Soul for Sale on eBay

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, hardly used," offered by Adam Burtle, a University of Washington student and part-time automotive technician from Woodinville, a tony suburb northeast of the city. For the auction listing, he displayed a picture of himself wearing an "I'm with stupid" T-shirt. "Please realize, I make no warranties as to the condition of the soul. As of now, it is near mint condition, with only minor scratches," he wrote. "Due to difficulties involved with removing my soul, the winning bidder will either have to settle for a night of yummy Thai food and cool indie flicks, or wait until my natural death." The bidding only took off in the last hour, when the price shot from $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 any given time. The listing was removed and Burtle has been suspended from the site.

More Souls for Sale In the past, eBay has blocked auctions for souls before they ended, but Burtle's slipped through the cracks, said Kevin Pursglove, 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 track record with other users of the Web site. "I don't think she's going to be able to collect on my soul, to be 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 anytime I'm bored, I go back to my Internet."