Tuesday, November 16, 2010

eBay Deals for the Clueless

Sixteen Hundred Microsoft Xbox Points costs $20 U.S., period. (Okay, it’s actually $19.99, but I’m rounding for simplicity.) If you go to Wal-Mart you can buy a Microsoft 1600 points card OTC for $20. Target, $20. Best Buy, $20. Game Stop, $20. Heck, if you are currently playing your Xbox and want to purchase points on the fly through their Xbox Live Marketplace, they charge $20 for 1600 points. There is no reason anyone in the United States should pay more that $20 for this quantity of points.
Earlier this week I was browsing eBay and decided to see if there were any good deals on Microsoft point cards. What I found amazed me. When I searched specifically for 1600 points I pulled up 28 listings on the first page. Of those 28, only five . . . five . . . were currently priced under $20 (cost + shipping). The majority of cards were priced higher: $22.50, $23.99, $25.00, $32.51, $33.46, $37.00. My personal favorite had to be someone who had a listing for $1.00. First of all, when you read the description you learn that you do not actually get a card. Instead, the code will be e-mailed to you, an arrangement that I personally would steer clear of. But, besides that, the seller is charging a shipping and handling fee of $22.75. You end up paying nearly $24 dollars for a questionable code when you can go down the street and buy a legitimate card for four dollars less.
Okay, listing an overpriced item is one thing. But do people actually buy them? I wanted to know so I clicked on "completed listings". On the first page alone I saw that nineteen cards were sold at a total cost of more than the $20 retail value. (In fact, one of those sales was the $1.00 deal I described above.)
If a vendor wants to jack up the price on his item, I really have no problem with that. I believe in a free marketplace. What I do have to question, however, are the people who would actually buy these overpriced items. I can only believe that they are people who simply don’t have a clue about how much Microsoft points cost. They are probably the parents and, more likely, grandparents of little Johnny who begs and begs, "I want some Microsoft points. I want some Microsoft points." These unsuspecting adults don’t know how much these mysterious "points" cost, but they do know you can find good deals on eBay.  So they log on, look up and buy. Done.
Bottom line, it’s good to be an informed shopper. And for those of you who aren’t, the cost to read this blog entry is $2.00. You can send it to my PayPal account.

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