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. Idiot 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; "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. But I didn't give him a negative comment on the auction site. After all, why mock the afflicted?
So, it's over to you now readers.
I'm offering to extend the auction 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, 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 5.069 12 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005