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Mon Jan 21 2019 23:12:21

Pummeled with Annoying Questions and Ridiculous Excuses?

By: Ina Steiner

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A meme has been picking up steam on social media that plays on the annoying questions that people encounter in various professions. "I'm a (fill in the profession). You may know me from my greatest hits (fill in with your responses to irksome questions you receive about said profession)."

We noticed illustrator and seller Gemma Correll played along, her tweet shows how it goes:

"Hi I'm a cartoonist / illustrator. You may know me from my greatest hits "No, I can't illustrate your book for free, even though your grandkids really enjoyed it" "Yes, I do actually make a living doing this" and "The 'program' I use to draw with is called 'a pen.'"

We thought it was a game at which online sellers could excel. I'm sure many a seller can relate to Gemma's "greatest hit" about being asked whether she really makes a living selling online - yet also asked if she could provide a service for them for free. 

How about the question sellers invariably get asked by friends and neighbors. "No, I can't sell your,... (name of unsellable item)."

Hmm, this could turn into Mad Libs: 

"No, you can't return the (fragile / expired / ripped) item that your (6-month / 2-year) old (child /cat / iguana) accidentally ordered (last week / 8 months/ 2 years) ago when they (poked / sat on / swallowed) your (mouse / keyboard / cell phone)."

We also came across this 2017 article that takes a humorous look at the reasons people return clothing - our top three favorites:

"Item arrived defective at reproducing euphoric rush of purchasing item thirty-six hours ago."

"Changed mind about item after accidentally lighting item a little bit on fire."

"Item no longer needed; and, yes, item smelled like B.O. and favorite perfume when it arrived."

Marie Kondo's book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" even makes its appearance in one of the illustrations.

Let us know what myths you'd like to bust about the life of an online seller, and feel free to share your "greatest hits."



Comments (29) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 04:29:20 2019

The buyer who constantly asks not once but up to five times. "WHAT COLOR IS THAT RED SWEATER IN THE LISTING".

Some people are born stupid and just can't help themselves.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jan 22 07:25:33 2019

"Where's the other pair?"

Received that question from a buyer who ordered a "pair" of pants.  He wanted to know where the second pair were since I used "pair" in the item description.  I was very tempted to send him a single pant leg.   Classic eBay.

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by: P.Dorf This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 07:58:59 2019

Only on ebay....

list a 'spare bubble for spirit-level', I'm sure some numpty would buy it!

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by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 10:31:12 2019

A problem at the start equals a problem at the end,,,,,,


After 2 decades in the online business , we learned ( the hard way ) to Never reply to a obviously ridiculous, question, because , there's a very good chance that sale will not end well,

Not always, but most of the time the buyer will move on to someone else

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Tue Jan 22 10:42:10 2019

Hi, I sell collectible figures occasionally.  You might remember me from such bombshells as "MSRP Isn't Scalping Just Because You're Cheap" and "Sorry You Dragged Your Feet On Three Reissues And Now It's Expensive Again."

Worst dumb question I had was a fool asking on Sunday morning why his 11PM Saturday purchase hadn't shipped yet.  And then filing an INR against me shortly thereafter.

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by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 10:53:26 2019

@max
I usually ignore the stupid ones too, but when I do take time to answer one of them, about 95% of the time I also take the time to upgrade my BBL (if ya know what I mean, wink, wink, nod, nod...).

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This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Tue Jan 22 14:04:39 2019

"Hi, I like these pants. Do you think they will fit me?"

People truly are born stupid or must have drowned when they hit the gene-pool.

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by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 14:37:20 2019

@dans parts

The BBL on ebay is a useful tool, it's a shame that etsy and paypal don't have something in place to do the same,

Most Sellers know it all to well, but in general people really don't understand how many nut job wacko buyers are out there, and a seller needs protection from it,

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 16:38:43 2019

"No, you can't return the (fragile / expired / ripped) item that your (6-month / 2-year) old (child /cat / iguana) accidentally ordered (last week / 8 months/ 2 years) ago when they (poked / sat on / swallowed) your (mouse / keyboard / cell phone)."

Sadly on BOTH eBay and Amazon - you can. And if you DONT agree - you will get punished.

"improving seller experience" my you know what.

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This user has validated their user name. by: DeathFromAbove

Tue Jan 22 18:39:12 2019

I'll just copy/paste one from the other day, verbatim:


Hi--I have a few questions before moving to purchase.
1. Could you please indicate the location of the scuffs mentioned in the condition description?
2. Are they the kind of marks that will wash off or are the scratches?
3. Do any of the photos show the scuffs mentioned--I was unable to locate them myself.
4. Can you please confirm if the mirror' adjustable slider bar been tested to show that the mirror's lighting changes color?
5. Is the electric cord in good condition?
6. Has the item been refurbished or repaired?

I really appreciate your time in answering my questions!


Actual reply:

1. At random, on the exterior housing as mentioned in the item description. It will have scuffs or marks typical from a used item being handled, slid on and off a shelf, stored with other items, etc. Typically nothing that is going to offend anyone but the pickiest of mirror collectors.
2. See above.
3. Probably not. You can try the zoom feature.
4. Yes. The listing pictures literally show the slider in each and every position, with the light on.
5. Yes.
6. No.

Then crickets.

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by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 18:53:44 2019

* I have had the color questions, too. With the color in the title and the description.

* One item listed:
Do you have more than one of these for sale?

* Pure Jill Black Pants Small 32 Waist 29 Inseam:
I have a 32 Inseam, do you think these will fit me?

* AE Jeans, Mfg size 32x32 Actual size 34x 32
Why do you have both sizes. ( go through and explain the some companies new sizing) They measured their AE jeans and ask
Why are my AE Mfg size state 32x32 and they actually measured 34 1/2 x 31?


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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Tue Jan 22 19:03:20 2019

I am SO glad I don't sell clothing.  I empathize with those who do.  But maybe there's enough margin in it to make it worth the aggravations - no standardized sizes, quality differences, 2 billion fabrics, impossible to fit perfectly.  What a mess.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Tue Jan 22 19:13:01 2019

@DeathFromAbove
If you have scuffs on your item (or scratches, or dents, or any kind of wear), that you even mention in your description, why WOULDN'T you show them specifically in the photos?  THAT'S what the photos are for.  You do it half a$$, you get stupid questions.  I don't send questions to incompetent sellers, I just move on to someone who knows what he/she is doing.

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by: Opalie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 22 23:15:44 2019

One feature I REALLY wish ec/ab would add is a like button, or a thumbs up, anything you want but a helpful = )

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 23 12:59:41 2019

Hello, my name is mcposty and I am an online seller, you may know me from such hits as " I have 10 dollars cash right now in hand for your 100 dollar item" or " Dear Customer: The reason your flashlight doesn't work is because you didn't put batteries in it" or " No, I cannot over night this bike to you for free from nevada to new york"


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by: mydogti This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 23 15:22:42 2019

Best Offer....
"Hey, so and so (Wal-Mart or the like) are selling these for 20.00, Ill offer you 8."

I get these offers a lot, which leaves me at lost of words.

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by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 23 18:40:52 2019

"I was walking with my item in my hand and tripped accidentally dropping it in a fire pit and it was incinerated.. i'm gonna need you to send me either another one or a refund please..."

Amazon, 3 years ago and he even filed an A to Z claim when I refused but luckily he lost.

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by: ox-mix This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 24 01:16:53 2019

When someone asks me a really stupid question, first I block them. A really stupid question is a warning from God not to do business with that person. Then I sarcastically answer their question with a suggestion that they buy from another seller. I do the same for someone who asks a million questions about an item that has been very thoroughly detailed in the auction title and description. Through experience I've learned that it's best not to do business with stupid people.

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by: sukki007 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 24 02:27:10 2019

I no longer sell on eBay (for reasons seen in almost every comment ever posted on AuctionBytes). I do have an online presence, renting on that popular hotel alternative website. My listings include a view of the gorgeous fountains that half of the units offer. On the photo itself I have written, boldly, that this view is not guaranteed, and you must request it when you check in. I have this also in print in several places in my very detailed listing, even at the beginning, since most people are reading-challenged. So is it any surprise that the #1 question is: "Can I get a unit with a view?" There is no cure for stupid. Unfortunately, unlike on eBay, I am REQUIRED to respond to these idiots, or risk being put on page 17 or not there at all.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jan 24 02:39:40 2019

I sell sewing patterns. One of my lines on my descriptions is that it is a new, uncut pattern (I have started adding sewing in front of the word pattern as one more spot that people can read what they are buying.) Then I get questions. Is this really NEW? Is this uncut? Didn't I say so in the description?

Or then I will have a pattern #4567 size 6-16 and someone will buy it and ask me to send them the blue dress? No size or fabric indicated even if they were really buying a garment, which size would I send? Or buyers that get mad when they get a pattern envelope 'full of paper' instead of the $2500 designer coat they were expecting for $25! Or another mad at getting an 'envelope full of paper' on a pattern for men and boys sizes 2-48, with illustrations of each garment you can make with the pattern and in different colors - about 20 different garments illustrated, and they are mad that they didn't get PJs, but with no request for a specific size or color or garment! Did they expect to get PJs in all the possible permutations and sizes for $10!

For a $10 choir robe pattern I was asked to send swatches of the fabric that we would make them out of! How this nitwit got the idea that for $10 a pop they could have custom made choir robes is beyond me, especially since it was described as a sewing pattern.

I had been started all my pattern titles the same way, for instance, Vogue Sewing Pattern 1234 Size 18-22, Then I would start the listing description with the same line and now I am adding sewing to the new uncut pattern line. Granted on Amazon I might not have gotten to set up the title or bullets, although I do a lot of them, there is always plenty of information for a person to realize that what they are buying is a sewing pattern but apparently, they don't read - at all.

Got up today to an Amazon question about how much fabric it took to make a certain size. There was a copy of the back of the envelope with all that info already on the listing already. Why should I waste my time rewriting it all over for them?

I have only had real sympathy for one buyer getting confused about what they had bought. A young man located in France reading a translated description and he thought he was getting an actual garment. He sounded about 18  and probably never heard of sewing at home.  I don't have sympathy with questioners that see a tuxedo pattern for sale in 3 different sizes and they write and want to know if I will need to be altered for them to wear it?

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