A cautionary tale of iBooks, Apple laptops and eBay

A curious incident yesterday… several of the iBooks I was following on eBay, all listed by one seller, disappeared from my ‘watched’ list when I refreshed the page.

‘What the deuce is going on here,’ I yelled to no one in particular.

I thought in rapid succession: I’ve done something wrong; eBay has done something wrong; I’ve lost my membership; the world has come to an end. None was true.

As I came to my senses—a rare occasion indeed—it occurred to me to check out the seller’s page. Sure enough, the seller was no longer registered at eBay. Mysterious-er and mysterious-er.

A few minutes later, when I checked my email, a notice of one of the products came to my attention. Clicking on the link took me back to eBay, to a page where the product was ‘no longer listed’, with helpful advice to ‘check my links or the product number assigned by eBay’, as if I had somehow made a mistake in clicking the link sent by them.

All this happened over the course of an hour or less. I, the spectator, was left trying to create a story, an explanation of what happened to the seller and his/her products. I considered all kinds of calamities before finally arriving at an explanation that rattles one’s faith in humanity yet again.

The goods were hot as baked potatoes newly steaming from the oven.

Stolen. Fenced. Lifted. Pawned off on an unsuspecting public.

The seller listed his goods for a week or more, a new iBook offered daily or more often, to the tune of a dozen or more identical items.

A number of people bid, some sales had already concluded. I can only hope, whatever happened, that those who won the early bids did not lose their money, but it’s likely they did. As for me, a happy ending: I had not yet placed any bids, merely lurking in the shadows watching the dollars climb as other eBay-ers offered beyond what I was willing to, or considered a 6-year-old laptop was worth.

As a side-note to this cautionary tale, all of the above took place amidst the hoopla of Apple’s newest entry into the wonderland of electronic doodads, the iPad™. It’s not likely that anyone noticed besides me and a handful of other bidders who thought they might have a new old laptop.