davidd (davidd) wrote,
davidd
davidd

eBay Boycott

As I've mentioned before, for those of you who haven't noticed on your own, I'm often basically kind of a jerk, and a pretentious jerk at that. The articles I've been reading about this week's eBay boycott leave me feeling like going on yet another of my pretentious jerk rants.

As a "flea market" seller of the type eBay is trying to shed, I am participating in the boycott. Basically, it costs too much for me to sell "little junk" on eBay anymore anyway. Besides, I've been getting pretty sick of STOOPID people who think buying an old, used item is the same as buying something brand spankin' new at Wal-Mart; who gripe about shipping costs after the sale (and compared to most sellers on eBay, my shipping charges are cheap - in fact, I often end up losing money on shipping); and who DON'T FREAKING READ THE DESCRIPTION and demand a "price adjustment" after receiving the item.

I've never, NEVER, had a customer who complained take me up on my standard offer, after I receive a complaint, to return the item for a full refund, including shipping fees, plus their fees for returning the item. Invariably the complainer responds with, "I'll keep the item, but you should refund part of my money." How many times have I wished it were possible to deliver live hand grenades via email!

My ONE negative feedback came from an idiot who complained about an issue that was clearly stated in the item description. Long, thorough, accurate, honest item descriptions and clear item photos are a waste of time on eBay. Buyers don't read the descriptions, and similar items with blurry, tiny photos often sell for more money.

Due to frustration with sellers and the hassle of slowly rising eBay fees and quickly rising postal fees, I haven't been particularly active on eBay lately anyway. I kept planning to liquidate the cluttery contents of The Room of Doom, but I just haven't been motivated to write up all the descriptions and take all the photos. The latest eBay fee and policy changes essentially make it pointless for a low-end yard sale seller like me to post items. High postage costs further erode the feasibility of posting low-end items.

This is a round-about way of explaining that while I'm participating in the "eBay boycott," I was kind of heading in that direction anyway. The eBay changes are a bit of a disappointment and inconvenience for me, but hardly life-altering or world-shattering.

Here's where the pretentious jerk comes to the fore.

Perhaps I should be more sensitive to eBay sellers who feel the changes will significantly impact them financially, but I have a hard time giving a rip about these morons when they can't freaking spell! I swear, the people ranting against eBay on the various news sites are the very definition of hillbilly trailer trash. Their grammar is atrocious, they can neither spell nor punctuate a sentence, and they seem to think that having a passel of kids somehow makes them special. How these people function on a daily basis, let alone sell on eBay, is beyond me. How can someone who can't type three properly spelled words in a row maintain a 100% feedback rating on eBay? I guess my problem is over-thinking my listings, and going back to edit typographical errors and mis-placed commas. eBay is not a place for people sensitive to the misuse of apostrophes. I mean, apostrophe's.

Reading through the comments at various news sites covering the eBay boycott, I invariably come away thinking, "you deserve it, you morons!" These thoughts are directed toward the whiny sellers, not toward the mega-corporation.

eBay is a business, a multi-billion dollar business. If they think they can become an even bigger business, which they probably can, by courting their high-producing sellers at the expense of the penny-ante operators, well, they can try whatever they want. It's their company. If I don't like the way they choose to do business, I don't have to patronize their services. End of story.

It irritates me to read the whining about the loss of "a sense of community." Get real, people! eBay is a retail business, not a social networking site. If you want a "community," go join FaceBook. (Unlike eBay, FaceBook needs you: their numbers dropped by 5% in the last month!) I can't stand to read another tear-jerker post from a disabled person on a fixed income who depends on eBay sales to pay for medication. I want to put my fist through the computer monitor and smack the people who end each comment with (in all caps, natch), "GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!!!" And somehow I can NOT take comments seriously from people who include YouTube links to videos of their kids. What the h#ll do your snotty-nosed toddlers have to do with boycotting eBay?

People who think the loss of a few hundred, or a few thousand, or even tens of thousands of nickel-dime-dollar dealers will impact eBay in the slightest have no sense of scale. We're talking seven billion dollars in annual revenue, people, with double-digit growth as eBay becomes more accessible to overseas markets! eBay recently absorbed Yahoo-Japan. Are they really gonna even notice losing that fifteen-cent listing fee from somebody selling crocheted baby bonnets or rusty Tonka trucks?

eBay management has stated their goal is to rival Amazon as an on-line retailer. Perhaps this is a response to Amazon edging into eBay turf, as Amazon now allows individuals to set up Amazon.com stores. Rather more likely, I suspect eBay sees Amazon raking in pallets of cash without the need for molly-coddling a mewling horde of half-literate boot fair pikeys. As far as offering an option for disgruntled eBay sellers, Amazon is really only viable for sellers dealing in quantities of new merchandise. Salt & pepper shaker collections, used camera equipment, or "this thing I got at a yard sale, dunno what it is, but somebody might want it on eBay" don't really have a place on Amazon, nor, anymore, on eBay. It's all about large-scale discounters of new goods: razor blades, cell phone batteries, and "grey-market" electronics.

I dunno where people with pretzels resembling The Blessed Virgin are gonna market their wares.

I'm looking into some of the eBay alternatives. eBay has really honed their user interface over the years, making it easy to use and providing an attractive, easy-to-view layout for listings. The entire buying and selling process, with PayPal integration, is smooth. It will be difficult to give that up. Most of the sites I've looked at are pretty rinky-dink by comparison, and setting up a payment method will be, comparatively at least, a chore. Still, if I want to sell the rest of my junk, I need an outlet with a more manageable fee structure, and more importantly, where I can be sure my items will receive equal priority in product searches. The "tiered approach" to search results favoring Power Sellers and large-volume vendors is the primary reason I am leaving eBay.

eBay no longer works well for me. Too bad, so sad. The boycott is one way to show my displeasure. Finding another venue for my goods is a possible "pro-active" response.

I believe it is important for people to voice their opinions on the issue on various discussion boards and forums. I just think -- my personal opinion, which is worth next to nothing -- that a significant number of the "pro-boycott" people hurt the cause more than help it by coming across as podunk yahoos as they ramble on about their health ailments and their developmentally disabled children (can you say "inbred") and claiming that the increase in eBay fees may cause them to lose their homes. Cry me a river, okay? And then go get a job!

That wraps up another installment of callous, ill-informed, pretentious jerk rantage.

[Brief addendum: what may well turn out to be my last eBay sale was a Pinky Street figure sent to a woman named Mlle C. Beaulieu in Limousin, France. Not a bad note on which to bid adieu to eBay.]
Tags: ebay boycott
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