Thank you, eBay, for nothing
I have been an eBay seller for more than 20 years. I started selling on eBay to clear out some junk. I made some money and decided that it was a good way to make more. I soon ran out of extra stuff and started buying things to resell, creating a business. Now eBay is trying to destroy it.
My sales are in industrial categories, a marketplace most people do not know exists. It is made up of people who make things and sellers who sell what they need to make things. We have grease under our nails and the smell of machinery on our clothes. We sell heavy stuff in big boxes and small precision things in small boxes. It is not stuff you find at Walmart.
Unlike Amazon, eBay does not sell things. It provides a place for me to sell my things and takes a cut. I am eBay’s customer. It has been an up-and-down relationship, but it mostly has worked. I make a few dollars, eBay makes a few dollars, and my customers get good stuff at a good price.
eBay has always had a long list of products that cannot be sold or are restricted. In almost every case where they have banned categories, there were other sites that would supply these things. I have bumped into eBay’s bans, forcing me to stop selling items that were fine until someone decided that they were not fine. Most bans were niche items without broad markets.
The Seuss books fell under the “Offensive Material” policy. These books, though, are not niche items. Millions of people enjoyed his odd drawings and silly rhymes as they grew up — and then they shared the books with their children and grandchildren. I had Dr. Seuss's books when I was a child 55 years ago. They are mass-market items that have sold millions of copies. Although only six books got banned, the way the left promotes the ban makes it seem as if everyone who enjoyed any Seuss book has been taught to be a racist.
The publisher said it would no longer publish the six books. In fact, every year, publishers withdraw books from publication for a variety of reasons. Amazon, the largest bookseller in the world, took it to the next step by banning the sale of existing copies. Then the eBay sellers were blindsided when eBay copied Amazon.
The books for sale on eBay came from independent sellers like me. They are legal inventory. They suddenly became valuable due to the expected scarcity, and the sellers were set to get a pleasant windfall. Instead, eBay shut them down.
It’s not uncommon for eBay sellers to list items they purchased speculating that they might suddenly increase in value and become a high-profit item. I have a few. Most of mine do not find themselves in violation of the woke police.
People have responded to eBay’s censorship by leaving eBay. Some of them are my customers, and my sales have plummeted. My customers are among the conservative people who are retaliating against eBay by not using their sellers. I understand completely. eBay has made a political statement that angers half the population, and many of those angry people used to buy my wares. There are other places people can go to buy what I sell, and they will.
Thank you for nothing, eBay. I doubt that the woke mob will bring enough sales to cover what you will lose. I know they won’t be buying my stuff. The woke crowd makes nothing except trouble.
I might just shut it all down. I have almost two thousand items currently for sale. Moving to a new platform is like shutting down a business and moving it to a new town. I am not sure I have the energy and drive to do that. The eBay cut of my sales last year was well into five figures. Because of COVID, I had the best online selling year ever. This year is starting to look bad. Boom and bust is the life of an online seller. I have seen several cycles, but this is different. eBay has demonstrated that it hates some of my customers, and my customers know it. If they do not come back, I will not be surprised.
Monday morning is my biggest shipping day every week — until this week. This past Monday, I had exactly zero packages to ship. It is usually around ten or more orders. That may not seem like a lot, but with the stuff I sell, it is usually several hundred dollars of inventory moved and not the Chinese junk that fills the site these days.
I will try to keep going for a while. If it is over, I call the auctioneer and sell out. eBay does not seem to care whether it loses my or many of my customers' business. It gives me more time to write plus fish, farm, and play golf.