Readers’ Letters: Bragging dealers turn off buyers and poor packing turns Goodwill deal into a dud deal turns into a dud

It was interesting to learn others have problems with Goodwill (page 6 of the Dec. 14, 2011 edition or

My daughter got us hooked on shopping with Goodwill before it got so popular and the bidding became outrageously high.

I really slowed to a stop after we won the bid on an old wooden wall phone in great condition. It arrived in a beat up box with very little packaging to protect it. The mouthpiece was broken, the hand set was bent and a piece of the wood had fallen off.

I took pictures of the box and the phone and had the copy of the bid picture showing what I purchased which was not what I received. Went back and forth with the store manager for several months and finally came to the agreement that I would keep the phone to avoid the costs of shipping it back and would get a partial refund.

Now I have a phone sitting on a basement shelf waiting to find a new mouthpiece and undergo some repairs. Does anyone have a Western Electric railroad phone black mouthpiece, the screw off top, they want to sell?

Kathy Dummer, via e-mail

eBay seller: We have a right to complain about the online Goliath

In regards to the comment from the individual who indicated that he’s tired of the negative letters from whining eBay sellers (Antique Trader, Jan. 4, 2012, pg. 7).

I think his first sentence sums it up. Reads as follows: “As a frequent eBay buyer (extra emphasis on “buyer”), I am tired of all of the letters to the editor whining about eBay.
I’m somewhat offended when I hear comments from individuals like this that only sees it from the buyer’s stand point and really has no idea what 14-plus-year former power sellers like myself have experienced over the years.

I’m sure there are many small sellers like myself that are encouraged to hear those so-called whiners. Especially after years of the eBay Goliath treating those small sellers unfairly.

Paul A. Coyle
Richmond, Ky.

Some antiques dealers need to use more discretion

I have been meaning to write this a number of times. I am not a computer person, nor do I want to be this late in life. I just thought you might comment on my thoughts.

I am so tired of seeing dealers (I recognize) at church sales, garage sales, etc. I am looking at these dealers when at their booths in some shows and, low and behold, what do I hear within earshot range: bragging on how much they paid for items they are selling. When I hear that, I walk right away from their tables, even though I may want an item. It’s a slap in the face to me. Bragging and ripping me off in the same breath – like a sucker is born every minute.

One told me, “You know, this is selling on the computer for such and such a price.” I got mad once and said, “Then go sell it on the computer and get that price.” Then they got mad! Too bad!

I was at a thrift store and saw one dealer with a shopping cart of stuff he had not yet paid for. I was looking in his cart (I didn’t know at the time it was his cart). He said it was his and if I wanted an item it would cost me so much. He hadn’t even paid for the stuff yet. He expected me to pay him and then go to the register and pay for the product twice!

I saw another dealer lady at a church rummage sale go to the linen table and grab every tablecloth (more than a dozen). She didn’t even pay $5 for the first; she never opened them to see if holes were in them or not. I saw that dealer later at a flea market in the summer selling tablecloths for $20 each. I asked her if she would go down (her not knowing I knew how much she paid for them). She would not go down even 1 cent.

I do make sure if I am with someone I point out those dealers and tell people where they got their items and how much they paid for them just because of their arrogance. And you know what: They don’t care! No ethics. I was told, “business is business.” Sorry, but I have character, ethics and morals.

I will end with a small example. I have a very large collection of books. I used to give them away. Now I make people pay a few dollars; that way they appreciate it because they had to pay for them. A friend wanted a book I had and I sold it to him, complete with dust jacket for $6, which I thought was fair. His daughter didn’t know that and went on the computer and bought him the exact same book minus the front and back covers for $60! Yes, that’s right. Of course, the online seller would not accept a return! No conscience. Nowadays you don’t need one.

I could give many, many examples like above, but it wouldn’t do any good. I don’t have to buy so I don’t but I sure tell everyone. I guess so many people nowadays figure if you don’t buy, someone else will. My new favorite line is, “You can keep it!”

W. English
Buffalo, N.Y.

Dear Mr. English, Business is based on the premise of buying low and selling high. However, some business people do not respect their customers. Bragging is best left to small rooms – never in public. The next time you hear that at a show, look the person dead in the eye and say, “Your victims can hear you.” – Editor.

What do you think? Do you think this reader is being too sensitive? Leave your comment below.

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Antiques commentary from Antique Trader:

• Behind the Gavel: Try negotiating instead of haggling when your customers shop for antiques
• Behind the Gavel: Want your antiques inventory to sell itself? Share the story behind your business
• Readers’ Letters: Washington’s birthday still celebrated ; eBay complaints; railroad sheet music collectors

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