Dear eBay Queen: I make hand screen-printed t-shirts with some of my own designs and sayings on them. I really need to stop checking my eBay email account when I should be working or doing something more productive. But had I not checked my email around lunchtime this past Wednesday, I wouldnít have seen this message included as a note with a PayPal payment for a stupid t-shirt.
ďHi. I need this by tomorrow. Itís for Valentineís Day. Please drop in mail today. Iím paying for next day shipping.Ē
Iíll let my response tell the story:
ďYou know, that is an awfully presumptuous request. You have time to try to negotiate the price, but then you expect me to mail the item within a six-hour window, same day, during business hours when people work. I am on a break at my job right now, and I Ďshouldí be able to get home before the post office closes to mail your shirt, but honestly, I canít make a 100-percent guarantee, depending if I have to stay late, traffic, etc. Like 90 percent or more of sellers, eBay is not my full-time job.
ďI have the eBay-minimum handling time of one day, meaning that the buyer pays one day, I ship the next. I accepted your offer before noon yesterday and it took you a little less than 24 hours to pay. It is funny it took you that long to pay, but you expect me to have the item out the door in one-third of that time. Had you paid before I left for work this morning (8 a.m.), there would be no problem.
ďIf I am successful in mailing your item today, it will be before 5 p.m. and you will get an email with tracking. If not, it will go out tomorrow morning, as I have off. I hope you understand where Iím coming from with this email and the audacious request youíve made.Ē
Not to repeat myself, but I really hate it when buyers assume stuff like this. I clearly state in all of my auctions that Iíll gladly overnight anything, but you have to let me know a little in advance so I can make it happen.
Strange as it may seem, eBay is not my life; itís not even close to my main source of income. Itís essentially a money-making hobby. Yes, I check my eBay email fanatically, but that doesnít mean Iím a walking warehouse. The buyer says it so casually: Just drop it in the mail today. If I have a long day at work, or Iím out of town for the day, more often than not, Iím simply not going to be able to overnight stuff if you donít let me know and pay mid-day.
The worst part is when they try haggling with Best Offers to save a few bucks, then pay late, then expect me to drop everything to get their item out within a scant few hours. Basically everything this woman did.
Luckily for this woman, and whoever this gift was for, they received the item by Valentineís Day. I managed to get home and mail her item before the post office closed. It was 4:57 p.m. Another five minutes in traffic and they would have been out of luck.
I never got a response to my email, nor did I receive feedback of any kind. She got the item, so she has nothing to be unhappy about, except the fact she paid $45 total for an $18 t-shirt. Do you think Iím going to receive flack about my email rant to the buyer? ó James, Blue Springs, Mo.
Dear James: Many people do not understand that sellers have lives outside eBay. You are right to be angry that the buyer had a couple of days to pay for the item, but waited until the last minute to do so. That made it so you had to rush and go out of your way to get the item sent off. However, I donít think you were right to lay into the buyer for it. You never know where your next sale might come from. Iím so glad you were able to get the item out and to your buyer.
Strange eBay item of the week: eBay item No. 121059353513. Easter isnít far away. Check out this ď10-inch Antique German Victorian Paper Mache Bunny Rabbit Candy Container Glass Eyes.Ē It sold for $1,026 at http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-antique-German-Victorian-paper-mache-bunny-rabbit-candy-container-glass-eyes-/121059353513
Suzie Eads is a nationally known eBay marketer and eBay trained education specialist. She lives in Rantoul. Do you have a question for the eBay Queen? E-mail her at the eBay Queen