They know what they did.
That didn't stop them from sending an e-mail containing phrases like "Sorry to see you go" and "you can reactivate at any time". It didn't stop them from acting like they had no idea why an eBay store would close its account so suddenly.
In reality, the timing wasn't a surprise to them--they had prematurely ended a number of my listings due to "non-compliance with eBay's photograph policy" meaning I used stock images from Gatherer like everyone does. Perhaps someone buying a Black Lotus on eBay will want high-quality scans of the card--that's understandable. A guy buying a Near Mint foil Curse of Death's Hold? Not so much.
Forcing sellers to take a detailed photograph that is 500 pixels on its shortest side and upload it for every single item listed is a poor way to compete with TCG Player, which doesn't force sellers to upload a picture at all, stock image or not.
This was the last straw in a series of bad policy decisions by eBay--making it impossible to maintain "Top-Rated seller" status and offer free shipping at the same time, for example. eBay showed a blatant disregard for those of us selling large numbers of small items despite them making the same amount of money in fees from us. Repeated calls to customer service to make my case always ended with "That's a good point, I'll forward that to my superiors," and predictably, ended there.
Make no mistake, I didn't go down without a fight. I made a half dozen attempts to circumvent their short-sighted picture policy (enacted because "surveys show items with high-quality photographs sell 4.5% better!")--importing pictures from different sites, marking my items "new" as opposed to "used", all to no avail. eBay, it seemed, doesn't care how much of a pain in the ass it is to list items for sale on their site.
Let's be clear, I realize I could continue to sell on eBay. I could simply use a digital camera to photograph the front and back of every card I wanted to sell, put all of those pictures in a folder on my computer and hunt through the folder for the correct images for each posting. I could totally do that. I could also eliminate the need to buy stamps by delivering each card purchased from me by $%&*ing bicycle, couldn't I?
The fact of the matter is, as much of an eBay apologist as I have been over the years (going so far as to write the case for eBay in one of Ryan's recent articles) I cannot defend eBay and its policies anymore. I now see absolutely zero reasons to sell on eBay over TCGPlayer despite eBay getting infinitely more traffic and having an established seller account on eBay already.
That's Not a Very Substantial First Section
Yeah, fine, I agree, but I've said all I think I need to about eBay. If anyone wants to extol the virtues of selling on TCG Player, they can do so in the comments.
It Makes Me Happy When You're Miserable
Well, I did have something else kind of irritating happen this week.
Let's Hear About That
Since I'm losing eBay as an out and haven't transitioned fully (read: "at all") to another selling platform, I'm staying afloat by buylisting cards. Buylisting is a great out and a great way to get rid of cards that are too small to sell on a site like eBay but which players need so retail sites are glad to stock them.
I've decided that rather than put all my eggs in one basket, I'd sell to a bunch of different buylists and see who paid the fastest, had the smoothest transactions and generally paid the largest percentage of what they said they were going to pay. I had sold to "buylists" exclusively in person at Grands Prix and similar events up to this point, but it was high time I got some experience selling to buylists through the mail like so much of the finance community does, because most people don't go to the ridiculous number of GPs I do.
A few clear winners emerged. For paying the highest a lot of the time, they could afford not to have such a great turnaround time, but Card Kingdom got back to me very quickly and even bought some cards that were a bit jacked up.
Strike Zone is where I take my cards first in person since they pay the best even if they're sticklers about condition. A lot of people complain about their cards being sent back and generally being upset when they sold to Strike Zone. Understand they are not going to buy cards that are not Near Mint, but if you have cards in good shape, they'll pay very well and get back to you quickly.
Having met the owner of Hobby Goblins on several occasions and having found him a fundamentally likable person and wanting to support his business, I was glad that Hobby Goblins paid the quickest on the first order I sent them, and paid the full amount they stated on bidwicket. It's been a bit of a wait on the second order but I'm not worrying yet. I have another order packed and ready to go as soon as they pay for the second and I'd be fine selling to them forever.
...None of That Sounds Irritating
Well, I had a lot of good experiences with the shops I sold to and I don't see a reason to bother people with the rare bad experience.
But You Promised!
Ok, fine. I sent cards to one store. I absolutely refuse to say who because I don't think that's productive. I will say that the store's name involves a color. And an animal. That's not enough identifying information for anyone but the most super of sleuths to piece together, and I'm not giving out more clues than that.
Anyway, a mere six weeks after they received the cards I sent them, they sent me an offer for roughly 60% of what I had expected to receive. They cited the fact that some of the cards had gone down significantly since my order was sent in. That's actually a pretty smart business practice when you think about it. Sit on buylist orders for six and a half weeks, offer less money when cards go down and if any of the cards go up, you win!
I would never attempt anything like that myself because I'd be too afraid of disgruntled mobs of people massing outside my house, burning me in effigy and adding hilarious cartoon mustaches over the top of my regular mustache to printed pictures of me. I'm not optimistic about getting paid a decent amount on the order I sent them five weeks ago that they haven't even acknowledged receipt of (always send with tracking and keep your receipts!).
There are plenty of stores who will process your orders in a week or two and won't act like they're doing you a favor by paying you way less than they would have if they'd processed the order at a non-glacial pace. There are plenty of stores that pay almost as much and are more pleasant to deal with. I listed a few of them above and those are stores I'd advocate dealing with.
As much as I would have loved to continue my ridiculous Magic lifestyle and vacation in Miami, I didn't head to the most recent GP.
If Black Vise Were Legal, "Miami Vise" Would Be a Killer Headline
Bard Narson (or "Mr Nelson, your Grace" as I am forced to call him) continues to be the only person playing Magic who is innovating. He has made some updates to his Junk Aristocrats deck that make me really ambivalent about the upcoming rotation.
On one hand, Jund is losing its entire deck and that's going to make me laugh at them and be happy, but on the other hand, Standard is losing Blood Artist, which is one of my Top 10 favorite creatures ever. Garruk Relentless and Obzedat, Ghost Council seem like fine inclusions, though it's at the cost of sac outlets.
Everyone's initial thoughts looking at the deck are that it lacks sac outlets, but if the current build is good enough for Bard Narson, they're more than good enough for you monkeys.
Narson fell in the semifinals to eventual winner, nice guy Reid, which is too bad since Jund should be a better matchup than it actually played out (Wolf Run did so much WORK) but not a great one. I still love this deck and if I played this silly children's card game with all of its variance and constant rotation of sets, I'd play this deck, and in its current configuration.
I guess I brought up Reid Duke, so why not talk briefly about him. On the way to have his picture taken on the beach, something happened.
Namely someone's car broke down and Reid stopped what he was doing to help push. It would have been easier with five people pushing, but at least two people decided it would be better to document the incident with photography than help. Not Reid "I just won a GP" Duke, who put his back into it. Nice work, Dukey!
All of this being a nice guy, complimenting his opponent's play, helping a broken-down car's owner, being super approachable--it all may be enough for you guys, but anything short of pushing my car three miles to the hospital so I can give my father a life-saving organ transplant and then when I'm rejected as a donor on the basis of compatibility, giving my father a portion of his own liver, will not make me forget that he won the GP playing Jund.
I like Peter Ingram's Domri Naya. I feel like the extra advantage and removal is a nice way to counter the "every card I draw is a bomb" attitude Jund players have, and Pillar of Flame set to rotate could make Naya the colors to be playing given how many decks people seem to want to jam Voice of Resurgence into. Losing Huntmaster of the Fells hurts Naya less than it hurts Jund.
Bant Auras made the Top 8? Valentin Mackl must have played pretty tight. The deck plays itself usually, but there are times when you really need to go into the tank, and the deck mulligans poorly in my experience, although some people (we'll call them "lucksacks") claim it mulls well.
Not needing to draw any cards beyond a good opening seven seem to support that, but I had to ship plenty of three land four aura hands and that felt BAD. If you get a five with two lands, two auras and a hexproof dude, congrats, but with so few creatures in the deck, don't expect to see that often.
Still, Valentin Mackl did ok with it. There has to be a "Macklemore" pun in there somewhere. Maybe if he wins the next GP instead of losing in the quarterfinals to last month's Junk Rites build I'll make one up.
Speaking of last month's Junk Rites build, Josh McClain (I keep wanting to say "John" for some reason. Yippe Ki Yay!) managed Top 8 with... last month's Junk Rites build. The deck is playing well despite Jund maindecking Ground Seal. I attribute this to the deck being able to cast stuff and not having to rely on the yard.
Samuel Tharmaratnam played another "last month's" deck, UWR Flash. The deck is tough to pilot and the meta seems hostile, but Tharmaratnam is a student of the JVL school of magic and thought card draw and tempo was enough to get there. Personally, I like any deck that can flash back a Warleader's Helix with Snapcaster Mage. Matthew Costa played the same deck for similar reasons. It isn't the best Thundermaw Hellkite deck (Jund likely is), but it matches a lot of players' play styles if they like to draw cards (who don't?).
Christoffer Larsen's Gruul Aggro seems a bit out of place. These decks run consistently but not powerfully in my experience, but consistency can be a factor, even over fifteen rounds. Not being able to deal with an early Madcap Skills on just about any creature fills one with a sense of panic and dread and if threats like that aren't dealt with, expect to scoop them up in short order.
Ya Lousy Bums
That's about all the Magic that was played this weekend worth noting. There was no SCG Open or Classic as far as I know. There's always next week for more opportunities for a Jund deck to do well, me to try and fail to find anything financially-relevant to say about the results and for Jeph Foster to autograph more copies of Notion Thief.
Now get out of here, ya bums. That's enough Magic junk food for one afternoon.
- Jason Alt