Are you spending too much time surfing eBay?

A reporter asked an interesting question today: How do you know if you’re spending too much time surfing eBay?  While I’m all for saving time on Internet shopping and having things delivered, instead of driving around town to ten places trying to find the same item, you don’t want to cross the line into an addiction.  An addiction?  That’s right.  How many hours a day would you have to devote to something before it would be labeled an addiction?  Television watching?  Gambling?  Drinking?  eBay surfing?  As with anything, it can get out of hand.  So I told the reporter I’d have her readers ask themselves these questions:

·        Do you spend more time on the computer surfing eBay listings than you do with your significant other and children?

·        How would you feel if your spouse could see the listings you’re viewing?

·        Are you purchasing items in private or on a separate credit card, so no one knows what you’re buying?  Are buying things you are embarrassed to tell your spouse about or that are causing financial strain?

·        You don’t leave the house any more to go shopping, because you can find anything you need on eBay?

·        Can you spend an evening with your partner without thinking about whether someone has responded to your eBay seller inquiry?

·        Does your heart beat faster when you see a message waiting for you in your inbox from a certain eBay stores?

Tell your partner you’re sorry you’ve been so unavailable, and make steps to change. Don’t let the anonymity of technology let you cross boundaries you wouldn’t in person. Force yourself to buy things in cash, so your credit card purchases don’t become unmanageable.  Make a list of things you need to buy, and get out and about to meet real people in real situations.  The delivery costs can add up quickly, so only buy unique items you can’t find anywhere else, only when there is a legitimate occasion.