I attended my very first real life auction yesterday. The Helsinki Lost Property Office once again arranged their monthly auction to get rid of a bunch stuff that has been collecting dust in their shelves for over three months without anyone claiming them. Bad for the losers, good for the Office and people looking to buy cheap pigs in a poke. As a real auction-noob, this is of course exactly what I did.
I don’t know if this was a special geek batch of lost property, but 80% of the items were either mobile phones or digital cameras. But the real reason why I bothered attending the auction was the 4 Nintendo DS that were up for grabs. In the announcement on the web, they didn’t say whether the devices were the old ones (‘DS Phat’) or the newer DS Lite, so I had to go there and investigate the situation.
As usual I didn’t get away from work until too late, so I had only about 4 minutes time to inspect the products, most of which were packed in transparent plastic bags. The Nintendo DS devices I saw were all DS Lites and looked quite all right, so I decided to stay and see if I could get my hands on one.
The first one went at 110 euros, and that was only the device but with a handful of games. Still slightly too much for my budget. I mean, you get a new DS Lite for 140. The second one looked more promising, it came with two games, a charger and a “case”. I decided to try my luck with that one although I hadn’t noticed it during my super quick inspection round. The price rose quickly, and before I even knew it, I had bought it for 75 eruos. My first real life auction buy. And a bargain, in my opinion.
Since the device was enclosed in the “case” (which actually was an ordinary handbag which was big enough for the device and the charger), little did I know that the device actually wasn’t a DS Lite, but the first generation DS, the crappy ‘phat’ DS. The chock almost made me cry, and before I even had the chance to recover I was in for my next surprise: the charger wasn’t even EU model, but a US one. Oh, and the DS was pink. And it had a cat sticker on the lid. And it certainly did not come with a full money back guarantee. Need I say more? The failure was total.
After about 10 minutes of brain-usage, I decided to put it up for auction again. This time on the web, however. I didn’t have much hope of getting all my money back, but I still went for a price floor at 75 euros and a direct buy price of 85 euros, just to see what would happen.
And lo and behold, one day later it was sold for 85 euros! The buyer was even so eager that he picked it up an hour after the deal was closed. So in the end, the total embarrassment earned me 10 bucks. Not too shabby.