UNPAID

The person on eBay who bid on and won the auction for the optical drive has not yet paid for the item. The auction ended on Tuesday and it’s now Thursday. I’m playing it cool and letting eBay’s automated messages remind the buyer that he now needs to pay up.

I never really thought about what happens when someone doesn’t pay on eBay. I’ve always paid for my items in a timely fashion. The first item I sold last week was paid immediately.

It turns out you can’t really force someone to pay you on an eBay auction. eBay will mark a strike against this person’s account. If you get too many strikes, then you can’t bid on items for a while. Sellers can also prevent accounts that have too many strikes from making bids on their items as well. If I have to re-list my item, eBay will refund you any fees you paid to make the listing. My listing was free, so other than the inconvenience, I didn’t lose out. This would have been a lot easier had there been multiple bids on my item as I would have just offered it to the person with the next highest bid. Unfortunately, only one person bid on my item.

I will give the person a few more days to pay me. If by Sunday, nothing has happened, I will send my own message to them. If I get no traction after that, I can begin the eBay process of resolving this, which puts a strike against the “buyer” and allows me to re-list the item.

WEEKEND PLANS

A few weeks ago, I was driving past a McDonald’s and I saw a sign that mentioned they made chicken McMuffins now. That sounds amazing. I didn’t have time to stop and go get one but I’ve made it one of my weekend goals. I’m trying to keep my life simple and delicious at the same time. I hear they have mayo in the chicken McMuffin. I bet it tastes so good.

ANOTHER SOLD

By the time I wake up tomorrow morning I will have sold another item on eBay, this time an optical disc drive. Obviously I enjoy getting rid of stuff I don’t want or need and getting money for it but I’ve quickly discovered that dealing with the post office and everything that goes with shipping is a huge headache. At least for me, it’s that way.

What I don’t understand is how you can get wildly differing quotes on how much it costs to ship something depending if you query it on the Canada Post web site or if you go in-person to the post office. For the same service, you’ll get different prices for the same package. Like I mentioned in my previous post, eBay makes it’s difficult to print your mailing labels because it forces you to use shippo, a crappy web site.

I’ll have to ship my item tomorrow but I don’t look forward to it.

SOLD

I sold and shipped my first ever item on eBay on the weekend. I sold some “old” 16GB DDR4 computer memory that I wasn’t using anymore because I got new RAM that was faster. Rather than just let it sit unused, I decided to sell it. Computer components, even those used, are at a bit of a premium right now, due to the pandemic and smaller supply. Memory isn’t that bad right now but I knew it would probably be popular.

My item got enough bids that it sold at a much higher price than I anticipated. At that higher price, that meant my new memory only cost me $30, which is great. Selling old stuff to offset the cost of new stuff is a timeless way to save money. Shipping my sold item turned out to be a bit of a hassle. eBay makes you use this shipping service called shippo to print out your mailing labels. I had to sign up for an account and then it attempted to contact the Canada Post web site to sign me up for an account on there. Whatever tech they use to talk to each other failed, so I couldn’t get a Canada Post account, which prevented me from printing out a mailing label. It was so frustrating to not be able to print out a simple mailing label with my buyer’s address.

I finally gave up on it, went to the Canada Post web site directly, which wasn’t down, and manually typed in the mailing address info, and created a mailing label there. After that, I just dropped the item off at the post office.

I also have a second item on sale on eBay. This is the old optical disc drive I have. It only has one bid that means it’ll sell for sure. When that auction is over, I’ll have to repeat the same BS with the mailing label as before. Sometimes making money is a hassle.

AN EGG SANDWICH

Last week I watched the movie Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. In general, I think as DC movies go, it was not bad. It didn’t have any stupid moments like Batman vs. Superman did. They were really smart to not have to deal with the Joker in the movie as well.

The film also prominently featured an egg sandwich throughout the story. For a superhero movie of sorts, you rarely see food items so up front. YouTube star chef Andrew Rea recreates the sandwich in the above video. It does look pretty delicious.

VACATION DAYS

So my initial thought about vacation this summer is that it would be a waste of vacation days to take time off during a pandemic where you can’t go anywhere, other than possibly inside your own province. Even then, you still have to be careful. I tend to leave the country when I go on vacation or at least leave the province but that’s not a likely scenario this summer. So, I’m original plan was to just keep all my vacation days until all of this blows over.

My latest thinking, however, is that it would suck not to have any extra days off this summer. Working from home is still work and there are days where I just wish I could not do work and just chill out. A co-worker of mine took yesterday off to go on a hike and that seemed like such a great idea. At the very least, I think I’ll take an extra day off with each remaining long weekend for the summer. I’ll probably take an odd vacation day here and there as well.

EBAY UPDATE

In a previous post, I wrote about my desire to start selling items on eBay. I figure it would be a good way to get rid of some items around my apartment and to make some money back.

Since writing that post, I’ve now listed two items for sale: some computer memory and an optical disc drive for PCs. The memory has been more popular so far. It has four bids already and more than happy to get paid that amount, even if no more people bid. The memory is quite new, so it’s not unexpected that it would be more popular than the optical drive. The drive has been listed for about half a day and there hasn’t been any bids yet. It’s quite a bit older, with that particular model released in 2008. Now you’re probably wondering why I’m selling something that old, especially for computer components. Well, it’s a somewhat rare drive that reads both Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs. If you don’t remember what HD-DVD discs are, I don’t blame you. About twelve years ago or so, there was a format war for who would be the successor to the DVD format. It was Blu-ray vs HD-DVD, with Blu-ray winning. HD-DVD players and compatible drives are somewhat of a novelty now, so I’m relying on that to find a buyer for it. I’ve seen the same drive listed for over $100 on eBay and I’ve priced it way lower than that. Someone please buy it!

THIS IS SUMMER

We’re half way through June now and I would normally call this “summer time” (solstice notwithstanding). This, of course, is like no other summer we’ve experienced. There are very little travel plans. I was supposed to be back from Los Angeles on Saturday. There are no concerts. There are no food truck festivals. There are no large summer weddings. There are no large gatherings of any kind.

The weather isn’t even co-operating as its been very cold and rainy recently. Though, one could argue that is very typical of a Vancouver summer. This pandemic has lasted long enough that I perceive it through a lens of different phases now and not the phases that public health institutions have been using. For me, the first phase was in March, when all of this was very new, many things were unknown and uncertain, and there was a slight sense of fear and apprehension. As the months have fallen away on the calendar though, I feel like I’m in a second phase. This one has less unknowns and less apprehensive and fear. There’s a strange familiarity to everything that would have been deemed strange before. All the masks, sanitizers, distance between people, not seeing friends, not going to malls, and so forth, it’s just the way life is now. Under all of this is a sense of not being complacent. It’s natural to let your guard down a bit when nothing seems to be going wrong but that would be a mistake. I’m trying hard to continue to be safe and smart. I’m looking forward to the next phase but I’m not sure when that will be. For now, this is what summer looks like.

LEE CARVALLO’S PUTTING CHALLENGE

Well, after all these years, someone made a playable Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge from The Simpsons. If you’ve forgotten what that means, it’s the video game that Bart got instead of Bonestorm, which is the game he really wanted. The episode this is from has some lessons about being appreciative about gestures and reminding you it’s the thought that counts.

Anyways, if you finally want to play the game Bart didn’t want, you can do so now in your browser.

QUARANTINE ELECTRICITY

I just received my electricity bill, which is the first one that completely encompasses an entire cycle where I was working from home. There’s some good data to compare now. Let’s break it down compared to my last bill:

DatesDaysUsageAvg. daily usageCost
Feb. 5 – Apr. 156357 kWh6.38 kWh$63.40
Apr. 1 – Jun. 363522 kWh8.29 kWh$83.27
Electricity usage before work from home and during

So, the previous billing cycle includes the first two weeks when I worked from home, from mid-March on, thus the data isn’t completely clean. The comparison is still quite useful however. You can see a dramatic jump in the amount of electricity I used when I started to work from home. Just looking at the average daily usage, it’s about a 30% increase compared to the previous billing period where I was actually physically at work most days. In the “before times”, I was usually out of my home between around 9am to about 6:30pm each day, during that time I’m using minimal amounts of electricity at home.

Now, I’m home all day, using electricity for more hours of the day. On a normal work from home day, I have my desktop computer on, plus two monitors, and then my laptop. I also have a desk lamp on. When I’m at work, I normally have my hot water dispenser off. Now that I’m home all the time, this stays on from morning until I go to bed. On top of this, I cook way more than I did before. During this current billing period, nearly all my meals that I ate were prepared at home. That means my electric stove and convection toaster oven were all in use to make those meals.

Now you might be wondering where this increased cost of electricity falls in the grand scheme of all things financial. On average, this wound up being an extra $10 a month in electricity but that is offset by a whole bunch of other savings. Not having to pay for a transit pass, which was about $100 a month for me, already makes up for that. Preparing many more meals at home does use more electricity but the savings from not going to restaurants more than pays for itself. It’s definitely a fair trade. Lastly, my employer has recognized that some of our expenses have gone up. To combat this, they have decided to supplement our income by an $300 or so every quarter to pay for such things. This will last until our various locations are deemed safe to return to.