12/05/2004

You Can Buy Anything on EBAY

When an article in the Spectrum told of a ghost for sale on Ebay, I had to >check it out. The idea of a ghost on Ebay did not surprise me, but amount of the bids did. What’s next?

11 comments:

Janet said...

You know that there are many ridiculous things being sold on ebay when The Tonight Show with Jay Leno now has a segment where they show these items. Someone had sold an air guitar for hundreds of dollars; case not included of course. I don't know whether people put these false items under one name of theirs and then buy them under another just to up their ratings or if they are really selling these items. I guess people want different things.

Nat Tagart said...

Its money laundering

natty said...

Ebay has opened up an entirely new market for things that would not otherwise be sold. I heard that people will even buy a Utah tumbleweed. More power to the entrepreneur who can find demand for an unusual item. As a consumer, I love Ebay. I can easily find items that would take a lot of searching without the power of Ebay. For example, I have an antique upright piano that doesn't have a bench to match. There are numerous antique piano benches to choose from on Ebay and I can shop from the comfort of my own home. That is a beautiful thing!!!

Kova said...

I think Ebay is very useful. It amazes me the types of things that you can find on EBay. Honestly, who would buy some of that stuff. My father always used to tell me that people will buy anything if the price is right and guess he wasn't lying.

Bruce Banner said...

I will e-bay you a bitten PBJ sandwich. Sad part some one would probably buy it.

Dr. Tufte said...

Well, I've got to chime in too - a few months ago they were auctioning of a wedding invitation for two from someone who was a friend of the groom and wanted to make a statement that he didn't like the bride.

In all honesty, I'm a bit stumped by this sort of behavior on E-Bay. My guess is that there is some utility in just bidding, and perhaps winning, that outweighs the monetary cost. This is why people will buy "grab bags", and also almost certainly why they buy lottery tickets.

It's been known for a long time that people are not perfectly rational about small values (do a search on Allais' paradox for more information). The question is, are some of the prices that people are paying for these things on E-Bay beyond what we could reasonably call small?

Jake said...

It is absolutely awesome the items that can be found on Ebay. One of the oddest items auctioned off was chewed gum, spit out by Major League All-Star Luis Gonzales and someone actually bought it. People have rejuvinated past interests by finding items on Ebay. Avid sports fans are also able to find sports memorabilia from the past to add to their collections. Ebay has built system that benefits all types of consumers.

Julie said...

When I heard about the story of the "ghost" being sold on E-Bay I thought of the saying "one person's junk is another person's treasure". Who knows what people will find valuable! E-Bay is like a really big garage/yard sale where some people are trying to unload their unwanted items and others are searching for hidden treasure. I'm not an avid E-Bay user, but the few times I've gone on I've been quite pleased with what I've been able to find.

heather said...

All I can say is that Ebay is about the most useful website for consumers out there today. In spite of all the junk that is posted daily on Ebay, usually you can find a decent deal on almost anything and support other entrepreneurs while you're at it. It's also an excellent user-friendly outlet to others if you've got something to sell yourself.

Dr. Tufte said...

If voluntary exchange always improves both parties to the trade, then EBay has gone a long way towards making people better off - my guess is that many of these trades would not have been made at all without EBay.

P.S. I knew a musician in New Orleans who bought a used hurse (just like in Ghostbusters) to transport the band around in. That was a good exchange for him, and for the EMT unit in Maine that sold it to him (the same model used to be used for ambulances too).

rico said...

i believe that Ebay is a wonderful boost to the economy. Where else other than Wal-Mart can you find everything you need for a low price? I know everybody hates Wal-Mart, but I know you all shop there. I have also found another interesting website where you can actually post items or services that you want or need, and sellers will email you if they have what you want. It could maybe be a possibility to buy and sell textbooks without going through the bookstore. It's free to sign up so check it out at www.barterfarm.com