This is one of those petty stories you have to see with your own eyes in order to believe.
In preparation for my travels, I am selling a large portion of my belongings on eBay in an effort to radically simplify my life. To accomplish this, I have decided to create eBay listings for any of my non-essential items laying around that offer little meaning or value. They say one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. I’ve sold phone cases, gadgets, clothes, the list goes on and on.
One item that sold, miraculously, was a bookmark. Like the piece of paper you place between the pages of a book so you don’t lose your place…? Yeah, I sold one of those for $5.00.
When I got the bid notification, I was shocked. I listed it mostly for laughs and the “what if” but never did I expect someone would actually buy my bookmark. It had a cute tassel with tiny small beads attached to the top. 3 people bid. I guess the buyers found it pretty. I read on my Nook these days so it is quite rare for me to pick up a paperback book. When I saw the bookmark in my room, I reasoned with myself: I can either throw this out or I can list it on eBay and make a few extra bucks. I doubt anyone will buy it but hey, why not try?
After getting paid, I put the bookmark into a plain envelope, slapped on a stamp, and to the post office it went. In hindsight, yes, I was wrong. I will explain more on this in a moment.
3 days later, I open my e-mail and find an essay from the buyer.
Message from the Bookmark Buyer
Hello. I received this bookmark in the mail yesterday and opened the envelope this morning. To my great disappointment, a good amount of the small, silvery beads arrived broken in pieces on the bottom of the package. I’ve included pictures of the 3 broken beads so you can see the exact condition I received your bookmark in. If you compare it to the pictures in the original listing it is no longer the same bookmark. I was hoping that it would come in a padded mailer for the $2.50 shipping I paid, not just a regular letter mailer with a stamp. I was super excited to get and use this bookmark and it just sad that it arrived damaged. I would like to return it now please and get a full refund. Thank you for your understanding and anticipated cooperation.
Now, I fully acknowledge that the customer was right. However, this is also where things start to get a little bit petty because I know what the bookmark looked like thanks to her MANY photos from far away and up close and I know that if the roles were reversed, I would have just used the bookmark as it was and not thought much of it. Without comparing it to the original images, you’d never even notice the missing beads. However, she was right and it did arrived damaged on my own fault. For that reason, I agreed to issue her a refund.
Now I had 4 options. I could:
- Issue a full refund.
- Issue a partial refund.
- Accept the return and then issue a refund.
- Say no.
The easiest and cheapest option would be to just issue the refund. My internal pettiness didn’t want to do that though because I felt like she’d get her refund and just use the bookmark anyway. It required me to risk an additional $2 loss but I opted to have eBay send her a $2.00 shipping return label (which I’d only be charged for if she used it) figuring she’d probably spend more on the return packaging than she even spent on the $5.00 bookmark to begin with.
One week later…
My dad walks into the kitchen and asks me, “Hey Rock? Did you order something?”
“No, Dad. Why?” I replied. My father walks in with a package and hands this to me.
NO SHE DIDN’T!!! Oh my goodness. Please tell me this is a joke.
Obviously, I immediately realized what I was holding.
I proceed to open the envelope with caution.
Oh wait, I can’t. She taped the manila envelope shut. I find scissors to slice it open.
Oh whaddayaknow, there is yet another envelope inside. Isn’t this amazing? What did she do? Quadruple package the freaking bookmark?
From there, I go to open the Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope. Regarding my previous question, it appears the answer to that is going to be a resounding yes.
Inside the mailer was yet another layer of thickly double-wrapped bubble wrap protecting the precious bookmark. AND INSIDE THERE WAS MY BOOKMARK. HALLELUJAH!
I know I was petty but so was she. Opening her package showed me we were clearly at some kind of war, each trying to prove our own point. So stupid but so funny! All over a $5.00 bookmark that also could have just gone into the trash…. COME ON, HOW AMAZING IS THIS???? I issued her the full refund and just called it a day. NOT WORTH MY TIME.
I feel like that guy from The X-Factor who almost dropped out of his audition because his friend/boyfriend gave him undercooked chicken putting him at risk of getting salmonella. That is the same level of pettiness we had going on with this freaking eBay transaction.