Exclusive: Two And A Half Grand Practical Joke

The winning bid of £2,550 for two tickets to John's May Ball was in fact a practical joke played on a student by friends.

The Tab can exclusively reveal that the winning bid of £2,550 for two pairs of John’s May Ball tickets was in fact a practical joke.

eBay user j4imie91 won the tickets with a bid placed just seconds before the auction was due to end. But the bid was in fact placed by the user’s friends who spotted his eBay account still logged on as he left the room.

In an email sent the next day to John’s May Ball Committee, j4imie91 said: “I’m really sorry to have to do this, but I really did not intend to bid this much money for these tickets, I accidentally left my account logged on my laptop and my friends thought this would be a funny joke.

“You can imagine my shock as I woke up to find an invoice for £2,550 in my emails, that I can’t really afford.”

To sort out this costly auction frape James Miong, the owner of the j4imie91 account, suggested they offer the tickets to the next highest bidder and said he would pay the difference.

Miong told The Tab: “I am actually a student here at Cambridge and did intend to make a bid for the tickets initially as I did want to go to the ball, but I set a max price in my head of around £1,500.

“Someone must have thought it was funny to make a really high bid from my account… I went to bed in the evening unaware that this had happened and woke up the next morning to find an email with an invoice for £2,550!”

The banterous bid that almost cost Miong 2 and a half grand

John’s May Ball committee held 3 eBay auctions of tickets to their quincentary ball, raising over £6,000 for charity. The money from the auction Miong took part in had been promised to SOS Children’s Charity, who care for orphaned and abandoned children.

John’s agreed to Miong’s plan, and the tickets are being sold to another bidder for £2,400, with Miong making up the difference .

Miong said: “[I’m] extremely relieved I do not have to pay the full figure, and the money is going to a worthwhile cause which makes it easier to part with! It was very stressful for me, but I am very glad it has been resolved.”

He added: “I am starting to see the funny side of it now it seems to all be sorted and hopefully this will be one big funny story to tell in a few years time!”

Automedon77, the bidder who eventually took the tickets for £2,400, said he bought the tickets: “as a surprise for a couple of friends.

“They couldn’t believe it when I told them – I think they still can’t!

“While it’s obviously a lot of money – I’ve never done anything nearly as extavagent – I doubt I’ll look back in ten years time and regret it.”

It seems it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts…

READ: The Tab’s full commentary on all 3 auctions, as well as all the gossip and rumours on our May Ball Blog.

  • Bantographer

    Bad form. You won't be driving the bantwagon anytime soon.

  • Poor guy

    So now he's paying the original price of a ticket and getting nothing?

  • £150

    Why would Miong 'pay the difference'? Just take the negative rep.


      I suppose there's the potential to get in trouble with eBay/John's though, isn't there? And he's clearly not too strapped for cash, since he was thinking of paying £1500.

    • http://sashamillwood.com/ Sasha Millwood


      Based on my reading of the eBay terms and conditions, Mr Miong is within his rights to retract the fraudulent bid and pay nothing. What his 'friends' have done constitutes account theft, which is a serious matter. Whilst I am not condoning Mr Miong's carelessness in leaving his eBay account unattended, it is ludicrous to suggest that he must be held financially liable for the consequences of the misappropriation of his account.

      The following is eBay's official advice:

      "If you need to cancel a bid quickly because it was placed by someone else using your password without authorisation, choose 'Entered wrong amount' as your retraction reason and then contact us about the account theft so that we can investigate." [http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/buy/questions/retract-bid.html]

      • Gashy Millwanks

        Stop starting every post you make with "sir:" you pretentious cunt. There are women here now too.

        • http://sashamillwood.com/ Sasha Millwood

          Dear Professor Millwanks,

          "Sir" is the standard generic form of address in a newspaper commentary section, perhaps derived from the historical method of submitting a comment (that is, sending a letter to the relevant editor).

          It is contestable whether a phrase such as "Sir/Madam" is really any less inherently sexist than "Sir", given that the syntax arguably implies superiority of the former. Indeed, on a similar note, there is no consensus or consistency as to whether one ought to dispense with the variants of nouns made on the basis of gender (e.g.: alumnus/alumna, actor/actress, poet/poetess, policeman/policewoman, steward/stewardess, &c.). In Germany, Angela Merkel is referred to as Bundeskanzlerin, the equivalent of saying "chancelloress" in English; by comparison, in Cambridge, Professor Alison Richard was, during her tenure, referred to as as the vice-chancellor. The argument for stringently deploying distinct forms is that it recognises that the post can be held by either gender, instead of continuing to legitimise the "default" male form of the noun; the argument for the latter is that by using two different words for exactly the same role, one is automatically making a point of the gender where it ought to be irrelevant. Personally, I am of the latter stance.

          Therefore, whilst I appreciate your raising of this significant issue pertaining to the inherent sexism in our language, I shall continue to use the traditional form of address for the time being. I am open to any proposals as to how I might deign to address a comment in a comparably formal and concise tone in a more gender-neutral manner.

          • Tupac

            Fuck off you pretentious twat. You wouldn't last five minutes where I come from (the hood)

            • please be rational

              I am sick of people bandying about the term "pretentious" whenever they are incapable of engaging with a debate properly. Since you are manifestly incapable of engaging with Mr Millwood's interesting points, how about you go back to where you come from… let me guess, Anglia Polytechnic? (euphemistically renamed Ruskin)

              • Tupac

                Child please! How about I replace the 'pretentious' with 'absolute'?. I can guarantee that the majority people read the comments section for funny jokes about willies, not for serious debate.

          • commentress

            Reasons so many people brand all Cambridge students pretentious pricks, no. 36: see above

          • Aged tab reader

            Yes! Sasha’s back!

  • John's

    I'm interested in what Johns second year Bex Xiao has to say on the matter

    • Cantab


  • What is this?

    Why is Oscar Petko Williams-Grut reporting on everything in Johns?

    Has he hacked into the John's email list? Is he working with the News of the World? Or he is also schweffing with DomCol?

    • Obvious

      Maybe because he's at Johns?

    • Well

      Maybe, just maybe, he's actually at John's.

    • Word Judge

      Loving the schweff

  • Suspicious.

    I smell a rat. Guy bought and got cold feet.

    • I agree

      Definitely. Hence why he is paying the difference.
      Maybe he had no friends to go with.

    • Rat

      I smell suspicious

  • Cambridge??

    Being at the University of St John's is just great, daily updates on the fascinating ins and outs of the lives of who must be the least mundane individuals I can imagine.

    • Really?

      These guys clearly aren't at John's. Why would they bid over 2 grand for tickets they can get for £150?

      • Cambridge??

        Comment as reference to the abundance of John's-related articles.

  • amazingcollege

    <3 John's <3

  • Johnny

    I love Johnsbridge. John's domination of the news for life!

  • True

    i can confirm it was a case of stupidity mixed with gold feet. he placed the bid

  • J H Christ!

    Its a fucking ball? With £2500 you can buy on ebay:

    1 x gameboy colour with tetris and mario
    1 x vespa automatica 125
    1 x 'Pull down in case of emergency' novelty boxer shorts
    1 x Eiffel 65 – Blue CD single
    1 x Deluxe bling puppy collar
    1 x pair girls white and pink heelys
    1 x pogo stick (low mileage)
    1 x Bb trumpet
    1 x TV remote, calculator watch

    and still have enough change to hire a tux and get pissed.

    • judas

      i like you.

      • Jesus

        Shame you didn't like me as much

      • lady gaga

        i love you

    • StuckInTheLibrary

      that's some epic procrastination…

  • confused

    wait, he has to pay 150 pounds? but the second bidder offerred 2500 in the screenshot.. surely he only has to pay 50 pounds?

    • Inspector Ball

      We must get to the bottom of this.

    • Learn your ebay.

      The bids between 2400 and 2500 were automatically placed.

      • Look at the picture

        It looks like the bids between 2200 and 2500 were automatically place… Shouldn't that be £350?

        • Learn your ebay

          Well, they were, but only the last one was in response to this guy's bid. Look at the times.

  • 2.5 grand

    are you sure they are his friends?
    surely thats a bit out of line

  • Just a thought

    Thing is right, an exclusive is generally a big deal for a news story – you know, maybe an investigation or an interview that no other paper has, ideally with someone who's a big deal for some reason. Then there is some "exclusive" information. This seems more like a press release that's been embellished a little. Is that exclusive?

    Even if it technically is, the Tab uses this word way too much. It can be a term that is really effective in drawing attention, but it seems pretty overused here. Why the hell is it important to anyone reading that you happen to know the guy who this happened to? If he was famous or if this was a genuine scandal, then that would be more fitting. As it is it's a fairly funny anecdote.

    • exasperated pr

      Who the fuck would write a press release about this then send it to newspapers? eBay? automedon77? Pipe down.

      • lol

        Do you know what a press release is!?

  • Accidental Critic

    I meant to thumb up this comment but I pressed the wrong one. Don't feel too cut up about it buddy x

  • fishy

    wouldn't it be a better joke if they put like 10000 pounds or sth
    2550 looks like a serious bid rather than a joke, when the last bid was 2500

    • Exam procrastinator

      They probably did, but ebay only bids higher than the previous bid up to the maximum amount. If someone else had bid £9,900, then the £10,000 bid would be required. However as the previous bid was £2,500, ebay bids the next highest amount, in this case £2,550.

  • fed up, wana go home

    its funny how this guy was so shocked by £2500 when he was fully prepared to spend £1500 originally. the fact that students rather than rich alumni etc are paying stupid money for these tickets just perpetuates every myth about the assholes that go here. i'd be so embarrassed publicly spending my parents money like that at his age, 1500 is a whole terms student loan for most people so unless (and i doubt it) he's self-made in which case i'd retract this, james miong just looks pathetic in my eyes. funnily enough most people in cambridge wouldnt see it like this. flash cunts

  • Nick B

    Seriously who the fuck spends two and a half grand on a party?

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