I've just watched the ending to a most strange eBay auction. A used field view camera in like-new condition sold for $1,225. The strange thing about it was, the exact same camera brand new (that is, actually new, as opposed to like new) is available any time for $695.
Why would anybody want to pay $1,225 for a camera they could get for $695? Are they not yet initiated into the mysteries of that strange web function known as "Google"? Or is it just worth that much of a premium to them to "shop victoriously"?
This is hardly the only such example on eBay. I used to be mystified that used Ilford EM-10 enlarging meters would go for more on eBay than they cost new at B&H photo. And just a few days ago I watched a photography book sell for $49 after some fairly intense bidding—which is strange, since a quick search of both Abebooks and Alibris turned up perfectly fine overstock copies of the same book selling for $6 plus a few bucks postage (yes, I did check to see that there wasn't some minor but key difference that could account for the disparity. There wasn't. Same book, same edition, same condition).
I hardly think it's fair to provide links or call attention to specific instances of this—after all, all's fair in love and war, and it's not my place to queer a deal for a happy seller. It just seems very odd, is all.
Speaking of eBay, I've also always thought it would be fun to compile some examples of what I call "eBay howlers." (A "howler" in the field of copyediting is an error so egregious that it's funny; for example, the hapless writer who inserted a spurious "i" at a strategically unfortunate place in the phrase "fountain pens" and came up with something very different.) Here's a recent example of an eBay howler: the description that goes with the picture at left reads, "Bellows are a little crinkled." A little crinkled?!? Holy crap. Hard to say how they could be in much worse condition without being wadded up into a little ball. But who knows? Maybe this will go for more than the price of a brand new one anyway.
And so it goes.
Featured Comment by Ailsa: "On the subject of howlers. Having worked in photography magazines for a number of years, I've had to become very conscious of the fact that the letter 'i' falls between 'u' and 'o' on the keyboard. It can be very easy to hit 'i' when in fact you were aiming for one of the letters either side. This one slip could give a whole new meaning to 'shutter speed', or a photographer who 'takes several shots from different angles.' Think about it...."