Friday, May 14, 2010
The Ebay Queen
This is the lass I met around 12 years ago. In fact that torrid story was explicitly detailed here. A couple years later we were married. There are some things I didn't know about Marilyn, my wife -- and they came to light after I was committed to her. She never explained that I was the one that has to daily empty the dishwasher and take out the trash. She never explained that I was responsible for keeping my office, The Library, clean. But most of all, she didn't explain her odd addiction to me. She is addicted to 'The Deal'. If I had been more analytical about the whole thing, I should have realized it when she would buy stuff at yard sales and resell them for a profit at a flea market.
Basic economics teaches us that all economic transactions are an exchange for something of greater value. When we go to McDonalds to buy a hamburger, we desire a hamburger more than we desire the money we pay for it. When we see a coffee pot on the store shelf for $69, we buy it because we feel we get the better end of the bargain. For a lousy $69 we will get finely brewed coffee for years to come.
Marilyn takes this notion to a whole new level. "Sure, the coffee pot is worth $69....but hell, I want it for $29". She not only wants value for her money, but she wants a whole lot of value for her money!
How can she possibly accomplish this? Why Ebay, of course!
Now I've tried this Ebay stuff and then I would walk into the drugstore a week later and see the same damn thing for $5 less than what I paid. Clearly I didn't understand the system.
I asked my wife how she got her deals, when I couldn't. Her only reply was, "Innate intelligence.....and timing."
This is a buffet with drawers and shelves, once again decorated for Christmas. Again I asked her how she got this for $175. "Bold daring and timing, honey", she said.
Wait -- here is a better picture of that trophy case. See all the stuff in it. Guess what?
Oh yeah, she paid $150 for it.
Then there was this antique table...chest...whatever...piece of furniture that graces our foyer. Ebay price: $75.
My wife and I have separate offices, except her office is called 'The Office' and mine is called 'The Library' because it has bookshelves. She began wishing for a desk for her office. When my wife starts wishing, I know we are in trouble.
The next thing we knew we got a phone call. She had a desk from Mr. Ebay located at a residence across town. George, my stepson, and I drove over there to get it. We couldn't budge it, much less lift it into the truck. We finally had to pay four hefty, strong men to get it over here and set up. She got the matching solid oak desk, credenza and bookshelf for $200.
Now, I bought my desk in Scotia, NY at a used furniture store for $25 about twenty years ago. It has treated me well. The drawers don't open very easily and about every six months I have to get a hammer and bang on edges that start coming apart. But I am sensitive these days about casting old things into the trash. My Marilyn still believes in recycling
through yard sales.
My wife asked if I needed a new desk since mine was old and decrepit and a disgrace to the eyes. Remembering the massively heavy monstrosity she ended up with, I immediately replied, "No. Absolutely not. Never. I love my desk!"
Sometimes it got embarrassing. I mentioned to Marilyn once that I could use a shirt of two. Amazing. Within a week or two I had 25 (15 of which were new) for less than $5 each. In fact, neither my wife or I have purchased clothing from a retail store for years now.
I've come to feel better about Mr. Ebay, because I have learned he is stupid. For instance, Marilyn contributed $150 toward Mr. Ebay's welfare, and the idiot sent her a $2,200 ring. Now I have to be honest. When Marilyn casually mentioned that she sent paid $150 for a ring, I calmly responded, "What! $150 for a stupid ring? That's crazy. I could get something like that at WalMart for $29!"
That's when she told me that she took the ring to a respected jeweler for an appraisal and she showed me the certificate showing $2,200 as retail value. I started to say something when she sent another $150 to Mr. Ebay but before I could get the words out of my mouth she produced an appraisal for $2,400. I was on the verge of blowing a gasket when she sent $200...but instead I meekly asked, "Did you get it appraised?" Yep -- she produced an appraisal for $3,400.
A side note: When she first visited the jeweler and said that she had a ring she got on Ebay that she wanted appraised, he replied, "People are all the time bringing in jewelry from Ebay wanting appraisals. They are never even worth the cost of the appraisal!" Marilyn was not deterred. Now when she goes in for an appraisal, the appraiser doesn't say a word.
Marilyn has the highest rating possible on Ebay....whatever that means.
If I had known she had this strange addiction when I first met her, I would have immediately recommended intense psycho-therapy and suggested that she go somewhere for detoxification and rehabilitation. But it is kind of hard to do that now when I am benefiting just as much from her 'Dealing' as she is.
The last year or so she has weaned herself from Ebay. I think it is two things: She can't think of anything else to buy; and she feels it is No Contest for others to bid against her and she gets bored. But I did notice her eyes light up a couple of months ago when I mentioned that I need to get a couple of pair of new slacks.
I now have six new pair of slacks.