Stuff You Should Know

Me and my PayPal


So, as I previously mentioned, I’ve returned to the waiting arms of eBay—where I have been welcomed back into the fold by being feted with wine, women and song…plus they have those little chicken wings you used to find on the buffet tables at Ponderosa, the mere presence of which makes me weak in the knees. I was, shall I say, overwhelmed by the response to my return.

PayPal? Well, that’s an entirely different situation altogether.

Well, that’s an entirely different situation…

Okay, funny people…apparently some of you have just seen Airplane! for the first time…let me just say this. PayPal is a bitch goddess who will rip out your still-beating heart, show it to you, and then lightly sauté it up in a pan while simultaneously preparing a salad and asking if you want ranch or vinaigrette. If I may paraphrase Chairman Charles McGraw, PayPal is “the sixty-five cent special…cheap…flashy…strictly poison under the gravy.”

PayPal does not forgive…or forget.

Let me back this up to the beginning. When I first started selling on eBay, it was originally planned for my father to do most of the selling since he had more junk in both our house and garage (at the former Rancho Yesteryear) than Fred Sanford could have collected in five lifetimes. Since I was already established on the online auction site (and had a healthy feedback due to many, many, many purchases) my father and I decided to use my account to sell his stuff so he wouldn’t have had to painstakingly establish a reputation for himself.

With every item purchased from Dad or me, the money went into a PayPal account that I had helped him set up. (I still don’t know why I agreed to this.) I’d leave enough money in the account to pay the eBay fees, and then transfer it to my own PayPal account…and then into my bank account.

Now, with the move to Athens in May of this year, I decided in June to change the information on the PayPal accounts, and I started with Dad’s…the only problem was, when I tried to change the e-mail address info (I had set up an e-mail account specifically for him through Bombast, and since I had closed my account I didn’t want e-mail bouncing back from a dead e-mail address) it repeatedly told me that I could not do this unless I could give them the bank account number assigned with his PayPal account—and also who recorded Billy, Don’t Be a Hero. Now, in retrospect, I should have called him in Savannah and asked for the info, but since I was a busy person I shoved it aside…and then, as is usually my wont, forgot all about it.

Flash forward to this past Saturday night. In the interim, I’ve fixed my PayPal account and have (or so I thought, anyway) tweaked the instructions in my eBay preferences to send all payments to my PayPal account. The auction begins…and I get a notice about twenty minutes later that someone has already purchased an item through Buy It Now.

Not so unusual—some people know what they want and they snap it up. I go to my PayPal account to see the payment and…


“What th’?” I make sure that I have the right account, log in again…and no sign of the payment.

Now…this makes no sense. There’s notification that I’ve received money. But when I go to the account…nada.

I tell myself to take a deep breath…the money has to be somewhere, and maybe it’s just in a holding pattern until a runway can be cleared.

Next morning, I get out of bed and think to myself—is it possible that the money is in my father’s account?

I log into his account, and with a Joey Bishop-like “Son of a gun” there’s the loot. With. Just. One. Snag.

PayPal is telling me I can’t access the money. I can accept payments, but I can’t transfer money out of the account…and furthermore, I can’t print shipping labels to send the purchases on their way.

So, I spend three hours fritzing with the damn thing, and finally learn that for security reasons, what I end up having to do is give them a new credit card number…they will institute a small charge to see if its legit…and when the charge is on the card, I must then enter a four-digit number that will be printed on the charge before they will release my account.

My money is being held hostage. I guess that’s the best way to sum it up.

So today, I had to take three packages to the post office to get postage because of the PayPal hostage crisis. My mother, who was making a quick stop at Publix anyway, gives me a lift and drops me off at a post office station inside one of Athens’ malls…where a sign on the entrance tells me they don’t open until 11:00pm. So we go back to Publix, get what shopping needs done (I needed some light bulbs, trash bags and a few other items), and return to the post office where I am forced to wait until a 900-year-old woman finishes her business with the USPS clerk. She wants to mail a package, but she doesn’t know the zip code—and instead is regaling both of us with stories of her grandchildren and the Christmas gift she’s sending them, which I’m sure you’ll agree wasn’t germane to the situation at hand.

She tells the postal lady that she thinks the zip code is in Pittsburgh, prompting me to groan in a Keerist-we’ll-be-here-all-day fashion. Her husband mumbles something about the destination only being about eight miles from some such town, and I start to look around the station to see if I’m being punk’d.

Finally, everything gets straightened out in 2011 and I’m able to mail my packages. And that’s why there was little activity on the blog today.

Tomorrow will be different, I’m sure.

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