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Holiday Shopping On eBay

By Ron King

Whether we like it or not, the holiday season has become the shopping season. But there is a way to remove the traffic and hassles from your holiday gift buying -- eBay. Shop in the comfort of your own home, and have fun in the process.

Perfect Gifts

If you know the kinds of things your friends and family like, then eBay's categories are ideal places to get ideas. And then a few clicks later, you're shopping -- at bargain basement prices.

eBay offers a cool way to come up with gift ideas. Think of a recent item that your gift recipient bought for themselves. Type it into eBay's search box and see which category it's in, then click the link to look at everything in that category. You'll immediately have a huge list of things that they would probably love to have. If you know the recipient well, you should have no trouble sorting through the suggestions to find a special and unique gift.

Let History Be Your Guide

You have an extra tool available when the people you're buying for are eBay users. If you know their eBay usernames, you can look at what they've been buying to see the kinds of things they may want.

First, click Advanced Search on the main page, then Find A Member on the left-hand menu to see an eBay user's history. Type in the username and you'll get their user page, which lists the item numbers of everything they have bought. Choose an item number and paste it into the eBay search box to find out what the item was. Voila! You have a nearly foolproof list of ideal gifts for that person on your shopping list.

Avoid Last-Minute Shopping

Don't be tempted to use eBay for your last-minute holiday shopping, though. The prices will be high, and items might not reach you in time.

Every year there's a toy every child wants and all the stores sell out. Suddenly the toy appears on eBay -- at a premium. Holiday shoppers have to pay many times the gift's value, and still don't receive it in time for the big day. Don't get caught in this snare.

'Tis The Season

The holiday season is peak time at eBay because millions of people are shopping there. A good percentage of them are inexperienced eBay shoppers, who drive up prices far above normal. Try not to end up paying too much for an item just because it's the last one you could receive in time, or because everyone else is bidding high. Know when to cut your losses, stop bidding, and just go buy something from the local store.

Keep It Jolly

eBay works best when it's not taken too seriously. Treat it like a game, and you won't be too disappointed if you lose. It can feel somewhat like gambling, but when that really rare gift for that special someone arrives on your doorstep just in time for Christmas, it all becomes worth it.

About The Author
Ron King is a full-time researcher, writer and web developer.

Copyright 2005 Ron King.

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