Am I wrong to be appalled that the same lady who sold a grilled cheese sandwich bearing the likeness of the Virgin Mary on eBay
Am I wrong to question the state of this country's disposable income when the same guy who has been able to sell his forehead as temporary ad space for thousands a month through eBay and Rule Breakers newsletter recommendation Overstock.com
"Weird Al" Yankovic had a great song about the often wacky eBay culture, but that parody has nothing on the crazy items selling at the online auction sites these days. A nacho cheese Dorito chip in the shape of the Pope's miter? $1,209. A bagged monster under a daughter's bed? $6,600 -- though the seller did have to relist the item after the top bidder failed to pay up.
If you figured that March Madness was strictly for college hoops and stock-picking tournaments, step up to the suddenly outrageous online auction space.
I'll admit that it's entertaining as a spectator, though I think it would be a worrisome distraction if I were an investor. Will these zany auctions get in the way of those trying to conduct real business on these sites? It's possible.
I know that I'd probably curtail my trips to 7-Eleven if Slurpee artists suddenly took to blasting frozen art on the convenience store doors. One has to wonder whether Wal-Mart's business would shrivel up if carnival sideshows started to set up shop between the aisles.
eBay has some serious growing pains that it needs to work its way through. It can use the publicity, but not necessarily the novelty notoriety that these outlandish auctions have been stirring up. Other online auctioneers like Yahoo!
While eBay has often been quick to shut down many wacky and copycat auctions, it has often allowed for relistings once the press has shown some interest. Yet the tail should never wag the dog. eBay is better served promoting its important role in moving automobiles or pumping up its power-seller success stories. If not, don't be surprised if one day eBay finds itself having to put up the monster beneath its bed on the auction block-- assuming that eBay is able to bag it.
Sometimes tortilla chips take the form of these recent related stories:
- eBay may still be a story stock worth telling.
- It shouldn't need to give away greenbacks to draw in traffic.
- The company's pricing flexibility has also hardened overnight.
- Share your thoughts on our eBay discussion board.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a satisfied eBay user and Overstock customer. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.