Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Why Did They Name It eBay?

Maybe they expected their customers to be the kind who howl at the moon? Or perhaps it was an homage to "open the pod bay doors, Hal".

A couple of weeks ago I listed a telescope for sale on eBay, after it had failed to get any hits on Craig'sList. I wanted to sell it locally because it is an awkward thing to ship, thanks to it being long and fragile, having a heavy computer control arm and a tripod which doesn't quite fold flat and is longer than a standard shipping box.

eBay has made it almost impossible to make a local listing. It used to be easy, just poke the "will not ship" box. Now they have changed, and if you don't want to ship, they make it so you don't want to offer "buy it now" or PayPal payment. So I punted and listed it as "continental US only" and UPS ground shipping, with an estimate based on size & weight, which does not allow for packing expenses or the fragile item surcharge.

The auction listing had in big red letters that I preferred a local buyer, but some auctionoholic in upstate NY bid on it just as it was closing. There are a lot of these day trader types out there. He sent an instant payment using the bogus UPS estimate eBay computed for him. I sent him a refund, with a note that packing and shipping was going to be considerably higher than the $24 eBay quote, and to please wait for an invoice.

That was a week ago Monday. What with all my medical and job hunt doings, I didn't get to UPS for an estimate until today.

$93 to ship the fragile items across the country, $25 for packing. The auction price had been $200.

I just sent the fellow an invoice, with a note that if he thought spending more than half again as much on shipping was not reasonable (I certainly don't think it is) he can back out of the sale, no harm no foul. If he takes that option I'll start showing up at astronomical society events again and see if anyone there is interested.

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