Thursday, November 05, 2009

It cracks me up how naturally suspicious people are, and over such stupid things - often of their own doing. Spreading the blame around is nothing new to me: I grew up in a household, went to a school, and worked a few jobs in which throwing blame around and having constantly to be right was practically a lifestyle. In fact, I'd lay odds that if my parents weren't such irrational, intellectually deficient, unmotivated and often-racist douchebags, they would have probably both made good lawyers. I honestly don't even feel "at home" unless I feel like I'm being cross-examined for eating food, or having to explain where a noise came from because I accidentally dropped something on the floor. If I spilled a glass of milk in my youth, I'd feel compelled to give a crime forensics-like explanation of the event in total, from pouring to where it hit the ground, because otherwise I'd never hear the end of it. And I was still made to feel like a criminal afterward.

So naturally, one would probably reach the conclusion that I would probably - cyclically - wind up needing conflict to thrive. And though I can be argumentative in nature, once again Japan sort of intervened and saved me from the "nurture" (or lack thereof) component of my upbringing. I've always kind of shied away from conflict, but who knew that there was a cultural phrasing for it? "Meiwaku kakenai" is the phrase Japanese use for it, which essentially means that you're going out of your way not to disturb others or cause problems - preserving (societal) harmony.

I don't want to be an ass and say that I'm "different" or "evolved" because of this, but I do tend to step back and look at problems more before I start barking. Ironically, this makes me a hell of a lot more sensitive to other people's overreactions and then I do get a lot more offended than I normally would if I just took that attitude of involving myself in the argument right off, and miring myself deep into it and arguing until I'm right. And I know it's short-sighted to think that everyone will - or should - behave in the same way, arguing logically, not automatically letting fly with both barrels when something small is wrong, etc, but that is the way I think.

Also, when an argument involves a sum of money my opinion tends to "flower" a little more. Which I guess makes me a hypocrite, because I'm talking about keeping logic in an argument, but then injecting my own opinions into it. But I guess I'm human that way. In short, I hate cheapness. Yes, it warranted a bold color change. I especially hate cheapness when it involves frivolous things. "Fiscal responsibility" when it comes to the essentials like food (not in a restaurant), sundries, travel-related things, etc is prudent, and tacit cheapness isn't horrible there. If a mechanic can get over on you, he will, food does go bad, cable companies charge too much, et cetera. Watching your back financially isn't a bad thing, because there are many vital areas of life where people without the skill sets to say, work on their own car - things you need and can't really avoid - get raked over the coals because that person is ignorant of how much something's actual cost is. That is not being cheap. However, when you opt to buy something completely frivolous and then nearly have an aneurysm when the item you spent a whopping $10 on turns out to have a small tear in it or whatever, that to me is just asinine.

I'll preface it with this: I generally don't buy things used. It's not that I have an aversion to purchasing used items, it's just that if something is available both new and used, used is generally not that much cheaper than new (except for like cars or homes, obviously). When something isn't available new and I do buy it used, I generally investigate it pretty thoroughly or just have a cushion for a certain preset level of disappointment I guess. Either that or I just have low standards to begin with.

If I purchase something that I had a clear, high-resolution view of before I bought it, it comes to me and isn't significantly different than what I saw online before purchase, then I'm generally pleased or blame myself for not looking more closely. (This is where the meiwaku kakenai thing comes in.) Otherwise I ask questions, but again I don't buy used that much, so if something looks fishy but is the only one of its kind I know I have a tough decision to make, I don't just impulse buy. If I do, and if it's under like $100, I generally don't get pissed off if the item in question has something small wrong/different.

These "ebay people", on the other hand, seem to be the kind of people that would go to a flea market, buy something secondhand and then demand a warranty on it after they get it home and it fails to meet every single specification of what they envisioned it to be. (even if it wasn't that to begin with) My real beef is, where is this sense of intense scrutiny before they buy? If you are that bad and that scrutinous about things then perhaps you shouldn't be buying items related to your hobby secondhand? Maybe you should ask questions first instead of blaming others for your lack of foresight? And finally, if you're going to get that bent over a matter of $10, then obviously you should not be collecting games or anime goods.

Should *I* be paying the price because they impulse bought something (and in both cases of this happening, both people mentioned being "potentially overzealous" up front) and then try and blame me because they didn't ask questions beforehand or because their mailman shoved it in their mail slot in an L shape when the post office put a DO NOT BEND stamp on it? I was actually called "naive" because I sent their poster in a bubble mailer with a DO NOT BEND stamp on it from the post office, and didn't put cardboard backing in it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if everyone second-guessed themselves a little bit more instead of trying to focus the blame like a laser beam onto everyone else - over 10 fucking dollars no less - perhaps the world wouldn't be such a craptacular place to dwell in.

The items in question here were a Samurai Shodown game for Gameboy and a circa '01 Cowboy Bebop poster from Newtype. The SamSho cart I take partial responsibility for, I had it in the 90's when I lived a house of smoke and the smell issue that the person complained about I kind of overlooked. I did, however post like 4 closeup high-res pics of the box and game and etc, the box had a really obvious permanent marker 'S' on it and I guess the case and little white insert didn't come with it. Instead of asking first, this person bought it and complained about it later. He admitted his zeal in finding the game (which is a B+ rarity in the Gameboy Rarity Guide), but doesn't think I should've marked it as "complete". What constitutes "completeness", to me at least, is up for debate, but for something that rare from the early 90's to have a box and instructions is pretty damned amazing, would be my thought process if I had bought it. Instead of focusing on the fact that it was missing 2 generic things I could easily replace from another random game, I would be extremely happy at having something so rare in my hot little hands. The person paid $30 for it, probably close to what it retailed for in 1994, so again, summing all of those things up, I would've probably been happy, blamed myself for the few things that are wrong, and then moved on. The buyer of this (from Norway), and myself resolved this amicably because he was willing to admit that it was partially him and partially me.

...Conversely we have the case that descended on me today, and the real source of this rant. This was over a $10 Cowboy Bebop poster that was a bonus in an issue of Newtype in 2001. Obviously on US ebay, you're not going to find something like this, most likely ever again. Out of curiosity I looked for it on Yahoo Japan Auctions and couldn't find any CB posters at all, let alone this particular one. Anyone who reads J-mags that come with "furoku" or supplemental posters/stickers/etc, knows that they're mass produced and even though they're usually of good quality, the seams and such, since they're auto-folded by machines, will often break or show signs of wear, right out of the magazine, new. After 9 years of being stored, it had a pin sized hole in the center, which was overblown as if I'd torn the poster in half before I sent it. There is also a small stain (of which looks like Pepsi or something) toward the bottom. Again, high-res pictures make that fact obvious, is it too much to assume that visual assessment is beyond the grasp of someone that's so overly-scrutinous? According to the buyer, the poster was "filthy" because of that one spot. Also, I might add, this was a 7 day auction and they rode it out to the end. It's not like they used 'Buy It Now' or anything, so they had ample time to ask about these things if they were so concerned. Lastly, and this is what really infuriated me, is that I got blamed for his postman being an asshole and leaving it in an "L shape" in his mailbox. The post office put a DO NOT BEND stamp on the package. I got called "naive" because I assumed that someone would actually treat a package with respect. *GASP!* Apparently, according to the master, I should have put cardboard in it. Nevermind that it's a poster and it is made of paper, and generally curling paper one way means that it CAN be curled back to a flat state. Had I known we preferred cheap cardboard, I wouldn't have bothered wasting the dollar on a bubble mailer to make sure it didn't get wet in transit.

So I've yet to respond to this person, and I don't know if I will. They didn't seem to want a response and just wanted me to know that they were blaming me for whatever idiocy they displayed in not asking questions and the ignorance of their mailman. And I'm pretty certain that if I do respond I'll end up with negative feedback.

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