950) is adjusted for inflation (for 2007), it's only about $0.84. That, and for a few extra bucks, you can probably get a fully functional brush cleaning kit that has ALL of the original contents inside.
But, you know what they say about trash and treasure.
Caveat Emptor are the words of the day, when the shopping and internet savvy know how to sniff rhetoric right away, while the fool and his or her money go in opposite directions.
This enterprising eBay seller is auctioning off a PlayStation 3 video game console with 60 GB hard drive for the whopping price of $1995.00. It's a little high, especially when compared to the MSRP of $599.
You have to admire the eBay seller's restraint, especially when you consider that when these first hit the streets in November, some were going as high as $2300 USD. And yes, most on-line retailers are sold out (Future Shop, Best Buy, possibly Electronics Boutique), but considering that it's been almost two months, couldn't they just let it rest? Like, just a little? I mean, heck, they didn't even include games or an HDMI cable (or any other accessories for that matter).
When I mean "rhetoric," I'm referring to their tactic of using a charity to persuade the reader to follow the course of action (that is, pony up $1995 on a video game console). Following the links to the charity who is supposed to be benefiting from this auction, it indicates that they are a non-profit organization.
But, considering that they're only receiving 10% of the total proceeds ($199.50), that means that the seller is still netting a profit of around $1000 (even if shipping happens to be over $100).
This sort of undermines the whole charity angle, considering that somebody will most likely making money off of this (but it definitely isn't Sony...allegedly, the manufacturing costs of one PS3 is $840.35). But, since there's also the option of "Or Best Offer," any enterprising and savvy consumer may opt to lowball the auction in the hopes of getting it.
And then I found this auction for a PS3 with a 60GB drive. $20,000. Twenty-frickin'-thousand dollars. According to the story he has attached to the auction, he's going to use the money to go back to school. I'm sorry, but I really don't have a lot of sympathy for greed, especially when he says up front: "I bought this Playstation 3 60GB off ebay about three weeks ago, in the hopes of selling it on ebay for more than I paid."
Which brings me to the first item up for bid.
For the low, low, LOW price of $25 and 39 cents shipping and handling, you can be the proud owner of a scribble on a piece of paper from somebody that you don't know. It appears that Mr. Church is aspiring to be the next big name in fashion design.
So, if he turns out to be the next Calvin Klein, Gianni Versace, or Donna Karin, maybe this will be worth the $25 Buy It Now price.
Oh please? Can I?
This eBay auction (item #200070662239) appears to be an experiment to prove that just about anything can sell on eBay, so this guy is selling a homemade business card with his own autograph on it. With two days left, it's certainly starting to look like he's about to be proven wrong. As of this writing (January 23, 21:48 PST), there are no bids and he has yet to meet his minimum reserve.
According to his auction entry, he intends to use the proceeds from the sale to pay for professional business card printing. Looks like he'll be printing them on his home computer like the rest of us. That is, if he can even afford that.