Brooklyn Air Almost Sold On eBay For $20,000, And That's Not Even The Craziest eBay Auction Ever
There are a lot of weird things for sale on the Internet — but would you really buy a bag of Brooklyn air on eBay? And if you would, would you be willing to pay $20,000 for it? Because that seriously almost happened: A listing appeared on the online auction marketplace last week for a bag of air from the hipster mecca of Williamsburg, and the bidding actually reached heights comparable to an entry-level salary in many industries these days before eBay spotted it and took it down. I'm not kidding.
The listing's title was, apparently, “Air from Williamsburg, Brooklyn! HIP COOL BROOKLYN LENA DUNHAM 11211” — a title which clearly hoped to capitalize on the popularity of Girls and searches for Williamsburg's zip code. “The air was collected in the summer of 2015 and the mystery oxygen could've come from anywhere,” the listing continued:
Perhaps it was circulated at our trendiest bars and brunch spots like Enid's or the Wythe Hotel. Or maybe it spent some time on the set of Lena Dunham's hit HBO show, Girls. It could've even been breathed in by our hippest resident celebrities like Sky Ferreira. Taht store on Bedford Ave. that sells only fedoras? The hot sauce store on Wythe? We're not saying! There's truly no telling where in 'The Burg' this air came from!
OK, yes, the listing is clearly tongue-in-cheek — but let's not forget that it was actually for sale and that people could actually buy it. What kind of monster would do such a thing?
Well, not a monster, actually — Dan Ozzi, an editor at VICE's music site, Noisey, outed himself as the seller today. To be fair, Ozzi doesn't appear to have had such a ridiculous price in mind when he first launched the auction; he started the bidding at $39.99, and, well… let's just say that the resulting bidding war surprised him as much as it probably surprised you. “Before I knew it,” wrote Ozzi, “within three days, it had collected 41 bids, the top one being for $20,100.” He also poked fun at exactly how absurd both the auction and “trendy” neighborhoods in general are, remarking, “That may seem high, but in Williamsburg dollars a 50,000 percent mark-up is actually quite reasonable.”
Alas, it was not to be. eBay did eventually cotton on to the tomfoolery going on in their territory and removed the listing; going to the auction page now reveals only a standard “this listing has been removed” message:
But you want to know the most amazing thing thing? Ozzi's Williamsburg air auction isn't the craziest auction ever held on eBay. Check out these TK other ones, which I guarantee will make you wonder either what kind of person would actually try to sell the items in question, or — worse — what kind of person would actually bid on them.
Sometimes, I despair for humanity.
1. Bags of Air from Kany West's “Yeezus” Tour
Ozzi isn't the only one who's ever tried to sell air on eBay. Back in March, bags of air from Kanye West's 2013-2014 Yeezus tour hit the auction block; according to the Hollywood Reported, one listin claimed that the bags were full of “OFFICIAL air from Kany West's Yeezus tour!! More than 20 Ziploc bags available! Air taken from FRONT ROW SEATS; POSSIBLY CONTAINS KANYE'S BREATH!!!!”
There's probably a “Yo, I'ma let you finish” joke in here somewhere… but I think I'm just going to quite while I'm ahead.
2. New Zealand
Yes. New Zealand. All of it. A man living in Brisbane, Australia tried to auction off the entire country in 2006; he started bidding at one cent, and eventually climbing to the comparatively cheap price of AUS $3,000. “Clearly New Zealand is not for sale,” eBay Australia spokesperson Daniel Feiler told the New Zealand Press Association after the listing was taken down — but I can't be the only person wondering why an entire country (and a cool one, at that!) only reached heights of $3,000. I'm hoping it's just because people realized before bidding that there's no way an entire country would be eligible for eBay.
3. One Soul, "Slightly Used"
A New Mexico woman put her “slightly used soul” up for auction in 2012. eBay forbids the selling of human body parts, but given that a soul is kind of… uh… non-corporeal, it's up for debate whether it, too, classifies as a body part. However, back in 2010, an auction for a ghost in a jar drove the rule that “intangible items or items whose existence cannot be verified on receipt of them” are also not allowed. So… there's that.
4. Justin Timberlake's Half-Eaten French Toast
Not only was this neglected breakfast treat up for auction in the first place, but moreover, it actually sold. 19-year-old NSYNC fan Kathy Summers purchased Justin Timberlake's unfinished French toast for $1,025 in 2000; a DJ for New York radio station Z-100 decided to sell it it after JT left it behind in the studio following an interview with the band.
I should probably take this moment to note that I do not recommend purchasing any food item that is not in a sealed, wrapped, or otherwise preserved state on eBay — but if you purchase it anyway, whatever you do, don't eat it.
5. The Infamous “Haunted eBay Painting”
Remember this thing? Called “The Hands Resist Him” and painted by California artist Bill Stoneham, the painting isn't actually haunted — but it did become a meme circa 2000 after being promoted as such. It's easy to understand why it became such a hit; it's unusual, unique, and kind of creepy, so of course people would want to believe that it's haunted.
6. Some Guy's “Entire Life”
Shane Butcher of Tampa Bay, Florida put up a listing for his “entire life” on eBay in 2012. How much does a man's entire life cost? $3.5 million, apparently. And Butcher isn't the only person to have done that, either: Four years earlier, British ex-pat Ian Usher similarly put his life up for auction as a way to deal with his divorce. Come to think of it, we've also got...
7. Half Of Some Guy's Entire Life
I still don't know whether it's art, life, or both — but there's just something so weirdly poetic about literally dividing your stuff up in half when you break up with someone and jettisoning it via eBay.