A White Tank Top and Lesson Learned

Sometimes I have a really hard time falling asleep. My mind is racing about a work deadline, a blog post idea, my oldest got in trouble at school, my youngest decided to cut her own hair, random errands I forgot to run, a unicorn bell I sold on Chairish and totally forgot to ship. You know, normal life chaos that everyone deals with. When I can’t turn my brain off, I tend to scroll through my favorite vintage sites. From tufted navy blue velvet sofas to coral channel back chairs to mid-century lighting, slowly but surely these pretty treasures lull me to dreamy-dreamy land.

A plain white tank top hanging on a wire coat hanger with a "M" on a tag sticking out of it. No color. Black and white pencil drawing.

About a month or so ago, late one night, I was scrolling through Everything But The House and found some art I really adored. Like “I must have this” adoration. I’m not sure what really drew me in, I mean, it was just a picture of a tank top. A plain white tank top hanging on a wire coat hanger with a “M” on a tag sticking out of it. No color. Black and white. Simple. At first I thought it was photograph but after reading the item description, I learned it was an original pencil drawing. Signed, but by no one in particular…well, I can’t say that for sure…you actually can’t make out the signature. With every second I stared at it, I adored it even more. It was simply stunning.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP…

Hmmm. The art was sitting at $28 dollars and the auction was ending in 19 hours. I marked it as a favorite and moved on. Before falling asleep, I went back to the listing a few more times and was giddy with excitement. This artwork was going to be mine.

A plain white tank top hanging on a wire coat hanger with a "M" on a tag sticking out of it. No color. Black and white pencil drawing.

The next evening I received a notification on my phone that the auction was about to end. I took another peek and said yep, hell or high water this sucka’s mine. This would be my first time using Everything But The House, but it seemed to be pretty similar to eBay. It was an auction, you placed a bid…no real need to read the rules, right? Mistake #1.

Now in eBay-land, I’m known as a “sniper”. If you’re unfamiliar with sniping rules, let me explain. You find an item you love and “watch” it. 10 minutes before ending, you get a notification stating the auction is almost over, and you login. I prefer to snipe on a desktop because phones have the potential for a slow connection. You basically watch the auction clock count down. I go in with a top dollar number in my head. I know I won’t spend any more than $X amount. At 2 minutes and counting, I start to get nervous. The bids start coming in. The price goes higher and higher. If the price goes beyond my original number in my head, I’m out. Game over. I’m not playing. But, if at the 1 minute marker, the price is lower than the number in my head, I pop in my starting bid and press next…and this is where the secret sauce lies.

A plain white tank top hanging on a wire coat hanger with a "M" on a tag sticking out of it. No color. Black and white pencil drawing.

You are given the option to place a max bid…meaning, if for some reason I’m outbid before the auction ends, it jumps to the next highest dollar amount. Normal people usually go $20 higher, $40-$50 dollars higher, or $100 higher on a max bid if they really want the item. Me on the other hand, I’m sitting on the sofa, heart racing, waiting to pounce. Here is why I need a desktop with a fast connection. I place my max bid in the final 5 seconds at a crazy high amount and press enter.

I get exactly what I want every single damn time. I pop in my crazy high max bid, and no one can out bid me in under 5 seconds AND here’s the key…max bid only outbids the other bidder’s bid by $1. So I’m always safe bidding crazy high. No one else is going to be stupid like that. The Boy has said, “someday your method is gonna to bite you in the ass.” But over the last 12 years of eBay bidding, momma gets what momma wants. My sniping method works every time…that is until I tried it on Everything But The House.

Let’s go back to the simple white tank top hanging on a wire coat hanger pencil drawing that has my heart racing at 6 minutes and counting. It’s almost bedtime and the kids are acting like maniacs. Cooper wants me to brush his teeth and Zozo needs help putting her jammies on. The Boy is in the laundry room grabbing underpants for Cooper, and I just keep yelling from my office, “1 minute! I’ll be there in 1 minute!” Come on, come on, come, on…countdown is happening. Zero bids are coming in. I WANT THIS ARTWORK! I have a number in my head. Please stay under the number. 5 minutes and counting. “Mommy! I can’t reach my rinse!” “Coming!!!!” Come on. Still no bids. Hmmm. This is not smart. Screw it, this art is amazing. No one is bidding. Just place your max bid, it’ll be fine…do I press enter? “Mommy! Cooper hit me!” Oh. My. God. “I coming! I’ll be right there!!!!!” 3 minutes. “Mommy!!!!” Screw it! I throw my bid in the ring. Ain’t nobody’s gonna catch that max. Boom! “MMMMMOOOOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYY!!!!!!” “Good grief! I’m coming!!!”

A plain white tank top hanging on a wire coat hanger with a "M" on a tag sticking out of it. No color. Black and white pencil drawing.

I skip to my lou from my office to the bathroom pretty much knowing the art is mine all mine. Brush your teeth? On it. Need your rise? Got it. Let’s say our prayers and read a story. Baddabing, baddaboom. Once everyone is tucked in, I waltz back to look at my newly procured artwork…and that’s the moment my heart sunk. OMG. Why the frick and frack is the auction still live??? I watched the countdown. Holy crap! I’m winning and that’s a really high bid! OH. MY. GOD. It’s counting down to 2 minutes…again…someone places a bid, another 5 minutes gets added onto the timer and we’re now at 7 minutes and counting. Shit! I’m still winning. WTF! This is my worst nightmare coming true. PLEEEAAAASEEE someone out bid me! PLEEEAAAASEEE! What is this witchcraft?

And that’s when I read the rules. To keep it fair…i.e. to keep people like me from sniping vintage treasures and crushing dreams…if the auction has 5 minutes or less on the clock and a bid is placed, an additional 5 minutes is added to the auction clock. This gives other bidders the option to rebid. OH WHY OH WHY DID YOU NOT READ THE RULES KYLA??? Going back, they’re clearly stated. Plain as day. I put my head on my desk and want to cry. I hear The Boy coming out of Cooper’s room and walking down the hall towards me. Before he walks into my office, I change screens on my computer. La, la, la…nothing to see here.

“Did you get your artwork?” “Ummmm, not sure yet. I timed it wrong. It’s still going on.” (BTDubs, I didn’t technically lie…what was happening was all true. I just left out some minor expensive details.) He kissed my on the head and told me good luck and walked downstairs. If only he new the kind of luck I needed. I switch screens back to the simple white tank top pencil drawing and my eyes bulge outta my head like a cartoon. I’m literally $1 away from being outbid. “COME ON!!!!! There’s 3 minutes left you a$$holes. You’ve been bidding against my max bid for over 45 minutes at this point. I know you want it. You’re one friggin’ dollar away! BID ALREADY!!!!!!!”

A plain white tank top hanging on a wire coat hanger with a "M" on a tag sticking out of it. No color. Black and white pencil drawing.

I stare at my computer screen watching the countdown…praying to God someone will bid…2 minutes. BID!!!!!!! PLLLLLLLEEEAAAAAASSSSSSEEEE!!!” Don’t you understand my husband is going to kill me? He’s finally going to get to sing the, “I Told You So” song, and it comes with a dance, and I really don’t want to hear or see it. BID!!!!!!!” 47 seconds left. My armpits are sweating profusely. 24 seconds. No one is bidding. Dude on the other end…you’re so close. BIIIIIIIIIDDDDD!!!!!!! 8 seconds left. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….Congratulations. You won. I didn’t think my heart could sink any lower, but it did. I was toast.

I took a couple deep breathes to calm myself down, and decided there was no time like the present to tell The Boy what had just transpired. I walked downstairs and sat on the sofa next to him. He looked at me inquisitively…”You okay?” “Yup!” “Did you get your artwork?” “Yup.” “Wanna watch Life In Pieces?” “Sure.”

I sat there, heart pounding and dreading every second that went past. I wanted to cry. When the show ended, I turned to him, holding back tears and said, “I did something really bad. Like really, really bad.”

“Uh-oh. How much is this going to cost me?” Snort, how does he know me so well?

“I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to do it. I was trying to snipe, and I didn’t read the rules. I screwed up really bad this time.”

Now, I gotta say, I have THE best husband in the world. Even though this was an expenditure we didn’t need, and yes, he was a bit ticked at me, he knew I didn’t do it on purpose. For the most part he laughed and told me I was an idiot (in the most loving way) and he hoped I finally learned my lesson about sniping.

A plain white tank top hanging on a wire coat hanger with a "M" on a tag sticking out of it. No color. Black and white pencil drawing.

So now that you know my little whoopsies, I’m hoping by writing this post, I’ll find out who I was bidding against. No, I don’t want to sell it…I’m keeping this bad boy for forever. In fact, I’m just putting this out there, I wanna be buried with this tank top…I’m takin’ it with me. BUT, I’m dying to know who you are? What made you love it as much as I did? Where were you going to hang it? Were you going to keep it? Give it to someone? Do you know something about the unknown artist?I’m hoping this little blog of mine will help me answer some of these questions…so, could you help me by sharing this post? I’m hoping to spread the word and possibly track this random person down. Besides, I think if we met, it would make for yet another fun blog post, don’t ya think?

 

22 Comments

  1. Cassie Bustamante February 2, 2017

    i am DYING! best story ever… and the art is awesome. i hope it is a really valuable piece, too. 😉

    Reply
  2. Oksana | FOXYOXIE.com February 2, 2017

    You are hilarious, that is all. 🙂

    Reply
  3. This whole story is a thriller, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma! Glad it ended sort of, kind of well?! Good luck on finding out more info!

    Reply
  4. Now you’re killing us! We want to know how much your WAY too high bid was???? It’s a beautiful piece though so I’m betting it was worth it just not what you wanted to pay. It reminds me of some of the assignments we’d have in art school to depict textures of fabric, paper, or even an egg. The artist could be anyone but they definitely had talent. Good luck in you search.!

    Reply
  5. Kim | Yellow Brick Home February 2, 2017

    I have no idea how much you paid, but I’m just as mesmerized by this drawing. DRAWING! Get outta here. It’s so elegant and perfect.

    Reply
  6. Lizzie Ravn February 2, 2017

    Well it sure is pretty! But I agree with Maggie – after all that, I really want to know how much it was!!

    Reply
  7. Susan McDonald February 2, 2017

    Yes, what did you pay? I do the same bidding strategy on Ebay. Never knew it was called snipping.

    Reply
  8. amy pouliot February 2, 2017

    We are kindred spirits my dear! I have your black chairs in my dining room and they were “almost the ones that got away” and they are around a table that is eerily similar to yours. I have an art story about a Leigh Viner piece before I had heard of Leigh Viner. I fell in love but chickened out at the price and then could never forget her; only to see it on a tag sale by an “unheard of” blogger named CHRISTINE DOVEY! I got the piece that was supposed to be mine from the beginning and “met” Christine (via email) years ago. I even learned you and I both have a vintage trophy collection (my middle son started mine accidentally years ago) when you posted about your beautiful bathroom! I am a total ebay expert (I prefer the connotations associated with that word over sniper!) And nothing means more to me than have interesting, destiny-filled (sometimes humiliating) stories behind the pieces in my home. Love this story and love you!

    Reply
  9. Mary February 2, 2017

    You are a great story teller. And your taste in are is fascinating. Very eclectic.

    Reply
  10. Katie February 2, 2017

    This story is so funny! I had a similar experience with some vintage campaign chairs on EBTH a few days ago. I REALLY wanted them and waited will the end of the sale to start bidding. Luckily I didn’t enter a crazy high max bid. I did however keep adding an incrementally higher bid, trying to see if I could get the chairs at a price I could afford. I gave up, but not until after I’d cost the winner about $300. Likewise, if you scored some vintage campaign chairs from EBTH last week, please send me pictures of my babies…I wanted them so badly! I love your blog! ❤️

    Reply
  11. Jessica February 2, 2017

    Good read, I was almost sure you were’t gonna get it but you fooled me. The drawing is beautiful!!!!

    Reply
  12. Ashley Harding February 5, 2017

    I am dying as I read this because I did the EXACT same thing a couple months ago on EBTH. I put in an outrageously high bid on a painting that I had no intention of actually winning, only to find out no one outbid me. I then had to have a very similar discussion as you with my husband. Not fun. The only thing that made it better was soon after my husband bought a chess table from EBTH that was described as a vintage piece. We received it, only to turn it over and find a Ballard Designs label on it. We have both learned our lesson. I have since banned myself from the site and deleted the app from my phone.

    Reply
  13. Lauren dahl February 9, 2017

    Okay now that I know that’s a drawing, I literally cried. Like art school nostalgia cry

    Reply
    • kyla February 21, 2017

      I know, it’s crazy right? I was floored! I so wish I knew who the artist was.

      Reply
  14. bohemian tapestry February 11, 2017

    What an article ! nice thanks for sharing…

    Reply
  15. classic•casual•home February 15, 2017

    HOLY COW! A great story. And such pretty art…it can go anywhere and you will have it forever. Your husband’s reaction reminds me of the time I was having a sushi lunch by myself in Tokyo while my husband was working. Before I went in to the restaurant, I read that it was around $50 per person… but I did the exchange rate wrong and when I got my bill it was $500! And least you still have the art. 🙂

    Reply
    • kyla February 21, 2017

      Ha! That is the funniest story ever! I’ll bet that was the best sushi ever though, right?

      Reply
  16. Tracy Serno February 17, 2017

    Wow, I could have never imagine that a tank top can be such a beautiful decoration . You absolutely nail it!

    Reply
  17. Samantha Bewick March 21, 2017

    I’m embarrassed that I know exactly what your talking about. Love the story. And the blog.

    Reply
    • kyla March 22, 2017

      YESSSSSA! I’m not the only one who has done this!

      Reply
  18. Hardman March 24, 2017

    Simply incredibly, so simply, but at the same time stylishly, laconically and with a rebellious slope.

    Reply

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