Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ebay Idiots

The problem with selling the occasional used book online is that, on occasion, you will have to deal with an idiot. Most of these idiots contact you with rude emails because the package has not arrived as quickly as they would like, despite the inherent problems with the United States Postal Service. Often, when these idiots do contact you, they are demanding, authoritative, and irritating beyond belief.

Idiots like James from Tulsa, OK, who sent this message about a book ordered two weeks ago for just under $1:

I am about to leave negative feedback for non shipment of the mass murder book. Contact me ASAP or I will file a complaint with Ebay.

My problem, of course, is that I hate it when someone says ASAP to me. My response:

Your book was shipped two days after it was ordered. It was shipped via Media Mail, which can take several weeks to arrive. I will send you another shipment notice through in case you did not receive the last one. Please refrain from threatening action for not receiving items until you have allowed enough time for the item to be received.

James shot back with this:

I ordered almost 2 weeks ago and the notification I received today indicated that it was only shipped today. I am well versed in e-baying and I read all shipping and other details. I am not threating, I was simply stating that if there was not action on your part of the deal, I would take action. It obviously worked since you shipped it today.

And this:

Furthermore, the notification you sent me today said the longest it should take is 12 days. This is what I allowed for and then some before writing and asking for action. This is your "bad", not mine.

My reply:

Let me respond to your multiple messages ASAP.

Directly cut and pasted from

'In general, items shipped via Media Mail should arrive in 2 - 9 days (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) from the time of shipping. It is our experience that Media Mail shipments may take as long as 30 days to arrive. Note that the USPS does not guarantee a specified delivery time for Media Mail and it may receive “deferred service.”'

But, since you are "well versed in e-baying" and "read all shipping and other details", you already knew about the above statement, easily found in the shipping section.

You are also correct that you were not, in fact, threatening. You were simply curt, accusatory, and somewhat rude. I can truly understand this, however, as I am well aware of the vast scams being run on the internet these days. As someone "well versed in e-baying" like you knows, there are nefarious criminals out there who make a fortune selling 99 cent paperback books online, then pocketing the change without ever delivering the promised goods. It is important to catch these fiends ASAP, and your well-timed message was merely meant to let the potential thief know that you were hip to the scam. If you had some other way of assuring yourself that I was not a con artist (such as nearly 400 positive feedbacks over the past three years), I have no doubt your initial communication would not have been as abrasive.

My "bad", as you put it, was not marking the item shipped when it was posted two weeks ago (the tracking information on the package will confirm the ship date). For not informing you ASAP of the immediate shipment of this 99 cent paperback, I must humbly and sincerely apologize.

If, for some reason, your package has not arrived by December 6, please be sure to let me know ASAP so that I may look into the matter. If needed, I will send you the tracking information ASAP so the current whereabouts of the package can be determined.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Undoubtedly, there will be more to follow

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Book Review: The Public Domain, by Stephen Fisher

Those looking for quick lists of public domain resources meant for casual perusal and quick consumption will be in for a pleasant surprise. This is not just a guide on where to find public domain materials such as music, photos, and literary works. You will find that information within, but you will find much, much more besides.

Stephen Fishman, an experienced attorney in both government and private practice since 1979, provides all of the legal information that many readers might never have known they needed. Fishman goes into great detail about the history of public domain materials, the legalities of usage and ownership regarding such works, the loopholes to look for, and the pitfalls to avoid.

Other books from Nolo have successfully endeavored to communicate legal information to its readers in clear, simple language. The Public Domain achieves this goal as well, and will undoubtedly act as an indispensable reference to anyone seeking out legally obtainable works in the public domain.