Buying perfume on ebay can be a frustrating affair. I have personally had some excellent success stories, but have also heard of many disasters. I'm not about to recount any of them here, although I would like to offer some words to reflect upon.
Two days ago I was in two minds about bidding on a vintage bottle of Guerlain's Aprés L'ondee. I had come across the auction with only moments left in the sale... the bottle was beautiful, and much to my surprise, almost full. I was undecided only because I wasn't certain if the object of my desire (pictured) was indeed a vintage formula, or the modern reissue. I knew little of either, to tell you the truth, which is what made this auction all the more appealing. The seller had mentioned in the copy accompanying the auction, that "not much of the smell had been retained". With seven minutes and six seconds left, the highest bid was a modest 13 pounds. How could I lose? At that price (and a bit more), I would be delighted to own the bottle alone!
The hardest thing to decide (with 5 minutes and fourty-two seconds left in the auction), was what my highest bid would be. "Not much of the smell has been retained" had burned into my retinas, so much so that I could still read the words from the screen from behind my closed eyelids. I pondered a moment as I watched the seconds slip by. At 4 minutes twenty-two, I sent a message to the seller, hoping they would be online and able to answer my query immediately.
"Does the perfume still smell at all? Can you describe it?", I typed and then hit 'send' as the countdown slipped beneath the four minute mark. I waited, all the while watching the shifting obnoxiously loud red numbers blow a wet raspberry at me.
At 1 minute sixteen, after I had completely talked myself out of a possible purchase, I received an answer: "Still smells great but too old fashioned for me", was the reply. Old fashioned?! I thought... sounds right up my alley!
I scrambled! Fourty-four, fourty three... still no additional bids! Refresh page. Thirty six, thirty five... WHAT IS MY MAXIMUM BID!?, I panicked, twenty eight, twenty-seven...
My fingers punched in a random number 36.01... seventeen, sixteen... I hit the "confirm bid" button. Refresh page. No other bidders! My heart was hammering in my chest and I could hear the blood rushing in my ears... five, four... refresh page!...
After the auction ended I sat for a long while, waiting for my heart rate to return to normal, and for my hands to stop shaking. I felt very self-conscious all of a sudden. The alarming red numbers had been replaced by a dirty red cross. Outbid by a pound. One measley pound!
I was left thinking about what I might have paid someone, had I come across this item at a flea market, or an antique store. Fifty pounds? Sixty? Eighty? One hundred? Vintage bottles of Aprés L'ondee have sold for up to $600 before, so why in God's name was I bidding a pitiful 36 quid (and one pence)?! WHAT WAS I THINKING?
The moral of this story is simple... when buying what may seem to be the 'deal of a lifetime on ebay', then bid big. Someone out there is having a laugh at my expense tonight as they dab on glistening spots of vintage Aprés L'ondee... one that was had for a pittance.