I will be migrating soon to www.59times.com just as soon as I figure out how to migrate over WordPress.
I’m on the tube, approaching Tottenham Court Road. It’s around 3:45pm, I skivved off work, so it is nice to be commuting with the touristas instead of the rat racers. I manage to overhear this conversation above the mettalic rumbling that is the Northern Line.
A young American man with a Texan accent drawls ”So where’s all the good stuff, ya know, Buck-en-ham Palace, Big Ben?”
His female companion replies, smug as kittens, ”Oh yeah, that’s in Picadilly Square”.
9:33 am, Eastbound Northern Line, at Tottenham Court Road.
As we are disembarking(sic) the train, 55ish well-to-do lady, dressed in Jaeger, who boarded at Holland Park, fights to get off the train. She squeezes past a big fat uhmm man, who is clearly blocking the exit to the train. She pushes past him, and looks backwards at him, smiling her apology.
Imagine a world where ipod is best known for being the “Image Proof of Deposit Document Processing System”.
In this alternate universe “Barrack Obama” yielded 671 hits compared to about 65,000,000 today!
Lots of fun to be had that’s for sure.
dear ebay, i might be lazy, but i ain’t stupid. how ebay’s less than transparent fee system is designed to hide the true cost of using their service
ebay. oh ebay. once one of the mightiest dotcoms of them all. now, just a stupid company trying to fleece the punters.
Like it or not, ebay are providing a service which you are under no obligation to use and they are free to charge what the hell they like, if you want to use it.
That said, here’s my beef.
Fees = L(x) + S(y) + P(y+z)
I recently sold an item on ebay for £35. Yippee.
However, here is the bill:
Listing fees 0.88 Selling fees 2.88 PayPal fees 1.58 -------- 5.34 --------
£5.34 commission on a sale of £35, that’s pretty steep at around 15%. But, I don’t really have a problem with that per se.
The problem is really the way that is it done.
The total fee of £5.34 is charged quite sneakily:
- firstly, it is split into three small fees, so psychologically it doesn’t seem that bad
total fees = listing fees + selling fees + paypal fees* .
*ebay OWN paypal
- The final fee is NEVER mentioned in any correspondence. After you have sold an item you get an email saying “You’ve sold your item on eBay”, but there is no mention of the fees that you now owe them
- Even within the newly redesigned “my ebay” they are not AT ALL upfront about selling fees and how much you have paid to them. This information – should you decide you want to know what you have paid them – is hidden away deep inside your account details (“my account -> my fees -> view recent fees”).
Transparent? No. Do they really think that no one notices these things?
Just be up-front
In the “selling totals widget” of your “my ebay” page, clearly intended to show you how much money you have made, you see:
but really, this should include how much you are paying in fees, the “final selling value” figure itself is systematically inaccurate, with a error margin of upto around 25%. It is an inflated value, which makes you think that you are making more money that you are. (hmmm, i wonder if that’s important to ebay?)
Take a minute and compare that with what happens before you sell something on amazon:
practise what you preach
But the thing that really made me laugh was this.
Firstly ebay don’t (cannot?) charge you fees on postage and packaging, i.e., if you sell an item for £10 and charge £20 P&P they only charge you fees on the £10 selling fee. ebay don’t want to allow this because anyone with half a brain would charge 1p for the item and put the true price in P&P thus saving themselves paying ebay commission fees (and costing ebay most of their revenue).
So, ebay has a policy against charging excessive shipping fees. The thing that made me laugh was this section, encouraging titled “Why does eBay have this policy?” which is obviously a lie and is really about them protecting their revenue stream (which is ok, but why the lie?).
This policy reduces the potential for confusion among bidders about the full cost of an item. Listings that include excessive P&P fees lead to a poor buying experience and unlevel the playing field by putting sellers who charge reasonable P&P charges at a disadvantage. These listings undermine the trust and legitimacy of eBay’s marketplace.
I’m well into my 4th month of my fun with pleurisy. I’ve had several chest x-rays now (all clear) and done skin prick tests, lung function tests and been seen three times by cardiothoracic specialists. The experts think I’m okay. I’m on some drugs (the first proper treatment) sodium diclofenac - an anti-inflammatory drug. The professor says that will fix me, and if it doesn’t he’ll run a CT scan. He’s pretty sure I’m okay. I’m back to see him in 8 weeks.
Great. So maybe I’m okay now. It still hurts, but very very very slowly it improves. Very gradually, almost immeasurably, but (I think) there is improvement.
But I’ll tell you what. After six months of feeling crap and being ill and being in pain, I’ve turned into a nervous wreck. Every sensation in my body is now analysed and re-analysed. A sore throat, a funny pain, a twinge, everything is treated with the utmost suspicion and fear. I’ve felt lumps in my throat. I’ve had headaches, and chest pains on the left (my pleurisy is on the right), I think just about anything it is a symptom of some new saga.
I wonder, once the pain is gone, (perhaps now, I can see the end of that tunnel) how long will it take for me to return to my “normal” anxiety levels.
The whole problem with anxiety is that is forms a vicious cycle of making you feel physically rubbish and that feeling makes you feel more anxious. It’s a bloody annoying thing. It’s well documented and I’m well aware of the process, but is that enough to stop it?
My boys provide welcome relief. ”Daddy, I happy” D tells me every couple hours or so. He doesn’t know, may never know, what good medicine his words are. The boys are both asleep now. I think I’ll go in and touch their little hands. It stills my heart like CBT never could.
I’ve been playing around with Chrome for a short while now, but I know enough to say this:
I cannot vouch for stability as it has been literally minutes since I’ve downloaded it. But there are new and clever features (not gimmicks).
- The Crash Control is already 100% smarter than the rather stupid “restore previous session” that you find in Firefox. (including a Task Manager for your browser. Is the browser an OS?)
- Incognito mode looks smart (IE 8.0 also implements this).
- A start page!
- The other thing I really hate about Firefox / IE, the stupid “download manager”, well that’s gone.
- The developer tools look decent.
I’m sure this is only the tip of the iceberg, but I’m really excited about this. Well done Google. I hope FF can weather the storm.
Don’t forget that apart from the technology factor, Google also help to fund Mozilla, this is no big secret, Time put it very nicely:
Google has long been a patron of its open-source browser, and pays a kind of “click back” to Mozilla for directing its 200 million users to Google search. In 2006, the last time Mozilla released its numbers on the subject, Google had paid the company $65 million.
So quite how that relationship stands now is anyone’s guess, but it cannot be good news for Mozilla Firefox.
Like I said earlier today, Firefox is gonna get a beating.