Seller's Selective Blindness
The globe is undergoing a pandemic of biblical proportions. A medical malady which threatens the economies of all nations, large and small has overtaken tens of millions of otherwise healthy individuals. No, it's not SARS, AIDS or INFLUENZA...it's ESSB. EBay Seller's Selective Blindness...this insidious condition (formerly known as "EBay Mint Syndrome" or EMS) manifests itself within the hearts, minds and eyes of many sellers on eBay (the world's online fleamarketplace). It stretches across political, racial, religious and physical boundaries...is no one safe from it? Its victims are unsuspecting and range from naive newbies to those with years of eBay experience.
Here are some excerpts from an actual recent eBay auction listing for a Minox camera with some telltale signs:
The Camera is in Wonderful condition with No Scratchs, dings and No wear that I can see.
It comes with the original leather case and Chain.
The shutter fires and speeds seem to be ok, However I do not have any film to check it further.
I am no expert and therefore welcome any comments you may have in regard to this item.
Let's analyze this sentence by sentence to find the signs of trouble to come and help diagnose the condition. First there is the Indiscriminate Use Of Capitalization (IUOC in the trade) when the physical condition of the camera is described. Also, the word "Scratches" is misspelled...is this an accident or a Freudian slip?
Next there are the wiggle words; "...that I can see.", "...seem to be ok..." and finally the big red flag "I am no expert...". It seems that no matter what the item offered, people feel that claiming "inexpertise" is an excuse for missing blatantly obvious flaws in physical and functional condition of everyday items. Amazingly, you can find people who are not experts in just about anything on eBay, yet it never seems to stop them from hyping the condition of those items and making them sound like they just left the factory after being produced.
Now, lets examine the reality of the camera in question, here's a representative sample of the condition of the exterior of the camera which was described in the listing above:
And here's its case:
Simply put, the seller is suffering from ESSB. It's not their fault, some would call it blinded by greed but I suspect it's caused by malnutrition or maybe poor lighting conditions when they examined it, or perhaps just plain dirty eyeglasses (believe it or not these are all excuses used by seller's I have challenged in the past).
This particular seller used one of my favorites...they (of course) claimed the "not an expert" excuse (apparently it takes an expert to see those scratches and signs of wear), then said "it was not described as "mint" (despite their claims of it having "no scratches, dings and no wear" - what is MINT anyway?) and finally, they said the Post Office is to blame and they want me to file a claim with the PO for damage!
One thing is obvious...would anyone (expert or not) think that the leather camera case pictured above which is missing half its top and falling apart should be described as a case without mention of these "somewhat important" facts or that the "defects" circled in the photo of the camera's enclosure would not fall into the category of "scratches" or at least as "wear". Now, in the seller's defense they did put a photo of the set in the listing and here is just what it looked like:
After PhotoShop enhancement you certainly can clearly see the case is indeed defective:
I guess they expected me and all of the other buyers to perform our own processing of the photo to see what the case really looks like...not that the photo of the camera itself is useful since it is too far away to show any of the details which a typical buyer needs to verify their condition claims as it does not show the damaged portions of the exterior.
You may ask "what about the claims that the camera's shutter functions properly?"...glad you asked. NO, in fact the camera's shutter did not "fire" correctly. Thanks to a defective first shutter blade the shutter was completely open upon cocking of the camera clearly revealing the lens...when the shutter release was pressed the shutter did close. Does someone have to be an expert to know that the purpose of a camera's shutter is to regulate the amount of time which the film is exposed to light?
Look, don't get me wrong...the Minox camera is a bit of an oddity and I would never blame a novice for not knowing if the camera they were describing was functioning properly or not. And that's not why I am upset, since I buy every camera assuming it is broken (and most are) and I plan to repair or service them anyway.
The big problem I have is when obvious cosmetic flaws are "overlooked". In the case of this camera, I overpaid on the order of double what the camera and case would be worth if they were described accurately with respect to their physical condition.
Shame on me! The seller is obviously suffering from ESSB and is the victim here...not me. How could I possibly be so insensitive to this? I am hoping that by publicizing this they will seek the help they need until a cure can be found. For the time being, let's all take a moment to pray for them...those poor eBay sellers all around the globe who are malnourished, in dimly lit rooms with their dirty eyeglasses turning out listing after listing for those items which they can claim no expertise with...for they are the forgotten ones!