Zhadi's Den

Random essays on wine, writing, moving to San Francisco, surfing, cats (exotic and otherwise) and zombies...depending on my mood.

Friday, July 25, 2008

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!Thanks!

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.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008


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! And don't forget my new blog is here! Still trying to make that switch...

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Murder in Miniature - Book Review

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!

(Remember to check out my new blog 'cause I'm trying to switch over!!)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Plague and 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

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Fatal Foodies!

Hey, all! Please check out my post on Fatal Foodies!

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