Thursday, 19 January 2006

Vade retro, eBay!

I went to the theatre last night. No, I’m not going to slap the RSC again although they deserve it for lying to me: a couple of years ago, they assured me personally that they would find a London home that would afford the audience comfortable seating. Oh, yes? So why did I spend over an hour last night with my little legs dangling (I’m short, but not a midget – am I allowed to say that, I wonder), desperately trying to find a way to watch the play without constantly being aware of how painful my body was becoming? Luckily, there was an empty seat in the front row and, ah bliss!, my feet finally made contact with the floor and I watched the rest of the play in comfort. On returning home, I discovered to my horror that I was going back to that same theatre twice in February and would be sitting in exactly the same seat (it was supposed to be very good, damn it!). I will have to bring some kind of footrest next time or wear huge platform shoes.

No, I’m not slapping the RSC today; I can’t guarantee I won’t do it again at a later date, though.

Late last night, after cursing the RSC, I found an email from eBay informing me that my credit card was expiring soon. “Yes, I know,” I answered. But eBay had brought itself to my attention so I thought I might have a look to see if I could get a new FP (no, I won’t tell you what it is!). I am not a regular eBay trawler. I have ‘one’ sale under my belt: last summer I sold a perfectly good handbag for not very much money (but, then, it wasn’t a very expensive handbag in the first place). I was beside myself with delight. My gain was Oxfam’s loss, of course. I know that charity shops have complained that they’re getting fewer donations these days (I thought I was keeping their shops open all by myself), but I also know they’ve got in on the act and making more money that way, so I don’t feel so guilty about depriving them of that handbag. As for buying, I managed to get two items in the past few months. The funny thing about it was that I used a sniping service (free trial) and got very excited when the machine placed the ‘one and only’ bid three seconds before the end of each auction.

I’ve been to a couple of ‘real’ auctions in the past. Years ago, when I was still at school in Nice. I was mad about Art Nouveau and, luckily for me, no one else appreciated it at the time, so I got what I bid for. It was very exciting, but even then I knew instinctively it had nothing to do with ‘winning’ and everything to do with being prepared to fork out more money for the item than anyone else in the room. My father loved auctions: he used to buy bails of haberdashery stuff for his business (when he was still making raincoats himself). Buttons, sewing material, etc., from factories that had gone bust. As a little girl, I used to be given anything that he couldn’t use, like masses of skeins of soie floche, for instance (no idea what that is in English, but it’s beautiful) or literally kilos of those tiny tiny beads that cost so much in the shops these days. Auctions were synonymous with ‘fun’. And they still are for millions of people. For my part, I’ve grown up and become a cautious, frugal adult, so the word has acquired an element of danger, and, since I’m not a natural gambler, I don’t relish it at all.

I went through pages and pages of listings last night. Isn’t eBay the most wonderful time-wasting device? This time I used two snipers and set them to place bids two seconds from each other. It looks like I will be bidding against myself and I’m curious to see exactly what happens in such a case. However, since I’m not prepared to pay a lot of money for that particular FP (it’s driving you crazy, isn’t it?), I will probably be outbid long before the end of the auction.

I’m slapping eBay for reminding me that it existed and for fooling people into thinking they’ve ‘won’ stuff. I’m also slapping those people who get so carried away that they practically bankrupt themselves. The expression ‘winning an auction’ should be banned from the vocabulary. Slap!

Update: FP was for Fountain Pen! As I expected, I was outbid. This is what someone else... won... no, paid a lot more than me for.

Up-update: the pen turned out to be a fake. I've had a narrow escape.


  1. Foot pump?

    Floppy pashmina?

    Finger painting?

  2. Flemish painting?

    Flimsy pail?

    Fumerie Purque?

    (you're killing me!)

  3. Yes, D, I thought I'd replace my old Vermeer with a nice little Van Eyck. LOL!

  4. Foolproof Padlock?
    Flowering Paphiopedilum?
    Footed Pyjamas?
    (even spelled like a Brit)

    I have 171 positive feedbacks on my eBay account... and I am very proud of it!
    I love love love this post even though *sigh*
    I am an eBay sniper. It is true, I go in during the last minute put in a high bid and snatch it from some poor little soul with a yellow star next to their name. Newbie. I of course wear a turquoise emblem next to my pseudonymm. Oh well better luck next time.

    Serious note: do not send any financial information until you have gone to the actual site and sent an e-mail to verify. There is a lot of fraudulent activity unfortunately. In the US, they have asked us to send all e-mails asking for personal information to Safeharbor.

    SafeharborImportant: eBay will not ask you for sensitive personal information
    (such as your password, credit card and bank account numbers, Social
    Security numbers, etc.) in an email.
    Learn more account protection tips
    see here for more info

    On a not so serious note... your legs don't touch the floor? Ahah hah hah hah.
    I am 5'9" and would seek aisle chairs in order to stretch my lags.
    *jack sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean..."

    And I do believe the PC term is "Little People"
    (I'm just looking out for my fellow gimps)

  5. SL (btw, do you realize those are the initials of my favourite perfumer - Serge Lutens? They call me the Godmother of the Serge Lutens Mafia, you know!), I discovered eBay quite late, I think and, as I said, I don't have the gambling bug.

    I don't have broadband and it would be impossible for me to bid at the very last minute. I have no qualms about using a sniping service. I would have got that beautiful Parker pen if I'd been prepared to pay twice the amount I put in. You can wear your turquoise emblem with pride. :-)

    Thanks for the warning about fraud, etc. I am very cautious in that respect. I would never dream of sending any information of that kind in an email to anyone. I have received extraordinarily good fakes supposedly from my bank. And, then, got a legitimate one and chucked it out too. LOL!

    I'm 5'-nothing and I do not qualify as a Little Person. So there! My feet dangle only when the b***** seats are too high and tipping back. The French call people like you asperges. Asparagus? Asparagi? Asparaguses. That reminds me of Bob Geldof saying something like, "That guy wrote several opi blah blah blah..." once. I thought, "If you've never done any Latin are not sure about Latin endings don't try to guess!" (Where does he think the word 'opera' comes from?).

  6. Absolutely wonderful post! *I bow*

    I thought you were bidding on a f*cking pimp right up until the very end.

  7. Oh, TLP, I am shocked! LOL! (Thanks.)

  8. Also five foot nothing, also tortured by the RSC's theatres on several occasions. Managed to fall asleep once, during Volpone, even though I was dangling, rigid and hanging on for dear life. Says something about either my commitment to ignoring art or the discomfort of the mattress on my bed.

  9. Oh, oh, another theatre freak! The RSC wasn't the worst offender in that respect. Still, I remember the bad old days of the Aldwych, but I have very fond memories of the Warehouse. I WANT THE BARBICAN BACK!

    I could easily fall asleep during Volpone (funnily enough, the play the other night was also by Ben Jonson - Sejanus: His Fall; it's a fascinating piece). You should do something about your bad mattress; you could be doing your back a permanent injury.

  10. Two itty bitties on one post...
    I love it (although both are now taller than me). Okay I will refrain from making jokes just in case a TRUE "little person" or HUMORLESS paralyzed individual is reading and takes offense.

    asperges maybe as in vegetables?

    remember this...
    Vivian: "Let's watch old movies all night. We'll just veg out in front of the TV."
    Edward: "Veg out?"
    Vivian: "Yeah. Be still like vegetables, lay like broccoli."
    ---Pretty Woman

    p.s. I believe that my comment option is working on my blog now... I complained!

  11. SL, you are as tall as you wish to be. And no humourless person is allowed to comment on my blog. When they try to leave a comment, they get an error message saying, "Go away, you humourless person!" And, anyway, if you're not allowed to make jokes about your condition, who is? Eh?

    Yes, asperges as in vegetables: long and thin. Usually preceded by the adjective grande. "Quelle grande asperge, celle-là!" I'd forgotten about the broccoli thing. It's hilarious. I adore Pretty Woman (and I don't care who knows it): it's delightful from beginning to end.

    The comment thing works on your blog now! Do you mean to say I have to go and read what you write?! LOL! (See you there!)

  12. It probably leaks.

    Thanks for putting us out of our misery :>)

  13. I doubt it, D: it's a Parker pen and it's brand new. A thing of beauty. :-(

    dzupughu: coochycooch in some other language

  14. When I refer to people as "asperges" it usually indicates a certain discomfort with communication, ignorance of social skills and lack of empathy couple with high intelligence. Or am I taking things too literally again?

    In case this is not apparent, I'm trying to make an autism joke here. That I'm explaining myself says so much...

  15. Very good joke, JvS! I did get it. LOL!

    I had contact with an asperge once. Years ago, a guy came to my flat to set up a modem connection: he was late and as soon as he arrived he berated me for not giving him the correct address (I'd never met the guy and I do know my own address). I apologized. Then he proceeded to do whatever he had to do with my PC (these days, I could do it myself, of course) and then sat there, not saying anything. I had to ask whether he'd finished. "Yes." Whether he wanted to be paid straightaway. "Yes." I gave him a cheque. He still sat there. I had to stand up and practically take him to the door. He'd probably still be there otherwise. It was very difficult. I wasn't aware of that problem at the time. I mentioned it to the person who'd recommended him in the first place. He said he had no problem communicating with him. He was a man so things like eye contact and pleasantries weren't that important to him, I expect.


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