Winning Auctions - Or Spending Money?

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"Congratulations - You Have Won!" Say eBay
In psychology it is well known that competition is one of the strongest motivators. Marketing people and eBay use this to try to push you into spending more money than you intended, or buying something you did not really need. When you buy a loaf of bread at the supermarket, the cashier does not say "Congratulations, you won a loaf of bread", otherwise you would think he or she had flipped completely, instead they say "Have a nice day", and with any luck, you believe they mean it. It is part of the shopping experience, the more you enjoy shopping at that store, the more likely you are to return.

Part of most sales training theories and practice is to reassure the customer by saying something like " May I congratulate you on your wise decision and immaculate taste", in case you were having second thoughts or slight doubts about whether you have done the right thing. It also makes it a little harder for you to turn round and say, "Just a minute, I'm not sure, can I change my mind?" So this eBayism about winning is part of a carefully thought out and worded strategy to ensure you do not change your mind. A small percentage of eBay buyers do change their minds, and then usually try to wriggle out of the contract they have made with the seller, by belatedly raising questions they should have asked or read about before they bid. This often leads to bad feeling on both sides, reciprocal negative feedback, non-paying bidder reports, and bad buyers getting banned after three strikes.

Patronising or What?
My son thinks "Contemptible" would be a better word, and that eBay are attempting to make you believe you are competing for victory instead of simply spending your money on something, possibly a piece of worthless old junk. Although I would not have expressed it in the same way, he is correct. There are many other points at which eBay talk in a condescending manner as though all their members were morons. An example is when listing an item for sale "Congratulations, you have successfully listed your item!". Wow, thanks eBay, how could anybody as thick as me ever manage to work my way through the difficult task of creating an item for sale listing on eBay? After a completed auction, you get told "Your item sold for £xxx!". Note the exclamation mark! Doesn't it make you feel excited? It's all part of the Barnum and Bailey effect "Some lucky person will be the first to...". Experience eBayers undoubtedly get used to the "flannel" and stop noticing it. You have to either smile at it or let it drive you crazy.

Not While I Am Winning
This business about "winning" reminds us of an old joke. It may not be the funniest thing you ever heard, but it does reinforce our point quite succinctly, so it's worth repeating, or at least that's our excuse:-
A hungry rail traveller jumps off his long distance train at its only stop before its final destination. The buffet car service was not operating, and he had not had time to grab a sandwich before catching his train. He spots a vending machine on the platform, and lines up behind a woman who is busy feeding pound coins into the slot and adding yet another cheese sandwich to her growing pile. With only a few minutes before his train continues without him, our hungry traveller asks the other woman nicely if she could stand aside for a moment and let him buy his one sandwich. The woman replies "Get lost - not when I'm winning!".
If you did not think the joke was the funniest thing you ever heard please don't hit the "No" button below, but if you found this page at all helpful, or if it made you smile, or just think twice about some of the somewhat patronising stuff that eBay say, then please take a few seconds to hit the "Yes" button. Thanks

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