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Smell? What smell?

Smell? What smell?

     I received some good feedback (get it?) on my eBay rant last week.  Well lucky me, I’m back with another. But before I get fired up here, let me note that I learned, after penning that last post, that sellers on eBay apparently can’t leave negative feedback for us buyers. So I need not have feared retaliation had I dropped a zinger on Mr. “Like New (Except for the Crusty Layer of Stickiness & Hair) Superman Sign.” Makes sense I guess. You got my money. What are you gonna complain about?

     In an effort to rebuild my game collection…especially before the two year time limit on our insurance claim runs out, I stumbled upon a guy (let’s call him “PeePee17”) selling a ton of AD&D stuff on eBay.  Everything in the photos looked good (except for the faux-Navajo garage sale blanket he used as a backdrop) and he described the stuff as “like new.” So I bid on about seven Ravenloft supplements and whatdoyaknow, I won them all. Like I said, “Lucky me.”

     He combines shipping (nice) and ships the books quickly, so I’m feeling good about things.  the “box” arrives yesterday.  I put box in quotes because it wasn’t one.  It was a chunk of cardboard that he wrapped around the books then mummified in clear packing tape.

     OK, the books look fine…no harm, no foul.  Did I say “foul?” Because as I rip open the package, the lovely aroma of wet ashtray pimp slaps me upside the head. I may have mentioned this happened to me about a year ago when I bought a lot of Amazing Figure Modeller magazines off eBay.

     I sniff each of my new books individually and sure enough, ash tray, ash tray, and even more ash tray.  Look, I’m not one of those people who freaks out when I happen to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke.  I was in the Army and practically every roommate I ever had smoked like a chimney. My first real girlfriend smoked menthol Capris like they were going to stop making them.  It doesn’t necessarily bother me.  EXCEPT when the stench is locked into a book.  Within 2 minutes, the Nerd Cave smelled like Paulie Walnuts’ morning breath. Freaking really?

     I moved the books to the workshop at which point my son inquired, “Do you really want them stinking it up in there, Dad?”  Good point.  So now they’re locked in a plastic bin with some baking soda and a few charcoal briquettes.  Because that’s what Google says to do.  But I know from experience that all the baking soda and lavender dryer sheets in the world won’t get that smell out.

     So again, more First World Problems vis-a-vis eBay.  Do I e-mail PeePee17 and complain?  To what end?  All he can say is “send em back.” Which I might still do.  But dang, if I didn’t want the books, I wouldn’t have bid on them.   I guess if he was smart, he’d offer me a 50% refund for the time & hassle it’s going to cost me, not to mention the price of baking soda. Or, I could do what the eBay feedback system is designed for, and leave him either neutral or negative feedback.  He can complain that I never offered him a chance to make it right.  But why should I?  He didn’t mention that his entire home apparently smells like a third world hookah den.  And I checked.  Nope. No mention of “BTW, my stuff reeks like &%$!.”

     I looked around on various eBay forums and a bunch of people who’ve gotten the same nasty surprise I did are being told, “Well, if you didn’t specifically ask before bidding, it’s on you…” Do what?!  So now I’m supposed to imagine every possible aromatic scenario in the home of every eBay seller from B.F.E. to Timbuktu whom I patronize and inquire before I place a bid? What does that look like?  “Yes, so sorry to be a bother, but does your home, and by aromatic osmosis, your for-sale-item happen to smell like:

A) Smoke
B) Animal urine
C) Animal excrement
D) Sauerkraut
E) Feet
F) All of the above
G) None of the above
H) Other (please specify the nature of your nastiness)_________________________”

     As ridiculous as that sounds, there are folks out there who would blame me for not asking PeePee17 if he’s a smoker.  I’m going to have to sleep on this one.  PeePee is a relatively new seller, so a negative feedback from me is going to murder his rating but I kinda think he deserves it.

     Bigger picture, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just stick to eBay sellers with a brick & mortar presence, like Noble Knight Games, my favorite game seller on the planet. That way I don’t have to worry about sellers like PeePee17.

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