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eBay Auctions Employees

Nate Orenstam
Monday, November 24, 2008

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High Demand for Lawn Jockies

eBay(San Jose, Calif.) Acknowledging signs that the slowing economy may be having a greater impact on business than previously reported, eCommerce auction giant eBay has announced plans to auction approximately 15% of employees worldwide. The move comes amid slowing growth in the last twelve months as consumer confidence decreased. Earlier promotional efforts, including the recently launched eBay Militia site, failed to produce a significant revenue boost in such categories as firearms, gas masks and antibiotics.

"We have revised expectations to be in line with recent economic reports," spokesman Terry Yaki said. "In other words, I'm outta here and so are a lot of others. I mean how many Pez dispensers does anyone really need?" Over the last twelve months, analysts had been concerned in declines in such perrenial best-selling categories as collectibles, computers, jewelery, books and toys. eBay management offset declines in these areas with reports of positive increases in newer categories such as blood plasma, dog food and steroids. Unfortunately, with the latest sales results, CEO Meg Whitman acknowledged the need to reduce operating expenses.

"We tried everything from 'bring your own toilet paper to work day' to serving only domestic beer on the corporate jets," Whitman said. "And although these efforts helped, we needed to take a bigger cut from expenses," she added. Whitman said the company had hired very quickly in the rapid growth years leading to bloated payroll expenses. "We had some folks on staff, we didn't even know what they did. Heck, we bought PayPay and then found out we had a whole division called BillPoint doing the same thing. My bad!"

Employees Most Valuable Assets

But rather than undertake a traditional layoff, eBay continues to innovate. "We've said for years that employees are our most valuable assets," Whitman stated. "Now we're going to prove it." eBay initiated a new online auction of redundant employees called eBay Seconds for the next 100 days. The move has generated a lot of excitement in the company as employees take pride in being auctioned off at high prices. And in the spirit of eBay's community approach, employees get to keep 40% of the purchase price. Indeed, the proceedings have left a festive air in what would otherwise be a sad occasion. Employees were high-fiving each other as they got competitive offers. A half dozen accountants were thrilled to be able to stay together when they were bought in a dutch auction to work as circus carnies in Florida. Many of the business development and alliance managers have been getting offers to become full-time lawn jockies in Long Island, New York.

Meanwhile, former eBay marketing specialist Tiffany Downs achieved a top bid of $5,000 after posting her photo on the site. "It's just like Meg always said, you've got to really promote your goods," she said. Downs was enthusiastic about joining rapidly growning Internet content provider Jade Entertainment Group of Canoga Park, San Fernando Valley. "I'm really excited to be joining Jade," Downs said. "My new manager is really a hands-on guy and they have a reputation for a lot of hardcore group work. They said we'll start shooting 'eBabes' next week. I guess that must be some kind of documentary or something," she said.

About the author
Nate Orenstam is a leading J2EE programmer who reads Playboy for the articles.

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