Turns out eBay is kind of a rip-off

ebay2-e1398803884644I don’t sell a lot of stuff on eBay, but when I do, I’m fairly ignorant when it comes to how much I pay eBay and PayPal to facilitate the transaction. Normally I sell low to medium value stuff. They take their fees out of my PayPal balance and I’ve never really paid much attention to it.

Early last month, I sold 44 comic book issues of the The Walking Dead in a single lot. The auction ended at $554.65. That was by far the the most expensive thing I’ve sold in 16 years on eBay. Yesterday I received an email from eBay informing me that my August statement was available.

I owe eBay $57.18.

Of that, $55.47 represents a Final Value Fee for the actual item. That looks like a flat ten percent, rounded up. Then there’s $1.72 added on as another Final Value Fee for the shipping of $17.18. This too looks to be ten percent, rounded up.

I don’t understand why I have to pay a fee on the shipping when I created the auction so the seller pays the actual amount of the shipping. I had already boxed the comics up and weighed the box so that I could list it with the initial auction. The weight along with my zip code, would allow anyone bidding on it to know exactly what they were paying for shipping.

At least in theory.

For some reason, when I listed the auction, I must have selected UPS instead of the regular US Postal Service. I didn’t even know that eBay offered UPS shipping. The buyer was charged $17.18 for UPS shipping, but when I went to PayPal to pay for the shipping through UPS, I was charged a total of $37.11 for shipping the package from Maryland to California. It would seem that eBay’s shipping calculator is a little off when it comes to UPS. I, not eBay had to eat the difference.

Speaking of PayPal, they charged me $16.88 on the transaction of $571.83, the action’s final winning bid and the incorrect shipping price. That worked out to be 2.95 percent. Not bad, but it’s not great, especially when you figure that eBay owns PayPal and is basically forcing you to use their payment gateway.

So what did it cost me in total to sell my 44 The Walking Dead comics to a stranger in California? Here’s a breakdown and a total:

eBay: -$57.18
Shipping: -$19.93
PayPal: -$16.88
TOTAL: -93.99

That left me with $460.66 in profit. I see why people sell stuff on Craigslist or Facebook yard sale groups. Going that route, you have to actually meet up with the person to make the exchange. There’s a whole lot of reasons that is less than ideal.

I feel like eBay is charging too much money, mostly because they are.

I’m not really complaining. I had these comics in a box in the garage. I was never going to read them again. If I took them to the Hagerstown 2nd & Charles, some hipster covered with ironic tats and wearing a knitted beanie, would have probably only offered me $43 in store credit. Instead of dealing with that, I was able to take the money and spend it on a new iPad Air at Target. They had them on sale for $50 off shortly after the auction was complete. I already had an iPad, but it was the first generation model. I got it the first day they were available. It was slow and I couldn’t install any of the newer, current apps.

I’m glad I sold my comics, but I’ll think twice before selling something expensive again on eBay.

Finally, The Rock has been cast as Black Adam

Black_Adam_0003Dwayne Johnson, known as The Rock from his days in professional wrestling, announced on Twitter that he has been signed by Warner Bros. to play the part of Black Adam in an upcoming Shazam movie.

I feel like this has been a rumor since Gennifer Flowers interviewed The Rock at Wrestlemania 14.

If you’re not hip to who Black Adam is or what he’s all about, make sure to check out his Wikipedia entry.

Dwayne Johnson will make a perfect Black Adam. Not only does he look exactly like Black Adam, he reportedly is a fan of the anti-hero.

There’s no word yet who will be playing the title role of Shazam or Captain Marvel or whatever else he’s legally allowed to be called today.

Who knew storing nude photos on the Internet was a bad idea?

Who knew storing nude photos on the Internet was a bad idea? - Bent CornerI think what surprises me the most about the recent Apple iCloud naked celebrity photo scandal is that it’s 2014 and people, celebrities in their 20’s, thought the Internet was a save place to secure their private nude photos. Since when was the Internet a safe place to store anything?

Edward Snowden, the American hero who leaked highly classified information about NSA monitoring capabilities, currently hiding in Russia, told the world that nothing you do online or with a cellphone is private. He said the government had access to anything. If you believed Snowden, why would you think anything was private on the Internet?

If you own an iPhone, by default, it sends any photo you take to the cloud, specifically, the iCloud. The reason? In case you lose your iPhone or it becomes damaged, all your photos will be backed up and obtainable. I like it because I can take a picture with my iPhone and then immediately have access to the photo on my desktop or laptop. You can always turn this feature off, if you want to.

Did any of these naked celebrity victims know that they cold turn this feature off? I’m guessing not.

Having worked for years in the photo finishing industry, I know for a fact that a lot of people like taking naked pictures of themselves. When I got out of the Air Force in 1994, I was hired by Wal-Mart Photo to work as a repair technician in a new, gigantic photo lab they were building here in Maryland. If you dropped off film at a Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club for two-day processing anywhere in the Mid Atlantic or North-East region, it would be sent to us, processed, and then sent back. Most of the process was completely automated and normally the images were not seen by human eyeballs. As a repair technician working on the high-speed, automated photo finishing equipment, that norm didn’t apply to me. I would see a lot of the photos being processed. There were a lot of nude pics, much more than you would think coming from people who shop at Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club.

Whatever you think the percentage is of people taking nude pictures of themselves is, double it and then double it again.

The takeaway from all this is that if you’re a celebrity who enjoys taking nude pictures of yourself, make sure the technology you’re using to capture your nakedness doesn’t automatically store the photos on the World Wide Internet Web, protected with the same simple, stupid password you probably use for everything else online. Depending on your level of celebrity, you may have someone working for you who is in charge of your security and technology. If so, they should have ensured this didn’t happen. If, however, your level of celebrity is at best, waning, you can just go on Twitter and blame the technology you never bothered to learn about:

If Kirsten Dunst is smart enough to know how to put a pizza icon with a poop icon in a Twitter post, creating the phrase piece of shit, how did she not know that photos taken with her iPhone, even “private” naked pictures, would automatically backup to the iCloud?

2014 Baltimore Comic-Con

2014 Baltimore Comic-Con - Bent CornerThe 2014 Baltimore Comic-Con is this weekend, September 5-7. The show this year is three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased for individual days, or as a three-day package. This is something I wish Otakon would do, offer single day tickets.

A PDF of the program, including a map of the dealer’s room and a listing of all the panels, can be seen here. Save it to your iPad and you’ll never not know what’s going on or where something is.

I haven’t been to the Baltimore Comic-Con in years, but I remember it being far superior to Wizard World Philly for the Pittsburgh Comic-Con. It’s held in the Baltimore Convention Center, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area. It’s across the street from Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles play. It’s within easy walking distance of the National Aquarium and all the other Inner Harbor attractions.

The Baltimore Inner Harbor area is a really nice place.

If we go, we will probably be going on Friday. There’s usually a lot fewer people on Fridays, and we have the day off.

In case you were wondering, the Baltimore Comic Con has a pretty comprehensive harassment policy. Unlike just about every other comic book convention, they actually take a stab at defining what harassment is:

Harassment includes, but is not limited to; making unwanted and/or discriminatory advances on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, physical appearance, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable federal or state laws, intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcomed sexual attention or other verbal or physical conduct of a discriminatory nature, or by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment by engaging in such conduct.

There’s much more information about the harassment policy on the official website. It’s a shame that the Baltimore Comic-Con has to do something like this, but unfortunately, it’s a necessity. Harassment at comic book conventions, like other places humans congregate, is a very real thing.

Why would any real American want an AK-47?

Why would any American want an AK-47?Evidently the Obama administration banned importing Russian-made AK-47 assault rifles as part of sanctions against Russia for invading Crimea. This has created an AK-47 buying frenzy from people wanting to own one. According the Washington Post, some people stockpiled the rifles, buy up to 10 of them at around $1,000 each, as investments.

I don’t get it. Why would any American wan an AK-47?

The AK-47 is the official rifle of communists and people from countries where they don’t love Jesus. I’m an American. I was born in America. My parents were born in America. Their parents were born in America. If I ever wanted a military rifle that I had no real possible need for, I wouldn’t buy an AK-47, I’d do the patriotic thing and buy an M-16.

I’d no more buy an AK-47 than I would take goose step lessons or ask my server at Golden Coral if they have Russian dressing at the salad bar.

I’m frankly embarrassed that Americans have to be told not to buy AK-47s or anything else made in Russia. This is something a true Americans should already know, like taking off their hat during the National Anthem.

Hello Kitty’s parents sound like a couple of jerks

Hello Kitty's parents sound like a couple of jerksIt turns out that Hello Kitty, the iconic character created 40 years ago by the Japanese company Sanrio, is not a cat, but a human girl. She’s also not Japanese, she’s British. Who know? Christine R. Yano, anthropologist from the University of Hawaii and author of Pink Globalization: Hello Kitty’s Trek across the Pacific, that’s who.

According to Yano, Hello Kitty is a British girl who just happens to look like a lot like a cat. Her real name is Kitty White. Her parents sound like a couple of jerks. They have a daughter with birth defects so severe, that it makes her seem feline, and they respond by naming her Kitty. They look at their infant daughter and see a newborn baby with ears on top of her head and whiskers jutting from her face, and they give her a name that is a synonym for a cat.

What a couple of passive-aggressive assholes.

I don’t know who Hello Kitty’s parents are, but I hate them with the intensity of a thousand suns. They obviously made a lot of money off their daughter’s malformations. They should have taken some of that money and used it to take Hello Kitty to medical specialists. British children should have bad teeth, not look like the family pet.