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Monday, September 19, 2011

Off and away

I spent one hour and ten minutes bidding on a two-night stay at the St. Giles Hotel in New York City. The website is sponsored by Expedia. When you win, you win big. Unfortunately, I have yet to win. The way it works is that interested bidders can buy bid shares at the price of $1 for each penny of the bid. The bidding is open for sometimes 12 hours, but the flurry of bidding comes down to the last two hours or so. And those two hours require significant bidding shares, a steady eye and a steady finger. Every time the bids come down to 1 second, bidders rush to bid. Each bid drives the price up by 15 cents. It is not unusual to get a hotel stay worth $2045 for $50 or so. It is an amazing opportunity for the winner. There is a way to submit automated bids, but I haven’t gotten sophisticated enough. Hotel bids that do not win are applied to a room rental should you decide to book directly through Expedia.
I am not marketing Offandaway.com. I am not on the advance team for any of the AMAZING hotels that participate internationally. I am simply a bargain-seeker lured by plush terry-cloth robes, 600t.c. sheets, Gilchrist toiletries and other luxuries. My mother called that having champagne taste on a beer budget. Guilty as charged. I have been fortunate to have enjoyed luxury, but I hope to find it an affordable price. I watch the names of the other high bidders scroll on the bidding page. I feel almost like friends as we take turns on the leader board. Friendly competition dissolves when it comes down to one second on the clock, the final, closing gong comes up and you stab at the enter key to get your bid in. In the time it has taken me to write these two paragraphs, the price for a
$2070 hotel stay has been driven up to $35.74 from $31.68. When it closes, sometime later tonight, I will look up the closing price and feel the weight of disappointment that it was not mine to claim. I will also check out what other auctions are going to be offered in the near future. Particularly in Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston. I will be ready, finger poised for the next go-round.
Day 15

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