Live By Free Shipping, Die By Free Shipping

"Live by free shipping, die by free shipping" is the mantra I live by when buying anything on eBay. Lord only knows how much more I have spent on an item on eBay because the auction offered free shipping. And while sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised, usually free shipping when it comes to trading cards means the "plain white envelope." I've come to accept this fact and role the dice on receiving the card undamaged to save a little money on the card itself.

Although I've received damaged cards because of the P.W.E. I can't remember the last time it happened. Hat tip to the USPS. Unfortunately the P.W.E. jinx bit me this week when I received this in the mail.

The reverse side told me that oops, your letter was damaged in the USPS sorting machinery! Our bad on that one bro! After taking the envelope out it looked like something had taken a big old bite out of the corner of the envelope.

So what was inside? A 1955 Bowman Andy Pafko of course! I looks like the toploader plastic was actually melted a bit.

Here's a closer look at the melted part. This card must have really gotten stuck in the machine. I had to cut the plastic out all around the card to rescue it because the cardboard and the plastic had sort of become one entity at the damaged point.


You may have noticed there was another card included in that toploader. Some eBay sellers will include a bonus card along with your main purchase and usually I'm pleasantly surprised by this. And if everything had gone alright in receiving the card and I then received this nice little 1981 Topps Glenn Hubbard it would have been five stars all around! But now I wonder if the damage was caused by having the second card in there making the package just that much that little bit more thick.

With a little work I got the card out and put it between some heavy books to try to bring it back to a more normal state. In the end it doesn't look too bad but the damage is still obvious. This wasn't a card I was ever going to have graded, it was just another Pafko card for the collection that was listed at a great price guessed shipping. 

1955 Bowman Andy Pafko #12

I also received another eBay auction package this week from an auction that also had free shipping and the two packages couldn't have been more different. Now this is how you should mark up a package!

The funny part is that the card inside that amazing packaging was damaged...I mean to say, I was buying a damaged card. This was a 1949 Bowman Andy Pafko with an obvious crease and a chunk taken out of the bottom right corner. If you've read this blog before than you know I'm an Andy Pafko hoarder and so I'll take any of his playing days cards no matter what the condition and sometimes the damaged ones bring me a little more joy.

1949 Bowman Andy Pafko #63

So the undamaged card came to me damaged and the damaged card came packed as if it was a gem mint 10. Go figure!


Corky said…
I don't like when sellers send a card using a flimsy top loader. Have to wonder if the damage would have been as bad had they used a rigid top loader.
Dawgbones said…
You should ask your sellers, as I do, to please mark the envelope or package as "HAND SORT ONLY", this will sometimes keep it out of the crimping machine, er.. I mean sorting machine!!
Stubby said…
As a former Postal worker, one who worked with the sorting machines, I can assure you that writing "hand sort only" will have absolutely no effect on anyone or anything. Used to make a difference; hasn't in at least a decade. "Fragile" and "Do Not Bend" are your best bets. And, even then, it probably won't make a difference. EVERYTHING is going through one machine or another--regardless of how obvious it is that it shouldn't. There are no "Manual" sorting clerks left at any of the processing centers--those jobs have been eliminated--and the local bosses don't get credit for any mail that isn't counted (and the only way they get counted is to go through the machines). About the only thing you can pray for is that you get an employee who cares enough to defy the bosses and actually care about the mail (there used to be lots of them, but they've sort of become the dodo birds of industry). I used to have a carrier who would work hard to track down mis-delivered mail of mine (ebay purchases, mainly). Now I have a carrier who delights in folding vinyl records in half to fit them in my mailbox. Never mind the "fragile" and "do not bend" notices on those. Had one seller who thought he'd outsmart them and, as an outer layer of protection on the 45 record, used solid pieces of wood. Carrier must have busted it over his/her knee to get it folded and in my mailbox. As a former employee, I do actually have sympathy for the Postal Service. Pretty much all of the problems you have now, and the general lack of care, are Congress' fault. 100% Congress' fault. And by design. Congress (Republicans anyway) want the Postal Service to fail, so they can privatize. I guarantee you they wouldn't hold a private mail company to the things they hold the USPS to. Pay would drop, benefits would cease to exist, mailing costs would rise and there would be tons of places where mail service would be unavailable entirely. UPS, for example, classifies San Diego as "remote" (and charge higher rates to ship there). There's moocho money to be made in mail delivery, but the Postal Service isn't allowed to make a profit and is forced to pay millions every year into a Congressional slush fund. Officially, that money is pre-funding of retirement and healthcare. But they've forced the PO to pre-fund so much that people who won't be born for another 75 years are completely funded. Its a farce. And, unofficially, Congress critters will tell you that they spent the money on other things--so, in truth, the PO has pre-funded nothing...other than, you know, whatever the Congress critters choose to skim and spend it on...wars, overseas junkets, Benghazi hearings...the usual crap.