What would you pay for the magazine you’re holding in your hands right now? No doubt your first response would be, “Why would I pay for something I can get for free?” Or, “Pay for it? I paid for it when I paid for my ticket!” And I wouldn’t disagree with you. However, there are some people out there for whom the magazine has a much higher value. A friend e-mailed me a link to eBay recently (remember how much I love e-mail). When I checked it out, I was surprised to see that some enterprising person had put our November 15, 2004, issue on the auction block. He (or she) advertised it as, “A must-have for any Bon Jovi fan.” This person also added that there were “Fantastic pics and interview” (thank you!) and that the magazine was in “mint condition.” What do you suppose constitutes mint condition? Does that mean the crossword puzzle wasn’t already filled in? That there were no dog-eared or torn-out pages?
So, what do you think? Did anyone love our issue with Jon Bon Jovi on the cover enough to make a bid? They did indeed. There were actually eight bids. And how much do you suppose the clever little entrepreneur got for it? $5? $20? Nope. Someone actually ponied up $46! Plus shipping!
Forty. Six. Dollars. Who woulda thunk? Did this person really think they couldn’t just call our office and request a copy? We would have only charged $5, and we had plenty of other Bon Jovi fans who did that. Or what about heading to the airport to pick one up?
Surely, I thought, this is an anomaly. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. A quick search on eBay turned up nine other issues for sale. You could buy one of our issues with Aerosmith on the cover, or Greg Kinnear (which the seller listed as “rare”; go figure), Donald Trump, Ewan McGregor, Emmitt Smith, Barry Bonds, Wayne Brady, and, of course, more Bon Jovi. I was, to say the least, dumbfounded.
Most of the issues had just recently been put up for bid, so it would be awhile before I could see how much they went for. But two of them, Aerosmith and Jon Bon Jovi, closed the day I was writing this. The person who had these for sale didn’t fare as well as the original dealer, but Bon Jovi was still the most popular. The seller had multiple copies of both issues, and he/she sold five Bon Jovis (three to one person!) at $4 a piece (plus $3 shipping), and just one Aerosmith for $3 (again, with $3 shipping). But even at these prices, there’s obviously a business opportunity here.
My co-workers and I obviously have access to lots of these issues. So we were thinking we’d never have to pay for lunch again if we started eBaying a few. But I’m not so sure the company would agree with us. The word “ethical” comes to mind. So instead, we’ve decided that we’ll just continue to pay for our lunches and bask in the knowledge that the work we’re doing here does have value. And in some cases, quite a lot of value.
So thanks to all you buyers and sellers out there for making our work all the more worthwhile. It’s good to know that in some small way, we’re positively contributing to the economy. SHERRI GULCZYNSKI BURNS