Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Auctions in action

How not to love ebay?
I never thought I was much material for second-hand things, but new unused things...I've been an expert all my life.
My mum (dear her) is a bit of a compulsive shopper and there has been many a time one she buys something only to never again use it.
From clothes to weird and extremely specific items of kitchenware (how to forget the pastry cutter, which folded, so you could make Argentine style pasties!) lots of things have been kept and then forgotten, and then thrown away.
That's the one good thing about my Mum's compulsive habits. She's not a hoarder, quite the contrary, she's a heartless de-clutter!

What a shame that there was no ebay before...and that in Mexico the system has never really took off. It is the lack of trust.
We are afraid that they might never send you your products, once you have paid for them.
We are afraid things might get "lost" in the post...

In any case, since living in the UK I have fallen victim of ebay (mind you, quite a moderate one, I have only bought 29 things in my 3 years as an ebayer).
I have sold only two!
This is quite remarkable. I am not a hoarder, not.
But I cannot however imagine that my old shoes and clothes could be of any value to anyone.
I have sold a CD_ROM drive and a book.

What is the best strategy for an auction?
It is for sure not the ebay system. How it infuriates me when after days of tracking carefully the progress of the auction in question, and having made my bid, having make sure I am there to the last second being still the highest bidder, until virtually seconds before the end, a new player arrives and swipes the item, by bidding a few pence above your offer!
I even thought of installing a swiper software on my PC, but I am not a cheater.

In any case, lately I have started to be interested in Game theory.
It seems to be the theory of all human interactions...it promises to help me in poker and in love (not that I need any help).

So here I leave you dear readers a little auction theory conundrum:
Suppose I confiscate your wallet and that of another reader of this blog.
I count the money on each and offer the added amount to that one amongst you two who bids the highest prices for it.
Clear? You two are entering an auction, playing against each other, to obtain the combined amount of money from your wallets.
You don't know how much money there was in the other guy's wallet, only how much there was in yours.
How high would you be willing to bid to try to ensure you win?
Remember you are not only bidding to get your money back, but to actually gain some extra money.


Zereth said...

mmmh, nunca apuesto, así que me resulta difícil, supongo que no ofrecería un peso más de lo que contenía mi cartera. O seguramente mis apuestas irían por como luce la cartera del otro, que el dinero ofrecido no sea mayor a lo que pueda costar la cartera en un centro comercial. (el dinero que traiga dentro pasaría a segundo término).

Y esto me recuerda los "tapados"
cuando de niño cambiabas tu torta a "ciegas" en el cambio a veces dabas tu torta de frijol por una torta de huevo con chorizo. Aquí probablemente para algunos era una manera fácil de deshacerse de lo que no les gustaba y encima obtener una ganancia., para otros, era tener un menú no esperado y con alto valor degustativo.


Anonymous said...

Rock'n'roll! Game theory! Yeah! :D

Right, I've been thinking about it, but I still can't get past minimizing my loss... never mind making a profit. Here, this is what I've got.

For starters, I'd be willing to outbid my dear pal by a small amount, up to the amount of money I had in my wallet. I mean, if I win by having to spend all the money I had, I still get whatever he was carrying, which may be little but still much better than losing everything.

Now if the greedy uncooperative goit hasn't agreed I should win by now, well, bugger. At this point, even if I win the bid I may end up losing money: he may be a cheap bastard carrying just coins for the meter. Hey, it happens. Nevertheless, I'd press on, up to twice the amount I was carrying. I mean, if I lose the bid I lose the full amount I was carrying. If I win the bid, I can lose up to that amount, no more, and it probably will be less. Maybe I'll even make a profit.

But that's that. I'm willing to bid twice the amount I was carrying. If the bloody bugger doesn't give up at that point, I'll back off. Let him pay through the nose. Serves him well.

Weeell... all that said, you know what's the very first thing I'd try, if I think I can trust me pal? I'd try to make a deal with him. One of us bid $1, the other $2, we agree to leave it that way and that the designated winner will give back the designated loser the amount he had in his wallet, minus $1.50.

Then we'll flip the bird at the oppressor (that's you, btw). Fsck the establishment! Fight The Man!


So, how I did?

K said...

I shan´t give the answer quite yet!
I am hoping to get a few more brains chew though it first!

LadoGe said...

Jajaja nunca cambié la torta en la escuela porque mi sacrosanta madre prefería darme dinero y confiar en los guisados de la tendera, pero bueno, me desvié...
Compras online, he hecho pocas, no es que desconfíe pero me gusta comprar en vivo, digamos que aplica aquello del cyber amor cyber ojos que no ven cyber corazón que no siente :-)

Mi hermano vendió su auto por mercadolibre y le fue muy bien, conozco personas que a eso se dedican, ventas por internet y de eso viven, nada mal..

En mi caso podría ser un diamante en bruto, asi que por ahora no pujo en subastas :-)

Pilar Nieto said...

tricky, very tricky... La verdad es que yo soy fan de las apuestas pero me contengo a ellas por que me pico y me pico y pierdo los estribos...call me irresponsible jejeje

En realidad, preferiría sobornarte para que me regresaras mi cartera antes de perder los estribos y quedarme con más lana!