Buying a Cutoff Saw on eBay, Part 3
The trick to successfully bidding on a cutoff saw to win the auction at the lowest price is resisting the urge. What urge, you ask? The urge to feel comfortable, the urge to win by a large margin. When I watch football I'm usually feeling my best when the Pack is up by three touchdowns halfway through the fourth quarter. It'd be more memorable if it came down to Favre having to orchestrate a last-minute touchdown drive, but that's not comfortable. And let's face it, we like comfort.
In terms of cutoff saw bidding on eBay, this means not bidding in bites and nibbles during the auction, slowly ratcheting up the price. What this tends to do is gets everyone involved in the auction excited about winning that item. They've researched the seller and the saw and felt comfortable enough to place a bid. Now they're emotionally invested in the thing. They know how they're going to use it. They've figured out the place in their shop where they're going to store it. You don't want to turn up the volume on that. You want to keep everything nice and quiet until the end. It's been said that success begets success, and the same is true of an auction; more bids seems to bring in even more bids, and no bids seems to scare everyone away. So when you make your bid, you're only going to make one bid. And you're only going to place that bid at the very end of the auction. And I mean the very end.
It's been referred to as "sniping"; like a sniper with a laser scope identifying a target, waiting patiently for the right moment to pull the trigger, then taking the target down with a single, heart-stopping shot. I win auctions by sniping. The name makes it sound like something underhanded, like you're cheating. It's not. You're just waiting until the end of the auction to bid. Nothing wrong with that. What does waiting until the end of the auction do? How about this:
- It prevents you from getting sucked into the same emotional attachment for the cutoff saw - it's just business. Treat it that way.
- It doesn't give other bidders time to think. Take a look at some of the completed eBay auctions for cutoff saws. You'll see people bidding 4,5 even 6 or more times on an item. Didn't they know how much they were willing to spend? Were they thinking that if they bid low early, they'd probably win? It doesn't make sense to me. Either they aren't clear on how the process works, or they are emotionally attached to the saw and some amount of logic and reason has left from their decision-making equation. You don't want someone like that to have time to think about whether they're willing to spend an extra $5, $10 or $50 on the saw that should be yours. Don't give them the chance.
- It's one less bid on a saw during 99% of the auction, meaning there's a little bit less demonstrated interest in the item, which might scare a few others away.
All of those things result in the saw's price staying nice and low, right where it ought to be.
In the top right corner of the window of an auction item you have the opportunity to click on the words "Watch This Item". I use that so I can keep tabs on auctions, deleting the saved information from "My eBay" if the price gets too high, and saving me the time of having to search for the saw again. Plus, eBay will send me an email when the auction is only a few hours from ending, so I don't need to keep track of it at all.
After I've done my research on the item for sale, I'll decide what my maximum price is, open a new browser window and navigate to the "Place a Bid" page. I'll move the process along right up to the point where all I have left to do is click one last button to confirm and place my bid. Then I open a second browser window and navigate to the item again, take note of exactly how much time (minutes and seconds) remains in the auction, then start a stopwatch. When the stopwatch has ticked down to 2-3 seconds remaining in the auction, I click the button in the other browser window to confirm and place the bid.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Truthfully, at the point I make the bid I have no idea if I'm going to win - sometimes there are other bidders doing the same thing and simply place a higher bid. But at least I know that if I win the cutoff saw, I'll have won it at a price I'm willing to pay, not one I got emotionally conned into. And if I lose, there's always another saw just like it to bid on.
Follow the terms of the auction and submit your payment. I also like to send an email to the seller just to open the lines of communication. Leave feedback as necessary, then start cutting!
Of note: I have a cable internet connection that allows me to get much closer to the end of an auction before placing a bid - when I used dialup I had to give myself an extra 20-30 seconds of lead time, otherwise the bid wouldn't reach eBay's servers in time. Keep this in mind when you're placing your bid.