“Would you take £20 for it, mate?” (an ebay rant)

Ebay: I love it. Most of the things I buy come from Ebay because why bother travelling to and hunting around in physical stores when I can just hit up the world’s top auction site, type in what I’m after and smash that “Buy It Now” button to acquire it? Usually at a cheaper price than a real store can offer the same item too. Now don’t get me wrong: the death of physical retailers isn’t something I’m happy about but at the same time, my money and my time are valuable assets so why should I expend a greater amount of either just to keep a brick ‘n mortar store in business? Businesses need to appeal to ME and woo ME in order to get ME to open my wallet.

I’d make an exception for friendly indie stores because those places can be more than just shops. They can be inviting places with great atmospheres and knowlegable people. And I can’t deny that I enjoy rooting through shelves/bins for hidden gems or things that I have been after for ages. It’s the retail version of treasure hunting. But as for large, national or global chains? Fuck them. As somebody who works in retail myself, I have the inside line on how crappy these organisations are to work for and how they can only offer great deals at the expense of spending on adequate staffing, security, resources and premises maintenance.

But I’m getting off-track here aren’t I? Additionally, why am I talking about buying stuff and shopping experiences when I have already spoken about giving materialism the heave-ho?

Well, I’m actually talking about selling on Ebay as opposed to buying. I had to talk about the positive side of Ebay to begin with y’see because where there is a Yin there is most certainly a Yang. As an Ebay seller, you definitely feel a lot more of the Yang. Selling on Ebay is fantastic because for all its faults and vocal detractors, Ebay retains the largest audience for your unwanted shit and provides the best chance of getting money for it. I have made thousands of pounds which has (hopefully!) offset a lot of what I have spent on Ebay during my membership to the site.

Old Ebay logo FTW [source]
But there are many, many drawbacks to the selling experience. I’m only going to focus on the one today though because otherwise, I would still be typing this post tomorrow morning, bleary-eyed, dry of throat and sleep deprived. What I want to briefly rant about today are stupid, ignorant buyers, specifically the messages they send.

Ebay is definitely more about the quick and easy fixed-price “Buy It Now” listings these days and has lost a lot of the carboot/auction house novelty that it once had. Sometimes though, it’s difficult to guage the current market value on your stuff when recent sold examples have finished with wild variations in the price(s) paid. It’s at times like this that I simply go the classic auction route and let the buyers decide how much something is worth. There are other reasons to choose the auction format over Buy It Now of course but the main advantage – as I see it – is to seek that current market value. After all, anybody can list anything for whatever wild price they pluck out of thin air and if said item happens to be rare or uncommon then others will follow suit and use that price as the basis for their own. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that the buyers are prepared to pay those prices and so the auction format can help you scythe through the BS and cut to the reality.

At the end of my auction descriptions, I always sign off with the following message to perusers of my item(s)

“Please do not send me messages about ending auctions early or for private Buy It Now prices. I respect the auction format and do not reply to these messages”

As you can tell, I subscribe to the “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” philosophy. I’ve had my bids cancelled in suspicious circumstances before and I was furious, especially when I had good reason to believe that somebody else had messaged the seller with an offer and persuaded them to end the auction early so that they may buy the item. I wouldn’t want this to happen to me and so I certainly wouldn’t inflict it on others who are placing bids on my auctions. Also, the vast majority of these people who message sellers and get their dirty way are traders themselves, looking to take advantage of sellers who don’t know the value of what they have up for auction. The seller thinks that they are getting a good deal but the dodgy buyer knows better. He knows that he can sell the item on for double what he paid. Then there are the simple low-ballers who want everything for nothing. It’s why I no longer allow the “Best Offer” facility on my listings as it only ever attracted insulting offers from potential buyers who think that slashing 60% or more from the original asking price is fair.

I listed a load of videogames yesterday as part of my ongoing purge of material possessions and – as usual – included my little blurb about not contaminating my inbox with unwanted offers. Most of my items have multiple bids on them already with buyers playing by the rules and attempting to win them legitimately. Furthermore, I have been involved in the videogame scene for years now and so in addition to my ability to check completed listings and get a lay of the digital land, I pretty much know what is and what isn’t worth money. I’m not going to be hoodwinked by low-balling re-sellers is what I’m saying.

So imagine my dismay when I see that I have messages today. One was from somebody who wanted to know if I would accept £20 for four games. The other was from a different prospector seeking a combined price on two specific games I was selling.

Can you morons not read? You haven’t even addressed by special blurb in your messages. You want me to just cancel everybody else’s bids, end the item(s) using a false reason (item damaged, no longer available etc.) and sell to you in private without the seller protection offered by Ebay and Paypal? Jog on, mate. Play the auction game fair and square and put up the money you are prepared to spend on the items. If they sell for more than you are willing to pay then tough, that’s capitalism baby. Don’t try these back-door shenanigans and expect me to flip the middle finger to every other honest bidder. Somebody needs to play the game fairly and buddy, that’s me.

Additionally, they have simply ignored my request for people to NOT send me these sorts of messages and that’s just fucking rude. I think this ignorance may in fact get my back up more than would-be buyers wanting me to screw the rules.

Just go away.

You know nothing (and that’s okay)

Fewer people irritate quite as much as those who walk around reciting quotes from Game of Thrones, believing that they are humorous for it and not the copy/paste boxset-obsessed sheep that they actually are. There’s only so many solemn “winter is coming” warnings that you can tolerate whenever the outside temperature drops a few degrees for example. And don’t get me started on those who mimic The Hound and contribute to the oversuse of the last bastion of hard-hitting, impactful naughty words – cunt.

There is however, one quoted-to-death line that is perfectly applicable to our actual lives even if the vast majority of GOT followers probably dont realise it. That line – as you’ve no-doubt already guessed by the topic title – is Ygritte’s observation of “you know nothing, Jon Snow”

[image: thesaint-online]
On a surface level, this was Ygritte criticising Jon for making assumptions of the wildlings based solely on what he knew or had been taught by those living in the safety of – or beyond – The Wall. But it’s here that we can delve deeper and discover that a quote from a TV show does in fact reflect us and our society. You may not have the luxury of seeing as many perfectly-formed breasts as some of the characters in ‘Thrones and you certainly can’t expect to soar the skies on the back of a dragon but you can rest assured that you really don’t know anything.

It happens all the time on a daily basis and this humble blogger cannot excuse himself from the guilty. We go around professing to know things for certain or believing that our methods or strategies are the correct way forward. The basic truth is that by thinking like this, we close our minds off to other options and possibilities. How do we know that what we are shown on our newsfeeds is in fact the truth? How do we know for a fact that our way of working is the most efficient if we refuse to even try the suggestions of others? How do we know that somebody we are attracted to is actually interested in that way (or vice-versa)?

That’s not to say that you or I are wrong in what we do or believe but we might be. Might be. That’s the key thing to remember and take away. We might be wrong because for as much as we know for a fact, there is so much more that we don’t know. On top of that, even the few nuggets that we can hold on to as “fact” may be flipped upside down before our very eyes on the basis of new evidence or a fresh perspective that we hadn’t previously considered.

“You are not bigger than your own ignorance”

An example from my own life: a month or so ago, I mustered up the balls to ask out a girl that I had been into for some time. After past experience in mis-reading the signs and plain old delusions when it came to previous women in the past, I felt a lot more confident and assured this time. I felt fully in control of my emotions, hadn’t rushed into it and was rocking my new mindset of “if she says ‘no’ then it’s going to be shit but that’s life and I won’t waste time analysing it”. We’d been talking for a while now and it felt like positive talk: friendly yet teasing and I was sure that I could feel a spark. More importantly, I am a shit conversationalist and a bit of an introvert but even I often lost track of time and ended up chatting shit with this girl for around half an hour at a time.

In short, I ignored the advice of this very post by my future self and believed that THIS time, I was right and I was in with a chance. As you probably deciphered with scant assistance, she turned me down. Now I won’t go into her reasons or my own reaction because they have no further bearing on this topic. All I’ll say is that it is totally cool between us and despite being disappointed, I got over it quickly and did at least manage to stay true to my mindset of acknowledging that her rejection was a shit thing to happen but shit happens. I dusted myself down and carried on.

[image: fluentin3months.com]
The point is, I believed that I was right and that I knew what the outcome was going to be when I was clearly wrong all along. Obviously I don’t regret sticking my balls on the line and taking the plunge and on that note I do want to say that taking what I’m saying onboard here doesn’t mean that you should fall into the trap of over-analysing a situation or being paralysed by indecision because you haven’t got all of the facts. You may never be able to access all of the facts or every side to a story. You can’t, for example, know all of the facts surrounding a big news story in a far flung part of the globe because you can’t be there to see what’s actually happening behind the veil of bullshit and propaganda that our western news outlets put up. You also can’t read another person’s mind and therefore can’t always predict how they really feel or how they view something. But you must still form an opinion or still have a go at getting that girl’s phone number or putting yourself out there in some other way.

It’s okay to be ignorant but it’s not okay to be intentionally ignorant is what I’m saying. I have come to see that it’s far healthier to always remember that you could be wrong. Don’t stop reaching for things and don’t necessarily change how you live your life but just remember that we rarely possess all of the facts and even when we do, there isn’t always the guarantee that those facts are untainted and raw. Don’t make assumptions (assume makes an ass out of u and me as Alice says in Stephen King’s book, Cell), don’t presume that your way of doing things is necessarily the best way and certainly don’t believe that you know the truth because the TV or internet told you something was so.

Knowing that you might be wrong helps keep your mind open to new ideas and information. It helps you listen to others and it makes you a much more humble person and not a closed-off “my way or the highway” individual. Don’t sacrifice your values or beliefs but be open to challenges and new perspectives.

Then again, maybe I’m wrong!

You don’t deserve anything

Recently I have made a lot of posts about things such as books and cars, subjects I do intend to continue covering (because this blog is a free-for-all as far as what I feel like talking about is concerned) but now it’s time to return to some of that real talk.

Or at least my attempts to make “real” talk. I could always be wrong but being wrong is another topic for another post.

So: you don’t deserve anything. I don’t deserve anything. Nobody deserves anything.

Obviously, the word “deserve”, its deriatives and the situations in which it is applied can cover a wide variety of scenarios and – as with pretty much everything on this mudball – there are exceptions. In this case, these exceptions are applications of the word “deserve” that I see as fair game and therefore exempt from what this post is about. Correct uses of deserving if you will. The two main exceptions that I want to define before I continue are:

  1. Saying that somebody got “what they deserved” after acting like an arsehole, being a criminal or choosing to be reckless in the face of all warnings. I don’t believe in karma or some sort of cosmic scales but I do believe in statistical odds and the fact that nobody can get away unscathed forever. Plus there is that added human satisfaction of seeing a corrupt celebrity behind bars or a car-jacker ran over by the very vehicle he was attempting to steal – that sort of thing.
  2. Saying that somebody deserves something more than another. The point of this post is for me to explain that nobody deserves anything but IF something fortunate or extremely positive WAS to happen to somebody then I see nothing wrong with judging who is more deserving of being the benficiary of that luck. Example: a struggling, honest working-class family is more deserving of a freak lottery win over a millionaire who still buys tickets because they still aren’t satisfied with their needlessly bloated bank balance.

What I actually want to address are all the whiny moaners with first-world problems, banging the woe-is-me drum and telling people that they “don’t deserve this” or that they DO in fact “deserve this to happen”. I should know because I used to be a whiny, entitled moaner myself before waking up a little bit more and realising some harsh truths.

It’s a problem born of negative mindsets such as entitlement, jealousy and pure ignorance. We’ve all heard people proclaiming that they deserve things and if you stop to consider their words then you may conclude that they are really fucking irritating “look at me” people who believe that their life is shit and perpetually swirling around in a shit-stained toilet bowl, destined for an appointment with the Sewer God. You may well have already reached this conclusion and elected to minimise your time around these people to try and limit the amount of unhelpful negativity that can – and will – rub off on you. We all know people like this.

There’s the unlucky-in-love guy that mopes around saying “I really deserve a girlfriend by now”

There’s the work-shy woman who does nothing to get a better job or stop blowing so much money on rubbish, all the while telling her friends that she deserves to have more money.

There’s that person we all know who is completely blind to what they DO have in their lives and eternally bleats on about how “nothing good ever happens” to them. These people also tend to come out with the old classic, “it’s about time I had some good luck”.

[image: metrocebu.news]
There are a few harsh truths and points that I’d like to make to anybody who thinks like this, some of which helped me. I’m not saying that I’m a successful or “reborn” person at all. Fucking far from it. I consider myself to still be at the beginning of my own journey of development but I do feel that I have at least woken up to these truths and driven off a lot of those unattractive, entitled misconceptions.

  1. If you want something, you have to go out and get it. Obviously, putting this into practice is a completely different thing but the first step is to accept this truth. Yes, there is such a thing as freak luck but sitting around waiting for the chaotic element of life’s fabric to randomly toss you a bone is a fool’s game. If you want more money then you have to go and earn it. If you want to be better at flirting with girls or have more success getting laid then you have to practice, practice, practice. If you want to overcome an obstacle then you have to be prepared to tackle it.
  2. Shit happens. Sometimes it feels like shit is happening to you more than it is to your friend or that cocky mofo at work but shit happens to everybody. The difference is that those who seem to be able to dodge the brown bullets probably aren’t walking around moaning all the time. It’s okay to feel shit or to acknowledge that something that happened to you was crappy but dwelling on it for too long, over-analysing or – worst of all – believing that life is out to trip you up at every corner really won’t help.
  3. You are not special. What gives you the right to state that you deserve something? What have you done to earn that something? You need to realise that there is no universal force that sees an individual injustice and decides to step in and console the person with a reward for suffering it. It would be fantastic if such a thing were true but it isn’t.

The absolute worst people in my mind are those who believe their life is terrible when others, looking in from the outside, can see different. Most of us here in the western world have a roof over our heads, jobs to go to (regardless of how ‘good’ they are) and easy access to food/water. A lot of us get up every morning without fail and aren’t afflicted with diseases or horrible conditions and yet still we moan, moan, moan. I had a brief moment of relapse last week where I thought something along the lines of “my job is shit and I’ve had enough”. Then I saw a homeless man sitting in the doorway of a shop with a handmade sign telling passers by that he used to serve the country in the armed forces. I gave myself a metaphorical slap and reminded myself that there is absolutely nothing for me to be complaining about. I can only imagine what a homeless person’s reaction would be to the whining of a middle-class person with a home, car, family and job. It must sound utterly disgusting and hellishly ignorant.

The bottom line is that nobody deserves anything. Yes, there are people amongst us who deserve nice things more than others but the reality is that there are no free handouts. Complaining won’t change a thing and you will be forever miserable unless you start acknowledging the things that you do have and start working to get to where you want to be.

It’s time to wake up.