Pam, pre-Valerie Irons.
eBay tragedies

Ah the horribly evil, addictive and money-sucking power of eBay! Why is this site so wonderful? I think it's because it brings out the same bizarre greed in people that happened when that creepy guy in Stephen King's Needful Things opened his store. You are randomly surfing the site, browsing, just checking what's out there in the world of pop culture memorabilia, and suddenly there it is! That little toy or book or thing that you had when you were little but then you broke it or your mom gave it away because she never appreciated how much you loved that thing and now here you are twenty years later and someone out in Nebraska has one in mint condition, still in the box. And you can have it. For a price.

The worst part (and why I tend to steer clear of eBay for months on end) is that when you see something you want, you don't want anyone else to have it. So I always end up sending some stranger a check just so a few weeks later I'll get some New Kids on the Block locker mirrors in the mail.

   Didn't you always
   want Zack hair?
(Nevermind that I haven't had a locker in years, can't remember the last time I listened to the New Kids, and have no place to hang two tiny mirrors with that silly looking logo). Somewhere deep in my subconscious I thought all my problems would be solved if I had them.

Since there's a limit to the amount of cash I'm willing to throw down for trashy pop culture souvenirs, I've found a safer way to browse on eBay. I think I fill part of the shopping need just by seeing what's out there. The best way to do it? Search only in the completed auctions section. While you can't ever actually buy any of the things, you can see all the "eBay tragedies" -- the treasures that slipped by unnoticed.

My friend's personal favorite eBay tragedy was a silver jacket with the logo from the TV show Small Wonder on the back. It sold for only $10.00, a tragedy only because it wasn't sold to him. Although I think that was too old to show up in my recent search, I did come up with a few fun ones. I included links to prove that they are real, but if the link stops working it just means eBay took the auction down.

  • Pamela Anderson doll from Baywatch. - Back before she started kicking nuclear terrorist butt on V.I.P, Pam played everyone's favorite lifeguard, C.J. Parker. Who wants Barbie when they can have Pam? This 1997 doll is mint in box and sold for $5.00.

  • Dawson's Creek t-shirt - Size medium, with all the cast members on the front. It won't be long before this lovely item is retro chic. The description said "Bid on it before it is gone," but you missed your chance to have it for $1.00.

  • Sabrina Psychic Phone - If you had been paying attention, you could be talking to your friends on this weird-shaped piece of purple plastic right now. I have one of these, and take my word for it, hearing the voice of Salem say "I sense that someone is calling you" before the phone rings is worth far more than $1.99.

  • Saved by the Bell Zackberry Shampoo - Will your hair ever forgive you? You didn't buy this unopened 8 oz. bottle of Zack shampoo, made by a company called T-Teen Esteem . So now this three-in-one is out there cleaning, conditioning and shining someone else's lucky tresses. I would have paid more than this for even the empty bottle - It sold for $4.99.

  • NKOTB folders and notebooks - Wow, you could have gone back to school in style (or really amazed your coworkers at the next important meeting). But I guess you didn't have "the right stuff." This set of three New Kids on the Block notebooks and matching folders sold for $3.80.

  • Sabrina The Teenage Witch Magic Handbook - Poor Sabrina, she's really being overlooked! This handbook is actually shaped like a hand. Sure you could buy it at any bookstore for over $6.00, but some other lucky mortal picked it up for 75 cents!

Nobody loves Sabrina?

What does this prove? If you have a bizarre fascination with a celebrity, a television show, or even shampoo, you have to prove your love for that thing by checking eBay consistently! If you blink for even a minute, you never know what you might miss. And if you find any eBay tragedies of your own in the completed auctions section, let me know. --Lisa Beebe

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