Auction sites drive me crazy

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Is it just me or are auction sites (one in particular) designed by devious minds with unquestionable Machiavellian leanings?

This last year, I have been doing a lot of lathe work and my stash of wood, accumulated over the last 20 years, does not offer much in the way of turning stock. So I have been turning over every rock in sight looking for suitable pieces. I found what appeared to be a veritable treasure trove of fine exotically figured turning stock on a well known online auction site. So I excitedly began bidding on some. Before I knew it, my e-mail inbox was flooded with "you have been outbid notices” and messages telling me, "Sorry, you didn't win …." And they seemed to arrive within seconds after I made my offers. At first I started getting sucked into the bid raising thing but the original bids I had made were actually pretty much what I was willing to pay for the offered pieces.

Finally I tried to contact the sellers to ask them if they would just send me some pictures of wood they had for sale and tell me the prices. After all, there's no law that says they have to sell everything they have on the auction site, is there? Well, evidently there is and it's policed because I immediately got "wrist slap" e-mails from the site informing me that this violated the terms of use.

It's not that I don't understand the concept of an auction or that I am a technophobe. I just don't have the patience for these kinds of gamy business dealings. So for now, I'm back to finding my wood the good old fashioned way by calling dealers and asking them what they have.

D.D.

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