In these ever-vigilant, hyper-alert times, the measures taken often cause more problems than prevented…
Case in point, Trey's PS3 Saga.
After a long, cold night at Camp Target for a PlayStation 3, he rushed home, console in hand, hoping to quickly turn a tidy profit via eBay since the demand was through the roof — PS3s were fetching upwards of $3K on Friday.
Now, the eBay folks understandably want to protect their patrons, so they had “special guidelines” for ALL PS3 console auctions. Trey created his listing in full compliance with eBay's regs, but a few short hours before the auction was due to end, the online auctioneer pulled the listing, claiming that there were indications of it being a “fake” and it'd been pulled to protect the seller and/or patrons.
Long & painful story shortened — the eBay folks wouldn't provide a single clue to what had caused Trey's auction listing to be red-flagged as suspicious of fraudulence. Once confronted, they just calmly apologized and politely refunded his listing fee.
Fed up with eBay's shenanigans, Trey posted the PS3 on a local car forum that he & a buddy started a few years back called AnythingCars.com. It was listed for about 10 minutes when he received a call with an offer for $1,000 cash and, given that PS3 60GB consoles were (by that time) only selling for roughly $800 on eBay, he jumped at the offer. So after paying $100 for a girl to sit in line at Target for the first 6-7 hours while he was at work and the $650 for the console itself, he netted about $250 off the deal, a mere fraction of what he'd hoped — certainly nowhere near enough to justify the long, frosty hours spent in line.
Had the goons at “fleaBay” not pulled his auction for “his protection,” he had every reason to anticipate (potentially) a coupla Gs of profit. If they'd just made an attempt to contact him to verify the legitimacy of his auction listing, all of the heartbreak & disappointment could've been easily avoided.
Trey chalks it up to karma — like some kind of payback for his greed — but I don't see anything wrong with seizing an opportunity when all parties involved are fully aware. He didn't intend to deceive or profit from another's ignorance.
Nope, I don't consider this the heavy hand of karma giving Trey a smackdown. Instead, I think our society is developing such a heightened sense of insecurity that we cripple ourselves in defense. Sure, we'd be foolish to throw caution to the winds, but isn't there a better balance to be had?