My buddy Alexi was camped out at the Walmart for 36 hours after which he scored a Playstation 3 bundle. At the end of the ordeal, he listed his item on ebay with a starting bid of 99 cents and a “Buy It Now” option of $2800. I bet him a week of lunches he wouldn’t sell it for more than $1230. Well, I might have been wrong… His auction closed last night at $1375 and he posted his menu. By my calculations he might have made ~$10/hour over those 36 hours for sleeping in a folding chair and weathering a day of rain and thunderstorms: $1375 – $750 PS3 & Accessories, $125 to move ahead in line, estimated eBay & PayPal & shipping fees = ~$350.
Was it worth it? Well, we’ll never know… His winning bidder backed out, saying he won the auction by accident. I feel bad for my buddy, but I’m not surprised how this played out on ebay — I’ve experienced this several times myself and list most things via Buy It Now to save myself the hassle. True, a winning bid is a contract but who’s going to enforce it and at what cost?
Alexi is debating his options at this point. The ebay market has been flooded with thousands of listings and prices are dropping, so he’s considering either working a local deal through Craigslist or actually playing (!) the PS3 for a few weeks until it gets closer to the holiday and then giving ebay another shot.
For all you doubters out there, Alexi and I have had probably half a dozen lunch or gadget bets like this over the last few months and he’s lost every single one. Why would this be any different? Time to get started on my menu!