I ran into a strange issue recently. I had an audio CD that I wanted to listen to, and the only thing I had that could still play CDs was my car. There is no disc drive in my MacBook or Mac desktop, the Playstation 4 does not recognize audio CDs (there was a very lean time in university where my Playstation 2 pulled triple duty as a CD and DVD player as well as my gaming system), and I have not owned a stand-alone CD player in some time.
The search for a CD player begins
I thought to myself ‘no problem’ and figured I could pick a new one up fairly cheaply at the local Best Buy. I could not! Folks we are living in a strange time where I could buy a turntable for vinyl records at Best Buy, but I could not purchase a CD player. I mean, I’m not exactly mad about it. People far smarter than myself have written essays on why the sound quality on a vinyl record is far superior to the digital format you find on an audio CD. The confused sales associate that I spoke to thought that they might sell a portable CD player boombox online, but didn’t bother carrying it in the store because “nobody buys those anymore”. I did look into the CD boombox they had available online but the price was much higher than I had been expecting to pay, so off I went in search of a better deal.
Eventually, I did find what I was looking for at eBay of all places, and I was able to use a bidding promotional code to save on the purchase as well. Even with shipping it ended up being around a quarter of the price of the brand new model on the BestBuy website.
Why use eBay?
I know what you’re thinking, there are so many great websites dedicated to buying and selling high quality audio equipment why did I go with something as pedestrian as eBay? I hear you, and if I had been looking to purchase something more important let’s say like an amp or a good quality speaker eBay is probably one of the last places I would check. But friends, I just wanted a cheap yet reliable CD player so that when I wanted to dust off those old self-help CDs I had something I could listen to them on. Yes they are from a certain infomercial guru, and you are welcome to your opinions but I have found them helpful in my life and do like to revisit the program from time to time. However this is something that comes up every couple of years at most, so I really wasn’t looking to drop a lot of cash on it.
The reason I went with eBay was price, plain and simple. Somebody who is just looking to clear out some of the stuff in their closet or garage isn’t necessarily looking to get top dollar for their CD Player that was the pinnacle of digital sound quality in the early 2000s, they just want it gone. They also might not realize the actual value of the unit that they have, somebody who spends a lot of time on audio websites would. Hopefully my choice of website is starting to make more sense now.
How to get the best price on eBay
When you first happen upon items on eBay your eyes might go as round as saucers, but remember this is an auction website. That super low price is just a starting point, it’s not uncommon for the price to quadruple or more in the last 15 minutes of the auction. A lot of items will also have a ‘buy it now’ price listed, so that if you don’t want to mess around with bidding and potentially losing the item to another customer you can just purchase it outright like you would on any other website. This is a great option if you have one of those sellers who doesn’t realize the value of what they have and just wants the item out of their house as they have probably priced it pretty low. You get a deal, and you can save yourself some trouble.
I find in most cases though, people put the ‘buy it now’ price quite high, so that even if the bidding starts to get up there the buyers will still feel like they are getting a deal. You’re probably going to need to go this route, but never fear there are some tactics to help keep the price low. First of all, never bid on an auction that still has days left on it, that’s a rookie move and just inflates the price that you will end up paying for it. What you do instead is add the auction to your ‘watch list’. That will inform you of when the price changes (which it hopefully won’t, unless some other newb puts in an early bid) and also when the auction is getting close to ending. Don’t make any actual bids on the item until about 10-15 mins before the auction ends. You may have to put in more than 1 bid if somebody else has their eye on the item.
The second thing you can do is to use a promo code as I mentioned above. Yes, eBay has coupons. Sometimes they are only for a specific category of items or for a specific seller, but every now and again they have a site-wide coupon code. It’s usually for only 5 or 10% off, but considering that you are already paying less than retail that’s not too shabby. Just do a quick Google search, you should find a bunch. Happy hunting!