Friday, December 18, 2020

We Are Not Amazon and Living Up To Unreasonable Expectations

I have a lot of collectibles. A garage full, in fact, which is something I've mentioned in the past. In an effort to divest myself of said collectibles, I've been selling things on eBay. This is mostly fine other than the part where it's really slow.
And the part where I sometimes have to actually deal with people.
People who are mostly trying to convince me that my prices are too high.

For instance, because this is a fun one:
I've been selling some cards from the Harry Potter tcg recently. I listed this card:

The Ginny holofoil card is very hard to find and expensive. Expensive to the point that I haven't seen any sell for less than $100, so I had it listed at, anyone?, $100. I had a string of people message me that they would offer me something less than that. Like the guy who offered me $30 and, then, argued with me about it when I said "no thanks," finally went all the way up to $40, then argued with me some more when I said "no thanks" to that one, too. The card sold for $120.

Don't get all excited for me about all the money I'm making, because those kinds of things are few and far between. Mostly, I'm selling things at about the $3-10.00 level.

The other thing I have to deal with a lot is people complaining about the cost of shipping, which is the actual thing I want to talk about.
And before I go on, sure, shipping and shipping charges suck. I get it. I do everything I can, personally, to order from places that offer free shipping or to order enough to meet the minimums for free shipping. The big companies that can offer that kind of thing are just that: big companies, big enough to make deals with the USPS to cut their shipping costs so that they can afford it. Even eBay has a deal with USPS to cut their sellers' shipping costs if we run our shipping through eBay, and that has to be good for eBay because I'm sure their discount is greater than what they pass on to us, which means they're making money from both ends of that deal.

Even with that, eBay pushes (and pushes and pushes) its sellers to offer free shipping. I'm sure that's something that totally works for some sellers, but it doesn't work for someone like me who, say, sells a trading card for $2.99 (or, even, a comic book, for $4.99) and, then, has to pay $2.80 to ship it. That's with the eBay discount and is just the cost of the actual shipping. The envelopes cost another $1.00, so I'm spending close to $4.00 for each item I ship, but I only charge $3.50 for shipping. Don't worry, I may be losing money on every sale, but I make it up in volume.

Which brings me back to my previous statement about how shipping sucks, because the buyer is paying $3.50 in shipping for a $3.00 card, something which I personally wouldn't do.

And it gets even worse when you have to deal with international shipping. I just went through a huge ordeal over the cost of shipping with a guy in France. Seriously, huge ordeal. The guy took all kinds of penalties from eBay for not paying for his auction wins on time because he was haggling with me over the cost of shipping. For a week.

On the one hand, I get it but, on the other hand...
Look, on the other hand, only so much of the shipping is under my control, and part of the problem this guy ran into is that I use eBay's Global Shipping Program for international orders so that I only have to mail the items to eBay and eBay takes care of the shipping charges with the buyer. And I guess that service isn't cheap? I don't really know, because I can't see what eBay charges, but the guy in France flipped out over what eBay was going to charge him, all of which could have been avoided if he'd listened to me before the auctions closed when I tried to tell him about how eBay would handle it. (He told me I didn't know what I was talking about, that shipping should be no more than x amount and he was sure eBay would handle it just fine. eBay wanted to charge him 30x, as I tried to warn him, and, well, I already said the rest. I spent a week of going around and around with the guy so that he could finally get what he paid for shipping down to only 2x.)

All of which goes to the point I want to make: I am not Amazon. Or Wal-Mart. Or... whatever big chain store you want to say. I can't get amazing shipping discounts from USPS, and I can't afford to pay for your shipping, especially when the shipping costs more than the item you're buying. Stop expecting that from me, other eBay sellers, or from any small, independent business trying to make some kind of profit. If you want free shipping, please, feel free to order what you need/want from Amazon or Wal-Mart or... oh! Amazon doesn't have this card that you want? They don't sell those kinds of things? Neither does Wal-Mart? oh... well, then, I see. Of course, of course, it should be up to me to provide you with the same service as Amazon... Amazon who doesn't have the product you want.

So there's your tradeoff. Pay the shipping or don't get the whatever it is that you want that Amazon doesn't carry or have in stock. Pay the shipping and don't fucking complain about it or try to convince me that I'm charging too much for it. You know how I know that I'm not charging too much for shipping? Because I take a loss on it from every order I ship. If you don't want to pay the shipping, don't buy it. To paraphrase the internet, "I am not the asshole here."


  1. I've heard international shipping is hugely expensive, so I can imagine it being something to flip out over, though it's stupid not to be aware of this beforehand.

    1. Jeanne: Not just unaware but choosing to believe that you're the one who's right rather than the person who deals with this stuff ALL THE TIME.
      Oh, wait, that sounds awfully familiar.

  2. Are you tired of being human, having talented brain turning to a vampire in a good posture in ten minutes, Do you want to have power and influence over others, To be charming and desirable, To have wealth, health, without delaying in a good human posture and becoming an immortal? If yes, these your chance. It's a world of vampire where life get easier,We have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich, You will assured long life and prosperity, You shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness, Stronger and also very fast, You will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk, This is an opportunity to have the human vampire virus to perform in a good posture. If you are interested contact us on