S E A T T L E, Feb. 9, 2001 -- A young man's soul brought $400 on the Internet
auction site eBay.
The bidding began at 5 cents Feb. 1 and concluded at 4:36 p.m.Thursday on the listing "20 yr-old Seattle boy's SOUL, hardlyused," offered by Adam Burtle, a University of Washington studentand part-time automotive technician from Woodinville, a tony suburbnortheast of the city. For the auction listing, he displayed a picture of himselfwearing an "I'm with stupid" T-shirt. "Please realize, I make no warranties as to the condition ofthe soul. As of now, it is near mint condition, with only minorscratches," he wrote. "Due to difficulties involved with removingmy soul, the winning bidder will either have to settle for a nightof yummy Thai food and cool indie flicks, or wait until my naturaldeath." The bidding only took off in the last hour, when the price shotfrom $56 to $400. Burtle, an atheist, said a former girlfriend bid $6.66. "I was happy to be past $7.50," he said. Don't look for a similar offer anytime soon — at least on eBay,which has 22 million users and 6 million items up for bid at anygiven time. The listing was removed and Burtle has been suspendedfrom the site.
More Souls for Sale In the past, eBay has blocked auctions for souls before theyended, but Burtle's slipped through the cracks, said KevinPursglove, a spokesman for the San Jose, Calif-based company. The buyer was identified only as a woman from Des Moines, Iowa,with an eBay feedback rating of zero, meaning she has no trackrecord with other users of the Web site. "I don't think she's going to be able to collect on my soul, tobe honest," Burtle said. He said he never intended the ad to be taken seriously. "I was just bored, and I'm a geek," Burtle said. "So anytimeI'm bored, I go back to my Internet."