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Wednesday, 09 June 2021


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For years I’ve kept a separate checking account just for PayPal. Now eBay lives there as well. I quit selling camera gear via eBay: Too expensive and risky—KEH all the way. Well worth the reduced amount I’ll get vs the hassles that can arise from eBay transactions. KEH even picks up the tab for shipping stuff to them.

eBay shouldn't be permitted to do that. That actually sounds like theft. On the other hand, if you really want to make yourself crazy, read about Amazon's plan to link your internet with your neighbor's, creating a nationwide Amazon internet that--*you* --pay for. You have to opt out of it; if you don't, and you have Alexa, or any of that Amazon house-protection equipment, you're automatically in. They only use a *little* bit of your monthly bandwidth...without asking. An article ab out it on Are Technica suggests that we can expect massive security problems.

I've known a lot of alcoholics in my life because I spent twenty-five years as a newspaper reporter, where the problem is endemic. (Also, reporters seem to be more susceptible to clinical depression; wonder if they're linked?) One alcoholic friend told me that alcohol is wonderful, because when you're drinking, anything seems possible, and you are a happening guy.

The only reason I wear a mask in stores is because the workers do. It's hard work for poor pay, so why not support them in a way.

I share your dismay with eBay. So much so that, with rare exceptions, I completely stopped using it for selling equipment. They’ve just exceeded my Pain/Gain ratio threshold of 1.0. Fees are way too high, intrusiveness of financial operations way too icky, and there are just too many easier alternative resale channels available. I wonder how bright their future is.

A propos "do your work", I have made Kamaji's admonishment to "finish what you started, human" (in the movie 'Spirited Away' by Studio Ghibli) a standing order for my children (much to their delight).

Sometimes, unfortunately, life is not easy.

As for eBay's high fees and bank account access, I knew about the former and just got the email about the latter. I think I'm done with them. It's the web, why aren't there 100 competitors out there vying for my business? Shouldn't it be easy to do, it's the web. The whole internet monopoly thing bugs me big time. At this point, I prefer to trade in my stuff at a local bricks and mortar store, I'd rather give my money to them.

Hi Mike, I think you have correctly identified the cause of your rebellion as a form of tribute to your brother, as a demonstration of just how much his illness destabilised your karma. Its a demonstration of your humanity.

Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody" sounds to a lot of people like an interminable religious sermon, but to me it comes across like an existentialist meditation.

"You're gonna have to serve somebody / Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord / But you're gonna have to serve somebody"

Translated to a mundane level, you can serve your health, serve an addiction, serve your family, an idea of wealth, status, a principle, a tradition, your id, ego or superego, or someone else's... You can serve multiple masters if they're compatible.

In that light, "rebellion" is an attempt to change whom or what the rebel serves, even if the rebel sees it as "getting out" or "taking a break". It doesn't have to be a bad shift, but it's always a shift, never an exit, so best to be aware of who or what it is one has decided to serve, even temporarily.

Now if I could just learn to live so consciously, I'd probably be a happier and better person.

It's not irrational to continue wearing a mask when amongst others even after being vaccinated. The nominal 95% efficacy of the best COVID vaccines means there's still a 5% chance of contracting the infection when exposed, though the likelihood of severe disease is very low. And while you would like to think only those who have been vaccinated would go maskless at the grocery store, that's just not the case. You're trusting that everyone else at the grocery store is as responsible as you are; not a safe assumption.
Ironically, in my county COVID is now largely a disease of young adults, because most older folks have sensibly gotten vaccinated. The last patient I had in the hospital was only 29 years old, and was *very* ill.

Mike, good post today. On EBay I kind of said the same thing. Not sure I will use it again? I have “traded” my gear in at my still local camera store. I know the price I receive is wholesale but I don’t like folks having access to my checking account. A separate account might be a good comprise? Good suggestion.

Re eBay and PayPal -- I completely agree. Worse, eBay says it no longer sends monthly statements, so bookkeeping is even harder. But I guess that's the way it goes now that eBay is safely in monopoly territory.

We all need a break from life at times; that is what makes us human. Best to you.

Mike, wear the mask because (a) masks mostly protect you from passing on Covid-19 to others, not from catching it from others, and (b) Covid vaccines stop you getting sick but do not necessarily stop you carrying Covid and passing it on to unvaccinated persons, although they do reduce the risk by reducing viral loads. (That is, Covid vaccines only indirectly increase herd immunity, and only at a very high societal uptake.) Thus, there is nothing rebellious about it, except to the misinformed. Or you can just use your sensible reaction to the disease as an excuse to pretend you are the Lone Ranger, or the Green Hornet, or Batman, or Darth Vadar, etc., according to your age and predilection. And you might as well pretend you are being rebellious while you are it. It's more fun that way.

"Worse, eBay now insists on direct access to my bank account." I wonder how many sellers will consent to this direct access before they say no, they don't need to sell on ePrey? Lets see, might some hackers consider this a tempting target?

Frankly, Mike... I'd stage another personal rebellion and tell eBay where to get off. I'd check B&H, Adorama, KEH, Roberts Photo and others to see what I can get for my gear. Without eBay's insane fees, you might do just as well. And, as for direct access to your account - any account - by eBay, I don't understand why you're even bothering to think about it.

Ebay and PayPal fees are why I ended up trading into KEH, well, their customer service was the biggest factor - but having to cover shipping + 3% at a minimum or eBay fees on top make it hard to justify private selling some days. I love the FredMIranda forums - it's a very good, self-regulating community - and have found many great deals and fair traders there, but if it's not available there, Roberts, KEH, and BH Photo make it a lot easier.

Ebay's other fun trick is tax - I'm not sure about paying local sales tax on items from Japan, which have not import tariff. Feels unfair.

Ah, Fresh City.

Having lived in Rhode Island for two different stints in the last 15 years (including Bristol!), Fresh City became your go to place when visiting my parents in eastern upstate New York. It was especially helpful after I went on my own lifestyle change and lost 50 pounds. My only quibble is that the portion sizes are a bit large. I don’t do the restricted time thing and just can’t each that much food. Best part is that there is one both east bound and west bound.

2 points I would like to make. #1 diet. Though I am not fully plant based I am whole food, lower carb based. 2 months in and I am down 15 pounds without counting calories. Thank you for being an inspiration. I just need to lose 10 more to hit target goal.
#2 Ebay. I am a 20 year member who went near one year without selling anything. They basically shut down the selling end of my membership allowing me one sale a month. I have like 650 positive transactions @ 100% satisfaction but that matters not. I had a very nice large format camera listed for sale and Ebay informed me that PayPal would not be the default funds provider and I need to give them my bank account #. Absolutely not and I yanked my listing quick. Now they tell me I owe them $8 for the aborted attempt to sell. They will wait a long time for that $8.

I am not happy with the changes on eBay either. Totally against them being able to take money out of my account. I have not seen the fees go up if you figure that they have merged their fees with PayPal fees, about 15% now.
Biggest problem I have is after I sell something and the buyer pays, I do not see the money for FIVE days, long after I am supposed to ship.
I have been selling on eBay for 22 years and have a thousand positive feedbacks, which few buyers leave any more. I need eBay to make ends meet though. So . . .
Ch ch ch changes . . .

Whoa, Mike!! You are sounding as angry and cynical as me - maybe it’s age but I am a decade older. You still have some catching up to do.

As I posted recently, I closed my eBay account several months ago for not just those reasons but also the lack of trustworthy sellers - you mentioned that too I believe.

You need a deal with KEH - they are now my source for all my photo equipment - what was made about a decade ago is just fine with me.

My wife has rheumatoid arthritis, and the medication she takes for that suppresses her immune system. Which means the vaccination she got (Pfizer) might be only 30% effective. So we'll continue wearing masks when we go shopping or go to concerts or other activities where she could come in contact with the virus. Neither of us really cares what anyone else thinks about our reasons to wear a mask. But at least when I run I can do so without bothering with a mask.

You do you. If avoiding alcohol entirely is what you have decided you need to do, I support your decision.

But I know many people for whom that was not the right approach, as demonstrated by decades of happy productive life with modest use of alcohol or other drugs. The narrative that "cold turkey" and never touch it again is the only way to deal with excessive use is dangerous nonsense.

Join the ebay hate group. My recent transaction worked out like this.
Got paid £107
Paypal gave me £102.50 paid as €114.50 (criminal exchange rate)
Ebay took €12.76 in fees (Sorry of the differing exchange rates cause confusion)

So I got £91 for my sold price of £107 Outrageous

ebay recently notified me of their new conditions. Big up front about not having to use and pay Paypal fees. Hidden way down at the bottom was the statement that by agreeing to these new conditions they had the right to withdraw funds from my account. Over my dead body. They don't have my account details and and can go and whistle for them

Glad you back to behaving there, Mike. As for selling on Fleabay, why? I do make purchases there, but sell? Never. Camera gear is best sold on camera forums, such as Fred Miranda, where the only fee you pay is PayPal, and that’s only if you aren’t known and people don’t pay via friends and family. I’m far from a professional seller, but on a Canon forum (photography-on-the net) I’ve bought some but have sold in excess of $40k of gear, all with glowing feedback, where as a result people have no hesitation to send the fee-free way.)

Are you sure eBay didn't take your taxes out for a sale over 600 bucks? I think someone told me that eBay is now taxing sales over 600 bucks and sending the sales tax to your state.

You are correct tho. I authorize NO ONE to take money out of my checking account, period. That's why I don't pay bills on-line. All my friends made fun of me, until those $17,000. electrical bills started cleaning out peoples accounts in Texas! You want money from me, you send me a bill, I review it, and if I agree with it, I pay it via check.

Mike, eBay is great for buying items but for selling it’s a whole different animal. I recently sold 2 items and talk about seller fee shock, wow it made me rethink about ever selling again. I probably won’t unless I am desperate to sell something. I also feel less secure about bank information being in their hands with all the internet hacks that have been in the news lately. I think you may be better off just selling your gear on your website.

I remember the great journalist Alistair Cooke, in once of his despatches on the BBC, said 'the definition of professionalism is doing your work when you don't particularly feel like it.' Sometimes it's good to be a rebel, sometimes it's not.

I've been using eBay and PayPal for a dozen or so years now, and right from the beginning opened a free, no-interest checking account to use for these transactions. Up until recently eBay made it easiest to run payments through PayPal - where I could have the choice of using this account or a credit card or both; now they've cut out PayPal completely. As for fees, I try hard not to look at the cost, I figure I'm still better off than selling to KEH or another business.

A number of years ago I stopped using eBay to sell things and it's only got worse. I objected first of all to the removal of adding postage to the auction. Then I objected to eBay automatically siding with the buyer. Recently I read about PayPal and direct access to my bank account and decided never again.

Occasional eBay purchases are just about ok.

I use Amazon (I know) to sell my stuff. Fees indicated up front and no time limit on the advert. Much better.

Here's a "new thing." www.gearfocus.com. Somehow this got recommended to me, I haven't used it, but it sounds promising. Fees are much lower than on eBay. At this point looks video centric and certainly not as big as the Bay, but I'll probably give it a try.

On wearing masks. Some of us can't get vaccinated due to medical constraints. Has nothing to do with rebellion or stupidity.

I've used eBay for many years myself both buying and selling (mainly things I've previously bought on the same venue). I was also dismayed by them suddenly asking for my personal and bank info as a requirement to keep selling those items that I determine I don't need. I've felt that generally the site has gotten more and more unfriendly to sellers, and believe it's time to use alternatives that offer the flexibility I've lost. I'd be open to suggestions on that frankly!

PayPal and eBay. You didn't tell us the sale price of the lens, so we don't know what the total percentage was. I have been a long-time user, but it seems to have become very buyer-friendly at the expense of sellers. However, it does allow one to sell at "retail" when dealers will only give one a "wholesale" price. Can you calculate a final percentage after the eBay and PayPal fees? If bank account (not just credit card) access is now required, I may have to find other markets (after 800+ transactions since 2000).

sell your stuff off your site [blog]
that'll show em.

Mike personally I'd much rather buy photo stuff from you than any stranger - and I'm of the opinion that a large bunch of your commenters & readers would also. I'm pretty sure if you gave us your Ebay moniker, or better yet just posted :
"Item /Description /Price" on TOP and forego Ebay. Not suggesting you set up a "Bubba Mike's Trading Post" but once or twice a year would be pretty reasonable. You wouldn't be overwhelmed with questions, you'd save some moolah,and we'd buy with confidence. You still have to pack & ship just like Ebay, but I bet there'd be a lot fewer - if any- ignorant or unsatisfied buyers.


ebay: we have new exciting rules. You'll give us full access to your bank accounts/credit cards. Me: Yeah over my dead body. RIP ebay.

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