Bad eBay Seller…NO COOKIE!*

     Wow. Just wow.  Somewhere back in the last year’s posts, I think I promised a rant or two.  Well here it is…

(Editorial note:  Let me just say before I get rolling here, you’re gonna notice places where you’re gonna say, “Why didn’t he use profanity here?  That seems like a perfect place to use some good old American profanity.”  Believe me, I want to.  But I found out recently that my 9 year old pulls my blog up in computer lab to show her friends, so I gotta keep it more or less G rated.  But believe me…I would if I could.)

     Sellers of eBay. May I have your attention please?  Are you trying to kill me?  Because that’s what your doing.  Your absolutely KILLING me, Smalls.  Allow me to vent…in no particular order.

Beef #1–“What You See Ain’t Necessarily What You Get.”

     I listen to an oldies station on the radio a lot.  What’s funny is that they often play songs from the 80s.  Those are NOT oldies.  Bon Jovi is not an oldie!  Anyway, there’s an old song they play alot called “What you seeeeee…is what you get.”  If I can channel John McLaughlin here for a sec…WRONG!  

   For your review, I present photo number one.  This is the pic from the auction listing for a metal Superman sign from Kitchen Sink Press.  My Little Man had one in his room that didn’t survive the fire.  It was nicely framed in glossy red.  Definitely an eye-catcher.

Looks good to me.  I can't even make out the thin layer of crusty goo.

Looks good to me. I can’t even make out the thin layer of crusty goo.

     Yes, the auction listing said “used.”  The pic looks pretty good to me. Granted, my vision ain’t what it used to be but all in all, the sign looks almost new. The description says nothing about condition other than “nice sign”.  So one might “assume” that in the absence of “it has XYZ wrong with it,”  it must be in good shape.  And one would be wrong.

     Here are are two detail pics I took of the actual sign.

"Gently used." And by "gently," I mean "thrown out of a moving car."

“Gently used.” And by “gently,” I mean “thrown out of a moving car.”

Lots of this going on. Note the "off-white" of the white?  That's more of the funk that the 409 won't dent.

Lots of this going on. Note the “off-white” of the white? That’s more of the funk that the 409 won’t dent.

     And technically, these are “after” pics.  That’s because as soon as I pulled it out of the box, I immediately soaked it in 409.  The industrial strength purple stuff mind you.  Not that weak, diluted formula they sell to little old ladies.  And when I say “immediately,” I mean, sign comes out of box and my hand, in one fluid, ninja-like motion, reaches for the bottle of 409 I keep near my desk.

     You see, the sign came coated in some kind of sticky residue. Residue of what I don’t know.  Embedded in said film/crust was dust, dirt, fibers, and most grossly, hairs of unknown and dubious origins…if you know what I mean.  And I think that you do. Even after soaking in purple cleaner over my lunch hour, the thing still looks pretty rough.  Great if you’re looking for that “rustic” look. Unfortunately, I’m not.

     As soon as I get a chance, I’m gonna hit it with some Goo Gone, WD-40 and maybe a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to see if I can get more of the grime off.  Not sure if I’ll be able to rehab it enough to warrant the expense of framing it.  Not even sure if the furriness factor will even let me put it in my kid’s room in good conscience.  Let’s face it…from now on, when I look at the thing, I’m gonna have that image flash through my mind. It’s the reason I didn’t eat at Taco Bell for 24 years. It may just end up in the garage or workshop.

    So, all this begs the question…do I leave negative, or at best, neutral feedback on eBay?  Well, that runs me smack dab into Beef #2…

Beef #2–You got my money right? Oh you did?  Good, good.  Sooooo, why exactly have you NOT posted positive feedback for me yet?

     Back when I got started on eBay, you didn’t have one-click check-out with PayPal.  Oh no.  You put on your Crocs and walked your happy little bee-hind to the grocery store (4 miles, uphill, both ways in the snow) and you bought a money order.  And you liked it. Then you stuck it in an envelope, scribbled the seller’s address on it, dropped it in a mailbox and hoped it didn’t end up in the crawl space of some burned out, nut-job mail carrier. (I love most USPS folks, but admit it…you do have some deadwood up in there).

     Then, if/when the seller got the money order, he/she would generally leave positive feedback for you, the buyer.  Because, you, as the buyer, had fulfilled your part of the deal.  You had put YOUR money in HIS/HER hand.  And that was kinda the whole point.

     Nowadays, you can’t pay with a money order if you try. It’s all more or less instant with PayPal.  Ask my wife about the “ding” sound of “your paypal receipt has arrived” on my iPhone.  She loves it.  Some nights you can’t turn around without…”ding.”

     A good portion of sellers, if not “most,” understand the concept of feedback.  They get paid, they leave feedback. They send item. You leave feedback.  Pretty simple. It’s win-win for everyone.

     Unfortunately, there is a percentage of sellers (maybe 25%) who, if they leave feedback at all, wait until you’ve left positive feedback for them first. And they’ll tell you, “Well, I want to make sure the transaction’s complete and you’re satisfied, blah, blah, blah.”  I call “bovine excrement” on you my good Sir. What you are doing is making sure I leave you positive feedback before you bestow your own digital “plus sign” on me.  And I realize there are alot of dumb dumb dumb buyers on eBay who leave gems like “I ordered my item 3 days ago and it still hasn’t arrived…BAD SELLER!”  But that’s why you can leave replies on feedback.  You can point out that such a person is a pure, stone-cold idiot. In fact, I encourage you to do so.  I love when I stumble upon an epic seller on idiot smackdown on a seller’s feedback profiles.  It actually makes me want to buy from you even more.  But I digress.

     I am in such a position with Mr. Sticky/Crusty/Fuzzy Superman Sign.  If I post critical (aka “factual”) feedback for him, what’s to keep him from hitting me with a retaliatory negative bomb?  I can’t imagine what the criticism would be.  Maybe the old “If you had questions, you should’ve asked me first?”  Well, it never occurred to me to inquire as to the presence and/or density of unmentionable (human?) hair follicles on your Superman sign!  Blank me, right?

     I’ve never actually left negative feedback in my 14 years on eBay.   Even when I’ve already gotten the positive nod from a seller.  I guess that violates the social contract of eBay and there are those who would accuse me of contributing to the problem by not smacking down the bottom feeder sellers. But I tend to follow the old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”  My problems have always revolved around a seller being a dummy versus overtly dishonest/malicious.  It sorta feels like it would punching Forrest Gump if Forrest Gump was a crappy eBay seller.

Beef # 3–Yeahhhh, if you could go ahead and pack my stuff like you actually care that it arrives intact…That’d be great.

     Here’s a couple more pieces of photographic evidence.  These particular cases exhibit what happens when you do a half-buttocks job of packing a box then hand over your crappy packing job to the Post Office, who proceeds to roll your/my box down a mountain. Results tend to be not so good.

I've seen hobos living in better boxes than this...

I’ve seen hobos living in better boxes than this…

     The first box was supposed to contain like 60 hardbound copies of Military History Quarterly.  I got a really good deal on these about a year ago.  Something like $1.25 an issue.  I was going to be hooked up for military history reading for a longggg time.  Then this showed up at my office.  There weren’t 60 copies of anything in this box.  There were 3 issues and…wait for it…an empty 3 liter Coke bottle.  Apparently, my man used the empty beverage container as packing material.  Which suggests to me that he did at least recognize that having 60 hardcover books sloshing around loose in a cardboard box was probably a recipe for disaster.

     And the box?  Oh yeah, let me tell you about this box.  Now it’s entirely possible that this was a brand new, pristine, sturdy as they come cardboard box when my man packed up my books.  Just as it’s possible that President Obama will tap me to lead a mission to Mars. Possible. But not. bloody. likely.

     What is more likely, is that cardboard abomination came out of the dumpster behind some run down strip mall in my man’s hometown.  He bends it back into shape, ignoring the flaccidity of the corrugations.  He’s probably one of those “Green” dudes who figured he’d save a tree. Reuse, recycle, etc. etc.

     Well, my books ended up strewn God knows where.  Of course begging the question why nobody with the USPS said “Hmmm, maybe I can find out which box these books hemorrhaged from, put them back in, and I don’t know, maybe wrap some tape around it?”  Clearly, that was asking too much.

     I immediately snapped some pics and fired off an e-mail to my Man asking him when I could expect my refund (minus the three books I actually received)?  I was really hoping he wasn’t going to blame the Post Office since it didn’t take Quincy to figure out his 3 Liter bottle packing scheme had contributed to the massive failure of the box.  I think he knew.  I think that as he plopped that 30 lb box down on the Post Office counter, he thought, “You know, I probably coulda packed this better…oh well.”   So he refunded me and I let it go.

Apparently, Miffy cups from China don't rate top quality cardboard.

Apparently, Miffy cups from China don’t rate top quality cardboard.

     Box number two is the Sega Genesis I got for my Little Man.  Frankly, I don’t know what fell out.  The system, controllers, and games where pretty much thrown in the box.  Same problem. Heavy stuff, flopping around like Louis Anderson in a man-sized hamster ball. A box that has seen better days and RIPPPPPPPPP!…You get this. I could go back to Beef# 1 here but I won’t.  Let’s just say that some people’s idea of “plug & play” may differ significantly from yours or mine.  And what’s with everybody sending me sticky residues.  One of the controls I got from this guy looked like it was dipped in Crystal Pepsi before he mailed it.

     So, let’s sum up.  If you’re too lazy to post accurate photos or a semi-detailed description on your eBay auctions…please stop eBaying.  If you got my money, leave positive feedback for me.  I’ve done my part, don’t hold a brother hostage.  And finally, and I’m just spit-balling here…pack my item like you give a flip.  Invest in a new box, or at least use one that hasn’t been baking in your grandpa’s attic for 25 years.  Wrap tape around the box.  I know tape is pricey.  I do.  But do it for me.

     There are always going to be idiots in this world.  And some of them will put stuff on  sale on eBay.  And yeah, I get the whole “buyer beware” thing. But if I can’t hold the thing before I plunk down my dollar bills, you, as the seller, are going to have to work with me a little.  Or at least I hope you will.  Until that time, I will be here in the Cave patiently holding my breath

*I absolutely wish to give credit for the title of this post.  I didn’t come up with it.  I stole it from my man over at Bad Bookseller, No Cookie. Excellent stuff. Unfortunately it looks like he’s back-burnered the whole thing.  But, if you’re like me and idiot sellers of wares keep you awake at night, check it out.

Copyright 2013 It Came From The Nerd Cave