Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Disposables: eBay

Ebay is one of those reasons the Internet can be considered an amazing revolution. By eliminating the middle man you are allowing for people all over the world to interact in exchange of goods which they no longer want, but realize others might still have use for. In this way, not only are you saving large volumes of product from a landfill, but you are empowering people to find solutions outside of the "Big Box" stores. Secondly, you are forced to trust the goodness in others and see that most of the population are good, upstanding, positive people who do not wish to merely "make a buck" or take advantage of another person.

With so much negative press and "fear mongering" in the media, it becomes easy to always assume the worst. Equally problematic is when one begins to assume the worst, their good intentions of self preservation begin to landslide into not helping others for fear of negative consequences. This can cause a complete breakdown in the positive help which a community is supposed to provide. Small areas of reasonably safeguarded trust, such as eBay or Etsy, help to restore this idea that if you trust another (and they trust you) a mutually beneficial relationship can blossom and community can be built.

However, many such handlings can go awry. As wonderful as the concept of trusting the good nature within each person is, some people have questionable intentions or a downright deceitful attitude. Sometimes, things just don't go as planned regardless of either person. As such, the buyer does need to beware and the consequences measured. In the "Seller Info" box you will find a number next to the seller's name. This number indicates how many items they have sold before. You preferably want someone who has done this over 100 times. This means they aren't new to the workings of eBay, to packaging and mailing things, to organizing money and items. Secondly, their feedback rating should be in the 90% or above range. Feedback is listed directly under the name of the seller. After every item is purchased people have the ability to give positive, negative, or neutral feedback along with written comments. This is a wonderful added checks and balances system for eBay. By clicking on the number if items the person has sold, you can see the feedback from other purchasers and gauge whether to trust the seller.

Completely Random Seller. Photo Courtesy of Google Images.

Buyer consciousness was once again reinforced and relearned by me with the debacle of my sewing machine. Oh wonderful Ebay, all looked good. However, if being completely honest with myself, I was being cheap. Rather than spend a large sum of money on a sewing machine which I would never have to replace and would suit all our family's needs for many years to come, I chose to go with a very scaled down model. Still a good machine, but definitely not the top of the line. I don't know why I did this. It was very much the kind of decision my father would have made. If it is one major lesson I have learned with Jules and our house is that you save your money to do it right the first time. Pressure canner, Kitchen Aide mixer, our safe, our firearms, all of it. You do it right from the beginning and don't need to do it again. For some reason I had momentarily forgotten this in an attempt to save money and I caused much more hassle.

Needless to say, the sewing machine I purchased a couple of weeks ago on eBay didn't go as planned. First it just plain didn't come. We waited. Jules checked when we purchased it. I stopped being ansy, yet couldn't shake a feeling things weren't right. More than two weeks later a mangled box appeared outside on the doorstep. The sewing machine.

Now, I assumed an item which cost $100 would be adequately packaged. Afterall, the Pyrex which I have purchased has all been far less money than that and packed beautifully! Moreover, this sewing machine is renown for being steel bodied, sturdy, and remarkably strong. But, when opened, it was broken. One of the main supports was snapped to the point of the machine now wobbling and unable to be used. There was virtually no packaging in the box whatsoever. Major Bummer!

The goodness of others prevailed, however. The seller was notified by Jules and refunded our money. Whew! Refund in hand, I decided to stop being cheap and just buy a good machine. Not a low end, really nice, no upgrade necessary, top of the line machine. It cost well over four times as much, but my Bernina 910 is coming in the mail. This time we went with a seller who knows what they are doing, who has had the machine professionally serviced by Bernina, who has a 100% positive feedback and has sold over 5 thousand items, who (in short) relatively assures us a good result.

I will never speak to the person who owned this machine before me. She will never know my son or Jules, but she will have provided them with clothes and quilts for many years to come. It is a rather odd concept to consider how much help a perfect stranger can provide, but what better definitions is there of community?

Say Hello to our family's newest member...

I think I shall name her Gertrude.

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