The very first auction I ever participated in involved fake money in elementary school. We earned this money throughout the year and had several auctions. But I saved up all of my money for the very last auction, allowing me to obtain highly coveted items no one else had the money for. I think I got a fair number of things, namely a large box of colored pencils that I still have to this day.
My first auction involving real money took place not that long ago on eBay. I was idly browsing the Internet for the Wizard’s Edition of Ni no Kuni, a collector’s edition for one of my favorite games ever. It was mainly the Wizard’s Companion I was after, a book found digitally within the game. But I really wanted a physical copy that I could actually hold in my hands and read the traditional way, not on a TV screen. On Amazon, the collection was selling for $500! Discouraged, I suddenly realized that I might be able to get a better deal on eBay.
To be honest, I’ve been a tad suspicious of eBay for years. I had heard of people getting scammed on the site, and the thought of buying items in an auction also seemed a bit strange to me. (I didn’t realize at first that not all items have auctions.) I first gave them a try earlier this year because I was interested in the Cagney Carnation (from Cuphead) Funko, which appears to be one of the rarest ones from the game because it was exclusive to a comicon or something. It specifically says “2018 Spring Convention Exclusive” on the box, so yeah. It was a bit expensive on Amazon, but on eBay, it was about $20 with a plastic protector to preserve its pristineness. Alliteration, folks. It can happen when you least expect it.
Seeing as my first trip to eBay went so well, I decided to hunt down my coveted Wizard’s Companion. I didn’t need the rest of the collection. I just wanted that dang book. I kept seeing the book sold for cheap, only to realize it was the Japanese version. Eventually, I narrowed my choices down to two options. I found the Wizard’s Companion for $170 (which includes a whopping $45 shipping fee!) that was slightly used, and I also found the entire collection for approximately $100, brand new, still factory sealed. Well, clearly the latter choice was a much better deal. So what happened?
You see, it was an auction.
As I had mentioned earlier, the Wizard’s Edition usually sells for about $500, both on Amazon and eBay. So to find it for $100 was an astounding deal. I really wanted that item, and though I knew the price would inevitably go up by the end of the auction, it would have to go up by quite a bit before it was no longer worth it.
I researched strategies for winning auctions on eBay and eventually decided to wait until the final day. No need to drive the price up too early. It stayed at about $100 all the way up until that final, fateful Friday. I ended up learning that eBay has this automatic bidding feature available to all users, and it seemed like my best option. You see, you bid the highest amount you’re willing to pay, and eBay automatically bids a small amount over the current highest bid, all the way up to your highest bid. So if I bid $200, and someone else bid $125, my bid would automatically by $127.50 or some such thing. This seemed pretty convenient and would prevent me from having to fumble with the keyboard in the final seconds of the auction as I try to outbid people. Not to mention you won’t actually have to pay your highest bid if no one else comes close to it. At least, that’s how I understood it.
The auction was in Canadian dollars, so I entered the American equivalent of $170, the price of the Wizard’s Companion by itself. To be honest, I should have gone a bit higher considering this was a far better item than just a used book. But I chose my price, and this is how it went.
Nothing happened all day. I had the desktop version of the site open on my phone so the time remaining would countdown in real time. 3 minutes and the price starts rising. Automatic bidding does its thing, and I remain on top by a few dollars every single time. Probably 2 minutes from the end, and I still have a $60 buffer! It keeps rising, and I feel certain I’ll win. The bids are still not even coming close. You can just feel how frantic the other person, or people, are. A person’s highest bid is hidden from other users. The only way to essentially find out what that bid is would be to keep raising the bid until you’re no longer outbid automatically. I feel like I was dealing with one very sly person who knew this. I watch as they frantically try to outbid me. Their frustration is almost palpable; they don’t know how high I’ve gone.
Mother Duck and I start counting down the final seconds.
I couldn’t believe it. I literally lost in the final second. No joke. No exaggeration. This person became so desperate in the final seconds that they just raised their bid by about $50, bringing the final price up to approximately $220 American dollars. (Not sure how this works with the automatic bidding system. Technically, they should have paid just over $170 regardless of what they entered. Did someone else bid way over my price, too? I have no idea. All I know is the final price was listed at about $220, $50 above my maximum.)
By now, I was literally shaking from the excitement, and now, the disappointment. And to be completely honest, having come so close to obtaining the full Wizard’s Edition, I just wasn’t seeing the value in a $170 used book. Before the auction had ended, I had already sought out a few additional backup options. And I ended up getting the brand new Wizard’s Edition, factory sealed, for about…get this…$220.
If I had won the auction at the price to which it had inevitably risen, I would have paid about the same! Actually, with the lower shipping of my item, I might have saved a few dollars! Plus, this one was shipping from the United States rather than Canada and would arrive a full month or so earlier!
Okay, so plot twist. I got the German version.
When I realized, I could have just face-palmed myself. Fortunately, there are only two versions of the Wizard’s Companion, English and Japanese, meaning my book would still be perfectly readable. (At least, this is what I had learned online.) The other downside is the European Wizard’s Edition lacks several items that the North American release got, namely a music CD and artbook. So in the end, the auction winner got a much better deal than I did. There’s a reason the North American edition sells for far more than the European edition.
But in the end, I still got the best things, the English Wizard’s Companion and a Mr. Drippy plushie, so I suppose saving several hundred dollars is totally worth it in the end, en’t it? Not to mention a second copy of the game itself. I don’t need another copy, but my original copy had a slice down the spine from a box cutter or something, so now I’ll have an undamaged version, so there’s fortunate. Tidy! (Sorry, whenever I discuss anything related to Ni no Kuni, I have a habit of talking like Drippy. Flippin’ heck, mun!)
So, in the near future, I’ll have to take some photos of my very own (German) Wizard’s Edition and show them to you guys once it finally arrives. I’ve actually been wanting this item for years, so it’ll be great to finally hold it in my feathery little duck hands (wings?) at long last! I’m not sure if I’ll ever do an auction on eBay ever again, though. I doubt I could handle the stress!