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!

You see that fireplace mantle all decorated with Christmas stuff? Marilyn paid  $150 for that and it was delivered right to our door.

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."

For a while Marilyn went through a 'Blue Thing' phase. Everything she wanted had to be Cobalt Blue. The family thought to give her blue things for Christmas and her birthday, but then they figured they better not since she got every kind of blue thing she wanted at dirt cheap prices.


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.

I don't know what all of those people are doing messing up this picture of the glass trophy case that Mr. Ebay sent. Actually it is hard to see since the light of the flash is reflected in it.

 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.

 Here is a  Love Seat....with our dogs hogging the picture. There is a matching sofa that goes with this.They were purchased brand new through Ebay for $200.

To the right is a picture of an antique glass cabinet which was Ebayed for $100. Note the 'blue things' inside and on top.

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.
It's called The Library because of this.
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.

  The $3,400 ring is the first ring on the second row; the $2,400 ring is the first ring on the third row; and the $2,200 ring is second ring on the first row. The other rings are worth much more than she paid for them, but we don't remember how much.

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.

This picture of the Ebay Queen and me was taken a few years ago. Blouse: $3. Shirt: $2.


  1. Another well written post, nicely assembled and quite interesting. You have excellent style, and a quality that is more innate than learned. That is the ability to use pacing to tell the tale. Some of the best comedians and story tellers have that verbal quality. You are honing that skill in writing to a very fine edge.

  2. The E-Bay Queen is beautiful, best to let her do what she wants... However, my house used to be similarily crammed. As life took over and I began to move, all over creation, I got really tired of dragging all that stuff around. So I began the process of 'unloading.' My mother's mother sis it to her, my mother did it to me, and now... my daughter is the recipient of my unloading. I grab 'things' all over the place when I clean. By the time I have a chance to visit my daughter I have an extremely large box or bag chock full of treasures. he now owns more stuff than I do. Its a lighter feeling thing. I draw the line far before my mother did. She would send one curtain panel, on salt shaker (er, do you happen to have pepper still hangin' out?). My father occasionally would participate. He sent my a pile of non-refillable pens (out of ink), six brass uniform buttons, a canvas Navy unitform belt (no buckle), and a six year old calender (with pictures of the Pope...)and an old, heavy sewing machine. I never did ask him if he had been giggling like an insane person while he threw things in the box. Then they paid to mail the stuff. But it works. Now, as my mother before me, my house is a lot less cluttered, and my daughter's looks like a hoarder... there must be sacrifices!

  3. Jerry,

    That first picture is enough to make you forgive all of your wife's foibles, no matter how good they left you!

  4. BTW, Jerry, I had SWMBO read a couple of your posts. She was very impressed. And she is not one to be impressed, as can be judged by some of her (non-published) comments about my posts.

    We, both, agree . . as I have said before . . you are a treasure. Keep writing, Jerry, even if it's on a recycled desk!

  5. What a great story, Jerry! My step-brother's wife was equally addicted to ebay, but eventually took to selling instead of buying. I'm glad to see a photo of you and your girl!

  6. Well, it COULD be that she's addicted to you, but just in case, you might want to check ebay occasionally to make sure she doesn't have you up for bids.

  7. Boy, I dunno--I think I feel best about your $25 desk. If I needed a pair of pants, I wouldn't feel better about having ten $5 pants. Dave declared war on my tshotchkes years ago, declaring his wish to have a house he could clean with a fire hose. Once I got used to it, I really liked the spare look. Of course, you can get that with poverty, too.

  8. Wow! Next time I need something can I just send you an email and have Marilyn find it for me?? She should set up shop!

    Love love love all the beautiful pieces you posted pics of. And I love your library. But I would sell the rings. I would rather use the money to go on a trip than have the expensive rings.

    Great post.

  9. Seeing your Marilyn in her younger days; sure reminds me of my friend Ruby; had to take a second look when I first saw the picture. They could pass for twins; in fact, Ruby also,liked the cowgirl look with the hat and gear; she participated in rodeos. Seeing all the items purchased through Ebay; one could say; your home is the Ebay house! Sweet!

  10. I have a friend who would love Marilyn. My Susan had new hardwood floors laid in her 4,000 sq. ft. house, and then bought enough fabulous Turkish rugs to cover most of the floors up...for a grand total of around four hundred dollars. She also went on a "vintage" fur coat kick and bought about twelve of them, most for $25.00 or less. I can't find squat, myself. I lack the patience and the powerful desire for stuff. Marilyn is a jewel.

  11. Aw damn. This means that I think my writing is worth less than a lot of anime videos, comic books, cigars, and single-malt Scotch. Shoot. I have self-esteem issues, apparently.

    "Timing," eh? I was under the impression that, in the context of eBay, "timing" means "sniping."

    "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."

    ...made me chuckle.

    Three-thousand four-hundred dollars?!

    Maybe I should look into this eBay thing. Seems more profitable than real estate or land speculation.

    Not to mention it seems to magically produce $5 shirts out of thin air.

  12. I agree with Spot, Marilyn should set up shop to help others get things from Ebay. She is a natural pro! I love Marilyn's style, that smaller antique cabinet for $100 is wonderful!

    I would say you got real lucky, you have a heck of a deal finder and she is using the money wisely. I am a deal finder too, but on a smaller scale.

  13. I feel like I really dodged a bullet here; my wife is not a "shopper" by any stretch of the imagination. Good thing too as we are inundated (as in up-to-our-ears) in stuff. She just closed out the storage unit for the third time (the unit I rented for her because we couldn't get the car in the garage).

    This lifestyle has made gift giving easier for our kids, they know now that if we can't eat it, watch it, or listen to it, we don't want it. More "stuff" we don't need.

  14. no way is that ring worth that amount. the first ring in the second row. do you know the total caret weight? is it stamped inside with the karet designation? just curious....thanks.