Notes From the eBay Trenches

Featured Cards: 2010 Topps 206 #285, Jayson Werth; 2014 Topps Upper Class #UC-26, Ryan Howard; 2010 Topps Heritage #443, Philadelphia Phillies

eBay is the great necessary evil by which I handle most of my collecting. I’d love to collect cards in the same manner I did 20 years ago — primarily via local dealers and card shows. However, changes in the hobby, many of which wrought upon it by eBay, long ago forced me to make eBay m2010 Topps 206 Werthy primary tool. That probably wouldn’t be any different even if I were living in the Philly suburbs rather than the exurbs of Northern Virginia. I’m sure nothing you’re about to read hasn’t already been said/written by someone else, but I still wanted to get them off my chest….

I appreciate sellers who take the time to carefully package their cards, but a nontrivial percentage of them really don’t seem to grasp the notion that securely packaging cards does not mean shipping them in a manner that makes it extremely difficult to extract the cards without damaging them. I swear, I sometimes think that as a collector the most valuable tool I have at my disposal is an X-Acto Knife. I am certain that without the use of one, I would likely damage approximately one card per month. It’d probably be even more valuable if I were an unscrupulous dealer/seller, but thankfully for everyone involved I have a conscious and I listen to it….

At least the ridiculously meticulous and careful sellers put in the effort. I’ve started taking it upon myself when leaving feedback to note when someone charges $2.00+ for shipping and handling and then mails the card in a top loader and plain white envelope. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly legitimate and safe way to mail a card, but 2010 Topps Heritage Philliesyou don’t get to charge that much for something that costs $0.60 (I’m being very generous with the cost of the envelope)….

Along the same lines, who are the sellers who think that $5.00 or more is an acceptable shipping and handling for just one card and don’t bother to provide a less expensive option kidding? Unless you are shipping a valuable card via Priority Mail and with insurance, there is no reason for that kind of crap….

A couple days ago, I won an eBay auction to pick any 20 cards from a list of available 2014 Topps cards. I wasn’t able to send payment immediately, or at any time during the 38 hours following the end of the2014 Topps UC Howard auction, at which point the seller sent me an email stating: “Need your payment and list of 20 cards ASAP or I will be forced to contact Ebay.” Way to go, fuck-hole — I actually needed more than 20 and was interested in the offer to select additional cards for $0.15 each. Did you really think that someone with an eBay account that is over 15 years old, and has a feedback rating of 3900+ with no negative feedback was going to renege on a $4.50 auction? I sent him payment a couple hours after his email (ironically, I really was getting ready to send payment via PayPal at the moment his email arrived but decided to wait another couple hours out of spite), but I didn’t inform him his impatience cost him an additional sale. Maybe I should have….

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