This is a free monkey phone call from me
eBay gets weirder every day
Updated again You'll be used to breast enlargements/reductions, people, empty PlayStation2 boxes and the like being available to bid for on eBay, but things have taken a strange turn of late. Call it imaginative, deranged or indicative of some wider social problem but people have gone into offering specialised and frankly bizarre services. Below is one of our favourites so far.
Steve from Big Bear Valley in California (on Big Bear boulevard, close to Big Bear lake) is offering a monkey call, lasting one minute, to anyone willing to stump up $211. Don't know what a monkey call is? No, nor does anyone but Steve it seems and that is why you have to pay a premium for it.
He's got up to $208.50 so far - a little odd since the bid increment is $2.50, bringing it up to just $211. Also of the 34 bids put in, coltonb for some reason felt the need to up his own bid eight times. Goatman333 (from a Hotmail address) also thought this appropriate behaviour. Hmmm.
This is bye-the-bye though. Steve gives a very good representation of himself and his unique $211 service. We've pasted it below. If you're interested, you have five-and-a-half days to get in there. Go here. This then is Steve's sales pitch:
"This is a free monkey phone call from me. This is a real auction, no joke. When you pay, I will call you and make this sound "ee EEEE ee EEEE eee EEEEE"...it's kind of like a monkey shrieking sound. Not a big fat monkey..and not like a gorilla...but like a monkey that's the size of a chihuahua...you know, like that old Taco Bell dog. So this monkey sound will be like "ee EEEE ee EEEE eee EEEEE".
"There will be no other additional monkey sounds. However, if you want and are willing to pay an additional $10, I will make a monkey grunt sound. The monkey grunt sound will go like 'ooo ooo'. Imagine a monkey sitting on top of a donkey while making that sound. Why a donkey? Because monkeys on donkeys sound better. The call will be about 1 minute.
"The following is a scripted call: RING RING Buyer: Hello? Me: 'I am super monkey and here's a monkey sound: ee EE ee EEEE ee EEE' Buyer: 'Wow, this is so cool A super monkey is calling me!' Me: 'oo ooo oo super monkey is on a donkey ooo ooo oo' Buyer: 'Wow, a DONKEY!!!' Me: 'Thank you, it has been a pleasure doing monkey business with you' (That joke about monkey business will be free!!! Get it? MONKEY business! HAHA) Buyer: 'Thank you, sir. I will buy 10 more monkey phone calls from you. Does your company have any stock? I wish to buy 10,000 shares.' End of conversation.
"When you win, you have to tell me the time to call you. It has to be between 6 pm and 7 pm US pacific time. You only have a one hour time frame. If this time isn't good enough, then you can request a 7 to 8 pm time frame, but you won't get the joke about it being monkey business. This offer is also only valid in the United States. Acceptable forms of payment are cash, pay pal or money order. Here's a picture of a monkey that you should try to visualize when this phone call is made:"
And there follows a pic of a chimp.
I have been kindly informed by readers that my knowledge and understanding of eBay is somewhat lacking. I applied the same rules as traditional auctioning and as such the $211 is not in fact what Steve asked for the call. The tag "minimum price" would appear to suggest this, but no.
Secondly, the repeat bidding isn't dodgy apparently. Merely proxy bidding. Some people have set a maximum price to pay and the computer automatically adds your bids up to the limit if someone bids over. Thes proxy bids are invisible until the auction ends.
What this means however is that someone actually does want Steve to call and do a monkey impression - and they are willing to pay over $200 for the pleasure. We think this may be a niche market that Steve has tapped.
Looks like Steve was on to a good thing here. After our story there was a frenzy of activity. Bidding actually reached $15,099 - no, seriously - before eBay decided to pull it from auction. We don't know why yet, but we hope to find out.
Don't fear however because an enterprising slunktoday has upped the service, offering a "pirate monkey call with Abraham Lincoln hat" :-). How could you resist? Go here for more information. Madness, bloody madness.