Forget Valentine’s Day…I have a different kind of love.
It started out as an innocent fad in my world. But slowly it has
become an obsession with no signs of stopping.
I’ve rediscovered my love of video games and in the process I’ve
found out about the coolest time-killer ever: online auctions!
Let me explain. When I was home in Connecticut over winter
break, I was complaining to my buds about how much I missed living
in a house with a video game system (yes, I am a nerd). Last year I
had plenty of consoles and games to keep me occupied. This
year…not so much. I thought about bringing my Sega Genesis and
Sega CD out to Colorado, but was afraid that they would get broken
on the trip. So it seemed as though I was doomed to suffer without
my favorite distraction.
But then, for my birthday about three weeks ago, two of my super
cool friends back home bought me a new Sega system online and had
it shipped to me. Some of my other friends chipped in for games. I
was so excited I scared myself, but I had to know where they got
this stuff – certainly no stores I know of sell video game stuff
from 1993 anymore. The answer? Online auctions.
How could no one have told me about Ebay before?? Or Yahoo
Auctions? This glorious, time and money consuming Web site devoted
entirely to the trading of crap? Take something seemingly worthless
to you, make it a treasure for someone else and voila, money for
something you no longer want. I’ve surfed a couple of times before,
but it seemed like too daunting a task. There are more than 50,000
new Web auctions listed every day, and I don’t have time to go
through all of those!
But instead of being a disorganized mess like in-person auctions
can sometimes be, the auctions are all organized and you can search
and they have pictures so you know what you’re getting and the
sellers have reliability ratings and before I knew it I got sucked
It’s amazing how quickly temptation can get to you. I decided to
give one of the sites a try to see what kind of games I could find.
And there were plenty! Most of them were under $3. They were so
easy to buy. My quick little peek quickly grew into an obsession.
Sometimes I’d talk myself into buying something just because it was
so damn cheap. Other times if an item was the only of its kind
available I’d pay a ridiculous price for it. And if other people
bid for something I was bidding on, watch out!
Bidding online is kind of like a strange drama. Sometimes people
wait until the last second to bid, so you may think you’ve won an
auction with 10 seconds left but some ninja snuck in with two
seconds left and you lost out. So counting down the minutes and
seconds until the auction ends can be edge-of-your-desk-chair
excitement. Other items can be bought without having to bid on
them, so if you really want a rare item it’s like a mini
competition to find the buyable items before someone else does. And
if it comes down to bidding on an item, there’s usually a nemesis
who bids against you constantly and drives up the price of an item
you so richly deserve.
And as if that wasn’t enough, some of the stuff on these sites
is actually worth a lot of money! Remember that eight bit Nintendo
you threw out in 1988? It could be worth $200 right now. I’m
constantly amazed by how much money people are willing to pay for a
piece of plastic casing with computer chips inside. Including
Now three weeks and $300 later, I’m starting to realize that I
need help. I bought some super rare games that I’ll probably never
play but they’re worth a lot in resale value. I bought a lot of
games that I’ll actually play but probably more than I needed. And
I can’t stop looking! I feel like I’m done, and yet I can’t stop.
It’s like I’ve found a treasure, and I collected it all, but I
can’t stop checking to make sure I got it all.
To solve this problem, I now have an online auction buddy. We
call each other and make sure we go out into the real world every
so often. But my obsession continues. I know it will wane soon, but
in the meantime I’m swimming in auctions. Happy Valentines you
online auctioneers, you’ve emptied my wallet again.
Thea is a senior majoring in technical journalism. She is the
station manager for KCSU.