22 December 2008

Ebay - The End of an Era (Non House Related)

Back in 1997 when the internet was all new and fun I discovered eBay. What fun I had buying things and meeting new people--some bad, but most good. I slowly built up my feedback purchase by purchase--all positive, until that time I tried to be a seller. It only took one newbie jerk to ruin my 100% feedback rating. Of course, I negged them, too, and it wasn't long before they were gone for negative feedback.

Selling didn't work out for me. Out of 100 listings I only sold about 6 items--for about what I had paid for them initially--and the fees ate up all the profit. I didn't try it again, though I was "always going to". Now I never will.

Why, you ask? Well, I guess you haven't been buying recently. Or maybe you have and wondered why you can't find any auctions you can pay for with a check or a money order. Have you also noticed that you cannot contact any of the sellers directly anymore? There is no more personal contact. The great world marketplace is going paperless.* Sellers can no longer list any payment methods other than PayPal or ProPay, methods conveniently owned by eBay. If they do, they are kicked off eBay! I understand that if you contact a seller early in the auction, preferably through a non-eBay email method, you can arrange for a surreptitious check or money order payment, but I'm not sure how you can circumvent the Checkout procedure which requires you to use one of these methods.

My last purchase was for a local item and I drove to pick it up and paid for it with cash. Sadly, that will be my last purchase. No longer will I browse page after page of goodies I want to bid on and own because I refuse to knuckle under and have a PayPal account. I have resisted ever since their inception--hearing horror story after horror story about screwed up accounts, exhorbitant fees, and missing money. I just don't want to trust my money to a third party. I suppose this makes me a dinosaur in the eyes of some younger people who do all their transactions by card or electronically. Some of them probably have no clue about how to write a check or balance a checkbook with a bank statement. (Even my bank refuses to send me a statement any more. I have been forced to sign up for E-statements. The bank says they are going paperless. Ha! I still have to print it out at home, so where's the tree-saving? They have also put me on an allowance of 10 checks per month before they start charging me to process them.) I like the process of writing down every purchase and deposit. It keeps me aware of where my money is going and how much I have at any given time. If I miss recording a check, it is immediately apparent. I didn't even have a credit card until 1994 when I got married and needed to purchase some big ticket items for the house.

But back to eBay. Paypal, and it's parent, eBay, now has a double dip into every transaction on its site. They have also taken something that was fun and turned it into a chore. A friend of mine in Germany, who has sold on eBay forever, and has a PayPal account out of necessity for International transactions, is also upset with the change. In fact, it was he who drew my attention to the change in the first place. The fees associated with selling have gone up appreciably, as the market for collectibles of all kinds has dropped, making it not the money-maker it used to be.

Hopefully all the people who will leave eBay will go back to selling locally and we will see an upsurge in the collectibles economy, and more antique malls. Us dinosaurs still have spending power

*You may have to have an eBay account to read this article. It's pretty scary--full of YOU MUST this, and YOU MUST NOT that.

14 December 2008

Second Parlor Picture Update

The sender of the wonderful pictures sent me the uncropped version of the second parlor/music room pic. This one includes the window treatment, the papered ceiling, and a ceiling gas light not in the center of the room. How neat is this! You can see the border better and I can locate the exact hole in the casing used for the tieback. Interesting to me is the use of simple lace curtains instead of fancy velvet curtains. This is about 1900 if the girl is age 15. They may have given up fancy curtains, but the piano drapery is pure Victorian! Rose, the younger, gave piano lessons in this room. Rose and Charles Hauser were her aunt and uncle and she lived with them.

05 December 2008

New Old Pics

Wow! Look at this! It's a picture of my second parlor and I'm sitting right now where the girl is, typing on my computer. The walls don't look anywhere near as nice as that and there is no carpeting. The sender didn't identify the girl, but the man is Charles Hauser, and they are in the music room, so labeled on the fuse box, or second parlor. She is probably his niece, Rose. The sender is her grandson.

He also sent me this picture of Charles' wife, Rosa. (update: After looking at this picture again, I realized it couldn't be Rosa, as she was born in 1855, and this is clearly a carte-de-visite from the mid 1860's. It has to be Rosa's mother, Mary Augusta Schmitt.)

And this nice picture of them out in the yard somewhere. This is undoubtedly on Union Street in Heritage Hill where the Hausers spent their last years. The clothing looks to be late 30's.

I was working on my history/genealogy program of the West Side's early German families when I ran across this great website. Since these families went to the same church, worked in the same factories, and lived in the same neighborhood, they were all intermarried. I have quite an extensive database on them and now I can add some more dates and pictures and fill in a few missing pieces on some of the families.
I will definitely be printing that top picture to hang in my music room. (If I ever get it done!)