Patience is a cigar called Hamlet. The Ebay LeeWay.

Do you remember when EBay first came out and it was for people selling all their old tat to people who wanted tat?

A bit like when you go to a steam fair or a car boot sale and there’s some bloke selling tools with more rust than Terry Waite's bike yet some clown always buys them?

Remember when you made your first few purchases?  They arrived in a box or jiffy bag that had been used before, right?  Because it was a second hand item sent by someone selling you their old stuff, they weren’t offering you a professional service. 

You didn’t mind the packaging at all did you?  As long as the packaging was good enough to protect the item that’s all that mattered, right?


Somewhere between 1995 when EBay was founded and a few years ago people’s expectations of buying via the giant have changed so much that people have become so unrealistic towards their purchases.

People somehow expect that you’re an online version of a shop or a big company and demand the same level of service as they would from such.

I’ve sold a few brand new items on EBay (we won’t go into how some of them were acquired right now), they were sold as new (which they were) but it must have been obvious from the other items I was selling at the time or had sold previously that I was just a regular guy selling some of his old stuff off.  There was no way I could have been mistaken for the new Amazon, for example.

As it goes, these items sold largely without incident, with one exception where a large snowfall had disrupted the area for several days meaning not only was no post being delivered in the area but also (logically) that no post was getting out either.

One guy moaned at me for 3 days straight because his item hadn’t been delivered to him.  Despite my protestations, giving him tracking details, a scan of the proof of posting and the fact that it was clear the snow had disrupted the whole country quite badly that it was still a terribly poor show and not the service he had expected.  What did he want me to do, go and get the parcel back from the Royal Mail and drive it to him personally? Through the snow?  Probably.

And there’s the Packaging Nazis.

As I alluded to at the top of the post, in the old days packaging didn’t matter as long as the item was protected.

These days people try and work out your costs to see if you’ve ripped them off.

One time I sold an item (it escapes me what it was but it was definitely not stolen, honest) and I charged the buyer £5 for P+P.

All well and good, item is delivered, feedback left.  Mostly good feedback except a comment about postage charges being excessive.

When I asked the buyer why they’d left such feedback they replied with something along the lines of:

“Well, the postage on the label was £4, and you charged me £5, you’ve ripped me off”

When it was put to the buyer that the envelope the item was sent in genuinely cost over £1 it went quiet. P+P, my friend, Postage AND Packaging. 

If anyone’s been ripped off it’s me, it’s cost me more to send the item than I charged for, but I didn’t start whining at the buyer.

If you bought an item online from a shop or site like Amazon and you were charged £10 for next day courier delivery say, when the item was delivered would you look up the charges from the courier to see what has been paid?  No, so why do it for the ordinary man in the street?

If you went into a second hand / junk shop (are there still junk shops around?  I don’t mean Lidl) and bought yourself a fetching HIFI from the 80’s would you honestly expect it to be all packaged up for you?

1980's hifi system

Maybe the junk shop has got its own range of “Johns Cons” carrier bags, maybe they’ll gift wrap the bastard for you too.  How about that, huh?

No, thought not.

But buy the same item on EBay, knowing full well it’s second hand because, you know, it’s from the bloody 1980’s you expect the earth:

This item didn’t come in the original box

Well, no, it’s 30 odd years old, I didn’t expect it would appear on Antiques Roadshow

Does it have the receipt from Rumbelows?

No sir.  To be honest I think the 12 month guarantee will have expired by now and Rumbelows went bust in 1995

It won’t play MP’s

No shit, Sherlock, you’re lucky it still plays tapes.  It does Chrome tapes as well, though.


To top it off you’ve probably paid £5 for it and wanted some speakers chucking in too.

And finally, there’s the Dispatch Despots.

Picture the scene, it’s 10 o’clock at night.  You’ve had a couple of beers, you’re sat on the sofa in your pyjamas with your device in your hand (Ooh, matron!) surfing away merrily.  You’ve just bought “Haircut 100’s Greatest Hits” on CD from an EBay user called “Bob” for the princely sum of £2.50 + £1 P&P.

You go to your Inbox, you see the receipt from PayPal confirming your purchase, and refresh it 50 times in 10 minutes.

You go back to your EBay account, you’ve definitely bought the item, it says so.  It says it’s awaiting dispatch! 

They’ve not posted it yet!  What kind of service is this? 

You’re outraged but go to bed and simmer on it, tossing and turning all night because the robbing swine hasn’t sent you the aural delights of Nick Heywood.

You get up in the morning, you’ve had a bit of kip, you’re humming “Fantastic Day”, surely it’s been sent out now?

No!  What the hell are they playing at?  This is a disgrace.

You go to work, despondent, but nothing doing.  Only when you get home do you find that the person has packaged up your item and set it as dispatched.

Almost 24 hours that’s taken, you fume.

You post something on Facebook where you are “fewmin”, because you’re an illiterate idiot. 

2 days later the CD turns up.

You’re happy it’s arrived, you play it, you know 6 out of the 16 tracks on it.

You decide to leave feedback, where you complain the person took almost 24 hours to dispatch your 2nd hand CD from 1996.

And the fact that it took 2 days to get there.

You forget the fact that “Bob” is just a random guy selling off some of his CD’s, he’s not a shop.

You paid £1 for postage and packaging.  You didn’t pay for next day delivery by courier or a muster of Storks.

You complain that you only knew 6 out of the 16 songs on the CD.

It’s now poor “Bob” who is to blame for Nick Heywood and Haircut 100’s content.  After all, he sold you the CD didn’t he?  “Eventually”, you add.

And to make things worse, it wasn’t packaged in a solid gold CD holder with “Bob’s CD Shack” emblazoned on it.


Most people on EBay are regular people at home selling off their stuff to make a few quid.  You’re buying stuff from them for peanuts, you have no right to expect the same first class service, packaging and delivery as you would from a shop where you’d just spent hundreds of pounds.  Cut them some slack.

The moral?  Don’t be a dick.