A month older and a tiny bit wiser

Well, it’s the end of the first month of 2023. January has always felt to me like the slow and uneven rolling of a stone toward the edge of a steep hill, after which the stone—and we—careen down at alarming speed through the rest of the year.

I’ve managed to wear a different fragrance every day this month, which I hadn’t said I would do. As for my January no-buy for non-essentials, which I had said I would do (does it still count if no one else remembers?), I broke it with a week left to go—in principle, though not in practice.

My unique scent selections did not include my most-worn perfumes last year, which were Masque Milano Ray-Flection with 18 wears and Tom Ford Ombré Leather Parfum with 14 (this one has an unfair advantage because mine is a travel spray, which means it gets taken on trips with maybe 1 or 2 others, regardless of the trip length). Still, I was surprised by how many underdogs in my small collection didn’t get worn at all in 2022. My Frédéric Malle minis L’Eau d’Hiver (with dominant heliotrope) and Noir Epices (with clove in the spotlight)… the innocuous Bvlgari Black (rubbery vanilla to my nose)… they had been sitting on shelves patiently all this time.

I have also worked through my samples of Hermès Terre d’Hermès and some of its flankers, the Parfum and the Eau Intense Vetiver. The latter two are darker and denser than the original, and I wish I could remember them better now to explain why I prefer the OG after all, with its citrus-woody radiant glow. I thought the Eau Givrée would be my favorite; but especially in colder weather, I’m liking it for the wrong reasons—hanging on to the strong top note, citron, which reads like grapefruit to me. Maybe in the summer I can get more complexity from it when the other ingredients bloom as well.

It turned out I hadn’t really thought through a proper definition of “non-essential.” I didn’t need or really want any more perfumes or clothes or accessories by the end of last year, so those were easy to put in that category. Nonzero-proof beverages counted as well, but although I didn’t buy any from stores to bring home, I also didn’t refrain when going out for dinner. I didn’t count getting a new phone, because the problems of my old one were bothering me more and more, and I’m able to expense part of my phone bill because my employer does not provide a separate phone to use for work.

The reason I had embarked on a no-buy in the first place was not because I was worried about spending too much money—I keep that part in check—but rather spending too much time, energy, and emotions that were being consumed by mostly fruitless online browsing and turning into a shopperzilla and a bad companion. I needed a break from that and a mental reset. What I really needed was a no-look January.

However, after a few weeks I caved and looked… and saw, or so I thought—a pair of discontinued and now extremely hard-to-find sunglasses that I really wanted. Jumped through a ton of digital hoops to place an order for them from overseas. I’ll spare the annoying details but after all the bother, so far, no dice. Almost in parallel, I came across a similar model being auctioned on eBay, and I played the recently too-familiar game of anticipating for about a week and then sitting at the edge of my seat in the last few moments only to be beat out. The last couple of times I had bid on things, I’d waited until literally the last few seconds, not wanting to drive up the price, so although I had been outbid immediately, I did not see how many times in a row this could happen. This time, having learned my lesson, I started bidding in the last few minutes, and was shocked when each incremental bid was beaten instantaneously—too fast for the other bidder to be playing the same game I was.

So I looked it up (at the suggestion of my other half in response to my loud complaining and incredulity), and learned how naive I was, bidding in the worst way possible. I didn’t know that eBay has a setup for “automatic bidding,” or as it’s otherwise known, “bid sniping.” You put in your true maximum bid that you are willing to pay and it doesn’t show up as the new bid price, but it lets the software automatically keep you in the lead when a rookie like me bids only an increment higher. The actual price you end up paying depends on how much the highest underbidder bid. (Of course, you still lose if someone else has put in a higher true maximum than you by the end, even at the last second.)

How much under would an underbidder bid if an underbidder could bid under?


So, while “Now you know the trick” was no comfort to hear in the amygdala hijack of the moment, it is true… for next time something I covet even more shows up… and you know as well, in the unlikely case you didn’t already. Chances are small that you and I will find ourselves bidding against each other on the same item one day; if we do, may the winner win!

3 thoughts on “A month older and a tiny bit wiser

  1. Terre d’Hermes was so wonderful when first released! It’s still nice, and I enjoy it on my vSO, but it used to be even better!

    I haven’t participated in bidding for a long time, but when I was I used the Auctionstealer.Com to avoid these games (and adrenaline that comes with it).


  2. I love most of the Terre d’Hermes line and the flankers. Interestingly, the only one I didn’t’ enjoy was the vetiver flanker. I think I found it pointless, perhaps because the original already had a large dose of vetiver.

    Liked by 1 person

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