I didn’t think that I’d actually walk away from any of my resolutions being sorely disappointed. I like to find the good in everything, and at the very least pride myself in being able to pass things off as a “good experience” or a “lesson learned.” While this resolution is certainly the latter, I’m having a hard time feeling okay about it.
Resolution #92 was to win an auction on a Penny Auction website. You’ve all seen the commercials for sites like Beezid and Quibids, right? If not, here’s Beezid’s insanely appealing pitch:
Sounds awesome right? 94% off iPads? My odds of winning are phenomenal? Take my money!
And that’s how it begins.
I debated a bit on whether or not to make this a long drawn out narrative on the dangers of penny auctions, and consequently why I should never be allowed to set foot in a casino, but I’m so distraught over it that instead of pouring over the details I will give you the bulleted list version and hope that it is enough to deter you from ever even humoring one of their very convincing commercials.
- Arrive on site, get bombarded with all of the goodies you can win.
- Sign-up, purchase a bid package, take advantage of one of the “newbee” promos that gives you bonus bids.
- Momentary excitement at the possibilities.
- Site recommends you go after small things first….you don’t.
- Go after the iPad
- Squander away ALL bids, win nothing.
- Shoot, maybe I should have gone after a small thing. I’ll do it right this time.
- Purchase more bids.
- Go after slightly smaller (but still pretty large thing), in my case a $100 gift card.
- Stare at screen for 5 HOURS, waiting to whittle down the competition.
- Feel like you got REALLY close to winning, in reality you probably didn’t, more bids gone.
- Okay, I know they have beginner auctions (super tiny things to get your feet wet), I’ll do that.
- Purchase more bids.
- Look through beginner auctions, not so interested, now just hell-bent on winning something that will make up for the losses.
- Find auction to bid on a package of more bids!
- Bid, bid, bid, win more bids! Well, that’s something.
- Waste half of those bids making same mistake and bidding on something too big.
- Step away. Google search for “Penny auction strategy.”
- Find out that it will require you to spend hundreds of dollars to even hope to win (ex. 800 bids to win a xbox, I started with 50)
- Go back with some semblance of a strategy, go after smallest auction. a $15 Amazon Giftcard.
$0.46, what a deal right? …Well…let’s do the math, shall we?
On the screen there, you can see that I used 15 bids to get the thing, at roughly $0.60 a bid which means that I really got it for about $8.41. Still an okay deal. Minus the $3.99 that they’ll take to ship it to me regardless of whether or not I take the e-certificate option.
Total cost: $12.4
Total savings: $2.60
Well, at least you saved something right? Ah, but remember all those bids I bought and lost working up to this win?
Let’s just put it this way. I finally owned up and divulged to my boyfriend exactly how much I actually lost during this endeavor and even he said “Yeah, maybe you shouldn’t tell them (blog readers) that exact number…” That’s how horrifying it really is, but to give you an idea, the words “I should have just gone and bought the iPad, I might have been better off” did come out of my mouth.
No, I didn’t lose the equivalent of the price of an iPad. I wouldn’t even be blogging anymore if that were the case; I’d probably have thrown out my laptop and taken up residence in a cave. But, I’d rather have just ponied up the extra dough and actually come away with something of value rather than $15 in Amazon money to show for my efforts.
Word of the wise: Unless you plan on making a serious investment of time and money to learn the intense strategy of the penny auction world and purchase the number of bids necessary to win something worthwhile…stay the $*@! away. Please. Thank you.