Friday, September 10, 2010

oohilove. or not.

I was not able to blog yesterday. I was busy. I also did not make it to the grocery store (though we really needed food). Very, very busy. And, I do not mean running-errands-for-my-family busy or or working-on-a-big-project busy. No, I actually wish I had such an excuse. It's a tad embarrassing to admit, but here it goes: I was busy staring at an auction ticker at oohilove. All day.

If you have not yet been introduced to oohilove, I apologize in advance. I am still refusing to speak to the "friend" who introduced me. Yes, you know who you are and no, we are not speaking.

It all starts innocent enough -- authentic designer digs at ridiculously low prices. Too good to be true?  Well, yes and no.

Yes, some people are winning auctions for Tiffany necklaces having expended less than $10.  I've seen Gucci bags go for less than $30. And this is authentic merchandise, not back-alley knock-offs.

So what's the catch? Well, you have to pay for the privilege of bidding. Yes, that's right: you pay $0.99 for each bid placed. And no you cannot simply pay $0.99 and bid a reasonable price for the item. The bidding is set so that each bid (remember it costs nearly $1) increases the price by $0.02. Only $0.02 for each bid -- imagine how long it takes to reach a reasonable price. And, knowing that everyone is paying $0.99 for each bid, imagine how much money oohilove is netting off each item they sell for these ridiculously low prices.

An example:

Yesterday I had my eye on this darling little bag. I previously purchased a bid pack of 50 so I was invested in this venture and ready to capture my prize. From previous auction experience I know enough to not bid early in the bidding -- it all happens in the few seconds of any auction. I also researched and was aware that the last bag like this had gone for $78.  Totally reasonable. I'm happy to pay $78 for this little tote!

Towards the end of the auction I start watching. And watching and watching. When someone bids within the last few seconds of the auction, the auction timer  immediately resets to 20 seconds. If multiple people bid at the same time, it resets to 30 seconds. So, with every last-second bid, you have to wait another 30 seconds. It's like groundhog day. Over and over and over again. And with each bid the price is only increasing by $0.02!  I watched for an hour (or was it two) and the price was only at $12!

Unfortunately, at this point I'm a woman on a mission. I want to beat the system. I want to use as few bids as possible to snag the item. Hours pass. I walk around all day holding my iPad so I can hover and watch the timer. During dinner my husband gasps when I prop the iPad by the table (we have a no gadgets at dinner rule). I was indignant. I cannot turn back now. I am certain I am smart enough to beat the system. Or at least stubborn enough.

I finally explain to my husband why I am staring at a screen without blinking. And why I cannot possibly take time to floss the kids' teeth tonight. I expect a lecture about not getting something for nothing or something along those lines. But, alas, I am not dealing with my dad here; this is my hubs. He encourages me. He tells me to buy more bids so I have a better chance. He says, "well, if you really want it then just spend the time and do what you need to do." Seriously. I do not need to be encouraged in the ways of scouring after designer goods for a fraction of the retail price. I need someone to pull me away before I do further damage to myself, our bank account or, at this point, the iPad I want to hurl across the room.

At 7pm the bidding is only at $28.00. At this point let's look at the numbers: to increase the bid to $28 in $0.02 increments, means oohilove has grossed $1400 in bids alone. And the auction is far from over. Are you following this? Each bid is paid for. You never see that money again. You pay to bid. If you win, lucky you. If you do not, you've thrown your money away. Brilliant, right?! For oohilove, that is. And this, of course, is how they can afford to auction off gorgeous luxury items at a fraction of the cost. It's as if all of the other suckers in the world are subsidizing your new Gucci. Capitalism at its best.

Back to the example: the bag I was watching sold for $52.36. The "winner", however, bid 769 times!!! Yes, that means in addition to the $52.36 auction price she also paid nearly $769 for her non-stopping bidding (and I mean non-stop, I was watching). Her total price: $813.67. The retail price for the bag was $887. Hardly a steal. But consider it from the other perspective. At that sales price ($52.36) divided by each $0.02 bid, oohilove grossed $2,618 off just bidding alone. I suppose this nice little profit makes up for the Tiffany necklace I saw sell earlier for only $.28 and 2 bids. Holy smokes Batman!

The moral to the story: I'm undecided. Part of me thinks I should never again visit this heinous sight. The other part of me thinks I should watch it nonstop so I am one of the lucky few who snags a less-desired item at a bargain price. I do still have 41 bids from my $50 bid pack. Hmmm.

Should I write-off those funds as a lesson learned or persevere towards something, anything to show for my money?!?!  I fear I'm hard-wired for the later. What would you do?


M.O.T.B said...

I tried a site like that once and NEVER will do it again. I don't have that kind of time. Great idea but definitely NOT for me!

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

I agree, but I cannot seem to shut the browser window that tempts me!!!

Katie Lane said...

Run away, run far far away!!

petite carousel said...

Close that window!!

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

I know. I know. I have taken a sabbatical for now -- have not even looked since . . . um, yesterday. : )

Ashley Vann said...

Are you speaking to me yet....?

Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

Ash - I am speaking to you again after completing a 3 day withdrawal program. I am officially done with oohilove and have absolutely nothing to show for it. You, my friend, I'll never be done with. xoxoxo

Tara said...

Ha, ha, I must NOT visit that site! But I wish I was the genius who came up with that idea. :)

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