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Tue May 12 2020 11:02:29

Are People Judging You for Selling Non Essential Goods?

By: Ina Steiner

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Are people judging you for selling "non-essential" goods during the pandemic? Why do we ask? One seller on the eBay boards described how someone criticized her for shipping collectible coins.

Surprisingly, it was the clerk at her local post office who made the comment.

The seller explained that the clerk knew that she sold collectibles on eBay. "She tells me "they didn't keep the mail running so people could order things to alleviate boredom, they are keeping it running so you can get what you need when the stores are closed." So basically she's knocking the fact that I'm selling on eBay to people who are working on their coin collections during these times."

Tensions are running high because of the coronavirus pandemic, and some people who must interact with the public may be feeling anxious and vulnerable. People without job security are also feeling anxious and fearful, and online sellers rely on sales for their livelihood.

The thread raised another issue: what is considered "essential" in these times?

We're curious if any readers are being judged, and what you think of the idea that only essential items should be mailed during the pandemic?

Comments (31) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bidonmine

Thu May 14 10:28:18 2020

I sell across several venues, including my own website, Ebay, Facebook, Bonanza, Amazon and more. I have items picked up almost daily by the post office and she has, more than once, on days with nothing going out, checked with me to make sure she did not miss the notice. She has always said that it is the ''Ebay'' sellers like me that are probably helping to keep the Post Office afloat. I have also dropped at the post office and the clerks there are more than friendly and almost always ask how my business is doing in the shutdown. Though I have not, of course, like the OP, you may run into the occasional clueless postal person.

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by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 11:12:26 2020

WOW! What a crummy attitude! People who are quarantined at home have the time to shop for replacements for broken dishes, lost flatware pieces, etc. It completely makes sense. It's NONE of that Postal Worker's business what people buy - period! She needs a new job!!

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu May 14 12:26:44 2020

Many are experiencing stress and anxiety from ever encroaching societal disruption. Hobbies, entertainment, and maintaining a routine can provide a soothing component that will go a long way in alleviating stress.  

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by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 12:26:48 2020

I sell on eBay, 22 years now. I also retired from post office after 30 years, 15 spent as supervisor and 9 spent as window clerk. I can tell you very accurately that there are a number of window clerks who thing God died and made them king. They are worse than bossy cops. I had 1 reject a 108" package for being 1/8" over on 1 side. I took package to another local post office and the clerk (a friend of mine) thought it was ridiculous. I have another local clerk who resents the fact I print my own labels and simply use them for drop off although the manager says my large volume also counts to their office's total volume credit. In other words I am helping save someones job there simply by dropping off my rather large eBay volume.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Thu May 14 12:28:10 2020

Maybe what the postal worker needs is employer supplied counselling?  People who have to go into work as usual ARE at greater risk for becoming infected.  

I haven't worked since 1989, and don't have to take any employment related risks, so it's easy for me to make jokes about things like this. While I don't think her comment about nonessential items was appropriate, I think I understand where it was coming from.  

A way to reliably test for antibodies is needed.  The postal worker might have already had the virus, and I think knowing that would lessen her fears.  I know that I was greatly relieved when I saw the photos of the purple ''COVID toes'' because that confirmed for me that I had had it, no doubt.  It's the uncertainty of the threat that gets to you.

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by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 14 15:53:04 2020

Yep - I notice a lot of stone throwing in this comment section - undoubtedly from people who are absolutely PERFECT.

A little slack goes a long way in times like this.

Also, I actually took the trouble to go and read the thread.  The OP was understandably blind-sided and wondered if she, herself, was engaging in unnecessary risk because this worker had always been very pleasant previously. She asked a simple question to gauge a forum opinion during uncertain times.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu May 14 16:12:24 2020

A couple weeks ago I was in the post office to get my outgoing packages scanned. This one clerk has been in a bad mood since the lock down started. I had three packages, and she said something along the lines of there were a lot to scan. Then she asks: "You get a discount on postage don't you?" I thought that was going to lead to her saying that she wasn't going to scan them, because I was ready to tell her I planned to report her. Luckily, I haven't had any problems with her since.

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by: COVID-19 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 15 02:48:56 2020

This makes me so mad I want to swear!  But I don't think this site would let me do that?

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 15 06:20:30 2020

“... worker who is living off the government ...l

“ Another government worker... Most people who read this blog have no idea how their government even works- ...”

Would that include folks who think the USPS is funded by taxes? Because that would be wrong too. The USPS may be ‘controlled’ by congressional oversight (meaning your votes can ‘fix’ what you believe ‘broken’), but they are funded (Operations and labor) solely by postal product and services sales.

Which is part of why this clerk’s alleged behavior is so inappropriate. Bad enough it’s rude and insensitive, but it’s also bad for business.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Sat May 16 12:26:16 2020

@Sppoky - I agree with what you said. I just got a package back in the mail with a sticker on it saying that tracking was only available for Priority Mail and Parcels and so postage would be due!!! Mine was a FC parcel that I mailed in April and it cost me almost $3 to do so. The only way to get tracking is to use the FC parcel designation. It has been years since the PO has had any trouble with any of my packages that have tracking on it. By sending it back, they made more work for themselves! I have mailed that same pattern (different copies) a dozen times the same way and none have ever bounced back. I don't think I did anything wrong and I am surprised that during this time when the PO is so busy, that they would even take the time to bother with this. Well, I packaged it up in a PM flat rate envelope and shipped it again and the PO now has received $10 for a 3-ounce package.

Since most of my packages go out via my mailbox, I'm not running into anyone that has a problem with whether what I am selling is essential or not, and anyways these sales are very essential to us!

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by: View from a Street This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 18 07:52:09 2020

The Post Office is not open because essential goods need to shipped. It is open because it is constitutionally mandated to be open.

What the clerk feels, says, or does is of little interest.

As an aside I find it ironic that those who are working are judgemental of those who have been displaced by government fiat. It might be worth instituting a true Progressive tax system during this forced economic dislocation and skim a hefty chunk of the earnings of those who are able to work and redistribute to those who are forced not to work.

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