Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “business”

When did eBay think it could be my parent??

Well, maybe the title is a bit unfair.  I have been away from selling on eBay for a while because (1) I’ve either been deployed away working for my former job and making a decent salary or (2) the items I’ve found that would have gone for sale on eBay either sold quickly on my website or at a gun/militaria show.  And Husband has been fabulous at keeping items listed on eBay when I’m not available and there’s something that we know we can make a decent amount of money on if we can just find the right audience.  Like, say, the entire eBay-ing world!

But today was just annoying!  I’ve got a few items and some books that I want to list and figured that since I still have all of my templates saved it would be a breeze!  When did eBay decide they can tell me what I can and can’t say and how I can and can’t say it?

For example, I have strict shipping requirements.  The reason for that is because I’ve sold many items to people overseas and they’ve received their items within the usual shipping period and have let me know that they’ve arrived safely.  I’ve also had many items shipped to people here in the United States — some in states bordering my own — and been told that either the item was never received or that it was extremely damaged and they wanted their money back.  When I’d ask for photographic proof of the damages to the item and shipping container, they would have an excuse for not being able to provide it.  And they always picked the cheapest route with no insurance or tracking capabilities so there was never any way to determine if the item had or hadn’t arrived.  So, I changed all of my shipping to a commercial shipping organization in brown uniforms because they offered free insurance (up to $100) for the value of the item and I as well as the buyer could track the shipment all the way to their door.  My attitude became, “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy from me.  I’m protecting myself and my company from idiots who just want something for free.”

So, I would list in my eBay auctions to “Be sure to read all shipping policy information and if you’re not willing to pay the extra expense, do not bid on my items!”  Straight and to the point.  No wishy-washy customer-servicey happy namby-pamby phrasing.  I prefer to tell it like it is.  Make it clear and plain so that it translates into any language easily (even stupid) and, no, the customer is not always right.

You would have thought that I’d tried to incite a war with the way eBay reacted!  I had my template completed for the first item I wanted to list and big, bold “warning” boxes popped up on my screen telling me that I needed to review my return policy before they’d let me list the item.  I’d said in my description that the buyer would need to read my policy information and even provided a link for it.  That wasn’t good enough.  I’d have to fill out a form to make it simple.  So I clicked back to fill in the form and they didn’t offer anything like what I offer.  In my business, photographs and printed materials are not allowed to be returned because it doesn’t take a genius to know that some unscrupulous person will just scan it and make all of the copies they want and claim they’re originals and sell them.  The eBay form had nowhere I could specify that.  So, I stated it in the little box they give you for additional information.

Then another pop-up box appeared.  It didn’t like the fact that I said I wouldn’t accept money orders as payment.  It also informed me that money orders were no longer allowed as payment through eBay except in certain categories (mostly eBay Motors).  It wouldn’t let me post my item because I said I wouldn’t accept something that it won’t allow me to accept in the first place.  Ahhh….someone in programming figured out how to make the system recognize words but not the context of them.  If I don’t have the option to accept money orders checked in the payment box, what difference does it make if I say I won’t accept them in the description?  But, it wouldn’t allow me to list my item until I went back and removed the offending sentence.

Finally, just when I thought I’d get my item listed, the shipping payment information I included caused the largest box to pop-up on the screen.  It basically said that the way I phrased my listing by stating that if someone didn’t want to pay for something that they shouldn’t bid was wrong and I could drive away customers.

Um….that’s kind of the point!!  If they’re not willing to pay extra for the shipping services to ensure that it arrives at their residence/office/deserted island, then I don’t want to fool with someone trying to argue with me that they “really want to complete the auction and pay the money due but the shipping is just too expensive and [they] had no idea whatsoever that [I] would charge such an extravagant amount and how dare [I] not know that [they] are always good for their word and that [I] am insulting [them] by not just slapping a stamp on the item or, in [their] opinion, sending it for free.”  I’ve gotten so frustrated and people trying to argue about shipping at times I’ve told them I’ll just stick their item in an envelope, put a stamp on it, and wish them the best of luck ’cause what they want to pay isn’t going to get their item to them.

The pop-up box continued to chastise me on being “unprofessional” and how it could hurt me from becoming one of their Top Sellers.  I don’t list enough stuff to be a “Top Seller” and if I was operating a storefront instead of an online business (which I’ve done), my attitude would be exactly the same.  It’s not being “unprofessional” — it’s being honest.  And, as I said earlier, the customer is not always right.

After over an hour of changing and adding and subtracting things from the listing, it finally let me post my item.  All that work for something that’s got a starting bid of $5.  AND, I got a notice that they’re changing the rules/regulations on listing items again May 1st (tomorrow).

I’ll wait until the 2nd to list more items, if it will let me.  Hopefully they will have made their minds up on what those of us who list our items for sale (and are the ones who’ve made them successful) will be allowed to do.  It’s sad when a company gets too big for its britches.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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I don’t wanna post today!

With everything that’s been going on recently, the last thing I want to do right now is sit in front of the computer and try to be witty.  I went to my therapy session today and feel like nothing much came out of that.  My therapist is stunned that I wasn’t reappointed for my job and has the same outlook I have on me finding another job anywhere around here — grim.

It’s easy to look at the job services online listings and other search engines for positions and find things I’m qualified for or would be willing to learn.  It’s harder to go into the job location to fill-out an application, drop off a resumé or complete an interview with an 85-pound service dog with you that they weren’t expecting.  You can see it in their eyes.  They’re trying to figure out why you’re there with your “pet” or how you could possibly be able to do any work if you’re “that” disabled that you need a service animal, especially when you’re not in a wheelchair or showing any visible signs of a disability.  And the usual answers of “You’re qualified, but not qualified enough,” or “You’re overqualified for this position” roll off their lips as if they’ve had their mind made-up all along (which, they probably have).

Today has just been a sucky day and I’m not in the mood to deal with much else.  I had an idea for a business I could open that would help me as well as many others in our community, and then found that someone else is already starting one.  And even though I know mine would be WAY better and most likely more successful, without the money to start it up, it’s just not going to happen.

And now the “voices” are even arguing over which is more negative or depressive because that’s what they do when I’m in a funk.  It’s gonna be a long night.

Non-reappointment not making sense

So, some of you will remember the other day when I posted that my job had ended because I wasn’t chosen to have my position reappointed for another two years.  In the letter I received, this was the explanation given:

March 24th, 2012 marks the end of the current appointment period.  Per the Stafford Act and the Conditions of Employment, you have not been reappointed.  However, you are free to apply for an appointment within another Cadre.

I wrote to my (now former) supervisors to request an explanation on why I wouldn’t be reappointed, especially since I have almost 8 years with the organization and have never received a negative mark on any performance evaluations.  That was on Saturday (March 24th) and I didn’t hear anything back until today.  Here’s what I got:

March 24th 2012 marked the end of the current appointment period for all DAE’s.  We were asked to evaluate our current work force needs based on (insert Governmental Agency Acronym here)‘s mission. This required making some difficult decisions.  Clearly we had people who had contributed to our mission for a long time and were good employees.  However, our current and projected staffing needs meant we needed a more nimble organization, which required making some very hard choices.  At this time, it was determined per the Stafford Act and your Conditions of Employment, to allow your appointment to expire.  You are free to apply for an appointment within another Cadre.

I asked for the definition of a “more nimble organization” but only received the same paragraph in response.

“More nimble organization” — what the heck does that mean?  It’s not like we’re in the military having to carry packs of equipment on our backs.  Heck, some co-workers I’ve seen have barely lifted a ream of paper to refill a copy machine.  And if they’re talking about age, I’m only 41 and most of my dearest friends who work with this organization (for now at least) are much older than I am.

I also asked if I’m qualified to apply for an appointment within another Cadre and received no answer.  I then found the following information posted regarding the way all of the new changes are coming about:

Q: How will someone become part of the National Disaster Reservist Program?  A: More information on opportunities and the process for obtaining appointments to the NDRP will be forthcoming in the next 60 days.

Q: I understand that there is a hiring freeze of DAEs now, is this true?  A: Yes and no.  Any person who is not currently employed by (insert Governmental Organization Acronym here), current local hires, and those who are seeking employment as a new DAE are being asked to wait until the NDRP is fully functional.  Any Permanent Full-Time, Temporary Full-Time, or CORE employee who is transitioning to become a DAE will have their transition processed so that they do not have a break in service which would impact items such as their health care benefits.

As I read this — and someone please correct me if I’ve got it all wrong — there’s a new program that will be called the NDRP.  You can’t apply for it right now but they might have information on how to obtain an appointment in it within approximately 60 days (this is the government, you know).  And if you were a DAE but you’re not one now because you weren’t reappointed, you can’t apply for a new position in a new Cadre because there’s a hiring freeze.

This doesn’t make sense!  If you can’t reapply for your job or for a new one in a new Cadre, then why tell us we can?

Now, there is a clause in our Conditions of Employment that says they can release us at any time for any reason because we’re temporary intermittent workers.  But I smell something fishy here.  They talk about the type of “ideal” workforce they need, not simply that they have to reduce the number of employees.  And for a number of people, myself included, who might have unavoidable “difficulties” in meeting the “ideal” (I’ll let y’all work that definition out for yourselves), this doesn’t sound right.

Well, that’s all I’m going to say about it for now.  I’m waiting on a call from the low-vision center so I can be evaluated for adaptive technologies to help me continue to be able to work, in this job or any other one I might be able to obtain.  I’ve advised them that the rush to get me in isn’t as much of a priority at the moment since I’m not in a position to be employed soon but they’re still trying to help me speed-up the process.  We’ll see what happens.

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