Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The ebay disappointment

I thought I'd squeeze a last hour blog before the end of the day.

I received two boxes today at my doorstep. What a surprise because I was expecting them to come later. And two at the same time. Double surprise! But my excitement was quickly dashed away. I opened up the first box and it was a complete mess. I knew it would be bad news. When I picked it up, I could hearing banging inside the box. I opened the box and saw the typewriter case wrapped with one thin layer of 1mm bubble wrap. I knew it wasn't going to be good, but I was hoping otherwise. I pulled it out and the corner of the case was a little crushed and I had a hard time getting it open. When I finally did, the ribbon lid had swung open (culprit of the banging) and the spools popped out, entangling the ribbon all around the keys. It took me a while to unstring it from the keyboard. I was quite surprised how knotted it could get.

Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed. Too depressed to talk about it more. There were many many issues with it. I forgot this was why I stopped buying typewriters on ebay because sellers didn't know how to pack them and ignored polite reminders of how to do it.

Then I opened my second box which was packed even more poorly but it was in a stronger box. It barely had any padding and the case was a soft cover. However, nothing happened to this typewriter! Fortunately this was the more valuable of the two so I got lucky, if you can call it that. One out of two!

It's probably a good thing 'cause this will slow my obsessive browsing on ebay and stop my online buying for a while. The last time this happened was in September of last year, I vowed never to buy typewriters on ebay. I may have to resort back to that rule. It's such a crap shoot to begin with if you're not dealing with a reputable seller of typewriters or a seller with a modicum of care and accountability and then the shipping compounds the issue. Too many variables!


  1. Sorry to read this. I know how it feels -- awful.

    I have had good results offering a bonus of $5-10 if the typewriter arrives safe and correctly packed, and stating that I do provide negative feedback for incorrect packing. Of course, nothing is foolproof against idiocy and indifference.

  2. That's disappointing. I find the sellers who don't declare flaws even more ignorant.

  3. I'll have to try Richard's idea. I've had a couple of machines arrive pretty banged up due to poor packing. Last week I had a relatively rare toy robot arrive in a Priority Mail box with less than a page of wadded up newspaper for padding. His neck is a little crunched.

    Side note: Welcome to the Typosphere! Thanks for the offer to look up the issue of The New Yorker with the Golden Royal ad. A Google book search turns up a very nonspecific description of 1949, Volume 25, Part 2. My email address is I also monitor incoming comments on my blog although this week was kind of bad due to a crazy meeting schedule and bad data reception in Chicago.

    1. Hi Dwayne,

      I checked the New Yorker for you and the 1949, vol 25, #2 issue is dated 3/5/49 but it does not contain the Golden Royal advert. In fact there is no Royal ad in that issue at all. I google booked it also and got the same result as you with p.85 as reference and that page is of another ad. I checked a couple months before and after and also no luck. I randomly checked a few issues that year and did find Royal ads in two issues so far but not for the golden royal. The difficulty is that Royal did not advertise every issue and it being a weekly periodical, hunting it down becomes more time consuming since they did not tag the ads in the DVD archive. I'll email you the one I saw since I can't post photos on replies I guess.

      I got curious and decided to surf the net and see what year it came out. Wikipedia claims 1947 and Robert at oz.typewriter stated it was for the 50th Royal Jubilee for 1954. That's a relatively wide range to browse page by page. And who knows when they decided to advertise! If you can narrow that down, let me know. I am stubborn enough to at least circulate through 1949, but it may take a little longer.