Saturday, December 2, 2017
Being the type of person I am, I usually I have a deep well of optimism.
These days it has been harder to retrieve a bucket or two of it from the depths. I guess the events of this summer kicked me even harder than I thought.
My blog is real, I don't sugar coat things, don't put on a happy face when things are far from happy. It is tough for me to be "fake". Others can do it well, but I am really about authenticity.
Like Forrest said, "Life is like a box of chocolates"....
But, that quote really only holds true if there is a chance that some jackass has put in a little dollop of dog shit in one of those little crinkly plastic compartments.
Avoiding those and those chocolates contaminated by that turd is about the best we can strive for.
I know I might get an orange cream (which I don't exactly find tasty) or some bizarre nougat that I am are not sure I like or hate...but damn if I don't get a tainted chocolate once and awhile....and this summer I wasn't diligent enough and managed to sink my fingers into a turd.
I didn't eat that turd, though, unlike Divine in that John Water's flick "Pink Flamingos".
How am I aware of that film? I naively saw it when I was in my early 20s, a friend telling me it was a classic. Believe me, with after sight being 20/20, I'd rather not have seen it. But, I did...and images I wish were not etched in my mind are now there...some fading, oh so thankfully fading.
Anyway, though it felt I was being force fed that turd of an experience, I battled back, and ended up basically on top....that is, my property is still mine...or, rather, mine with shared custody of it with the bank and my ex.
But the emotional scent of that event still lingers, affecting the work and accomplishments I have had since then. Just have to get it faded farther out of my head, I guess.
I am hoping sooner than later it becomes solely another chapter I have to write for my autobiography, and not a recurring memory that makes me wary of trying other chocolates. I need a fresh box to choose from, perhaps.
But, that is what going forward with the business is about, isn't it?
Getting access to that fresh box, being there when the wrapper is taken off and being offered some from that full box, guaranteed no turds included. I might accidentally grab an orange cream or that weird nougat... but, you know, I am beginning to appreciate some of the flavours I was not so fond of.
Sometimes you need to be just being happy to get offered some fresh chocolates in the first place.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Well, seeing as it is unlikely the business will sell in the near future, it is business as usual.
Ok, you got me...it will be sort of business as usual. I am slowly getting with the age it is...the internet age.
It seems the days of being able to 'have the right product and the people will find you' is not how it is online.
Yes, some of you already know this, and I guess I have for awhile, too.
Just been in denial, I suppose.
Could be because I am a Taurus, stubborn in my ways, resistant to change.
But, online change happens quickly. And, I guess I will have to change the angle at the way I come at things online....because many changes have occurred over the last several years.
Time to get "with it."
So, I have a friend who is into the internet end of business in general who is helping get me up to speed.
Made a step...signed up for an Instagram account....done nothing with it so far, but here it is, in case you want to get a jump on the crowd.
So, Fedora Antiques is being dragged into the new millennium.
How quickly the changes will take effect, or, rather, affect sales (as in increase sales,) waits to be seen.
I am cautiously optimistic....and crossing my fingers.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
The title is the question.
What would I do with my time if I did sell the business?
Oh let me count the ways I would use my time....
Harder than I thought to answer that.
Yes, as I mentioned in the last post, I would get to writing, but that wouldn't be all.
I would be doing more research connected to the writing, even get some road trips planned and executed. Things connected to Albert Johnson (aka The Mad Trapper of Rat River), a buried steam locomotive, an ancient dugout canoe, Viking travel through Manitoba, and a number of other areas of research I have interest in.
I think I could well be kept very busy by those pursuits if I was unshackled from my business.
How to make a living would be another matter all together, though.
I'd likely need to have a book contract in place, something that would have an advance, to support me in groceries and other "life expenses" while I do my thing in creating a book...
A reality TV contract, perhaps?
The problem with most reality TV contracts is the first season is pretty slim when it comes to real money.
I am sure I will find enough to do with my time....IF the business were to sell....but until then I need to sell, sell, sell.
So, ready, set, SHOP!
Monday, November 20, 2017
Lately I've been thinking of a change.
A pretty drastic change.
I've been thinking of getting out.
Getting out of the antiques business, that is.
There are lots of reasons you could point to....
A desire to just do something different...it has been over 25 years of this.
Or perhaps a midlife crisis?
The events of this past summer wearing me thin emotionally?
Repros and fakes flooding the marketplace via eBay (etc) with no end in sight?
But, the reason is pretty simple, when I think about it.
I am just plain tired.
I need a break, and I don't see any way of getting that break short of getting rid of the business entirely....or, at least all my inventory.
But, that leaves me with a big question....what would I do?
Actually, that is easy....
I'd write....get my book(s) actually going, started, finished, down on paper/disk.
I'd have to have that financial cushion in order to do that, which selling the inventory should give me...but, finding someone who:
(A) recognizes the value in the inventory I have
(B) is financially able to purchase the inventory
It would take $200,000 as a lump sum to buy me out, I figure. That is lock, stock and barrel. All my inventory, good and bad, high end and low end.
Realistically, retail value of the inventory is likely in excess of $1 million......and that is no joke....and no I am not off my rocker.
Remember, that is at retail; and frankly, taking it item by item it adds up fast. Even at "wholesale" pricing...and by that I mean at the reduced figures the inventory would wholesale to other dealers at.... (say, let's use 50% of retail across the board) you're looking at $500,000 in inventory.
Not at all. Think of all the work that has gone into accumulating the inventory, piece by piece. Fuel, time, knowledge, sources, vehicles worn out, all those expenses incurred running around, hauling, storing sorting, and on and on and on.
Factor in/add the expenses incurred in sourcing the inventory to the actual cash cost of the inventory at time of purchase, and you would be well over that $200,000 mark.
But, antiques and collectibles inventory tends not to be easy to liquidate into a million dollar figure in a short time. This is not a "get rich quick" sort of business. You have to love the stuff to be in the business.
But I think I may be falling out of love with it.
I still get a high from the hunt, and I am good at it, so eventually, maybe I'd do some "custom picking" for the new owner(s) of the business.
Who knows. Most antiques businesses get liquidated by their owners; rarely do they sell "en bloc."
It all seems pretty much all a pipe dream at the moment.
But, then again, that could just be because I am tired.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Yes, it has been nearly 4 months since I last blogged, but in my own defence I have been busy trying to keep things afloat, and, frankly haven't felt like writing much. Plus, am still suffering the emotional after effects of the drama of June. You'd think that now that the drama is over the anxiety would go away, but apparently it wants to hang around and tends to have an effect on my activities...
I did do the Vintage Redefined Market in Calgary, Alberta the first weekend in November. Left a couple days earlier than I would normally, though. I wanted to avoid some weather that looked like it might result in icy highways...getting more cautious in my old age, I guess!
Here are some pics of my set-up:
I think the turnout would have been pretty decent had the weather not turned bad...it started snowing Wednesday and continued off and on Thursday and Friday, which did not help with road conditions. Despite road conditions, there was a fair turnout, but many who had pre-bought tickets for the opening night didn't show up. As a result, I didn't do as well as I needed to, so went home disappointed in my sales. However, the promotion, venue, etc was all done quite well, in my opinion it was just the weather that hurt sales.
Better luck next year, I guess.
There is a spring sale, which I do plan to attend. You can keep tabs on it at this link: Vintage Redefined Market May 25th & 26th, 2018
Friday, July 21, 2017
Been awhile since I was out on what I consider a true "pick"....for reasons outlined in my previous post.
So, when I got a call to look at some items from a location I was familiar with, I decided it was time to carefully get back in the saddle again.
The owners are wonderful folks, a young family. They have the same mindset for preservation of Manitoba's history as I do, which was great to encounter.
They'd love to preserve the building, but financially they simply can't put the kind of money into it that it needs to be properly preserved.
Here is the grand old lady:
And in true picker fashion, I located a piece the owners didn't
realize they owned!
Pick safe folks!
Averted a major disaster recently.
One that would have resulted in loosing my business and my home.
In desperation I even set up a gofundme campaign.
Here is the text of that campaign, which explains things, shown between the two rows of asterisks:
I am about to loose my home and my place of business, essentially due to the immoral actions of an insurance company.
My mortgage is in default solely because I have no insurance, and this far have been unable to secure any that satisfies the bank's mortgage conditions.
The following is a letter of complaint I wrote to the insurance company, as well as the provincial body that regulates/oversees Insurance companies operating in Manitoba. I have redacted the names of the company, bank, etc for privacy purposes. This letter will best explain the actions the insurance company took, which has seemingly also essentially destroyed my chances of getting "Full Replacement Coverage" insurance elsewhere.
Letter is as follows in bold:
During a rainstorm in the late evening/early morning hours of a Friday in June 2015, sheerwinds stripped a swath of shingles from the roof of my home.
This damage resulted in water pouring through the ceilings of the 2nd floor, 1st floor and basement.
As per is required by the insurance company during such events, I made attempts to minimize the damage by putting down pails, buckets, etc, and moving all items out of the water's path, which resulted in piles of objects in corners of my previously well & neatly organized the living room.
I worked until the early hours of the morning to do my best to minimize the damage, but of course the water from the torrential rain pouring through my roof caused substantial damage to the interior of my home, as well as caused things to be strewn about the yard.
Being a Friday, a subcontractor adjuster was sent out from YYYYYYY. The individual proceeded to take photographs of areas pertaining to the damage, and, without my prior permission/consent, also snapped several photos of portions of my home and yard that had nothing to do with, nor was affected by the damage. (She also failed to make a close examination of the other side of the roof, which had also sustained some loosening of shingles, which resulted in aggravated further damage of that side of the roof when a tornado funnel passed over the house about a month later.)
Do note that I was/am going through a divorce, and did have personal items moved into my living space after dividing possessions with my soon to be ex-wife, who had fairly recently moved out.
Soon after, I got a call from the insurance broker, ZZZZ ZZZZZ of ZZZZ Insurance in Virden, MB, about having to "discuss the policy going forward."
This discussion was not in actuality a discussion.
Mr ZZZZZZ stated that *********'s "big guys" and his boss both agreed and decided by the photos that the property was owned by a hoarder, and that if we did not sign off on a voluntarily cancellation of a policy that ********* would do a "company cancel" of the policy and put it on public record that I was a hoarder.
Do note that this action is the textbook definition of extortion. (ex·tor·tion - the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats. Synonyms: blackmail, shakedown; formal exaction)
Do note that being a "hoarder" is a clinical diagnosis, and that *********'s people are very unlikely to be qualified to make such a diagnosis, especially such as was undertaken based solely upon photographs taken by a similarly unqualified individual.
I do happen to suffer from a mental illness, but it is not that of hoarding. As a result, the action taken by ********* also could well constitute discrimination against; and quite possibly could be considered a violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Due to the threat, we did sign a document voluntarily cancelling the policy, as we were told by Mr ZZZZZ that should it be put on public record the policy was cancelled due to hoarding, that we would never be able to get insurance from another company based on that notation. We felt we had no other choice and had to sign under duress.
Also note that the ARHA (Assiniboine Regional Health Authority) is behind me 100%, and will back me with documentation stating clearly that I am NOT diagnosed as being a hoarder.
It is our position that several of the photos were taken:
(a) of areas that had NOTHING to do with the storm damage and were taken without expressed permission
(b) and were considered/looked upon by employees of ********* and ZZZZZ Insurance completely & utterly out of context (IE: Items stacked in corners of the room to minimize damage during the deluge of water)
The decision to make a threat of cancellation based on hoarding was stated by Mr ZZZZZZ as having come directly from within ********* Insurance.
Our position is that due to us having 3 previous claims (all "Acts of God" type incidents beyond our control), ********* was looking for any excuse to cancel the policy, and utilized the baseless accusation of hoarding to force us to cancel the policy.
After this time, despite the only "voluntary cancellation", I have not been able to get insurance from any company that satisfies my mortgage requirements. All companies seem to find some sort of excuse/reason to say no, or deny the application, some even after having given a quote and saying they would insure. It seems rather suspicious that they all would deny the applications, no matter the company. Oddly enough, ********* quoted on an application put forth through XXXX , only to end up denying the application and further cause issues with getting insurance from any other firm.
As a result, my property is now in Foreclosure due to non-compliance with the Mortgage requirements (not having valid insurance in place) . I am now as a result of the extreme stress *********'s action have caused am suffering from depression, anxiety, and am generally not functioning well in day to day life.
I may well loose my property to foreclosure due to *********'s actions; actions which were undertaken in such a way that could well be considered illegal under Canadian laws, as well as a violation of the Human Rights Act of Canada.
I have pretty much exhausted all means of obtaining insurance, though there are brokers trying various markets. However, these markets also put my insurance cost at over $6000, figures which will cause a financial strain (ie: wipe out my savings and then some). By the bank foreclosing, I will loose my home and my sole means of income, which is my antiques, collectibles and salvage business which I operate from my property.
The only ways to stop the foreclosure at this point is to get insurance (which as I have outlined has proven oddly impossible over the past year) and the other is pay off the remaining balance of the mortgage myself, or by the sale of the property. The property is up for sale with a realtor for a year so far, but with the market being down with the price of oil (this is "oil country") there has been no takers as of yet.
I have no other means of being able to immediately obtain the $110000 required to pay off the mortgage, unless the property were to sell. It is listed currently a $300,000. If the bank forecloses, I fear they will sell it for grossly under market value and then after expenses, (as well as payment of a $28,000 loan for the geothermal heat unit we had installed) will leave me with next to nothing (that remaining sum which I will have to split 50/50 with my exwife, also).
I am at the end of my rope, so thus I have put up this plea for help.
If by some miracle things do work themselves out (ie: I end up with insurance (unlikely), I win the lottery (equally unlikely), the property sells for a realistic sum before the bank forecloses (I can only hope)) then the monies will go towards a downpayment on a new location. Having been self employed pretty much all my life, my credit rating sucks, and thus obtaining a significant mortgage is a daunting task. So, a larger downpayment on a property is an asset. The property I do have my eye on is under $200,000, and is ideal for my business.
I/we (the ex and I) have had far more than our fair share of drama occur in the last 10 years of living here, as well as events that you would find yourself frowning & shaking your head at how much bad luck we have had.... but I will spare you the details, as they are only precursors to all this, and I am not looking to evoke sympathy, I am only looking for empathy and assistance/help.
Even if the final goal is not reached and if I am able to raise more funds myself via sales of inventory that I am undertaking presently, I will utilize the funds to perhaps be able to cover the mortgage that way. Also, should I actually find some company that will insure the properly, undoubtedly it will be in excess of $6000, so any funds may end up used to help cover the insurance.
So, what has happened? Well, the very insurance company that caused this problem in the first place ended up giving me insurance again. It was even cheaper than the first policy that we had, oddly enough.
So, anyways, I had been trying to get insurance for the past year, and when the bank finally started foreclosure proceedings, things were looking very grim. Basically, two weeks before the bank would have started procedures for auctioning the property, I got the insurance in place. Sadly, that is not the end of it. I am now dealing with anxiety & depression that still will not go away, despite disaster being averted.
Here is an "update" from my gofundme campaign that explains a bit of the financial after effects (again, between the rows of asterisks):
Finally some good news! The insurance company that caused this mess has now done a 180 and offered insurance!! So, in the 11th hour this may well come to a positive close. Just some banking/legal stuff to deal with now to pull things out of foreclosure.
Finally some good news! The insurance company that caused this mess has now done a 180 and offered insurance!! So, in the 11th hour this may well come to a positive close. Just some banking/legal stuff to deal with now to pull things out of foreclosure.
Well, the foreclosure will soon be stopped, but the costs have risen...this fiasco will have wiped out my savings, having cost me about an additional $6600 (beyond the $2100 paid out for insurance and $1800 worth of back mortgage payments that they had stopped taking 4 months ago; which of course I just saved up. Both amounts I would have spent anyway, so I am not including them in the total.) The $6600 is made up of over $800 in "temporary fire insurance" the bank put in place and the rest is LAWYER'S FEES!Yes, the bank's lawyers require me to pay the legal costs and fees, amounting to the $6600. So, I am not coming out of this free and clear, not by a long shot. This "series of unfortunate events " has cost me more than $6600....as that number does not factor in time and fuel for running around to insurance brokers all over the place, the extreme stress, the $ not made in my business due to the loss of productivity as a result of the anxiety and depression I have had to deal with for a year, and on and on and on. I am reducing the amount of the campaign to $6600 as a result, to try and get somewhat back on my feet financially, and repay the money I had to borrow to top up the amount I needed.
I'd rather sell you stuff than "beg" here, so maybe just buy lots of cool stuff from me, ok?
Anyway, so that is why I haven't been blogging as of late. Lost the drive, the motivation.
I did manage to get a pick in, now that that stress is basically behind me. But, I will blog about it in the next post, to give you some relief from the stressful drama you have read above.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
So, I am listing on ETSY now.
I had been putting off listing there, simply because when I first registered to sell there, and attempted to do some business there, I found it, well, useless for the types of items I wanted to get moving.
I wanted a replacement for eBay, and ETSY was not at all it.
It still isn't.
But, it is something...it creates some income, though certainly not anywhere near what I'd like.
It has its place, for sure. I managed to move a $1700 worth of NOS hat parts I had purchased inexpensively at a closing auction of a Winnipeg based uniform factory/store, so that helped pay a few bills. I had been wondering if I would ever sell the stuff, being that I hardly had access to any hat makers near by!
But, for that sort of thing, ETSY certainly IS the place to sell. I can see that if you were to concentrate on attending and purchasing bulk and inexpensive lots of obscure parts, pieces, components, etc of things from liquidations of manufacturing facilities, you could make a living doing just that off of ETSY.
The sale itself was not something I first listed, but resulted from an inquiry as to what quantities of some items I had, and my up-selling/mentioning that I had other millinery (hat making) supplies resulted in the large sale.
Would you have bought cases of these?
Those are not all he bought, but the bulk of the purchase was cases of hat brims. The buyer certainly got a heck of a deal when you consider the individual retail value of piece meal selling of each item they bought, but I also pretty much doubled my money spent on the entire auction....and I hauled 14 truck and trailer loads from the place.
This was my last load...
Another issue with ETSY is that it is more a venue that you list on, but you really have to to the driving of traffic to your listings. Yes, it comes with a bit of its own traffic that you MIGHT be able to captilatize, but you do really have to create a following of your own...either that or be a real master of keywords and pray to the Esty-search-engine-god excessively.......
Anyway, ETSY works for some things, but certainly is not the "sold in a week" venue eBay used to be. There really has not been any venue open up that is like what eBay used to be. I have been trying to promote the idea of a Co-Op vintage, auction only website, but it just seems to not have any steam. Too many people want someone else to do the work, and then join.
No one wants to be help build a site....and by build, I mean build its presence online; be a founding member.
Not many pioneers out there.
Lots of "joiners" who want to capitalize on success, but no one willing to help create the success in the first place.
I have set up an auction group on Facebook that after a year-ish being established has finally taken hold as a decent venue, with some decent items being listed, and some serious bidders participating. But, it too has taken some time to take hold, establish itself. It is set up somewhat like I would want a site to be (in a true "going-going-gone auction format", unlike eBay;s "timed" auctions. However, being that it is on FaceBook, it is limited by their structure/platform, the setup has some issues, and things that we have to work around.
You can check it out here, the Bang! Sold! Auction Group.
This post is already starting to get long, so I will pretty much end this posting here, to save you some eye strain. I will likely discuss the idea of a Co-Op auction site further in the blog, so keep checking back!
Saturday, February 4, 2017
So, now we come to the rest of the story....
Now, just to re-cap, I have established that eBay has/had a very serious software glitch that they were seemingly unaware of.
And that glitch affected my selling somewhat, but, as many things with eBay in the last 20 odd years, I worked around their glitch, as serious sellers have for quite some time.
However, this glitch came to a head.
Pushing a seller with over 10,000 transactions under his belt, off of ebay for good. Not that they cared, they have pushed sellers off the site that were doing 10,000 listings a month...heck, even a those with 10,000 a week, without remorse.
But I digress...
So, eventually, eBay suspended our selling privileges becasue of "non-payment" of this refund they gave our seller.
We sent them the proper amount, but apparently it disappeared in the ether.
So, they eventually suspended our buying privileges,also.
Interesting how they will let you still buy for awhile before suspending you completely, isn't it?
And, that is what they did, suspended us completely. No buying & no selling.
So, being fed-up, determined to get this dealt with, and still needing the income from sales on eBay, I finally found a phone number that seemed to get through to real people.
Good thing I didn't have anything going on that afternoon!
I explained the whole story to the first person I got.
They put me on hold and forwarded me to someone else.
Again, I re-explained the whole thing.
Got referred to someone else.
...through SEVEN different people....
over an HOUR AND A HALF of time!
The 8th person I was referred to I actually have respect for.
She was very sympathetic, and you could hear it in her voice when she (basically) said:
"Unfortunately they have forwarded you to the wrong department (again)..."
"But I will make sure and stay on the line with you until I get you to a senior tech."
And she did. Kudos to her.
A middle finger goes out to the other 7 previous eBay reps...all useless pieces of....well, you get the picture.
So, the tech I spoke to turned out to be a 15 year veteran with eBay. That puts him having started near the inception of the company. So, he actually knew his stuff.
However, I described what was happening, and, through the hour and a half we were on the phone trying things, he became more frustrated with the problem than I was.
I sent a small payment via the wife's PayPal account. Lo and behold, there was a balance that came through....but in a different amount than I sent! And, because of privacy law, he could't tell me the amount, nor the DIFFERENT NAME THAT APPEARED ON THE ACCOUNT it went to!
SO, you could almost hear him pulling his hair out over that 1.5 HOUR conversation....about half way through it I was howling with laughter....it was all just SO ludicrous, and so much of a "perfect" ending to my eBay selling career. He was SO apologetic (something that seems very rare amongst eBay reps) and was surprised at my taking the issue so lightly, with such humour.
But, I said, how else can I react, considering how absolutely ridiculous the situation was?
He was as understanding as anyone can be when they are absolutely stumped. The statements I heard the most from him were all to the effect of "This should not be happening."
But, it was happening.
Sadly, it was not happening not to a large corporation, however, but to a small seller in Manitoba, Canada...and one who was fed up with eBay and was not upset to not be able to sell there anymore.
More testing, and such went on over that hour, but it was clear that ebay was totally ****(insert appropriate set of expletives here)****.
He apologized profusely, and suggested I talk to PayPal...because, he said, eBay actually takes its orders from PayPal, not the other way around!
I said no, I am done, I have been on the phone for THREE HOURS, gone through and explained the entire story to each of NINE people, and I am not about to do that again, nor should I.
And I didn't.
And, I hope someone takes advantage of that glitch, and eBay gets sued into the stone-age for it...they deserve all the bad press, lawsuits, etc that they get...and then some.
I just hope those two eBay employees have gone on to greener pastures and are with companies that appreciate them...I doubt eBay did.
SO, why do I not sell on eBay?
I have a big reason, and many less significant reasons.
The less significant reasons include:
Scammers proliferate the site; both "buyers" and "sellers."
The search engine sucks/is biased/useless.
Listing now takes way too long.
The fees have gone nuts.
It is no longer a fun venue, and hasn't been for some time.
Your sales will eventually become "throttled" and you will find yourself working harder and harder and getting nowhere.
Sales die in the summer. (That is a problem it has had for over 20 years, maybe even since its inception.)
and I could go on, and on and on and on....and on.......and on....
However, none of those would have stopped me cold in my tracks as the "last straw" did about 7 years ago.
A simple thing did it, really.
And something I know as a former computer programmer really should have been caught years prior.
You see, ebay is built...well, BADLY.
It is built on layers and layers of code, from what I can tell. Initially it was based on shareware code, from what I understand.
Yes, software that was free for use by anyone. Now, I am not 100% sure that is fact, but it is no matter, because it being based on shareware/public domain or if it is based on code that is proprietary are both not of consequence to the issue I encountered.
And, I encountered it by pure fluke.
My relationship status cause it, indirectly, actually.
Yes, I got married.
But that is not the main thing.
Let me give you some history.
I met my now-ex (the fact she is an "ex" now is also irrelevant) and we both sold our homes in Winnipeg.
We bought a house in the country.
We both had been selling on eBay independently of each other for some years.
I had been battling with eBay over overcharges, refunds I was owed, listings not showing up in the searches for 4 days after I paid for a 7 day listing, etc, etc, etc. These bits of occurrences are not at all a new thing on eBay. I am far from alone. (The Facebook group at that link has grown stagnant, but happenings at eBay that helped create that group still occur)
So, in the battle, and me being the stubborn one I am, I refused to pay a bill on my one account...one which I technically did not owe, considering the amount of fees they owed me and seemed unwilling to ever credit me, despite a mountain of evidence that they were in the wrong and thus owed me a refund that exceeded the bill I owed them.
Of course, they eventually cut me off entirely as a result, and suspended my other 2 accounts also, once they figured out they were mine.
But, we still needed to make money, so I started selling on my wife's account, under her name.
Now, the two accounts were not in any way linked. And they did not make any connection, and thus did not suspend her account....for that reason.
Here is what was happening on eBay at the time:
They had just forced PayPal down our throats. IE: If you did not accept PayPal, your listings would automatically appear at THE BOTTOM of people's search results.
They had just been told by the Austrailian courts that they could not force all users to accept PayPal and nothing else. That was writing on the wall for all of eBay;s sites.... whether it be dot CA, dot COM, etc. That action was considered monopolization and was/IS illegal in pretty much every democratic country.
So, putting non PayPal accepting sellers' listings at the bottom/low in the search results was how they forced every seller to start taking PayPal.
Seems pretty underhanded, but still not the reason I quit selling on eBay.
My frustration levels with the site were growing to astronomical levels...
But my severe eBay induced acid reflux was not the reason I do not sell on ebay anymore, either.
You will need some more history....
At the time, eBay also had a weird policy of refunding the buyer should they be unhappy with the merchandise...and, depending on how the buyer went about it, eBay ITSELF would refund the buyer OR PayPal would issue the refund.
It was a transitional time, and in true eBay fashion, they really made some ridiculous policies and programs during that period.
Anyway, this is what occurred.
We had been starting to accept PayPal. So, our listings were now appearing basically where they should have been. Sales were "ok".
We sold an item, and the item was not in quite the condition as the description stated. It was my fault, and I owned the error, it was due to a copy and paste situation in the listing, and I missed catching it.
The buyer was polite and understanding, and had no issue with it. I told him I would issue him a full refund, including shipping costs. This was a Friday, and I told him I would do it once there was some money in my PayPal account on Monday.
He agreed that was fine, and was a-ok with that.
However....eBay had recently started a duplicate process for buyers to ask for a refund. One was already started via PayPal, but, the buyer, thinking he was supposed to also fill out eBay's new form, did so, and thus automatically ALSO filed a "Item not as described" claim.
What this did at the time was create an automatic refund...issued BY EBAY itself to the buyer.
Thus, then eBay charged us for the refund amount.
Well, my then wife's PayPal account was linked to her eBay account. The fees we paid came out of that account just fine, for the commissions and listings.
However, this refund amount WOULD NOT come out of the account. IE: We could not pay the refund out of the PayPal account. Oh, we DID send them the amount from our PayPal account, but eBay claimed it was still unpaid.
Now, here is a little twist.
When we first started accepting PayPal, we noticed something, well, rather "curious"....scratch "curious", actually...make it REALLY F*****-UP.
You see, what we found happening was that ALL the monies from people making payments VIA PayPal was going NOT into her PayPal account (the only PayPal account linked to her ebay account).....
The payments were going into MY PAYPAL ACCOUNT.....which was in no way at all linked to her eBay account.
However, eBay, at the time, had no way to talk to a real person. It was all online menus, and a dog;s breakfast when it came to actually getting tech support. When you did actually obtain a phone number, you ended up in a maze of the same sort of menus....
"Please Press 1 if you had this problem, Press 2 if you had that problem, Press 3 if you are going to blow up from frustration"
That was eBay. Maybe still is, I don't know...and don't care.
Anyway, SO, because we were getting our money; be it in a convoluted and really messed up way; we just kept listing.
Now, the ONLY thing our PayPal accounts happened to have in common was one thing.
Our mailing address. Just our post office box number, town the box was located in, and the postal code.
That was it.
So, why was "her" sales' proceeds being deposited into "my" PayPal account???
A software glitch.
Imagine if "her" PayPal account had belonged to a major company selling hundreds of thousands of dollars....and "my" account belonged to a previous company at that location who happened to leave the mailing address the same....
I think eBay may have been sued into the stone-age.
And, imagine the use a thief could get out of a programming glitch/flaw like that? All they would have to do is create a PayPal account using the identical mailing address of any eBay seller and siphon off all of their sales that were paid via PayPal...!!!!
But, being the little people we are to ebay, and without the deep pockets to invest in a lawsuit, we made do, and were just happy we were getting our money.
And, that is far from the end of the story....but, I have a headache, just thinking about it all again, and need to take a break.....so, you can let some of this soak in before reading the next posting, and what became the "final solution."
So, I am finally getting lots of inventory listed on Etsy. (Click on that to see my shop.)
I find, though, that it is a very niche market when it comes to selling antiques & collectibles. The type of merchandise that sells on ETSY is not generally the merchandise I want to spend the bulk of my time dealing with.
Maybe it is because I am a Taurus, and we tend to be stubborn, stuck in our ways,etc.....
Or, it is due to the fact is just that ETSY is more geared towards crafts, fashion and decor, and "vintage" just happens to cover a portion of that.
I do have inventory that is of an ETSY ilk, but sales are still slow. I find that all the extra activity it takes to get eyes to your listings is extreme, and, frankly, harkens of a ton of extra work that was at one time unnecessary.
If I had someone else working for me, and they could strictly run and promote the ETSY store front, that would be fine, but the only people working for me at the moment are the 3 of us...
Me, myself, and I.
There is always eBay, right?
eBay has long been out of the picture for me....and I will tell you one of the many reasons in the next posting.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
One thing I have not really touched on in the blog much (in some cases not at all), are some of my other pursuits.
My hobbies and other interests, for example.
I tend to be interested in things that are related to my business in some way, on the fringes, or otherwise have some connection to the antiques biz.
My passion is history, after all.
Take, for example, my interest in the case of The Mad Trapper Of Rat River.
I have established a page of FaceBook that will assist you in following my progress on this case, here.
I am working on a book on the trail I believe to have discovered, which may lead to the man known as Albert Johnson being linked to 2 murders in Manitoba and at least one in near-by Saskatchewan.
But, that is not the best piece of treasure in this case I believe I have found....
You see, the identity of the Mad Trapper has not been determined. The posse sent to capture him ended up capturing him, which they did so, but had to shoot him dead to do it.
The body of Albert Johnson, mouth frozen in a death grimace.
And, the name Albert Johnson is ultra common, and was assumed to be a false name, anyway.
Also, at the time, no one claimed him as one of their own, as one of their relatives, after the chase was over. Nor has anyone to date been able to do so, and today we have his DNA available to do familial DNA comparisons. All the 80 years of accumulated plausible potential leads to his family were eliminated when Myth Merchant pictures had "Albert Johnson's" body exhumed and DNA taken.
This DNA has also eliminated several plausible identities since.
I may have found his family.
Yes, I am very close to having found a true treasure.....
Albert Johnson's true identity...
Well, this is a dual treasure, really....and the this portion of it may be worth the most...
A family could well find out what happened to a son, an uncle; missing for 90 some years.
Sunday, January 1, 2017
So, you figured you'd catch me dancing to Dubstep this first day of the New Year?
No, not quite.
Sorry to disappoint..... or, rather, for those of you who have ever seen me dance, "You are welcome."
So, what is it all about?
Boots on the ground!
Well, I had a vintage tin I wanted to empty before I put it out for sale....
Not an expensive tin, but I also have been needing to condition my leather work boots...
If you haven't guessed what kind of tin already, it was a DUBBIN tin.
So, seeing as I had some Dubbin handy, I figured I might as well just use it up....and a magic-al transformation from dry leather to supple leather.
The main point of the post, really, is to bring some attention to a relatively cheap collectible that is often overlooked....and that item is the lowly Dubbin tin!
Here are a couple other examples I had handy:
They also take up relatively little space, so you could accumulate a cool collection for cheap, and not taking up[a ton of display space in your residence or "man cave"...or "woman shed" or where ever you display your collections.
Pick safe, folks!