A Humbling Experience (Or how I lost an eBay auction)

I learned a $22 lesson on bidding on eBay yesterday. Ouch!

First, the item. My goal is to sleep in a hammock for most of my overnights on the Appalachian Trail, or AT. I will discuss my reasoning as I get some experience using the hammock. However, I also intend to stay in some of the many shelters on a hard floor, so I need a pad to sleep on. The pad can also be used in my hammock when cold.

For this item, weight vs. comfort were the major criteria. The lightest 20″x72″ inflatable pad at the moment is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite, at 12 ounces. It wins by a bunch in weight. A close competitor is the new Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core SL, at 18 ounces for the same size. The Therm-a-Rest has one big issue for me when I tried it: it’s noisy! The high tech material used makes a crinkling noise whenever you move on it. The 18 ounce Big Agnes is still pretty light, has a higher insulation value, and is more comfortable (and quiet!). So, I am looking to buy the Big Agnes.

Now, Being new, the retail stores have yet to offer it for discount, so I decided to check eBay. Sure enough, there was an auction going on. This is for me!

eBay bidding: I rarely buy here, but know enough not to show my hand until the last few seconds. Part of the art of bidding…

HOWEVER… The price was about 40% off retail, so I was pretty excited. What a deal. I placed my bid, hit the send, and instead of entering it immediately, eBay comes back with a “Confirm your bid of $xxx”. In the couple of seconds it took for me to register the statement and hit the “Yes” button, the auction ended, and I missed out. I could not believe it!

This was a very humbling experience for me. Small, but intense failure to perform… The good news? About an hour later, the same dealer started another auction, for the same pad. Today, I won that auction, but for another $22. A cheap lesson.

I know that my hike of the AT will have many of these humbling experiences, and this is but one of the many reasons I need to go on this hike.

Thanks for reading!

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