A Photocopy Of Reality

You may not know that my wife runs her own business, Buttercup 149. She produces custom made items, makes alterations, and spends much of her time honing her craft.

Her hobby is collecting antique sewing and weaving equipment. For several years now she has been watching eBay and sending me “wish lists” of items she would like to have if we can afford it at the time.

She has a few antique Singer sewing machines, an antique barn loom, and old manuals and sewing patterns all over the place. In the seven years I have been fulfilling her “wish list”, I have never happened across a deceptive seller. Until today.

This past week she sent me a link to a repair manual she wanted. It was specifically written for one of the machines she has and she thought it would make an awesome addition to her collection (plus she could use it to make any repairs needed for the machine).

Here are a couple screen shots of the eBay auction listing (click the image to see the image at full size):


The item is advertised as a Singer Model 101 Repair Manual. The photo shows an older, obviously original, repair manual. The description states, “This is a great copy of our original shop repair service manual for the Singer model 101 and 101-2 (same machine). This manual is 26 pages in length and covers with pictures and procedures all the steps needed to repair this model. Excellent section covering electrical repairs included. If you cannot repair your machine with the help of this book then you better take it to a sewing machine repair shop. Most shops charge a minimum of forty to fifty dollars for service and most times much more This model is getting older and many shops do not want to repair and would rather sell you a new machine. We both know that this iron lady was a better machine then the plastic junk made by most companies now.

As I stated before, we have purchased many different sewing machine manuals and books. Many of them are listed as a “great copy” of the manual, or the book. Who would want to purchase a “terrible copy”? We have many books on our shelves that are “great copies”. Every single manual we have received has been an original copy of the book, as in, an actual book.

I must have missed the obvious with this listing, because the “great copy” we received today, was anything but great, but it was definitely a copy.


When I purchase something on eBay, I check the item listing. I look at the photos. Until today, the photos have always matched the item I have purchased. I have never received an item that was different from the photo of the item shown.

The item received looks nothing like the item shown, and I was not happy at all. Who would pay $9.99 for a PHOTOCOPY of a book when the repair manuals themselves are usually in the $10 to $20 range anyway? Definitely, not me.

Because I did not receive the item as listed, I left a negative feedback for the seller. Sure, I could have waited, but I was pissed. I was misled by the auction listing, and I felt people needed to know that they too could receive a crappy photocopy like the one we received.

My feedback simply stated,

I did not pay for a photocopy. I paid for a copy of the book, which is pictured

After leaving the initial feedback, I sent a message to the seller, which stated,

When I bid on this item, I bid on the repair manual shown in the photograph which accompanied the item. I paid for a copy of the book, not a photocopy of the book. I expect this to be resolved immediately.

OH.MY.GAWD. I sent him a total of two (2) messages. That initial one above, and one response after his third response. He sent a total of eight (8) messages to me today.

While the initial response was calm and coherent, the remainder of his responses were rude, abrasive, and entirely inappropriate.

Here are the responses I received, some within the eBay message system, some via regular e-mail. Warning: Some of his responses contain language you probably have already heard, but I need to warn you anyway.

The first response (via the eBay message system):

The description clearly states that this is a copy of our original. I stopped printing the colors in green because it added and extra 2.75 to the cost of the item for color printing. Please return this item and I will issue credit to your Pay Pal account. We sell many manuals and they all state that they are copies of the originals with no complaints.

Take a good look at the photo in the original listing and compare it to what we received. he did more than stop printing the colors in green.

The second response (via the eBay message system):

Thanks for NOTHING. You posted negative feedback before I even had the opportunity to make your refund. Why so damn impatient? You misread the item description because you are too stupid and then blame me for you stupidity.

At this point, he apparently did a user information request with eBay because I received a notification containing his information. Look at the photos again, read the description again. Notice how it says “this manual” and “this book”, not “this photocopy” or “this horribly reproduced photocopy”.

The third response (via the eBay message system):

Description says, ” a copy of OUR original” NOT a copy of AN or A original. Are you stupid or what? Christ,buyers like you piss me off. I work my ass off providing you with this stuff at a cheap price and that’s the thanks we get.

At this point I was laughing. Seriously. What can you do in this type of a situation, except laugh? He worked his ass off to make a photocopy of the manual, at a cheap price? He must have a hard time getting his ass moving if he worked any part of it off making that thing. Again, check out the photo of what we received. That must have taken all day.

I decided I needed to respond to his “stupid” remarks and his “working his ass off” claim and I couldn’t contain myself. Here is my second, and final response to him:

Excuse me?

Your description says “a great copy of our original shop repair service manual”. I have bought
several “great copies” of books in the past, many antique, and have never received a PHOTOCOPY.

You refer to “this manual” and “this book” a couple times in the description and the photo of
the item is a photo of the ORIGINAL, not a photocopy.

$9.99 plus shipping is not something you should have to “work your ass off” for, if you photocopy it.

I have paid the same price for original manuals in the past, as my wife is an avid collector.

I will be returning the item in the morning mail. You can count on that.

The way you responded, by calling me stupid then blaming it on you, as well as claiming that *I* pissed you off, when I am the one who should be pissed, is the very reason why I posted a negative feedback.

I have purchased thousands of dollars worth of sewing equipment and manuals from eBay and
NONE of the sellers were as rude and inconsiderate as you.

I left the negative feedback because I felt we had been misled. When I looked at what we received and compared it to the photo of what we thought we were buying there was an obvious difference.

If the auction listing had stated, in any way, that we would be receiving a photocopy, I never would have wasted my time with his piece of crap copy, let alone my money.

Anyway, he responded to my message (for the fourth time and this time in regular e-mail) with:

You jumped the gun and that is exactly why you are a stupid, inconsiderate idiot. An instant refund on my part would have solved your problems. had you been patient and man enough to ask for it. Stick the manual where the sun doesn’t shine and I’ll put the refund there to. Maybe you should remove that “MBA” from your user’s I.D. That you are not. And for your information and get in my car and drive to a Copy Central to do this shit. GAS, TIME and car INSURANCE are still not free. You are a major DOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. 770 5xx xx63

I edited the phone number above because I don’t think you need to know our phone number, but I still have no idea why he included my contact phone number at the end of his rant, other than to “scare me” that he has my number. What’s he going to do, call me and rant some more?

An instant refund would not have solved my problems. My “problems” as he calls it, is the fact that I paid for a repair manual, not a photocopy of a repair manual. Refunding the money solves nothing, because I still don’t have what I paid for, but then again it was clear from the beginning that any rational conversation with this guy was never going to happen.

Don’t you love the “remove the MBA from your user’s I.D.” line? My user ID starts with my first initial and my last name, which happens to be mbarrett. Why would I remove my own name? It sounds like someone has an educational envy problem to me.

Anyway, I digress, lets move on with his remaining responses.

The fifth response (via regular e-mail):

You posted negative feedback BEFORE I said anything to your dumb ass. In fact, my first reply when I saw your shit was to offer a refund. You were too much of an idiot to wait for a reply. You are exactly what I said and probably more.

The sixth response (via regular e-mail):

and ……………….I have sold thousands of manual to EBAY buyers and none have been the stupid jerk you are.

The seventh response (back on the eBay message system):

The manual shown IS a copy of the original. It is not the original. Like I would sell the original for 10 bucks. You are still an idiot.

Go ahead, look at the photo in the original listing. Does that look like a photo of a COPY of the original, or a photo of the original? Yeah. He actually thinks I would believe that is a photo of a COPY. I do, however, know what a photocopy of the original looks like, because I have one sitting here on my desk.

Just for the record, here is a screenshot of one of his other listings, which clearly shows a photocopy of a manual.


The eighth response (on the eBay message system):

I come back from lunch and I see your UNHAPPY email. I email you in minutes after receiving it to say return the item for credit. Next I see that you left negative feedback Before you even received my reply. What an asshole you are. Thanks for nothing (again)

Well, James Slaten, thank you for nothing too. I’ve decided I am not sending the photocopy back. Why? Well…

While we find no value in the photocopy of the item we were supposed to receive from you, we will keep it until we find a legitimate seller on eBay offering the actual manual. Then again, photographs of the item might not be enough to convince me they are selling the actual manual.

I paid $9.99 for this treasure, along with $3.00 for shipping. I could return it to you for another buck or so in shipping and wait for your coveted “instant refund”, which I may (or may not) ever receive.

Why would I risk that extra buck? I don’t think I am ready to take a chance on receiving a photocopy of a refund.

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