eBay, Part 2

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The smartphone is here.  And this is the cracked tablet.    

Regarding the lights, I got another one today.

“So?” she replied.

“I didn’t order it,” I said.

My favorite thing about eBay is there is no bargaining.  There can be bidding, but you can’t make anything go down (“make offer” notwithstanding).  Someone, somewhere is offering something and I assume they are pleased I am buying it.  If it costs $1 with free shipping and comes from China or the Philippines, so be it.

I have ordered maybe thirty lights, cables, or other gadgets for a total cost of about $75.  Part of the beauty for eBay is if you sell things and then buy more through PayPal, well, they like you more.

Especially with ordering a two-watt bulb for a dollar, it is pretty riskless.  I may even get a surprise, and who doesn’t like packages in the mail?


The hardest thing to understand for me was the concept of ‘we don’t know what’s going on.’  The folks at eBay are really good programmers—everything from logging-in to printing shipping labels is as easy as it can be on the web.  But all they can do is set up flags or blocks and such; it is not monitored real time.  There are many things that do or can happen after the transaction, many of which are for if it does not go smoothly.  These help eBay set up flags and improve.  It is a script, but they actually come out and say it.

The beauty of the concept, and its major risk, is that there is no cost of goods sold.  The system is set up—again, they are good programmers—and in theory runs itself.  Again, when dysfunction happens there are improvements made to the system.  It is almost like artificial intelligence.  Then it runs on again until something in the market or something in the system changes.

The customer experience both as a buyer and seller is it is a set-up system, but you must conform to it. 


I really do have something to write here so I’ m just going to do it.  The local world seems to be IT IS IN PLACE AND FUNCTIONING BUT WE DON’T REALLY MONITOR IT.  Is this the way business works today?  If your business is a website, then it acts differently.  But isn’t that the way government operates too?


I don’t know about all the laws


First there is “I don’t know about all the laws.”  That is a direct quote, I won’t say who said it.  Then there is:


We don’t enforce all the laws


And finally, if you are really paying attention and are really diligent you get to a point where.


We couldn’t do it if we wanted to.  We just don’t have the resources.


Maybe business has not changed—they buy a product and if they do not complain you assume they are happy.  (Actually, if that were true I would not have had a job.)  But damn, you sure can do a lot more of it when you have good programmers.  The other day I went to mail one of my trinkets to a friend and it took me three days with the label sizes, FIRST CLASS, and the way I wanted to set it up for my business.  That it cost twice as much to send it to Denver than it did for the whole product to be be shipped from China was not my concern at all.  Okay, a little, given the entire subject of economics.  It took me one minute to buy it on eBay and it arrived about a week later.  You talk about a “market maker,” man ‘o alive.

Oh, and you cannot even buy the light bulbs here in the U.S. because they are made for the rest of the world.


P.S.  Overall I have received excellent service from foreign sellers.  A few of the items are the break in your hand variety.  One, a $9 128 GB flashdrive did not work for many reasons and I received a refund.  The really fine print truth is that it does work, it just does not do all the things that a SanDisk will do and that is what I expected.  But I provided useful input to the seller—for anyone smuggling bags full of flashdrives full of HD movies across borders it may not do the trick.  It is mind-boggling to see sellers with hundreds of thousands of reviews.  I think some are still learning the eBay way.  The woman who bought the tablet with the edge to edge crack wanted a refund and I refused; the woman in India who initially paid $200 for the hot (pardon me, hottest-selling) cellphone, but did not pay, maybe did not understand the shipping specifics (or that it probably would not work in India).  I need to do some research into eBay financials.  Did you know you cannot buy something and send it to another address on eBay?