Apparently, after SEVEN years of online selling on ebay (auctions, not a store), and 100% approval rating, I am-to borrow from the line in movie Animal House, “on double secret probation.” It seems ebay has flagged my PayPal account as a “risk” and puts a hold on my funds for up to 21 days in case of a dispute. Rage is the word that came to mind as I was attempting to transfer a measy $25 to my checking account, and saw the notice above my account history in PayPal. I went to the contact us page and clicked on a link-surprise-to “talk” to a robot with a woman’s name who “wishes she could be human” or some crap like that, but isn’t, so I made the mistake of trying to explain myself and “she” said I was being too complicated for a relationship with her as she is pre-programed to answer only questions that EBAY dreams up. If my question or problem has not been preprogramed for a canned response, the question or answer can not possible exist, so I do not exist in essence. I called the toll free number and spoke to a man (human) in a far-flung country who only could tell me-after I pointed out my feedback is steller-that “if I continue to receive positive feedback into the future my account will be reviewed in 35 days…blah, blah, blah.” If seven years isn’t enough to convince the robotrons running the place that I am worthly of my funds before some dispute that may occur into the distant future..I guess they are now clairvoyant robotrons.. then what is a small potatoes seller to do? I am relieved that my sole income does not come from ebay. I enjoy (or used to) selling small items at low cost at a good value. I ship fast, often the same day. This does not please the robotrons at ebay. I do not want to pay USPS extra for tracking numbers as I barely clear any profit as it is. I can not afford to print pre-printed labels offered either. UPS is no bargain as I tend to ship small light weight items. The buyer considers the cost of shipping in the purchase. Paying $12 extra to buy a pair of used, but cool, shoes on top of the auction, or Buy It Now price, does not sit so well with many a bargain shopper. Almost nothing I sell fits into those one-price boxes so popular with many a seller. I have 20 years plus in retail experience and deliver excellent customer service. Lately, all ebay wants from me is to rate every tiny transaction with a survey. I did get a call one day, from a live person telling me about new features-like the extra characters in the listing header. Somehow this was supposed to make me do cartwheels while on the phone. Never was I asked anything that was not a targeted question, then later I receive emails asking for more of my precious time, to rate the call (code for rate the PERSON-which I will not do), and these do not go away quietly. I do not go away quietly either. So this is my rant at the outrageous, arbitrary new rules to make ebay a better experience. Like the post office, ebay fails to remember there are other online options outthere in cyber selling space.
After a break in the 90 degree heat and rain, rain and more rain forecasts…partner in crime and I threw together a last-minute garage sale on day off-a Friday no less. With little advertising (signs and that free listing site) we managed to pull in $50 or so on odds and ends-no big ticket items left this go around. Goal was to clear closet/garage space, which we did. Some items that were left over that did not fit in our alloted space was donated to a small thrift store. A few items will be carted to sister’s sale in a different part of the city-so new sets of eyes. Our mid-summer cash went to 1) a tank of gas (just before it jumped by 15 cents) 2) a $5 buffet of Chinese, Italian, and salad bar dinner. The rest probably went for groceries. So we stretched our paychecks even more..and spent some cash in the neighborhood. Plus, the extra room in closet is welcome. Sunday we treated ourselves to the 7-11 free Slurpee or whatever those frozen drinks are called. They make us feel like a kid again…
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Why buy or sell at a yard sale? For me, it is in my DNA. Along with inheriting my mom’s hips, (thanks mom), love of big purses, and bad eyesite, I inherited her passion for bargain hunting. With a family of six, it was a great way for her to get out of the house, and shop while stretching her meager waitress wages and tips. Along with the bargains, such as a perfectly fine, wool Turkish rug for $5.00 (no, I did not talk seller down-that was the price marked and who am I to argue?), it is a study in humanity. I love to people watch and socialogy students and anthropology students could learn much about humans and their artifacts. As for the “stuff” you are pretty much going to run across these items: Sacks of Geographic magazines, Reader’s Digest books and magazines, copies of “You’re OK, I’m OK,” (probably now replaced with Dr. Phil books), yogurt makers ,(now being upseated by George Foreman grills or that Magic Bullet deal), or whatever seen-on-TV du jour gadget that is popular now. As for those attending, there are several characters that show up at my yard/garage sales without fail, or I spot them while making the rounds of sales. There is the guy in overalls who is out to strong arm elderly ladies out of their valuables, (usually gold jewelry, copper, etc.), the guy in plaid polyester pants looking for old watches and pocket knives, and the tool guy. Plus throw in the mix guys with trucks looking for scap metal to sell. Then there is the pack rat, whose car/van is packed already. The lady who buys it because it is a quarter and has no idea what she will do with it. The first guy is so invasive that whenever I start to look at a pile of jewelry, the owner will announce, “there’s no gold jewelry.” I assume most people by now are onto the gold is valuable train of thought, so there is no expectations there.Plus, the conversations are priceless. One senior man, sitting among his garage sale “treasures” of rusty tools, commented to his younger male relative that young people today spend like the world is going to end tomorrow. Younger man: “it could.” Other reasons is, no sales tax, it is a way to buy “green” by reusing what is already there, brand new items from pricey mall stores sit in wait for me to take home for a song. Even those who once turned their noses up at the prospect are hooked now. My husband finds practical items for the house that would otherwise be a no-fun but necessary expense hit on the budget. One vacation we had a rental car and even stopped at a yard sale. I could only fit a picture frame into carry-0n but hey, fun to window shop.