Friday, April 27, 2007

An Object (ionable) Ebay Lesson: Identifying Deadbeats

Recently, I sold an item on eBay. The buyer purchased with "Buy It Now" which indicates a willingness to pay a higher price to get the item rather than waiting for the auction to expire, and risking loss.

This particular buyer did not pay, even though eBay, via PayPal, offers an easy means for immediate payment. In other words, "buy it now, pay for it now." The buyer did not avail himself of this option, so I sent an automated bill, requesting payment.

No response.

After three more days without any contact, I sent a follow-up email, again requesting payment in more strident terms, threatening the buyer with negative feedback and suggesting that he was "human trash." Well, maybe that was a bit harsh, but I've dealt with plenty of what ebay calls "non-paying bidders" and what I call "deadbeats."

Nine days after the "buy it now" incident, the "buyer" decided to contact me with the following email.

I had a major computer crash which accounts for my delay. You only sent two emails, so how much distress could it have caused you? But since you called me "human trash" I will also be notifying ebay. Do what you want with your [item] but I will not do business with you.

Allow me to dissect this too little, too late conveyance. Hopefully, it will serve as a guide to identifying when you're dealing with a bone fide deadbeat.

First, notice that there is no salutation. As deadbeats go, this is a tell-tale giveaway. The individual is too lazy to even begin the message properly. "Sir" or "Hello" or even my name (he has it) would have been sufficient. No salutation = deadbeat saying, "yo."

I had a major computer crash... - The classic deadbeat excuse. Everybody has computer crashes at the most opportune moments, like when they're supposed to pay for something they want, but evidently cannot afford.

You only sent two emails, so how much distress could it have caused you? - Deflecting the blame and minimizing the issue is another deadbeat dodge.

...since you called me "human trash" I will also be notifying ebay. - this is a twofer. The deadbeat expresses pique at being insulted and then the time-honored deadbeat tradition of the threat, as though anybody at eBay will object to having called him "human trash." They'll want to know why he hasn't paid, and calmly explain to him that being upset at the seller doesn't relieve him of his contractual obligation. It's likely that deadbeats know this, but they try to weasel out nevertheless.

...I will not do business with you. - Once again, the deadbeat relies upon the well-worn canard of moral indignation, refusing to pay because, somehow, my expectation of such failed to take into account his personal misfortune.

Finally, note that the deadbeat never drops his/her name. They thrive on anonymity, so an email with no name attached is expected behavior. Unbeknownst to the deadbeat, eBay sends the buyer's full name and address when the item is purchased. Sadly, deadbeats are generally not very bright.

Dealing with deadbeats is never fun nor easy, but hopefully this concise guide will save you some of the trouble and help identify when you are dealing with one.

I also have the perfect response to emails such as these. Very simple and to the point and only two words (of course, you've already begun the process of recouping your eBay fees, added the deadbeat-in-question to your blocked bidder list and plan on leaving negative feedback at a later date, ideally at the very last minute so as to avoid the retaliatory negative.).

The proper response is: "Thank you." It will leave them wondering forever.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Save the Environment - and Money - by Working From Home

Imagine the amount of gas that would be saved in America if half the population worked from their homes and didn't have to drive to work every day.

Better yet, we'd probably save the planet from Global Warming, as auto emissions are one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. I've been doing my part for the past 7 years, working from right here in my spare room and I just thought I'd figure the money savings since I don't have any way to accurately calculate the environmental impact.

If I were to drive 20 miles each way, that would amount to roughly 2 gallons of gas per day, because my car is not very fuel efficient. At 200 days per year X 7 years, that's 1400 days of driving. If gas averaged $2.50 per gallon and I would have used 2 gallons a day, I've saved $7000, or $1000 a year.

That's a lot of money! Think I'll go for a celebratory joyride!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Elitism, Ignorance and Anna Nicole Smith

Elitists are people who think they are better than the rest of the population. In some cases, they have a valid point of argument. The world has more than its fair share of half-wits, morons, slackers, fools and sloths. The general public is usually so woefully misinformed and concerned only about their own small circle of life as to render them sub-beings to the enlightened crowd.

A case in point can be made over the recent hysteria over the life and death of one Anna Nicole Smith. Here is an utterly unremarkable woman - aside from her famous pair of surgically-enhanced breast - who through good looks, good luck and the good graces of one rich old man and many drooling, slack-jawed adult males, rose to abhorrent heights of fame and wealth.

The recent hysteria and American media love affair with all things Anna Nicole has, thankfully, subsided. The woman was of little talent, having never made a feature film worth remembering, her most notable contribution to culture being the short run of her annoying, sub-par cable TV reality show. That America would go ga-ga over her upon her death - apparently a self-inflicted drug overdose - is testament to the elitist credo that yes, much of the population is beneath them in matters of taste, sensibility, credibility and intellect.

It's difficult to justify fixation upon a promiscuous, overweight, stupid, drug-addicted woman who's now more than a month dead and depreciating, yet there it is, in all its ignorant, wasteful, indulgent splendor for the elitist to ridicule.

What's even worse and more contemptible is the misconception by some - arguably from the bottom of the gene pool - who think that artifacts of Anna Nicole Smith's life are somehow valuable.

Over the past few weeks the value of magazines and videos featuring the buxom blonde have roller-coastered like a bad dotcom stock IPO. The initial reaction was positive and values skyrocketed until the realization came to the misinformed minions buying back issues and nudie videos that there was a massive oversupply of images featuring Anna Nicole's bounteous breasts, and the prices came crashing down.

The Anna Nicole saga, the posthumous celebration and capitalization are only the latest reminders that the vast majority of the public at-large can still be led like so many nose-ringed cattle. The elitists are tugging and prodding. Come along now...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Baseball Blog

If Baseball's your thing, you owe it to yourself to make a daily trip around the bases of my mew baseball blog, Baseball On Deck.

Every morning, I scan the boxscores for you and pick out the peak performers and fabulous flops from the games of the previous night. There's also inside scoops - I'm MLB registered press - on player news, trades and overnight action, plus great photos of the top players.

The season's just begun, so you haven't missed much yet, and the big bats are just getting heated up for the long, long season, so check out Baseball On Deck for insight and analysis of the great game.