>I suppose I can count this as a lucky escape…

I have been an enthusiastic user of most aspects of the internet since 1996, and although I’ve had a few “moments” online (principally, the occasional “flame war” between various people who, like me, really had too much time on their hands and should have been living in the real world for a change), I’ve never really had a serious problem to date.

Until this week, that is…

…it all started with my damn iPod. It’s only (listen to him – “only”) a 30 Gb model and I have maxed it out on a number of occasions, so a half-notion was half-forming in my head that maybe I should trade up to a larger model. And everything would’ve been fine if that half-notion had remained in its incomplete state and locked away in the old noodle…

…unfortunately, last Sunday, after a nice trip to the local pizzeria where a rather lovely pepperoni pizza was washed down by a rather fine South African Merlot, to be followed by more than one digestif in the local boozer, I arrived home after midnight, feeling nicely anaesthetised. And instead of doing the right thing (i.e. going straight to bed and having a nice little kip for meself) what did I do but log onto Ebay.

Now, I’m a great lad for setting retroactive rules and breaking them proactively. And the greatest (and most broken) of all these rules is “Never Go Online Drunk”. How do you think all those “flame wars” mentioned above started? Normally I’m a quiet, reserved individual with little to say for myself and with a deep respect for the opinions of my fellow human beings. But after a few beers, I can get a little…er…assertive. Always, in retrospect, I chide myself most severely for the stupidity of my actions which are utterly predictable and totally avoidable. But how quickly we forget.

Anyway, I think you can see how this tale is developing:-

  1. – perceived need for a new iPod
  2. – rather a lot of liquid ballast on board
  3. Ebay

In the space of about ten minutes, I was “inspired” to put bids on 8 separate 80Gb iPods. Now, in fairness to me, the maximum bid I put on each of the iPods was significantly less than what I expected the yokes to go for in auction. But that’s not the point – worst case scenario, if each of those bids had, for whatever reason, been successful, I would have been the befuddled owner of 8 iPods at a cost to the exchequer of about ā‚¬1,800.

OK, I would probably would have been able to move my surplus on through Ebay, but how long would it take to do that? And would I make my money back?

So, you can understand how I felt on Monday morning when I’d realised what I’d done (“blind panic” would be a pretty good description) . I logged onto Ebay to see how things were going, and realised with horror that I was the top bidder for all 8 iPods. Now, all of the auctions had different finishing times, so in one sense the potential financial calamity I faced was somewhat diluted. Having said that, the agony was also prolonged, in that it would take a number of days for all the auctions to work through the system.

You must understand that it’s not as if I’ve never been on Ebay before. I know how these auctions work – long periods of relative inactivity, and then a flurry of bidding and counter-bidding as the auction comes to a close. So logic told me that there really was no problem – I’d be outbid in all auctions and I’d live to tell this as an amusing tale to the lads in the tea-break next week. But logic is a poor friend to have when you’re looking at the auctions regularly and seeing little sign of being outbid.

Of course, the story ends well. I was outbid on all 8 auctions, so I have come through the experience with my finances intact, my slack ways identified and a strict vow of sobriety online proposed (again).

I could still do with a bigger iPod though…:-)