Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Disgruntled purveyors of typewriters

13 comments:

  1. Interesting and sad. I don't even bother with ebay, and my response to the craigslist $275 would have been to just sit back and watch the listing. They either come down or disappear. All those interactions are why I stick to Goodwill and shopgoodwill. There has been enough variety to keep me happily accumulating.

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    1. I have never once found a manual typer at Goodwill, and shopgoodwill is nice, but I always forget to check it and the ones I am looking at end before I can get in there. Oh well. There are some rather nice sellers on eBay and CL, to be sure, and I suppose you have to take the good with the bad.

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  2. on the other hand, you have an IGC and I don't so there's that.

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    1. And it is delicious, my friend. Find yourself one. It is worth the effort, believe me. I am looking at the older ones now. The ones that are glossy black and have the glass keys. I am spoiled, of course, as mine only cost $30 and 6 hours in the car on a Saturday morning. The shipping alone from the UK is over $100... Ugh...

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  3. These interactions suck! My sympathies.

    In my experience, craigslist sellers tend to be the most illiterate and rude, though there are all kinds. My worst experience was a college student here who advertised a couple of unnamed typewriters on CL. I asked what they were, and he said that he could only find one and it was an electric Smith-Corona. I said I wasn't interested, and he replied: well, I've got to get rid of this thing now, and if I can't sell it it's going to the dump! I suggested donating it to a thrift store intsead, whereupon he cursed me out, saying he needed the money and I'd wasted his time. If I quoted his exact words (long deleted) they'd be far more offensive. My response was an exaggeratedly formal and polite note, reminding him that people online are actual human beings.

    I should add that I've also dealt with many online sellers who were polite, courteous, prompt, and packed the typewriters wonderfully. Often it is worth the risk.

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    1. CL gets the people, generally, that do not understand how to use eBay. All of the people I have actually done deals with on CL have been rather nice and, most of the time, elderly. eBay is no better, at times, but yes, there are plenty of great sellers out there.

      Whenever I get a response like that, I, too, am formal to a fault. I find it massively passive aggressive and it works like a charm.

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  4. I've generally had good luck with ebay sellers. Sometimes the luck comes from the machine being durable to begin with. I just received a beautifully wrapped cursive SM-9. The machine was wrapped in plastic with padding over the top. The case was under-protected, but the UPS guys were OK and the box sturdy. Imagine my surprise when I found the typewriter had been placed in the case upside down! Works great. Needs new ribbon and touch of lube in the shift mechanism.

    Most of the ebay problems are due to not having a clue. The musty typewriters fall in that category. I recently had to bath a math keyboard Corona Four due to terminal funk.

    I've bought all kinds of things online for years. Maybe one thing in thirty is FUBAR or close to it. If it is relatively cheap, I just don't worry about it unless the seller grossly misstated condition. I used to get really stressed and push for resolution, but I finally decided that reducing my stress level is worth a certain amount of money. The screwed up deals are pretty well offset by the phenomenally good ones.

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    1. Again, the good with the bad. I have had typewriters so amazingly packed when they arrived, and I was so grateful. I always message the seller when the item arrives and give them praise. Generally, though, they just don't seem to care, which is a shame.

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  5. When I see the high prices my first thought is usually "Oh wait - you're serious. Let me laugh even harder." in Bender's voice. They often become amusing later as the price drops.

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    1. That's the best. People honestly think these things are lined with gold. To anyone but us, they are just old junk. Keychoppers and the like have the prices soaring right now, but good deals can still be found by those intelligent enough to know what they are selling.

      I cannot tell you how many 'EXTREMELY RARE' Underwood 5's I come across. I am so sick of seeing them, anymore...

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  6. ...Oh my.

    First, please allow me to apologize on behalf of all the crazy cranks it seems you've dealt with! Apparently, none of them have ever had ANY sort of customer service job (or a job dealing with the general public)EVER, or they may have treated you--their [prospective] customer--at least a little better, if not with some empathy and compassion (not to mention a little respect).

    I have made my career in customer service and sales. It is what I have done for the majority of my working life. And it requires far better people-skills than it seems these internet sellers have gained over the course of their life-experiences. The first thing learned and the thing carried with someone the longest in a profession like mine is that you do whatever you can to make your customer happy and comfortable and you provide as much information as they request (I like to go the extra mile and provide as much information as I have access to). Not only will this aid them in making an informed decision when they buy, but there's a higher likelihood that they will come back to work with and buy from me specifically...and repeatedly.

    Apparently, these people have yet to discover that. And I'm certain their sales suffer tremendously as a result. A little poetic justice in that area, I'd say.

    And I agree with notagain; Craigslisters are the absolute worst.

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    1. Correction: I agree with Richard about the Craigslisters. Apologies!

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    2. And it is people like you that keep me dealing with online sellers. That, and the vast array of typers to be found. I thank you wholeheartedly for doing business the way you do. Hopefully, it will rub off on some of the other sellers!

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