Last week, I made my first ever purchase on ebay. I know. LATE TO THE PARTY. That’s me. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know all about my £1.50 red and black leopard print ebay dress. Which I had to have after watching Bad Moms and needing one IMMEDIATELY. The lure of beginner’s luck is clearly dangerous and has seen me spend most of my waking hours since, not on Facebook or Instagram, but on ebay. My very stylish friend (and expert ebayer) tells me my behaviour is completely normal and that ebay typically has four stages. Here they are.
Stage One: Frenzy.
I am apparently in this stage at the moment. That moment where you discover ebay, as a buyer not a seller. A world where you can buy ANYTHING. For 99p! It’s like the first time you visit a pound store (but way, way more exciting) and you walk around saying, ‘How much is this?‘ £1. ‘What about this?‘ Also £1. Before you understand that everything is £1. Yes. It’s that sort of insane euphoria.
What basically happens with ebay is you buy one thing, that you actually wanted, for a complete bargain. It turns up. It fits. It’s in excellent condition. And that’s it. You’re hooked. You become an ebay prophet, boring anyone who will listen, ‘It was only £1.50!‘ (which really defeats the whole magic of the outfit but hey ho). You can’t believe you haven’t been doing this shizzle for years. Ebay is GENIUS.
Overnight, you want to buy everything on ebay. Forever more. Things you need. Things you didn’t know you needed. Things ebay thinks you need. It’s addictive. One minute you’re looking for a faux fur leopard print coat. The next, you’re bidding on an animal print skirt, a gold sequin jacket (because it looks remotely like that one Blake Lively wore in Gossip Girl with the cobalt blue trousers – ooh get some cobalt blue trousers too while you’re there!) before randomly ending up looking at a pair of pink and black running leggings that usually retail at £43.99 but are only £17.99 on ebay! BRILLIANT.
The Frenzy stage knows no boundaries. You will stay up past midnight, losing several hours a night looking at stuff. Bidding on stuff. Emailing the sellers to ask if they would consider a ‘Buy it now’ because you just can’t wait until the auction ends in 5 days, 4 hours and 34 minutes. YOU NEED IT NOW. Sooner, if at all possible.
The excitement of that first successful purchase will blind you. It will lead you to make bad choices. The bargain appeal of some items will make you buy them even though it’s a size 6 and you are, erm, not. ‘But it’s 99p!‘ you’ll reason. ‘And anyway it doesn’t even look that small.‘ Yeah good call. Trust that teeny, tiny thumbnail picture where all items look exactly the same size. BECAUSE THERE IS NO SENSE OF SCALE YOU IDIOT (me, not you).
And by the end of it? So what if you’ve parted with more money than you think (your size 6 coat might only have cost 99p but what about the £8 in postage?), you’ll be able to cite every single faux fur leopard print coat on sale in the UK. From price, down to material down to chest measurement. And that sort of information, my friend, is utterly, utterly priceless.
By which I mean completely blooming useless. Come on. You could have learned some actual, proper world facts in that time.
Or saved the Giant Panda.
Stage Two: WTF?
This is the stage I think I’m going to enter later this week. When all my Sunday night purchases turn up and I have a, ‘WTF was I thinking?‘ moment.
Because something isn’t going to fit. Something is going to smell. You’re going to realise that the array of animal prints and gold, sequin get up just isn’t school-run friendly, which is frankly the only time you go out these days.
Then you’re going to look at this pile of second hand crap on your bed and feel really, really irritated by all the clutter. Because you can’t send it back. It’s ebay not John Lewis. What are you going to say? ‘Excuse me. Your size 6 jacket doesn’t fit me because I’m not a size 6,‘ before spending another £8 returning it? No. That bad boy is yours to keep. And you should probably hang it up somewhere really prominent with a massive sign, to serve as a giant reminder.
‘STEP AWAY FROM THE EBAY.’
Stage Three: ‘Ebay is shit.’
Like all addictions, the comedown from ebay is spectacular. And this stage is mainly full of remorse, anger and retribution. Where you vow never to go near ebay again and to shop like a normal person once more.
Because ebay has burned you. It’s left you feeling empty and betrayed. It promised you the world and it gave you a slightly fraying gold sequin jacket for £3.99 that looks nothing like the £4,500 version Blake Lively wore. No shit, Sherlock.
Quite frankly? Ebay owes you nothing.
You abused it. You went too far. And now you’re paying the (99p plus postage) price.
Stage Four: Strategy.
My very stylish friend is all about the strategy now. She says that I will be too. Once I emerge from the frenzy.
This stage is basically about going after what you want. And getting it. You know EXACTLY what you’re looking for, how much to pay and exactly when to bid.
You don’t get sidetracked by ebay’s recommendations that you would look smoking hot in a pair of black pleather hot pants. You couldn’t care less that they’re only 99p with FREE postage (the holy grail of ebay temptation). You went on there for a pair of Superga flatforms in a size 6 (not a cheaper size 3, which you could possibly squeeze into once this ‘Clean and Lean‘ diet’s worked its magic?). And that’s what you’re leaving with.
You, the ebay strategist, would never show a desperate hand by offering to ‘Buy it now.’ Pffff. Buying it now is for losers. No. You watch cooly from the sidelines instead. Then swoop in 15 seconds before the end and outbid everyone.
Whilst cackling your best victory laugh.