Sunday, June 22, 2008


There are only so many funny things that you can write about teak patio furniture, and I can't really think of any right now.

But, I do have to notice the fact that they have a rating system which gives the veneer of additional legitimacy, in addition to their regular feedback rating: shipping damage (subjectively rated from "rarely" to "occasionally") and construction quality (not so subjectively rated from "economical" to "premium").

George Strait.Oceanfront Property Yellow Vinyl 45 Rpm

Not actual oceanfront property, but the title of a vinyl LP by George Straight. I've always been curious about promotional items for sale on eBay, when they specifically say, "not for sale" and they go for sale anyway.

I still remember when I purchased a copy of Overseer's Wreckage, which wasn't available for sale in Canada, so the only way I could obtain a copy was through eBay for the price of $5. Then I saw the sticker covering the barcode, saying that it was property of Sony/BMG and was not for sale. But, considering that the MPAA is too busy suing college students for downloading music, I don't think they're too concerned.


If you're looking for Outer Banks rentals, you don't have to go too far. Okay, if you're geographically far away from North Carolina, then technically, yes you do have to go far.

But, with a few clicks of a mouse, you can be looking at this particular place. However, I do have to point out one of the taboos of salesmanship, in which you don't just feature dump, you tailor the sales pitch to the customer.

So, with that in mind, why did the seller bother to indicate that there's "free shipping"? They aren't actually shipping over the building, and with all the paperwork, it's all virtual. Isn't that, I dunno, irrelevant?

1939 Sun Life of Canada Insurance Agent Ad

For this blog, I've been repeatedly asked to write about life insurance on eBay. There are only so many weird things to do with that topic on eBay, so finding oddities is like grasping for straws.

Usually, items found are either the free crap like branded coffee mugs and paper weights, or for ads, like this one here. The huge majority of print ads for sale have zero bids on them, with this being an exception.

What is it that makes this so special? It appears to be a clipping from a newspaper (slightly gray paper, page number in the top left hand corner), but something like this would be fairly rare, given its age. But who was it that held on to this for so long with the intention of punting it on eBay?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

18 items found for: pet supplements

Just a simple search for pet supplements nets a large number of hits on eBay, making it a fairly large business, like any other storefront on eBay. Compared to Asian countries where pet ownership is often frowned upon due to the large population densities, it's quite widespread here in North America. And, it's also quite expensive. For under $10, you can easily get stuff to help maintain your dog's health, but if you wanna go beyond that, expect to shell out huge.

The dog that I'm taking care of with my girlfriend got sick recently and we had to shell out over $2400 to get the dog taken care of. We strongly suspect that the vet was padding the bill.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

$ 125 CHASE Free Checking Account Coupon

Now this is just plain silly.

I've seen a few dubious auctions in the past, but when someone is selling you a coupon that you'll probably get for free in the mail, one promising $125 for opening up a new checking account, you'd better read the fine print.

Sadly, in this case, there is no fine print. Anyone might mistake this for something more legitimate, such as a person selling a gift card at a discount price (ever hear of the story of someone who paid more than $20 for a $20 gift card?). But then, the seller did forget one thing...the coupon code is actually visible in the image if you look closely enough. If you apply online and they ask for the coupon code, can't you just go and read it off the auction in question?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

All temp Travel Cup Swett & Crawford Insurance Collect

Why are items like this considered collectible when you get them for free for working there?

So far you still can't get your travel health insurance from eBay (apart from sponsored Google ads), but you can certainly get related merchandise from the people that sell them. Print ads from magazines, glasses, cups, t-shirts, paperweights, ballpoint pens, memo people usually have long working histories throughout their lives, it's really not hard to obtain this stuff. It's because of branded merchandise, you can go your entire life without having to purchase another coffee cup, ballpoint pen, or t-shirt.

vintage Comstock Casino Reno hotel soap

Next in the tradition of taking things that aren't nailed down in Reno hotels: a bar of soap taken from the defunct Comstock Reno hotel.

Mind you, this might have some sort of intrinsic value to collectors of crap, since the hotel is no longer in existence. As it is, most common forms of hotel memorabilia are casino chips, matchbooks, ash trays, postcards, and flyers. No stolen towels, curtains, rugs, or TVs.

Wedding Bridal Tool Honey Do birthday Shower Invitation

This came up in the search engine when I typed in "Bridal Shower Invitations."

To the seller's credit (who sells these designs), he didn't specifically designate this to be used as an invite for a bridal shower, although it did come up in the auction's title.

At a first glance, when I saw the pictures of tools, I was thinking of something along the lines of appropriate tools being necessary for building a healthy and successful marriage. Instead, we get the cheesy text, "Shovel for the garden / a front door mat / honey do this / honey do that." This isn't exactly traditional in my eyes.

LifeCell Life Cell Anti-Wrinkle Skin Cream - Anti-Aging

It's hard to say if it's the top wrinkle cream available on the market today, but on eBay, it's certainly the top PRICED.

With the magic of photo retouching and makeup, you can make anybody look like a million dollars. And certainly, the promoters of this product have gone to great lengths to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed purchase (or at least that's what they lead you to believe). But how much you wanna bet that the model in the photo just had her makeup done and nothing else?

322 items found for: naot

When taking a gander at Naot shoes, I found that there's a huge selection on eBay. No comment on the quality of the shoes...I'm not a woman and by nature I don't need to have a closet full of shoes. But that also got me thinking about the effort that it takes to buy shoes...even if you know your exact shoe size, there are a lot of other factors that influence a shoe purchase, mostly comfort and style.

I figure that one could easily circumvent it by trying the exact same shoe on in a shoe store, and then purchasing it on eBay. The price of gas hasn't overtaken what you would otherwise be saving vs. buying it on eBay yet.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


IT and people performing network admin jobs have it tough...unappreciative staff, constant network shortages, limited budgets, etc. IT guys will also have their work cut out for them with the tools they have to work with (ie: Windows XP/Vista).

Then I came across this little thing here. The design was patterned after an actual Windows XP disc, although the actual product image shows it to be blank and nondescript. Just reading the product description, does it seem to anyone else that this product might be slightly illegal and out of step with the MS Windows' End User License Agreement?

Audemars Piguet Mens 18k Yellow Gold Open Balance

This is probably one of the more expensive watches available, if you can afford mens gold watches. Not exactly a Rolex, but close to what I sold my car for, it's more than what most normal people need to tell the time. But, if you're trying to get a good deal through eBay, don't count on it. There is a $100 difference between the "buy it now" price and the opening bid. Sure, $100 will buy you a tank and a half of gas. But when the item is $5700...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

HDMI Cable

eBay can get you some really great deals on A/V cable, especially HDMI, which are absolutely required if you want to connect a HD video player (PS3, BluRay) to a HD television. But, one thing that people will try to tell you is that you will get much superior video quality out of a cable that costs three times as much.

Read enough about consumer reports and you'll know that average joes and videophiles were unable to tell the difference.

NEW The Great Mortgage Collapse ...

But on the other hand, it's nice to see that you can get people on eBay to sell slightly responsibly too. Because irresponsible of mortgage lenders, we're seeing the huge credit crunch that we are now. This book, The Great Mortgage Collapse, details the state of the mortgage industry both past and present. However, at only 46 pages, less than most magazines, $12.95 is just a little bit steep for this item.

But with a feedback rating in the 60,000s, we might be able to trust this guy.


Foreclosure has become a sad reality in today's economic climate, exacerbated by the subprime mortgage crisis, people who really shouldn't be qualifying loans are now having their assets seized, culminating in the end of home ownership, one of the established milestones of the so-called American dream.

Now, there's the capitalizing on foreclosure, as this seller is hawking a website in the business of reselling foreclosed homes. This somehow comes across as opportunistic, capitalizing on the misfortune of others (and, some may say American as well). As much as it'd be a great chance for someone to enter the real estate market the smart way, it somehow feels...I dunno, dirty?

Welcome to America.

Business Funding loan SOURCES funds Franchise HOME CASH

With most franchise type businesses being independently operated, it probably isn't a bad idea to go in with as much information as possible. For that, there are books, courses, and...this.

E-Books that cost only the price of an eBay listing fee to put up are unfortunately one of the most prolific types of auctions that you'll find on eBay. The vast majority of this information can be found for free on the Internet or by visiting the local library, yet this they're still banking on us dropping $6.95 on this. Good luck, dude.

Vintage Metropolitan Life Insurance Cook Book

If you were looking for life insurance no medical exam and failed to qualify, you might have been given one of these things back in...whatever date this book was published.

The seller doesn't indicate a publication date, apart from the fact that it has signs of age (fading, wear). But most telling is the seller's description:

"This book has been prepared to help the housewife in her everlasting question, "What shall I have for dinner tonight?"

I ain't touching this one.

NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS Addict Drug Recovery Rehab NA 5th

The words "makes a great gift" has been dubiously applied to just about everything that people try to sell to us. That's why regifting has become popular, especially around Christmas when really unimaginative people foist unwanted crap onto us. Other cases, it's not so much about being unimaginative, but being really insensitive. Like, for example, someone who just finished a drug rehab program.

While certainly an important resources, I would hesitate to give something like this as a gift. Drug treatment should be taken seriously and not trivialized. Heck, I'd prefer to give a chia pet over something like this. After all, the TV ads say, "Makes a great gift."

Cartier Santos 100 xxl Chronograph Watch

Up for bid - one Cartier Santos watch, used, current bid (8 bids) is $2775.00, which is a likely significant fraction of its original purchase price, judging from the other prices for similar watches on eBay...some are going as high as $4000.

Given recent economic downturn (or not? you be the judge), we're seeing lots of luxury items being sold on Craigslist and eBay, which may explain why eBay is attempting to take over Craigslist, given that Craigslist has all their listings for free. Given that the seller of the item in question has zero feedback, indicates that this is a quick turnaround sale intended to generate emergency cash. Foreclosed home anyone?