Forty-seven minutes left. Too soon. Too soon! I won’t repeat the same mistake as last time. I made my move too quickly, too boldly. They saw me coming. This time I’ll be the one in control.
It was in mint condition. An official Girl Scout mess kit from the 1950’s in the original box. It was just gorgeous – two pans, a plate, collapsible cup – it even had the fork, spoon and knife set. They almost never have the silverware, but this one had it all. It was early in my eBay career, so I didn’t know how things worked. I didn’t know that when you bid on something right away, four days before the auction ends, it’s like pouring blood into the ocean. They can smell you from miles around. God, I was naïve.
I actually got on that train thinking that by the time I got home, I would be the owner of a pristine Girl Scout mess kit. In the original box. When I felt my phone buzz twice in rapid succession, I figured it was just eBay’s way of thanking me for my business, but when I opened up the emails, a different story unfolded.
5:59pm – “Hi Jenny – There’s a new highest bid on this item, but there’s still a chance to make it yours. Increase your bid to have a chance at winning the Official 1950’s Girl Scout Mess Kit (in original box)!
6:00pm – “Hi Jenny – We’re sorry, you didn’t win the Official 1950’s Girl Scout Mess Kit (in original box) this time around. While this one got away, there’s other stuff to find. Don’t give up.”
How did this happen? I had been the only bidder for the past four days. And who can type fast enough to bid in the last minute? This would be my first experience with snipers, lowest of the eBay low. I would not soon forget the pain and anger of this loss.
In the beginning, there was Natasha. Friend? Enabler? Visionary? Who’s to say? But she was the first to plant the seed in my head – a tiny grain in the form of a conversation about Girl Scout merit badges and how she was fond of them.
I began researching images on eBay, which led to my very first purchase: a small clear plastic bag containing five vintage Girl Scout patches. I was hooked. I needed more.
Soon, under the handle Artemis71, I began the hunt. I moved quickly and silently, backing off when my prey was nervous, moving in when they were unawares.
Patches begat pins.
Pins begat sashes.
Sashes begat pocket knives.
Pocket knives begat handbooks.
Handbooks begat cameras.
Cameras begat a vintage 1965 official Girl Scout uniform, complete with dress, beret and bowtie.
And I saw the uniform, and behold, it was very good.
Thirty-two minutes left and no bids yet on the vintage Girl Scout sewing kit. Hold back, Jenny.
Why Girl Scouts? Where did this sudden obsession come from? I never was a part of Scouts. None of my friends were either. Sure, I love Samoas as much as the next office worker, but it was more than that. With Girl Scouts, there is the promise of… something. Youthful curiosity, a sense of adventure, camaraderie, belonging, survival.
“Guess what I’m wearing right now.”
“Why do you always call me with that question, Jenny?”
“You never guess right anyway, so I’ll just tell you. I’m wearing a vintage 1965 official Girl Scout uniform, complete with dress, beret and bowtie.”
“Nat? You there?”
“I’m still here. Is this another one of your eBay purchases?”
“Sure is. And it fits me like a glove.”
A glove that was stretched across the bust, snug around the hips and about three inches too short, but a glove nonetheless.
“Where exactly do you plan on wearing that?”
“Where don’t I plan on wearing it is the question. Soda shops. Sock hops. Drive-in movies. Casual Fridays. Pretty much everywhere. Get used to the idea, Nat.”
“I’ll do my best.”
“Hey, I gotta go. I just realized this dress kind of smells like nursing home breath.”
Eighteen minutes left until I can start working toward my seamstress badge. This sewing kit will complete my collection. But I need to wait – I must be patient. The Girl Scout Laws guide my actions now.
1. A Girl Scout’s honor is to be trusted.
2. A Girl Scout is loyal.
3. A Girl Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others.
4. A Girl Scout is a friend to all and a sister to every other Girl Scout.
5. A Girl Scout is courteous.
6. A Girl Scout is a friend to the animals.
7. A Girl Scout obeys orders.
8. A Girl Scout is cheerful.
9. A Girl Scout is thrifty.
10. A Girl Scout is clean in thought, word and deed.
I can do this. I can live honorably, helping friends, making things, feeding rabbits, recycling cans, whistling tunes. I can do a good turn daily. It’s the life I was born to lead.
Only four minutes left when I make my move. Enter maximum bid, confirm bid and click! eBay tells me I’m the highest bidder, but still I don’t feel comfortable. I wait at the computer, hoping my bid will be enough to fend off any last-minute snipers. I realize I’ve been holding my breath, and as I exhale, it arrives:
Hi Artemis71 – Congratulations on winning this item!
It was a clean shot, a good kill. The sewing kit is mine.
The eBay gods shone down on me today, and now my collection is complete. I can retire from the hunt and finally sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor. My phone vibrates.
Based on your past purchases, we’ve found some items you won’t want to miss out on!
• Vintage Girl Scout backpack
• 1954 Girl Scout calendar
• Vintage Girl Scout wristwatch
Don’t let them get away!
Your friends at eBay
Wristwatch? No one said anything about a wristwatch! And so the huntress pushes aside her frozen pizza, stands up to stretch her quads and silently walks into the forest, bow in hand.
Filed under: General on December 1st, 2009 | 28 Comments »