Opinion: I saw, I conquered… 

By Peter Matthews

Tension was high as the online auction came to a climax. I had been watching it for a while and the bidding was sporadic in the days leading up to last night’s finale.

I came to the realisation a week or so ago that my boatbuilding efforts were not going to progress according to my plans in the absence of a band saw. So having found one online which looked just right for my requirements, I had simply to wait until two minutes before the end of the auction, place the winning bid, and Bob would be my new uncle.

Well that was the theory. In the event I placed my bid and then watched in horror as, 19 seconds before the close, somebody outbid me by $5. The roller coaster went on for a further 20 minutes as the price increased by over a hundred dollars. At each increment I had to tweak my rationale for paying the higher price.

“It comes with four spare blades and they’re worth $50” … “it’s still less than half the price of a new one” and so on. As the drama unfolded, I became aware that the entire family were looking over my shoulder and they began to offer advice, which was not, at all times, entirely helpful.

I’m very pleased to report that I won the auction. What the other guy didn’t realise was that my final bid was my “very last, final, not going past it, not another dollar bid” and he could have had it for just $5 more. Maybe.

We did laugh at one point as our 12-year-old daughter suggested that there might have been a domestic altercation between another “wood nerd” and his wife, as the price crept northwards, culminating in the wife pulling the plug from the wall thus ensuring my victory.

So it’s a win win win; for me, the seller, and the planet: I am not going to buy a new band saw which will have been made in China from all new raw materials and then shipped to NZ, thus expanding its already considerable carbon footprint. No, the saw I have bought was made in New Zealand and it has already been owned and used for many years by its first owner. It looks like a good quality machine and so I hope to use it myself for several years to come.

Thus my woodworking future is, for the time being, assured. That is, until another piece of equipment becomes essential.

I am wondering, a little uneasily though, about my reasoning: the new band saw I might have bought is, presumably, already in the country. Have I really saved the planet by not buying it? And it would have come with all the assurances afforded the purchasers of new items by the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993. And then there is the fact that tomorrow we’re going on a road trip. You see, my new saw is in Whanganui.

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