The Bot Only Does What I Tell It To

“The trouble with computers is that they do what you tell them, not what you want.” A great quote by someone, no idea who, so I’m gonna say Abe Lincoln. Although this is a “loot” post, I’m going to open with a bit of fun the bot has had in the past few days, and by fun I mean “why are you doing this to me you stupid bot I just want you to buy me silly things on the internet.”

I’ve mentioned before how the bot is able to filter out things based on category, and although I went through and excluded some of the categories I saw that were not physical shipped items, like “Domain Names”, eBay US has over 20,000 categories, and I am way too lazy to go through the list in full. I figured sometimes the bot would buy something dumb and I’d just add the category afterwards and be done with it. If anything it gives me more content, like you’re reading now. However, it seems in my haste to not do any work, I missed some really, really obvious categories… while I did exclude the “Test Auctions” category, I failed to notice it has subcategories… and the bot happily bought a 99 cent test auction from the “General” subcategory of test auctions. “Argh,” said I, “I guess I better add these subcategories to the bot, so it doesn’t buy any more silly test auctions.” So that is what I did! Imagine my delighted surprise when the next auction it won was a test auction! See, it turns out a few of the test auction subcategories have subcategories. I have no idea why there are so many test auction categories, but I went through all of them and so, hopefully, the bot will ignore all of those going forward. I also contacted the sellers to explain why some idiot had bought a “DO NOT BID” and refunded the money to the bot afterwards, since it was just “test” money.

Earlier today, the bought also ended up buying a 25 cent “Donation” to a Brazilian blogger. I’m not sure if that’s actually allowed under eBay policy, but doing a search revealed a ton of “Donation” auctions, so I’ve excluded the keywords “donate” and “donation”. While this also excludes things like “Vintage Mail Box Salt &Pepper Caddy &Toothpick Holder 100% Donate Humane Society” and “Clear Acrylic Donation Box Fund-raising Box Plexiglass Lucite Charity Collection” I think it’s probably worth it. It also managed to buy this after winning a different auction, but for some reason it wasn’t able to figure out that it won. Although I added code to let me debug this scenario, the code had a bug that didn’t let me debug this scenario. I’ve fixed that bug, so that the next time this bug happens, I can debug it. Woo.

So now, on to the spoils of war! Bidding war. What? Don’t look at me like that. Look at this instead:

Two envelopes, exciting!

I wonder when I’ll finally win something that doesn’t fit in an envelope. Actually for the amount of money the bot spends it’s more likely a box would be used for something fragile, rather than something big. Either way this talk about packaging is pretty boring, so lets talk about what goes inside:

Some pretty pink hair bows.

“LIGHT PINK PAIR OF GIRL BUTTERFLY (ALLIGATOR CLIPS) VERY CUTE!” They came in a shimmery yellow mesh bag… thingy, which was itself taped to a little thank you note. They’re actually not bad looking quality wise, if I had bought them on purpose, I would have been pleased. Also, they do in fact make me look VERY CUTE, if you were wondering. Cost: $0.99. Next up:

A scary little boy figurine.

What you see here is a “3 3/4” BOY FIGURE MARKED LAKESHORE MADE IN CHINA. “You sort of have to see this in person to actually appreciate it, it’s super creepy. Not skull ring creepy, but creepy in the way that all dolls are creepy. He just stands there, smiling, watching, waiting… He has a little bit of the paint chipped off his nose, which you can’t really see in this picture, and also double checking the auction I see it says “Remember these are used toys so please sanitize them upon arrival.” That’s a bit gross, somehow. I’m off to wash my hands. After this post. Maybe. Total cost: $1.04. Which again, makes me wonder about things like this:

$1.95 for shipping a $1.04 auction. Good deal.

Why do people offer things for such low starting bids with no shipping if there’s a chance (and usually, it seems to me, a pretty good chance) that they will lose money on it? I know it isn’t a lot of money lost, but it seems really crazy. Depending on volume, they may be paying to list, they have to pay a percentage of the final winning bid to eBay, they have to pay shipping… Is it for the feedback? Are they hoping to get return customers maybe? I’d really like to know. Without actually asking them, obviously; that seems pretty rude to me.

So there you have it, you’re all caught up. Unless you’re reading this at a point in the future after I’ve made more posts, in which case you’re either still behind, or if you’re reading the posts in reverse, you still have some catching up to do. I’m going to look at the easiest way to stick some totals into the sidebar later today, things like total auctions won, total spent, etc. I need to decide if I should only list auctions currently received, or total auctions, or both, or neither, or some other thing. It’s a rough life, buying random things on eBay and posting about it on the internet, but someone has to do it.

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