A True Fifeteen Minutes Story
I'm a big fan of internet auction sites, or rather one in particular, namely eBay. I use it to sell on all my unwanted items and am rewarded with an above average financial return.
So I always read with interest any stories of unusual sales. The sort where someone offers two pounds for a pound coin or when a wife tries to sell her husband.
To this end I always wanted to do a spoof of my own. I figured that I'd try to get a definitive answer to the perennial question - What's the price of fame?
I set up an auction offering, to the highest bidder, a news story submission to their local and national media about the bid.
I envisaged the story tagged with 'At last, we know the price of fame. Mr. Winningbidder bid £x to have his name in the papers and get his 15 minutes of fame'.
So I set it up on the ubiquitous site and waited for a reply.
The auction would last ten days so that there was plenty of time for the world's media to find it. Unfortunately, not one picked up on the story.
I tried to excite interest by emailing eBay and notifying them of the opportunity of free advertising but the chap in a garage that runs the whole site was having a burger at the time, or counting his profits (I presume).
A few souls found the site and in the end I think about 150 people actually visited to see what it was all about. Probably mostly geeks not actually getting a life.
And one of these actually started the bidding. I was in business.
Now anyone who has used these auction sites knows that the bids come fast and thick toward the end of the auction particularly if one person has taken the plunge. I prepared for an auction battle.
I said prepared but this was more in the mental rather than physical way. There is little one can do whilst the auction is live, other than answer the dumb questions that the viewers think of, such as; "Can you tell me how many of these single items you have please?" Or, "What colour is the red post box?" Or "You say the postage to the USA is £6.00 so how much is it to Texas?"
None of these questions were asked during this auction though, unsurprisingly.
Finally the auction ended and I was left with a winner.
I emailed him straight away congratulating him on his impressive auctioneering skills and requesting the winning pound. I explained that all I needed was his name and location so that I could honour the auction promise and contact his local rag as well as the nationals.
I had a reply.
Only it wasn't of the nature you expect from someone who just won an auction whose prize was fame.
He asked how I was to maintain confidentiality, refusing to tell me his real name, even after assurances that I wasn't out to belittle his achievement or pass on his details. He was adamant and asked; "Can I do it anonymously?"
So there you have it.
Not that I ever received the pound, he still had reservations about his fame being made public. But I didn't give him a negative comment on the auction site. After all, why mock the afflicted?
Of course, all this got me thinking about other auctions I could devise. Some might say that they are nothing more than a scam on the gullible but my motives would be purer - Entertainment. After all we all enjoy the newspaper snippets and forwarded emails about these silly auctions.
So my next idea would be to advertise 'Absolutely Nothing'. Yes, this ten-day auction would lead to the biggest anti-climax in the history of auctions with the winner getting Sod All.
Or if that idea proves unpopular I could run an auction advertising 'A Little Piece of History'. This time the winner would get something but the reward may not meet the hype I would imply. The winner will be sent a copy of yesterday's newspaper.
Finally, I could offer 'The Chance to be Completely Ignored'. I would send a message to all those who placed a bid but will completely and utterly ignore the winner. No acknowledgement, no invoice and no replies to any correspondance whatsoever. Certainly not any comments. I figured this may be of interest to Captains of Industry or Prima-Donna rock and movie stars who are fed up to their back teeth with sycophants.
As far as I know the above suggested auctions have never been tried.
I will not try them myself but anyone is welcome to use the ideas providing that it is done at your own risk and under an understanding that no responsibility is accepted by me. It would be courteous for you to acknowledge source with a phrase such as 'From a suggestion by the inventive wit of the vinceunlimited website' and to send me at least ten percent of anything significant made.
Incidently I define significant as anything over three quid!
Anyway the original idea is now passing to you readers. I'm offering to extend the auction for fame indefinitely. Do you want your 15 minutes? Email me an offer, over £1.00 please. Every time the bid increases I'll carry out my first promise, updating details on this site as well, just as long as you pay up.
Just please don't do it anonymously!
And as they say - Send no money now!
Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.078 5 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
Initial update: Version 2.00 in May 2005