eBay vrs42?

From: Scott Stevens <chenmel_at_earthlink.net>
Date: Sat Feb 12 14:39:51 2005

On Fri, 11 Feb 2005 22:57:56 -0500
chris <cb_at_mythtech.net> wrote:

> >If this were an in-person art auction, and I noticed that Nathan
> >Myrvold (just to pick a random wealthy and famous person arbitrarily)
> >was really keen to get an item that I wanted, would it be unethical
> >for me to avoid bidding on it?
> >
> >If I saw Nathan Myrvold before the auction and asked him if he was
> >going to bid on the item, would that be unethical?
> Or, as I did at an in person auction once... I wanted a pair of power
> bricks out of an assortment lot of cables and junk... another guy and
> I started to bid back and forth, so I flat out asked at him what he
> wanted from the lot. He was after a set of cables. So we agreed to
> stop bidding against each other, and split the cost that we had run it
> up to. Then we each took the items we wanted out of the lot (and
> actually recouped part of the cost later as someone else approached us
> and asked about some of the other items in the lot).
> The auctioneer was none too happy, but like Eric said, ethics isn't
> about being sure the seller gets the highest price.
> -chris
> <http://www.mythtech.net>

I have had auctioneers get 'pissed off' at this kind of thing and
retaliate. Of course, sometimes they retaliate by combining every box
left on the table in question, which I then had to bid on as a single
lot (it had been 'bidding on choice box'). So I bought the whole table,
got what I wanted, and other stuff I wanted, for cheaper than the boxes
would have been separately. Even stuff I hadn't noticed in the boxes I
didn't think ahead of time I was interested in.

A few weeks ago I bought a pickup truck (1970 Chevy C10) for $400 at an
auction. They were supposed to announce to the people in the building
that the vehicles outside were going up for bid, and they didn't. In
fact, nobody seemed to react at all when someone said they hadn't made
the announcement.

I don't have any regrets or moral qualms. Aside from the regret that I
probably shouldn't have started the bidding at $400 since nobody would
bid $425. (now I have a truck to haul stuff with- more and bigger gear
at the next tech auction I attend- hooray.)

Last fall I bought an alto saxophone at an auction where a friend was
present who almost always bids on musical instruments. One of his
specialties. It was a horn worth more than the $125 I paid for it. I
thanked him, without qualms, for not bidding. He knew I wanted a horn
to blow on, not one to resell. I don't think our 'collusion' was

Auctions are weird places where prices can swing wildy for completely
mysterious reasons. Ethical issues don't completely disappear, but it's
always more complex than a 'snap judgement' by someone not involved will
Received on Sat Feb 12 2005 - 14:39:51 GMT

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