Over the weekend I received a peculiar catalog from eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY). Pitching "Summer Savings," this colorful 24-page assortment of goods rivaled mail-order specialists at their snazzy best.

Loaded with photos of new popular items, it's easy to see where eBay was trying to go with this one. Offering search words to find similar items along with the cheapest prices that those items had fetched in earlier auctions, eBay is trying to position itself as a cheaper way to get top-selling goods.

Some of the items looked like good deals. For instance, if you're a fan of the 6GB iPod mini from Apple Computer (NASDAQ:AAPL), the average selling price for a new one was just $195.12 on eBay during the months of February, March, and April. Then again, over on the Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) Marketplace, someone was selling the same model, also new, for just $180.

I'm cruel to be raining on eBay's parade. With its stateside auction business slowing to a mere 20% improvement this past quarter, the company had to do something. The pricing elasticity that allowed it to hike its fees practically unchecked was finally put to the test earlier this year when the site's more active auctioneers fought back.

I get it. I do. But why the cheesy catalog, eBay? It has all the makings of a "Jump the Shark" moment. However, it did come with a handy 10%-off coupon for auctions that culminate in a PayPal transaction. I can live with that. It's why the hokey catalog didn't get tossed away the moment I got it. I think I can set aside my skepticism long enough to put that redemption code to good use.

So, yeah, I'm still under your spell, eBay. Just don't get too corny on me; my thrifty side won't forgive you forever.

More eBay up for bid -- catalog not included:

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a satisfied eBay user -- with a 147 positive feedback recs to show for it. 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.