Wednesday, January 4, 2012

poor little thing...

I love me some eBay.

There is something about the online chase for the perfect item gets me all excited. I have been known to set my alarm so I can wake to bid at the very last moment. There's no need in driving up the price hours before the auction close or to allow my fellow bidders to outbid me whilst I sleep. Nah…I’ll just wake, hit the 1-click bid button a few times and Viola! , I’ve now got me a North Face for $100 less than I could buy it at Dick’s Sporting goods.

Oh yeah.
I’m that savvy.

I also sell quite a bit of stuff on eBay as well.

It’s like an online garage sale without the people trying to steal your items when you back is turned or offering you ¾ less than what you have it priced for. For instance, at a recent garage sale I had a picnic basket, never used with all the plates, silverware and wine glasses inside staged out on the lawn waiting for the right buyer. It was really quite nice, but a gift that I never used. I had priced it at $50 which was quite the bargain since it was about $150 less than the sticker price.

“Will you take $10 for that basket?” one of the people browsing my wares asked.
“No, thanks so much. But no.” I responded. (I’m WAY to polite, trust me.)
“15 dollar. That’s a good price! I’ll take it for 15 dollar.”
“No, really, thank you…but I’ll just keep it then.”
“You’re crazy! Why you not take $15! That’s a good price! Last offer!”, she persisted.
“ Again, thank you for your offer but the answer is no. It's actually a GREAT price at $50.”  I tried to explain. Her look of exhasperation with me showed. I gathered up the basket and put it on my back porch. I figured that she just might help herself to it when I was talking to someone else.

The next day I listed it on eBay.

Guess how much I got for it?
C'mon, guess!

Yeah, diggity! The bidding went up to $108! 15 dollars…bah. Shame on her. I bet if I'd have let her have it it would be her that would be collecting $100 right now.

For the most part the buyers on eBay are delightful. They’ll send me messages “I love Love LOVE this sweater! THANK YOU!” or “You’re the best seller EVER on eBay!”. It’s these messages that keep me listing.

Oh sure, there have a been a few that were so horrible that I thought I might never get on eBay again. Some that get my blood boiling to a point with the incredulousness of their antics that I can hear my heart beating in my ears and my fingers shaking.

There was the lady that insisted she get her money back that she never received her shoes. She even opened a case against me on eBay. Ummm, yeah right. Delivery confirmation shows they were delivered on your doorstep at 1:01pm September 24th. Don’t mess with me, ma'am…I’ll take you down.

I love delivery confirmation.
It’s saved me a few times. I would never, ever, send anything without it.

I’ve sold everything from lots of old gold jewelry for melt to a hard top for a convertible. From snow tires used one season to antique silverware. From an armoire to an old American flag with only 15 stars on it. If I own it, and I’m not using it, and I see no future for my using it…then it goes on ebay.

In my basement I have 3 bins at the base of the stairs. One is for Goodwill, or Easter Seals, or the veterans…whoever calls me first when the bin is full gets it. The second bin is for the summer garage sale. And the third bin is for eBay. All those goodies, like the picnic basket, that would sell better online than in my yard.

A recent sales transaction I had made my mind wander and think of a story. I had shipped a box to Texas. She asked if I had sent it yet, which I then traced and it said that it was ‘undeliverable’ . Undeliverable? What did that mean? I suggested that she go to her local postoffice and inquiry. The only time I had seen that before was when a woman kept leaving her dog out on the front porch so the carrier wouldn’t approach due to fear of being bitten. He marked it ‘undeliverable’ because in his mind, it was.

I waited a few days to see if it would be returned to me or if it indeed would show up on her doorstep. Nothing. A few more and it was returned to me. Box smashed, my name still on it, but the delivery address ripped off.

I took it up to show my postmaster. They said that I could re-ship it, but I’d have to pay for the shipping again. I pleaded my case that by looking at the shipping itinerary it HAD reached it destination in Austin only to have the label damadged there so they didn’t have a full address. (however, but scanning the bar code all that information is available to them…duh) So someone down there stamped it undeliverable and sent it back to Ohio. The manager at the post agreed with me and sent it again, on it's way at no extra charge.

But what happened to that box?

Obviously a sorter somewhere crushed it. Or someone sat on it. Or someone used it to stand on to reach something else..I mean, it was crushed! Do all packages get handled with such disregard? If this box could talk, what would it tell me…?

I began to wonder about this poor boxes journey. What happened to it from the time that I carefully packaged what was inside, wrapped in bubble wrap and tissue and tied with a ribbon and note. What happened to this poor little box in it’s travels to Texas? AND on it’s return?

As I stood there and looked at this box, willing it speak to me…by God, it did.

It told me of the abuse it suffered at the hands of a angry postal employee, it told me of the pain it endured from the massive sorting machine and how the figurine inside was so grateful for the little box trying it’s hardest to protect its charge.

It was a sad story.
It was an enlightening story.
It was a heartwarming story.

Complete with a happy ending with the little box making it to its destination and its contents all delivered in one piece. I daydreamed as I saw a short animated film play in my head with the voices of other boxes crying out to this one to ‘watch out!” The Priority Mail eagle stamp on the side coming to life and helping navigate it’s way safely through on the conveyer belts.

I looked at it and smiled and pondered for one more moment…and then I sealed it back up with heavier packing tape and affixed a new label.

“Good little box.” I said to it as I patted its sides. “You are a very, very good little box.”

The postmaster gave me a bit of a quizical look as I stroked the boxes side as I handed it over the counter to him. "It's been through a lot already. Just giving it some encouragement." I awkwardly replied.

He just smiled at me. Tilted his head a bit as he observed the odd behaviour of his patron. "It'll be ust fine ma'am."

It was then that I realized I hadn't quite let go....

Oh…and yes. Indeed it WAS a happy ending. It got there the second time and the new owner was very pleased with her purchase. Funny thing is she sent me a note that read, “Geez…that poor little box must have been through a lot! I kind of felt sad for it.”