I've got a number of updates to deliver concerning recent stories posted on Fix Your Thinking.
First, concerning Jack Miller of As The Apple Turns ... the best that I can tell ... he has passed away. The best details I can get is that it was sometime in late 2005.
I miss the ATAT website and the tongue in cheek approach Jack took with his commentary. This site was partially inspired by ATAT with the funny headlines to present drama of the Apple and eBay worlds.
[UPDATE] Someone, who claims to be the forums administator in the ATAT forums pointed me to this story on MacOSRumors.com that was posted on April 10 2006:
Two very significant reports are on deck: what has become of As The Apple Turns' Jack Miller, a good friend of ours....
I want to make sure that everyone reading this knows that I am not posting this as some joke or publicity stunt. This is a serious matter and I am not posting it to generate hits for this site. As with all content here on FixYourThinking ... I get answers and I give solutions ... I don't post for any other reason.
If you remember I did an article on ebay dropoff stores back in January. Since this article was published,Bidzirk, the company that was the focus and source material for the exposition part of the article took me to court for defamation of character. In March of this year, we had an injunction hearing where the judge ruled in my favor ... saying the article was news and news commentary and therefore covered under the Lanham Act protections.
One item of contention in the suit against me is Bidzirk's claims that I singled them out and did no research on the topic of eBay listing stores. Fact is, I visited 3 competitors and did extensive Google research on the topic. The problems I mentioned are actually very common among eBay dropoff stores ... just as I mentioned in the article.
Well, recently a friend of mine won an item that was listed by a local eBay dropoff called iSOLDit. Here's what happened:
Friend sends this email after auction close:
Item: 17 INCH FLATSCREEN LCD
This message was sent after the listing closed.
I just paid for this auction and will come pick it up tomorrow or the next day. I have to let you know that I don't understand the $7.00 handling charge at all. To me, one of the benefits of bidding on this auction in particular was to be able to save money on shipping. $7.00 is a lot of money to charge to hand over something that is already paid for. I'm waiting for an explanation on this one because right now I'm feeling a little taken advantage of. I looked over the auction and it mentions a handling charge but there are no percentage references or price ranges or anything. On other iSoldIt auctions I have seen it specifically lists store pickup as an option and lists the price for this handling charge. I recently looked at an auction for a computer system that came in two boxes and sold for $250 and the charge for that was about $5.50. It seems odd that I am getting charged nearly 40% more for an auction that was less than half the price and is only one box.
Reply from iSOLDit:
I’m sorry that you are feeling taken advantage of. Let me explain. We have a handling charge on every single item we have in our store. Our shipping calculator calculates the shipping and handling costs when the item has been measured and weighed and listed on ebay. We don’t even know what they will be until the auction goes live. Our calculator has figured a 7.00 handling charge on this item. We have a statement in our auctions to click on the ISOLDIT truck for shipping calculations. As in all other auctions, you should check this amount before bidding on an item.
I hope this helped ease your mind. Our handling charge stands as is.
Thank you for your purchase!
I’m really unhappy about this and while this may be your policy and so forth, it makes no sense to me. The fact that your calculator figures this price doesn’t justify it nor does it make sense of it. I saw your statement about clicking for shipping calculations. Why would I click on a shipping calculation when I was going to pick it up? I stopped by the store before I bid and asked if store pickup was possible and the owner said that it was. There was no mention of a fee to pick up an auction that was won.
Your email does not come across well and in fact further compounds the problem when you tell me what I should have done as though I know nothing about eBay and its practices. Your auction was not clear about these issues and I specifically came to the store ahead of time to ask about it as mentioned above. I have been on eBay for many years and have done a modest amount of buying and selling personally.
This is my first experience with your business and so far it had been reasonably positive to this point. If you insist upon letting this charge stand with no concessions at all, it will certainly affect my return business and I will let my friends know about what I experienced.
Please respond back and let me know what can be done about this situation. I’ll end up paying either way, I’m not an unpleasant person, and I won’t leave negative feedback. I would just like to be treated fairly in this situation and so far I’m not feeling that way. If I was doing business with a retail store and had a similar problem I cannot imagine that they would tell me that I should have known and its our policy and that’s just the way it is. It’s like going to a restaurant for takeout and discovering that you have to pay the waiter a tip anyway. I shouldn’t have to pay a shipping charge when I’m just picking something up. Please show me that you want future business from me.
Now ... my personal opinion is that my friend here was a little wordy. But point is evident ... the handling charge WAS NOT mentioned in the auction as a seperate charge. It is called "shipping and handling" ... not "shipping but you have to pay handling no matter what."
If iSOLDit had mentioned this fact within the auction - a pick up fee and or that handling is paid no matter what ... there wouldn't be a problem.
So, I will remind readers again ... whether taking your items to an ebay dropoff for consignment or bidding in an auction that an eBay consignment is listing ... make sure you know all the details by asking detailed questions.
And finally here is an actual reponse from Regal Cinemas regarding my article on Declining Hollywood revenue:
I understand your frustration and honestly can say that out of the complaints we handle the ushers are a rare one. The only thing we can do is forward your complaint on to let the corporate level management know you are unhappy. You see, thus far the policy of ushers checking the theatres, with batons, has been a positive one.
The reason we ask the ushers to check the theatres at least twice during the feature is to ensure the sound, temperature, picture, lighting, etc. are all working properly. Also, we ask that they check the auditoriums, with dimly lit batons, so that there presence is known. The reason for this is so disturbing patrons will know to stop their actions, disturbed patrons may address their concerns with the usher, for usher safety, since it is usually very dark in the auditoriums, and because they need to see where they are going, check ticket stubs and grab the attention of disturbing patrons.
Once again, thank you for contacting our office with your concerns. We do value your patronage but simply do not have other options for theatre checks at this time. I will forward your concerns to the appropriate management.
Customer Relations Associate
Regal Entertainment Group
It's rare because personally I feel silly having to complain about it. I assure Regal, if they were to take an exit poll on the "usher intimidation and quality check" that they would see overwhelming opposition to it. (Especially if it were explained the way it was in this email) ... if the management doesn't know about a broken thermostat in a theater ... there's something wrong that an usher won't be able to fix DURING THE MOVIE!