When Ebay Sellers Attack!

My friend Maureen is addicted to vintage magazines, particularly Ladies Home Journals from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.  As she is somewhat computer illiterate (not as much so as she used to be, but still kind of behind the times here), she doesn’t bid on Ebay.  She is a wizard at finding stuff she wants, however, so she gets others to do the actual nuts and bolts of buying.  I am her winged monkey, sent to do her Ebay bidding.  I got an email from Mo the other day, asking if I’d please bid on a lot of LHJ’s for her, so I did and I won.  I’ve done this many times and have always had the seller ship the magazines directly to Maureen in La Jolla rather than send them to my San Francisco address where I’d then have to re-mail them down to her.  It’s never been an issue or a problem.  Until last night when I went on PayPal to pay for the magazines.  For the first time in my Ebay bidding history, it would not let me use one of the alternate shipping addresses I have on file (Maureen’s being one of them, my work address the other).  Confirmed address only, which was my home address.  Fine, I paid for them and then sent a quick email off to the seller.  What follows is my correspondence with Bruce, aka ‘Kardkidd.’ 

In a message dated 7/24/2008 9:51:58 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Zhadi writes:

Hi, can you please ship these to;
address and last name withheld for privacy!)
These are a present for her!


His response: 
Paypal payments ship to confirmed addresses so that I am covered under the Paypal Seller Protection Policy.

In a message dated 7/24/2008 10:08:30 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Zhadi writes:
Is there any way around that?  I’m ending up paying for shipping twice.  I’ve had good feedback for about 10 years now… My billing address is the confirmed address.

His response:

Confirmed addresses only as stated in the description and explained in depth on the linked FAQ page. It is absolutely not negotiable.

In a message dated 7/24/2008 10:15:55 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Zhadi writes
Okay.  But as someone who was a seller for five years, I find this policy very unreasonable given my ebay history. You’re the first seller I’ve run into who has had this policy and it’s not an incentive to buy from you again

His response:
If you don’t like my policy then you shouldn’t have bid. Like I said, Paypal requires it for the protection of my business. My policy is the industry standard

In a message dated 7/25/2008 8:43:36 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Zhadi writes

I’ve never had a seller refuse to ship to an address requested before as long as they had my confirmed address for billing, so it never occurred to me there would be an issue.  I realize Paypal has that policy for the sellers’ protection, but it’s also discretionary.   It also wouldn’t hurt for your responses to be less abrupt – it’s very much like dealing with an outsourced help line based in India or thereabouts. A friendly personality goes a long way even when the response is not what the person wants to hear.

Regardless, yes, I bid on the magazines and will deal with the second shipping after I receive them.

His response:

My policies are simple. If you don’t like them you should have moved on. You didn’t get your way and now you are whining. I don’t want your business and if you want to cancel the transaction I’d be happy too. I don’t want to do any kind of business with arrogant rude people like you. 

And my last response:

If these magazines were for myself, I would cancel the transaction, but they’re for a friend who would be very disappointed, so I’d rather you ship the magazines and continue the transaction.  I was not trying to be rude or arrogant by asking you for some flexibility in your policies, but I stand by the friendly personality observation.  I am, however, sorry this became contentious.  My whiny tone is much shriller, btw. 

Now I don’t blame Bruce for wanting to stick to his policy; Ebay instituted a new rule where sellers can’t leave negative feedback for buyers and he might have been burned in the past.  However, I meant what I said about inserting a little friendly personality into his emails.   Granted, my third email, written last night when I was tired, was not as polite as I normally try to be, but I was reacting to his unnecessarily brusque and borderline rude responses to my first two emails. Reading the second one was like a written slap in the face.  Would a little friendly courtesy have pained him that much?  Sadly, taking the extra minute to instill some personality into transactions seems to be becoming a lost art.  Like cell phone rudeness and the sheer nastiness exhibited in the comment sections of articles online, this indifference to social niceties seems to be an increasing part of our culture.  

Ah well, I’m whiny, arrogant and rude, so what the heck do I know?  

This is, btw, my first negative Ebay experience as a buyer and I’ve only had one bad experience as a seller (bounced check).  Guess that’s a pretty damn good record over a decade plus of buying and selling. 

I have not had a response to my last email, so I have no idea if he’s going to ship the magazines or not.  If he does and they’re in good condition, I don’t intend to flame him with lousy feedback.  I think in this case I’ll stick to the ‘if you can’t say anything nice’ policy.  And if he returns my payment and doesn’t ship them, he’ll be out a sale and I’ll look elsewhere for Maureen’s latest fix in her addiction. 


I actually have several book reviews in progress, but haven’t had the time to sit down and flesh them out (and make sure I have things right, like the characters’ names or the spelling of the author’s name, little details like that!) as I’ve been busily working on an outline/synopsis for a novel.  I’ve had a story accepted for publication and the editor wants me to expand said story into a novel, hence the outline.  I suck at outlining, so it was a bit of a trauma getting it written.  Outlines have always made me feel hemmed in creatively and I either have a huge block towards them or lack the ability to plot without starting at chapter one and laboriously following my characters through the story.  Either way, I did get a short and VERY basic outline finished and sent off.  Yay me!

 What, you ask, does this have to do with gelato?  I just finished a cup of dark chocolate and Tahitian vanilla bean goodness before writing this post.  It was on my mind, doncha know.   And OH so very very very decadent and yummy…  For those of you not in the know, I will quote from the Caffe Gelato website here: 

Gelato is Italy’s version of ice cream, with three major differences.

First, gelato has significantly less butterfat than ice cream’s typical 18 and 26 percent. Tests conducted by Delaware’s Department of Agriculture confirmed Caffé Gelato’s vanilla and chocolate gelato both have less than 10 percent butterfat.

However, less fat does not mean less taste. With the lower butterfat content, gelato is less solidly frozen than ice cream and melts in the mouth faster.Therefore, the customer will taste gelato’s full flavor immediately.



Second, gelato has a much higher density than ice cream. Ice cream is produced by mixing cream, milk and sugar, then adding air. Manufacturers add air to ice cream because it nearly doubles the quantity of their product. But, it cuts their quality in half. No air is added to gelato. The result is a higher quality dessert with a richer, creamier taste.

Third, gelato is served slightly warmer than ice cream. While both gelato and ice cream are served well below the freezing temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, gelato is served 10 to 15 degrees warmer than ice cream. Because it is less solidly frozen, gelato’s taste is further enhanced as it melts in the mouth.

I will be reviewing a book this weekend,  as well as posting on Fatal Foodies.  Do check out that blog (there are five of us currently posting each week) if you’re into mysteries and food!  Or just food.  It’s a very droolable read! 

Murder in Miniature – Book Review

Several days behind, but still determined to do my one review a week (or am I now a week behind?…never mind), here I am with my review of Margaret Grace’s new mystery, MURDER IN MINIATURE.  For those of you not in the know, Margaret Grace is the pen name of Camille Minichino, well known for her popular Periodic Table mysteries featuring witty physicist Gloria Lamerino.  I’ve been lucky to meet Camille/Margaret through Sisters in Crime and, like the other writers I’ve met recently, she’s as witty and fun in person as she is as a writer.

Murder in Miniature is the first entry in Margaret’s new Miniature Mystery series, featuring recently widowed Geraldine Porter,  retired and now able to devote her time to her favorite craft, building miniatures.  Gerry is juggling chairing the local Dollhouse and Miniature fair while babysitting her precocious granddaughter when a troubled friend and fellow miniaturist goes missing.  Murder quickly follows and Gerry is drawn into the thick of things against her own better judgment, not to mention that of her nephew Skip, who just happens to be on the local police force.

And that’s all the plot you’re getting from me ’cause I don’t want any spoilers here!

Gerry is a likable heroine.  Her grief at the loss of her husband, protectiveness towards her granddaughter, and desire to be a good friend, whether or not some of her friends deserve her loyalty, give her a core of believable vulnerability.  The character of the granddaughter is precocious without being irritating; she just happens to be smarter than most kids her age and yet still easily bribable with pizza and ice cream.  The cast of suspects gives the reader plenty of possible perps to choose from and you’re kept guessing through most of the book.

My favorite parts, though, were the loving and detailed description of the miniature construction, from how to make DVDs and books for a miniature library to using the little white ‘tables’ in delivery pizzas as the inspiration for an Italian restaurant miniature.  Grace gives the reader an insight into the mind of a miniaturist and how every day items (‘found’ items) are seen for their potential and given new life.  Absolutely fascinating stuff and guaranteed to make readers think twice before throwing anything away!

Plague & Pestilence

That’s me!  In the last month I have had a two week long bladder infection; two bouts of food poisoning (or a 24 hour stomach flu that took a 2 day intermission before resuming the show); and now I have a cold.  This cold, not even a slight tickle in my throat this morning, manifested around 11:00 with a slight cough, then turned into full on faucet sinuses within the space of two hours.  What’s next, ebola?

Speaking of pestilence, is this not the cutest little kitten you’ve seen all week?  Okay, all kittens are cute, but little Goblin/Bugbear/Grizzly/The Piranha is MY kitten…so he’s especially cute.  Taz has adopted him as her personal chew toy and cuddle monkey.  I think he

helps fill the Haggis shaped whole in HER heart too. ..Goblin

Book Review – August Moon by Jess Lourey

Oookay.  As stated in my last post, I’m going to start writing book reviews once a week, focusing mainly on books by authors I’ve met through Sisters in Crime or other networking.  So far they’ve been without exception a wonderful and supportive group of people, so why wouldn’t I want to promote their books? 

I’m only reviewing books I enjoyed because I’ve outgrown the need to show how clever I am by taking potshots at bad writing. 

Okay, MOSTLY outgrown the need.  Bad zombie novels still tempt me, as do movies like BATTLEFIELD EARTH.   They’re so bad it’s just fun to talk about ’em.  But that’s different.  The books I’ve been reading the last few months are all by people I like and respect.  Luckily I haven’t read a bad one yet; if I do, you won’t hear about it. 

Because I really want to get going on my weekly review posts, I’m cheating this time and using a review I wrote for another blog, Mysterious Musings (go there and visit – she has fun posts, reviews AND cute cat pictures!) when Jess Loureyand I were on our virtual book tour in May.  I hope Julia will forgive my plagiarizing myself, but….it’s already written and I have a Fifth of July party to shop for!  Besides, Jess’s book is so good it deserves all the publicity it can get! 

I read a lot of books. I read before going to sleep, in the bathroom (you all do it, come on, admit it!), on the Muni and while I’m walking. Seriously. I’ve perfected the art of reading while walking without a: tripping, b: bumping into fellow pedestrians or other obstacles, or c: getting hit by cars. I read quickly too, so I go through at least five books in a week. Very rarely, however, do I read books that make me laugh out loud, especially in public. AUGUST MOON, the fourth in Jess Lourey’s Murder by the Month series, is one of those rare books that did just that. We’re talking the kind of laugh accompanied by a snort. You know. The kind of involuntary snorting that increases in frequency with age. Luckily the embarrassment factor decreases with each passing birthday. Good thing ’cause I was snorting up a storm while reading AUGUST MOON on a recent plane trip. The people in my row no doubt thought they were sitting next to some strange hybrid of woman and warthog.

Seriously, though, AUGUST MOON is just plain funny. It’s also a cracking good mystery with a well thought out plot, plenty of suspense and a bountiful selection of suspects and assorted eccentric characters adding to the mix. To shamelessly quote the back cover of AUGUST MOON here: Our sassy young heroine suffers more than just unrequited lust during a Minnesota scorcher of a summer in this fourth Murder-by-Month mystery. A dead cheerleader and various oddball fanatics are uncovered in the small town of Battle Lake, “where the women are churchgoers, the men like to hunt, and the body count is above average.”

At the beginning of AUGUST MOON Mira James, sassy young heroine in question, is stood up by a Brad Pitt-esque gardening expert, thus motivating her to give notice at her job as Battle Lake’s librarian and move back to Minneapolis. Before she can put her plan in effect, however, petty theft and the death of a cheerleader draws Mira into the investigation of newcomer Pastor Meales and his evangelical bible camp. To add to the confusion, Mira’s replacement at the Battle Lake library is a member of Pastor Meales’ congregation, a mysterious, cape-wearing wood tick expert arrives in town and another cheerleader goes missing.

Mira’s work is cut out for her as she juggles the logistics of solving the various mysteries, meeting deadlines for her other job as (reporter) writer for the local newspaper, and attending a Creationist science fair at Christ’s Church of the Apocryphal Revelation (think Jesus Camp).

The science fair brought on the major snortfest. Such exhibits as “My Great Great Grandpa Was a Christian, Not a Monkey,” “Biology Proves Women Designed for Housework,” and (my favorite) “Thermodynamic Readouts Confirm Satan Is More Active Than Ever” had me laughing out loud. There really are religious groups who promote these nutso theories, which is both funny and kinda scary. To quote Homer (Simpson, not the Greek epic poet), “It’s funny ’cause it’s true!”

And that pretty much sums up what I love best about Jess Lourey’s writing: her characters, even the over-the-top eccentrics, all have a core of believability that allow the reader to lose themselves in the story. The plot is woven together carefully, but never feels contrived or forced, and Mira is a flawed (and therefore believable) yet extremely likeable heroine. I’m looking forward to a full year’s worth of murder, mayhem and Mira! August Moon