Two falls ago at this time, I was recovering from a surgery that went badly. One of my closest friends and I decided to rent a cabin in the Ozark Mts for a week to get away from everything and relax and just 'be,' to hike around the woods and buy crafts for Christmas presents. M. brings her laptop b/c she has to be 'connected.' As for me, give me wine, good food, good books, and I could care less, though the cabin did end up having cable, and I enjoyed watching some old classic movies. We both brought cell phones so we could communicate with the outside world if necessary. I only use mine for emergencies and keep it in the car for such. If someone new needs the number I have to look it up -- that's how little I use it. (I hate talking on the phone, generally). M. laughed when she saw it -- it was so old ( I've since gotten an upgrade) it looked like a GI Joe walkie-talkie. But guess which phone got the better reception in the mountain ranges?
M. is a huge advocate of eBay. Loves it. All throughout the week she is on there bidding, and persistently wants to show me the wonders of eBay. Finally I sit for a lesson. There's a hard to find Western I want to add to my collection of favorite movies. We track down several versions and price ranges and I bid on one, using M's already established identity. The next afternoon we learn we have won the bid. But the seller writes to ask if she would send a check rather than going through PayPal, the online banking site. Mo checks his rating, which is very high -- meaning he has good reviews on previous transactions, so she responds that her friend, who actually bought the video, will send the check to the address he has provided, and forwards all the info to my home computer. I'm thinking maybe this is kind of cool after-all.
Once home, I send an email confirming arrangements for the video and a check in the mail. Three days later, I send another email. Still no reply. When I check with the bank, I discover the check has been cashed; pretty quickly, considering it was sent to CA. I email again to say I see the check has gone through, when may I expect the tape? Still no reply. I have a bad feeling about this. I email M. and forward all the info and she tries on my behalf. Nada. We figure him for a deadbeat and contact the eBay police. I explain in painstaking detail but eBay sends a lame generic reply about my 'not being a customer,' so M. sends off yet another email to customer relations to try to get some resolution. So much for my wonderful venture. I should have just flushed the money down the toilet. In the meantime, the seller changes his email and account information and disappears. eBay does nothing.
But deadbeat forgot one thing -- I had his mailing address. A little sleuthing easily determines it's valid. I'm feeling stung from being ripped off the very first time I decide to give eBay a go. SL, wherever you are, you don't stand a chance against one very pissed-off, had-a-crummy-year woman. I fume. I plot revenge. I go to a big-box store and collect a half-dozen 'lap trash' inserts that fall out of magazines like Health, Family Circle, Oprah, self, Fit. I sign him up for Scientology, and anything else I hope will be unappealing to him.
I'm still angry though, and decide my personal whipping boy needs that little extra something...so I sign him up for the Book of the Month Club, where as a special offer, he can receive six advance copies of the book of his choice. Everything You Thought You Knew About Sex is Wrong is selected to arrive at his door.
Four months later, I happen upon SL's address as I was doing a little spring-cleaning at my desk. The dark days of fall and winter seemed far away. Before tossing the scrap of paper into the wastebasket, I briefly considered dropping him a postcard to ask how he liked the reading material and if he learned anything.*
*I have. When I go on eBay now, I pay through PayPal or not at all!