Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Joys of eBay Shopping!

I do not remember when I discovered the khazana of possibilities - eBay.

A couple of years ago, when my daily bread from Google depended on how many ads I reviewed a day, the word eBay had a different connotation. Easy-to-review ads which boost productivity, performance review, salary proposition. etc. as much as wolves in jackal skin because they have hidden errors that do not catch the eye.

From that time, I always looked at it as a 'US thing.' The generalisation that we Indians prefer to do shopping physically and that online shopping is for lazy people in the West added to the complication of credit/debit card fraud - eBay was never a part of my thought process.

And then one day, I saw an advertisement of eBay.in - eBay with an Indian twist. Being the dream come true innovator I am (take a bow, Mr. Everett Rogers, you were absolutely right with your classification), I tried it out. A quick registration is all what I did in my first visit.

As if they read my middle class mind, eBay soon started sending me emails with luring offers. Yes, their strategy has worked and I have started online shopping!

A month back, I got this email alert of a Bajaj DVD Player with USB coming at a discounted price of Rs. 1700. There was another offer running simultaneously where eBay was giving away free gifts for all purchases above Rs. 1000. Bling bling went the red alarms and I remembered my friend who had mentioned dreaming a DVD player, but had a tight budget. A quick check with the friend and thirty minutes later, I had paid for it through PaisaPay! My friend got a DVD player within the budget and and it brought along the joy of a free 2Gb pen drive..

I am sure the technology employed at eBay sensed a potential ransacker sitting in Hyderabad and browsing their stuff. The very next week, I got another email saying flat Rs. 250 off on any item. Five minutes later, eyelashes fluttering, I was innocently ordering a 2GB pen drive for Rs. 120. My sense of logic must have been really kaput considering I had gotten hold of this less than two months ago. But then, you can't carry such a darling gizmo anywhere and everywhere, right? For example, using it to carry a silly file that needs to be printed out would be a criminal offence. So that's the logic - my hard disk is for my movies, music and moments only.

Today, it happened again. Another email with the same offer of flat Rs. 250 off. My grey cells went into a revolution and finally I figured it. Books! Mad browsing for an hour followed by one purchase - The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for Rs. 15.

All the uninitiated - I would like to enlighten you about the way these offers work. They send you a promo code in an email and you have to paste it in the final step of payment. After The Alchemist, I zeroed in on another one called My Friend Sancho by blogstar Amit Varma and frantically went on to pay just Rs. 5 for it - but alas! The code was already used - for Paulo Coelho, of course.

Disappointed, I tried creating another id to see if that will work. It did not. In utter dismay, I realized that it is a unique code and works only for one user, for one transaction.

No, I did not give up. I added all my potential buys to my shopping cart. You know what I am doing right now? Keeping an eye on my inbox - to see when the next Rs. 250 promo comes, so that I can buy books for multiples of five rupees.

Credit card fraud - what is that? :P

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