I have a friend... let's call him Dune Guy. Dune Guy likes Pokemon. Like, he REALLY likes Pokemon. Give him anything resembling an opportunity and he'll rattle off huge sections of the PokeRap or challenge you to name Kadabra's evolution. He loves Pokemon so much that back in the day, when the things were really popular, he collected Pokemon cards with the acquisitive relish of any 8-year old, although he is much, much older than that. The thing I want to emphasize about Dune Guy is that DUNE GUY IS NOT ME.
Another thing that Dune Guy likes, that further differentiates him from me, is buying stuff on E-bay, specifically Pokemon cards. At the height of the Pokemon boom, he would haunt the Bay, looking for sweet deals on Charizards. As if there were any other kind of deal involving a Charizard! Please!
One of the least sweet deals Dune Guy was involved with was with E-bay seller "Charizard23". Below is their email correspondence. It is important to remember that this is a real, private e-mail correspondence. How did I get my hands on it? I'll never tell. But rest assured that reading this article is a felony.
(Disclaimer: While the words are real, the names have been changed to protect the guilty. The very, very guilty.)
>>>>>>From: Dune Guy
>>>>>>Date: Tue, 09 Nov 1999 21:38:09 EST
>>>>>>I won a recent auction on e-bay for item 190631923, hitmonchan, for $0.56. I'm ready to send out the payment--How much is shipping and handling and what's your address?
>>>>>Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 09:38:48 EST
>>>>>To: dune guy
>>>>>shipping is 7.00
>>>>From: Dune Guy
>>>>Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 21:38:09 EST
>>>>At 09:38 PM 11/10/99 EST, you wrote:
>>>>>shipping is 7.00
>>>>OK, there seems to be some mistake. The card I won is Hitmonchan #190671913, a 56-cent card--I don't need it delivered overnight or insured. If you like, I can send you a self-addressed stamped envelope, and you can send the card without one of those little card protector baggies--so it won't cost you anything to ship it. Also, what's your address? And is a personal check OK?
>>>>Thanks for your time.
>>>>Sincerely, Dune Guy
>>>Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 22:53:34 EST
>>>To: Dune Guy
>>>well i'm sorry but that is the shipping
>>From: Dune Guy
>>Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 17:12:55 EST
>>7.00? For a 56-cent card? Really? No mistake? OK, that seems a little high to me.
>>OK, let's make a deal. You don't need to ship it in a gold envelope, you don't have to hire an honor escort for it. Nor do I demand that it be an actual living Hitmonchan--a card will be fine. I'm sure we can whittle down that shipping charge.
>>In other auctions, for really expensive cards (around $20 or $30) they often ask for as much as $2.00 shipping. I'm sure you'll agree that our 56-cent deal isn't exactly raising the bar on Pokemon card prices. So we'll compromise: $1.50 in shipping, which is almost 3 times the price of the card, and, I think you'll agree, quite a good deal for you.
>>If this is OK, let me know... oh, and please tell me your address as well. That'll help the money get to your house that much faster.
>>Thanks for your time.
>>Sincerely, Dune Guy
>Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 10:56:48 EST
>To: dune guy
>listen you bout the card and if you look at ebay rules you see you have to buy it otherwise i will give you negative feedbax maybe you could just like give me a card with the payment or a 6.00 thanx alot bye now,
From: Dune Guy
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 11:27:23 EST
OK, so that $7 was just your initial offer... I can see you're a strong negotiator. And I'm willing to change my offer as well-- instead of my previous offer of $1.50 in shipping, I'll pay $1.44. The total will be $2.00.
While you lose 6 cents in my new offer, we both gain... $2.00 is a lot neater number to work with that $2.06... easier on both our account books! ;-)
Oh, before I forget... would you prefer a check or money order?
Thanks... It's been a genuine pleasure doing business with you.
Sincerely, Dune Guy
PS. Still need your address. Send it quick--I'm sure you're as eager to get that $2.00 as I am to get that Hitmonchan card!
(end of correspondence)
It's been a year and a half, and Dune Guy hasn't gotten his Hitmonchan card yet. Damn that lazy U.S. postal service! Don't they know that Dune Guy needs to catch 'em all? But the respite has allowed DG to step back and take stock of the Pokemon thing, and realize it's not really the best way he can spend his time and energy. After all, the Power Puff girls are much cooler!