The Frontstretch: Voices From the Heartland: How much would YOU pay for a rule book? by Jeff Meyer -- Friday July 1, 2005

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As long time readers know, I have been on a quest to obtain an official NASCAR Nextel Cup Series rule book. This quest has been going on for over two years now. On Wednesday, June 29, 2005, that quest almost ended. I was involved in a heated bidding war over an official 2005 rule book. The price had been stable at 26.50 for a couple of days. Being the no-good sneaky columnist that I am, I did not bid. I am what Ebay refers to a “sniper”. For those who don’t know, a sniper is someone who waits till there are just seconds left in an online auction before joining the bidding process, usually with a sufficiently high enough bid to win. That has always been my Ebay style. Remember, all’s fair in love and war and online auctions.

I figured that I could wait and probably snipe up this rule book for just over 50 bucks or so. When I came to work, the price had ballooned to 56.50 with 3 hours or so left in the auction. I had a decision to make. How bad do I really want this thing!?

The problem with being a ‘sniper’ such as myself, is that there are a lot of us out there. Back in the earlier days of Ebay, it was much easier. People just didn’t really expect that type of tactic. Another problem that I have is that, unlike some, I don’t have an unlimited bankroll or a expense account. It is much easier to ‘snipe’ when you can set your maximum bid at an outrageous amount to ensure you actually get the thing. You might end up spending more than the darn thing is worth, but by George, you won it! When the price was at 56.50, I decided that I would go to, say around 75 or so. I also decided to do a little research on the person who was maintaining the high bid.

By looking at that person’s feedback and then checking on the bid history of the items he/she bought, I learned a couple of disturbing facts. Money seemed not to be an issue, and he/she kept a close eye on the auctions they were bidding on, as evidenced by a number of last second winning bids on particular items. I figured it would be a close battle.

With about three minutes left in the auction, the price suddenly jumped to 76 and some odd change! The same person was still holding the high bid, but now I knew that someone else wanted this real bad, and the first guy had put a pretty high maximum bid on the blasted thing in the first place. More decisions on my part! Against my better judgment, which I’ve seldom been accused of having anyway, I decided that 100.00 should be more than enough, but just don’t tell my wife.As it turned out, the first guy, who had been leading the bidding most of the auction, had set a max of 101.00, but was now losing to a totally different guy with a bid of 103 and change. With 17 seconds left to go in the auction I bid 111.51, and started looking through the yellow pages for a lawyer to handle the divorce my wife would soon be filing. However…thanks Ebay sniper extraordinaire jimini_pini, my search for a laywer was short-lived. I hope you enjoy your $114.01 official NASCAR Nextel Cup Series rule book, jiminy_pini, whoever you are. You obviously wanted it worse than me. You are lucky that I’m inherently cheap (and/or married!) The quest continues. In the meantime… Stay off the wall (but keep looking over it and sing out if you see a rule book!)


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Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

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