An Unwanted Prize

I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet here…or to sound ungrateful. But something has unexpectedly come into my life that has been quite complicated and caused me to have to explore some new things: a pair of headphones!

Prize Management Waffle

I was on a training course last week put on by one of my software suppliers, and each day there was a prize draw. The first two days the prize was a little iPod shuffle…something I would have quite appreciated.

But on the final day the prize was some headphones.

To win, you had to write something about how you would use the supplier’s software to enhance your business, or something like that. I wrote some buzz-word packed drivel about “application services” and “increased revenue” and, somehow won (as a side note, I’m slightly concerned about my ability to use management-speak!).

What have I won?

Bose HeadphonesI resisted opening the box on the train on the way home, waiting, instead, until I got home to unbox them, plug them into my iPod, and mosey around the house with them on testing out the ‘phones’ (that’s not in quotes – it just has two apostrophes) noise-cancelling abilities.

Yes, these weren’t just any old headphones. They were Bose Quiet Comfort 2, Noise-Cancelleing, over-ear headphones!

And jolly good they were too. But not really my thing. I like music, and appreciate quality in products, but I’m not really into wearing big “cans” in public, and as I don’t travel much the noise-cancelling properties wouldn’t be put to much use.

What to do?

My initial thoughts were that these were probably worth about £70 or £80 – a search on Amazon showed them turning up second hand for around this sort of prise – and that, as I’d got them for free and didn’t really need them, I would sell them and give the proceeds to charity.

However, after a few chats with other people who know their hi-fi gear better than I, I discovered that they were worth a whopping £250 and probably aren’t the sort of thing that you’d sell to your mates.

So, these are for a specialist market that I couldn’t easily reach and selling them on eBay was looking like the best option.

Did I then want to donate the whole £150 that I was likely to get for them to charity? Well, that was a quandry, and I’ve settled on giving some away and keeping some for myself as a treat (more on thsi later).


Bose Headphones with BoxI’ve never sold on eBay before. I’ve bought a couple of things in the past, but I’m not a big user. So I took some nice pictures on the dining room table and got cracking with adding my listing.

Only, first, I had to check my PayPal account was still working after years of neglect. And it was, but I needed to add a valid card and have it upgraded to a “Premier” account, which didn’t seem to cost anything but meant accepting that they would take a slice of anything paid to me.

And then I had to have my eBay account verified. This involved a weird disembodied voiced phoning my landline and telling me a code that had to be typed back in to the website.

And then I had to check the postage costs.

And I had to decide on an initial price, how many photos to upload, did I want a reserve, where could I ship to, would I offer insurance.


I’ve an odd feeling that, once you’ve done this a few times, it’s easy. But it took me most of an evening to list a single item properly.

And it costs too. Three photos, with a reserve price, cost around £3.50 to list, and they’ll take 10% of the selling price. And PayPay will take 2% as well, or something. Will there be any left for me after all that effort?

Sitting, waiting, wishing

It’s a ten-day listing, so I probably shouldn’t panic, but as yet I have no bids and an enquiry about how much it would cost to ship to Portugal.

Is this normal? Is my “0% positive feedback” (HEY! I’ve never sold anything!!!) not helping? Have I put the initial bid too high? Should I have had a lower reserve? Or a higher one?

We shall wait and see. I guess that people are bidding on items closer to ending, so next week I can expect a flurry of activity, but in the meantime all is quiet.

An unexpected treat

So I’m not ungrateful, really I’m not. And I’m hoping to spend the proceeds on something that I would rather have won.

Initially I was thinking of an iPod touch, but I worry that this will just make me covet a full-on, ridiculously expensive, iPhone. If I can’t use the web broswer and apps wherever I go, is there much point in having them? It MIGHT help consolidate my current electronic organiser with my portable media player, but I don’t know how good the organiser functions on the iPod Touch are, and internet opinion seems to be divided.

So that’s still a possibility, but a better idea would be to upgrade my mobile to a touch-screen, smart phone of some kind. I really dislike Nokias, can’t afford – or rather refuse to afford – Apple, and so am contemplating Google’s Android as a platform. But at what cost I’ve yet to find out.

So, this small, prize-winning event has unfurled a whole load of other questions and discoveries. Who’d have thought that a bit of management speak could cause so much excitement?