Friday, January 16, 2009

Busted custard

As the world slides effortlessly into a recession I thought I'd try and stave off my own personal recession by selling a few random thing-bits on eBay. I haven't had as much fun since learning how to open the letterbox.

The first pleasure came in choosing a name. Not unlike selecting a name for your first-born, choosing an eBay moniker says a lot about you: I'm a little less likely to buy something from skanky_arse2061 than sweetness_and_light2009, just like I'm a little less likely to encourage friendships with kids named Jekyll, Hyde or Paris than Elmo or Humpty.

And I've had a stupendous time listing things, getting the wording just right and choosing decorative backgrounds (only 10c, bargain) that not only say "I care, I really care, about finding the right home for my pre-loved thing-bits" but also pass on subliminal messages like "Hurry hurry quick quick! Never to be repeated! Will someone please buy my crap already?"

I've been taking happy snaps of my bedraggled cast-offs and uploading them, and answering questions about the specifications of my stuff (like "does it smell?" which has been the most puzzling so far).

But the thing I've been loving most of all is the whole Live Chat system where you can ask a question about eBay and a certified eBay aficionado writes back within seconds (seconds!) with all the information you need.

And the sign-off from eBay Live Chat after my heartfelt "thank you for your help" was "You're welcome. Thank you for using eBay Live Chat. Enjoy your weekend!"

The entire exchange was so speedy and friendly I spent a good two minutes afterwards filling in a little survey about it. Was I happy with the speed of the response? Yes, very satisfied. Is the speed of response important to me? Yes, very important, etc.

I was feeling all rosy and glowy about the Live Chat system until I got to one of the last statements I had to respond to. I had to agree or disagree with the following statement: "The response I received didn't seem canned or automated."

Um, did I think the response I'd received seemed canned or automated? Um no, not until the survey suggested that it might be both canned and automated.

And what's with the 'seem' in there? Is that like: "We here at eBay have spent a fortune getting our automated system to work so well that you suckers can't tell the difference between a real, human response and a phony 'let's pretend we care while not actually employing human beings' computer generated response. Now you tell us, were we successful in that?"

So I posted another question, something inane, just to test the system again. Another delightful and speedy exchange. And the sign-off following my heartfelt "thanks"? "You're welcome. Thank you for using eBay Live Chat. Enjoy your weekend!"


Anonymous said...

I remember getting "oh, I see what you mean" as part of a response to an ebay question. I thought it was a real person but now I know. Ha!

squib said...

I went through a golden age of e-baying. I even managed to flog a Saddle Club VHS video

They charge an awful lot though and then Paypal charge you as well

Kettle said...

Anon, that "oh" is a nice touch from the ebay automotons.

And hats off squib! Shifting a Saddle Club video would have to be some kind of ebay record.

Cost-wise, I reckon if you sold an inexpensive book through ebay you'd have to pay all your proceeds to them and then some :(