eBay strangeness--32 bids vs. 0 bids on Wii

I am shopping for a Wii and retail availability is still very tight. A friend bought one on eBay for not that much more than retail so I took a look.

At this moment, there is one auction that is going to end in less than two minutes with 32 bids, now about $325. But another one ending in 6 minutes has 0 bids, with starting bid of $286. The seller has 99.2% positive feedback out of 463, so it doesn’t look like a scam seller.

What could explain the discsrepancy in bidding interest? I’m hesitant to be the first bidder in case I’m missing something that is obvious to everyone else.

Is availability still that tight on those things?
Every Target I’m in has at least 2 or 3 available to sell. Same with BestBuy.
I didn’t realize they were still that hard to come by.

People wait until the last minute to bid. Also there seems to be a thing with people that makes them stick with a bid and try to outdo the other person. I noticed this when I am selling stuff. If I start a big much lower than everybody else, typically it goes well over by the end. I think it is a psychological attachment to that particular auction or something.

I’m comin’ to Minneapolis. In the DC area all the stores are constantly sold out. I know someone who’s been walking into Best Buy every week for several weeks and can’t get one.

I agree with CookinWithGas . For some reason the D.C area is suffering a severe Wii shortage as I’ve been checking into a couple of best buys and gamestops on bi-monthly basis and I’ve yet to find one on the shelves.

S&H? I have seen a difference of 50 fucking dollars on stuff like that.

The S&H handle is a good one to mention.
No Ebay fees on the shipping & handling, so some people steal from Ebay and make shopping more difficult for the rest of us by overcharging on shipping.

I would be the seller with a lot of bids started with a much lower starting bid.

Perhaps you meant,
“I would be the seller with a lot of bids started with a much lower starting bid.” ?

I was in the local Costco a couple days ago and they had a large display of Wii’s. I didn’t note the price, but Costco usually offers a significant discount.

I actually meant to post: It could be the seller with a lot of bids started with a much lower starting bid.

I checked the completed Wii console auctions on eBay and found those with lots of bids started with low opening bids, some $.99. Those that start with low opening bids also have a low listing cost too. I also noticed the listings with lots of bids tended to sell at a higher price than those that had a “buy it now”.

Plenty of sellers are caught having friends fraudulently drive their auctions up with phony bids. I’m not saying that is what is happening here, but it is something to always be on the lookout for.

Randomly going to a store during the week is likely to be a bust, but have you tried going to a store on Sunday morning?

I’m speaking from the Baltimore-Washington I-95 corridor here, and know that it is routinely not difficult to go first thing on a Sunday to a Circuit City (where they’ve had a voucher program going since the Wii came out) and Best Buy (where it’s just a good bet, and where I got one from the Arundel Mills location), and be able to buy one.

I learned from a Best Buy manager that they will hold some stock of Wiis in the stock room for Sunday morning, when there’s an added demand in “hey maybe I’ll buy something else while I’m here” courtesy of the new week’s circulars, and I’d assume that for Circuit City to hold stock for vouchers every Sunday (usually the small print in the circulars will say something along the lines of “minimum 10 per store” that would hint at some hoarding).

I’ve also noticed that some stores like Walmart or Toys’R’Us, which are not the first thought for people trying to get video games, are more likely to have stock on any given day than a place like Best Buy.
ETA: A friend had success getting a Wii from a Target in a sketchier area, under the assumption that the people in a lower-income area are less likely to jump at geeky new video game systems. Pair with the Sunday morning guess, and you can probably grab one.

Weird, I was just talking about this on my message board. Because I live in the DC area and every single place I go to is sold out as well. I didn’t want to bite the bullet, but I’m going to do it and eBay it once I get some cash.

That’s a silly idea on eBay because if the shill wins, the seller has to pay eBay the fees just as if a real buyer won.

Well, the shill could always not pay, then the seller can file a non-paying bidder complaint and eventually get the fees refunded.

On edit:
On a high-demand item like a Wii, I don’t see the need for shilling. Shills are useful when there aren’t enough buyers to properly establish a market price for the item. With items that attract dozens of bids, your shill will either wind up not affecting the selling price at all or winning the item.
Items with less than 5 interested bidders are the only places shilling could ever be a tempting endeavor to a smart scammer.

The Wii is indeed hard to find in stock. My neighbor scoured Target and ToysRUs for three weeks to get his and my Mother-in-Law was told to report to Target at 9AM next Sunday to get on for my daughter. That’s when the next batch is coming in.

Use this if you feel like it: www.wiitracker.com

I bought a Wii at Wal-mart and went to sell it on eBay. After watching things for a couple days, I concluded it wasn’t worth it.

On eBay, I wouldn’t buy a Wii for more the $250, then decide what shipping & handling you want to pay. But don’t pay more than retail for one of these things. They might be in tight demand where you are, but they’re not in tight demand on eBay.