I have been in the market for a new carry-everything bag ever since my cat, in order to demonstrate his displeasure with our cross-country move, peed on my old one, which was falling apart anyway after three years of constant and edifying use. (Incidentally, this bag was one of the best gifts I've ever received.) I've been hauling around my grad school tote ever since, but since it is emblazoned with the logo of a university in Boston, I do not want this to alienate my populist fellow-citizens of the UC-system, whom I would like to have as friends (please be my friends, UCSD-ers! I am not a snob! I am a yokel from the Midwest!). More importantly, it looks like a potato sack. So, I turned to the land of endless cheapness victories, Ebay, to solve this difficulty.
What I learned was that, unlike buying shoes on Ebay, another of my unrepetantly frivolous hobbies, but one which is conducted in a comparatively civilized manner, buying designer bags is like a pitched battle, if not total war. Bags starting at $5 end up selling for $95, and my shoe-buying strategy of bidding a dollar more than the previous bidder (cheapness!) is generally steamrolled by the more zealous within minutes. Moreover, I am inevitably outbid 15 seconds before the end of the auction by these same zealots, who raise their bid by just enough to cause me psychological money-spending hesitation ("should I really spend more than $60 on this thing?") that lasts just long enough for me to miss the last bid ("ok, ok, yes! I will spend! oh no! I have already lost!"). This in turn makes me even more obsessed with tracking the last five minutes of every auction, and more upset at losing every one. In short, I have lost about 10 auctions on potential new purses over the past three weeks, and each loss had made me crazier and more bitter.
But today I finally won! I adopted the strategy of the zealots, offered $20 more than the highest bid at the last second, and scored my still-under-$60 bag. And I felt a momentous and completely irrational sense of Great Victory, like what I imagine men feel when their sports teams win, even though they personally did nothing to contribute to the victory except to watch it on TV. Eat it, other Ebay bidders! I dominate! In principle, I could win every auction without this stressful competitiveness by just bidding $300 on each item, but that is inglorious. For that money, I could just go to the Coach store and buy a new bag, but that's the lazy rich person way out. Glory is when you find it, win it, and still get a deal.
Now let's hope this bag is as awesome when it arrives as my inflated perception of myself right now.