Going....going...I'm gone.

I'm feeling a wee bit taken. I've been seeing alot of these new auction sites lately that are hocking anything from Louis Vuitton wallets to weekend stays in choice hotel rooms in Manhattan.  In a twist from the eBay days of old, it costs you money every time you place a bid.  Ok.  I got that.  Ingenious.  Plus, every time someone bids they add 10 seconds to the clock.  Hmm....how devious.  I used to win eBay auctions all the time by waiting until the last possible second and bidding like crazy.  Another twist: every bid only goes up in 10 cent intervals.  It's sort of like a musical chairs thing - if you're the last bid when the clock stops, you win.  They feature fantastic testimonials by winners - "weekend spa stay in California wine country for $110!" and photos of smiling couples in bathrobes enjoying their hotel stay that they won for only $36!"  I was curious and a hotel I'm dying to visit was on the block, so I tried it.  The Gramercy Park Hotel in NYC.

Isn't it gorgeous?  The auction site is: Off and Away.com.  Visions of me in my bathrobe enjoying my suite at the Gramercy were filling my head....I'd be willing to risk $10 to give this thing a whirl so I bought my ten bids and I waited....

I knew that my chances of winning would be very slim based on the popularity of this hotel, but I wanted to see how close I could get.  There was quite a flurry of activity as the auction timer ticked away it's last seconds.....I sat with my finger quivering over the "enter" key...I bid. 10 more seconds were added.  I waited until the LAST second...several of us bid...more seconds added.  OK wait a minute.  We could sit here all day and do this!  The price only goes up 10 cents at a time!  Before I knew it, I blew through my ten bids and I was out.  

I don't know how long it took for the auction to come to an end after that.  The winning bid was $409.60.  When I left the auction, it was around 14 bucks - quite a time and money investment to stick with it - unless you're just plain old lucky. 

To be fair, apparently my $10 now goes toward a "booking credit" at Off and Away.  I'd love to hear from you if you've tried this and had success.  I might give it a go again....if I'm feeling lucky.


Steve Miller said...

I have tried all these gimmicks, including willie shatners 'name your own price'. There is no such thing as a free/discounted lunch.


I'm with you, Steve.

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I didn’t dip my toe in an ocean until I turned 25 and my friend Sandy and I traveled to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. After that week, I was hooked. I loved being somewhere new; smelling the smells, tasting new food, seeing how other people lived. It energized me. As luck would have it, I landed a job that allowed me to travel all over the US and often to Canada. Being a sports event television producer, I was on the road all the time. That's when my love affair with travel began. Now, its 20 years later and still no one gets more “geeked up” about planning a vacation than I do. All I need is a destination and some travel companions and my fire is lit! I start delving into my favorite hotel sites, sifting through photos and reviews, comparing, contrasting -it’s like an addiction. The travel shows with tips and trends? I study them like a playbook. I LOVE doing the things most people hate doing before they go on vacation. Whether it be searching for a food tasting tour with a local or discovering a romantic B&B in the middle of New York - I’ve found it and I’ll share it with you. So....where should we go?