I have many a colleague who raves about the virtues of finding fashion on eBay: original Prada Formica-print trousers, for instance, barely-worn early Yohji Yamamoto, and so forth. Conversely, it's also possible to pay more for a piece of clothing than one might from a shop – so addictive is the process.
Still, when a pair of Rick Owens 'monster' boots appeared on the site last weekend for a starting price of $158 – they normally sell in the UK for upwards of £900 – I sharpened my elbows, virtually at least. I need a pair of these in my life.
The first setback occurs when I create a user name; eBay suggests I try Susannah.frankel2012, which is on the literal side, but at least I'll remember it. Imagine my misery when I place my first bid (for $200) only to find that while everyone else involved has a heavily disguised identity, it looks like mine is spelt out for all the world to see. Luckily, I wasn't buying foot fungus cream.
Having fixed that problem, I proceed to spend a good part of the weekend following the boots' progress. Obligingly, once my maximum bid has been trumped, eBay e-mail to let me know. Then I place another bid, then another, and another... I'm tapping away on my BlackBerry throughout dinner with friends who don't think I'm rude because they're watching the football and tweeting about it while we eat.
An hour before the auction ends I place a bid for $300 – still, obviously, a bargain. "Wouldn't it be amazing if I got them," I think. "So amazing it's never going to happen," says the pragmatist lurking deep inside of me. I go to bed and wake up to discover, sure enough, that 0***9 has bought my boots for $305. I think I might hate her, whoever she may be.
Susannah Frankel is Fashion Editor of 'The Independent'