Tag: ebay

Out of the box thinking on Guns

Out of the box thinking on Guns

Each and every time some loon goes on a rampage, or goes postal, we have activist calling for gun laws, getting the guns, etc.  It is in fact, predictable and not helpful.  This puts the focus on that which is not the problem.

The problems are that guns are making their way into the hands of people who clearly should not possess them.

This is happening basically by two methods, they are sold on the street, or theft.

Government has a terrible track record of telling the truth, much less being able to administer anything.

I believe that capitalism is the solution.

Build it and they will come.

I would propose that eBay, or some other entrepreneur, develop strategic relationships with gun dealers around the country.  Selling guns and gun stuff on eBay through responsible partners like gun dealers with a current FFL I think is the ticket.

This would provide a vehicle for those that collect, swap, sell, or trade, guns to do so in an environment that was  transparent, in that if a gun was used in a crime, we would be able to track it to who owned it last.  This would also provide a way for people to sell guns, and get top dollar, while keeping them out of the hands of loons.  The gun dealer would be the go between securing a valid back ground check of the new owner, before releasing the weapon to them.  The owner of the gun could keep it until they received a message that the new owner was cleared by the gun dealer at which time the gun dealer could secure payment for the gun and their services and get the gun shipped to them to give to the new owner.  They would get some amount of money from the sale of the weapon from eBay, or other business entity for their efforts.   For this program to work, these fees would have to be kept to a minimum.

The method of tracking could be done programmatically, and eBay or some similar capitalist, should be able to do this without government assistance, as this would be a huge money maker for them.

Theft:

Theft is a problem and there is a solution.

Create a provision in the tax code for anyone who chooses to purchase gun safes, or gun locking paraphernalia, be able to deduct that expense from their taxes.

Opponents of this idea would feel that any transparency would allow government oversight that intrusion of their rights which might be infringed upon sometime down the road.

The 2cnd Amendment must be held sacrosanct, and the government should “defend the constitution” instead of looking for ways to do an end run around it!  The Chicago way will not stand.

Selling this plan to the people will require that the government recognize and respect the 2cnd amendment, and stop fighting the people on this.  The government is here to serve the people, and in this, there is no room for equivocation!

There are simply too many instances in history where the guns were taken away and the government went nuts.  This will not happen in this country, ever!

This administration is responsible for increased gun sales, and ammunition sales, because of the consistent anti-gun, anti 2cnd amendment rhetoric.

While mental health is truly the target, there is a solution to keeping guns off the street and out of the hands of those who should not have them.  Is it a perfect plan?  No, criminals will still get guns.

Will it keep guns out of the hands of some who should not have them, yes.

The government must, as part of this “healthcare” plan provide more mental health awareness programs, and seriously look into these simulators of death called entertainment via violent video games.  When young people play these extreme games for hours on end every day, it has to have an effect on their mind.

Each and every time someone goes postal, we need to learn all we can from them; and see if we can come up with a root cause analysis of the problem.

Were they on drugs, were they co-opted by some fringe group, etc.…

We must be smarter about this and calling for stricter gun laws each and every time is not the solution.  Working with the NRA, instead of against them, would go much farther than butting heads.

If this makes sense to you, pass it around.  If you have idea lets talk about it.  There seems to be little way to get the attention of those that can effect change in a positive way.  This is an out of the box approach to the problem, and it should be considered by those who are smarter than I am.

-Best

© All rights reserved 2015

Advertisements
eBay and Honesty

eBay and Honesty

By the title you can guess where I am going with this post.

ebay_logo

I am a big boy and smart enough to know when a deal is too good to be true… Having said that some folks are just over the top dishonest.

I collect and with some luck restore, vintage electronics.  I don’t do it for money; I do it because it gives me pleasure.  I enjoy repairing something that someone else could not for one reason or another and… Sometimes I simply enjoy the challenge.

Small hand held radios
This is NOT the lot that I am writing about…

Small transistor radios from the 50’s and 60’s are a specialty of mine in that when I was a kid I thought that it was magic.  How someone in one place could have their voice come out over a speaker in a small battery powered device well, was magic.

Thinking back on those days I wonder what I would have thought about smart phones?!

Mobile

Selling and buying on eBay has its challenges and I think its opportunities for people to be a little better.  With the feedback scenario it somewhat forces us to play nice; and that is a good thing.

dsr5star

While we should not need such a thing to play nice, that is simply the way of man. I wish it were different.

I often will purchase a “lot” of radio’s or a lot of some electronic thing that maybe I am looking for one or more of a certain kind in the lot and then sell the rest or repair them and sell them or what have you.

One such purchase was a purchase of a handful of RCA Radio’s from the 60’s.

When they arrived I opened the box and noticed straight away that they all rattled which meant that they had been taken apart.  “That was not noted in the description.”

Upon taking the backs off not only had they been taken apart but they had obviously been in some sort of flood situation as they were covered on the inside with mud. “Also not noted.”

To further the “insult” some of them had parts missing from them, also not noted.

I paid a fair price for these as if they were simply “not tested.”

When someone says something like, “I don’t know how to test this.” Translated, “I did everything that I know how to do and this thing does not work!”   I get that and I understand that people do this but… to sell something that has been taken apart, things removed from and oh by the way, had been under water!  Folks, that is wrong on so many levels.  This type of activity gives eBay itself a black eye and I think messes with the whole concept of eBay in that it is a self-policing community.

This blog is about one of those radios and how I managed to bring it back to life in-spite of the fact that it was pretty much ready for the re-cycle bin.

IMG_2215

Taking the back off of the radio it pretty much just came apart looking as you see it.

The mud and rust are all one needs to conclude that this was under water and most probably in a flood situation as this is also the way the rest of them appeared.

IMG_2209

Normally when water gets on electronics there is an acidic effect that actually eats the traces and I did not see that here.

IMG_2223

Removing the circuit board and cleaning both controls with contact cleaner as well as washing the board I could then dry it and apply power to see what needed to be replaced if anything.

IMG_2231One small capacitor by the volume control was the only part that needed replacing.  The rest was simply cleaning the mud out of the controls and doing a simple alignment.

IMG_2222

Miraculously, the speaker just needed the dust blown out of it and while it is certainly not perfect it plays about as loud and with the fidelity that a radio of this age will have.

IMG_2230 Here is the radio after cleaning and repairing with a new battery shield installed.

IMG_2232 Radio after repair and cleaning.  

People ask me when I am looking, what am I looking for in old electronics….

First and foremost, the case must be in tact. 

The more damaged the case, the less of a collectible it is.  The problem with transistor radio’s is that they are portable!  Portable means that they get dropped, knocked about etc.

One of the radio’s I purchased was a Walkie talkie which I paid top dollar for.  When I got it I found that it too had been under water but the board was green with corrosion and since it was surface mount technology with corrosion it was trash.

Folks, I will ding you if you knowingly sell crap.  I have not had too many that I have dinged but, I expect some modicum of honesty.  I sell as well as I am overly honest about what I sell as I would rather not get top dollar and have a satisfied customer than someone like me who feels the need to blog about it!

If it has been under water, tell the folks, it has been under water or under the chicken coop or what have you.  the simple truth is that not everything that you own is worth anything on eBay or Craig’s list or the local junk shop.  Somethings just need to be thrown away!

Had the fellow with the handful of radio’s been honest about them I might still have bid on them as the cases looked ok but at least I would have known that I was buying plastic cases that had been under water and, had parts missing!

Many people will not take returns on electronics and do you know why?  People will buy them, take whatever parts off of them they were looking for and then return them as not working!  So, they have screwed it up for everyone as I will certainly not take returns on electronics!

This is where it works really well if you take the time to “ding” a dishonest seller or buyer. If they do not make it right, than you know what to do.

If you have some old electronics that you would like to sell, drop me a line.  I have purchased radios from all over the globe and while I am not trying for a number that would have me move out of the house to store them, I am interested in finding some that I don’t currently have.  It does not have to work, it just needs to look good and have all of the parts.

-Best

(c) All Rights Reserved 2015

Yesterday is gone

Yesterday is gone

Yesterday is gone

As I ponder retirement and what that will look like, I realized that I have decades upon decades of accumulated stuff; and staying here in this house is not the plan.

People waiting to bid on someone's forgotten stuff.
People waiting to bid on someone’s forgotten stuff.

While planning for one’s retirement financially is important; planning on what one will do to keep busy and setting goals to make that happen are equally essential.

9_1 baby-boomers-retirement-planning

Many when they retire simply plan for the financial aspect and let life take care of itself.  This often times causes one to fall into depression, shortening their golden years to just a few.  Planning on actual events much like you were working will actually extend your life, and make it much happier.

Sunset_1 General Election - Pensioners

Having said all that to say this; I was talked into spring cleaning by way of eBay and unfortunately a garage sale.

garagesale corona-garage-sale

The process of a garage sale mandates evaluating “your stuff” and figuring out what you can live without and then, placing some sort of value on it.

eclectic-desk-accessories

Garage sales are not a money making business “for most.” Garage sales are in fact a venue for shedding your garage or house of extra stuff or clutter that has accumulated over the years and getting some sort of remuneration by way of cash to make your efforts seem worthwhile.

HPC ph-ag-clutter-day-0502 images (7) office-clutter

This garage sale went something like this.  Up until 1:34 am getting everything ready.  Back up at 5:30 to finish getting everything ready and then be surprised to learn that the sun does actually come up in the east!

California_High_Desert_Sunrise

Before morning light however there are people driving around neighborhoods with trucks and trailers looking for garage sales to acquire things like cheap furniture, lawn mowers and other yard equipment and bulkier things that require trailers.

Several times during the morning people came buy with phone in hand searching Amazon and other sites looking for the item’s that you were selling to determine if they were worth anything.  I felt like I was in some sort of digital age of pickers because these folks were professional with it.

download (18)

Then there were the thieves.  Yep, people who would get their kids to distract you while they pocketed things, watched them do it.  Now keep in mind the item if it were worth a $100.00 is already marked down to $5 but, $5 is too much so they just pocket it knowing that you have no inventory control and will never miss it.

58689786

Old people who too should be paring down, were picking up things and bargaining with you for a long time over .25 cents or less.

download (19)

During the garage sale experience, the neighbor’s sprinklers went off twice, both times flooding the sidewalk.  Other neighbors came out and mowed, weed whacked and then used the obligatory leaf blower to blow the debris either into the street or their neighbor’s lawn.

Not what mowed the grass either time
Not what mowed the grass either time
This is what mowed the grass...
This is what mowed the grass…

Noon time found the traffic down to a scant few, and found me ready to take the rest of it to some donation place as I was done with it.  Many of the dust-ables are now in someone else’s house and the rest will find its way into some thrift store for others to pick over and figure out what to do with it.

download (20)

eBay will end up with some of it because; eBay attracts a larger base than a garage sale and your chances of getting something more than a few cents is much higher than haggling with the deal seekers.

ebay_logo

Garage sale attenders for the most part are serious deal hunters and I suspect take your dust-ables back to some place where they make a business out of it.

Flamingo-Kitsch

Unless you are filthy rich, when you decide to clean out your house take the time to look your items up on eBay or Amazon and see what they are worth.  If they are worth a few dollars do the garage sale bit and prepare to give them away for a few cents on the dollar.

I would not consider and antique mall as those places make all the money for renting you a small place.  While they bring in customers the ends rarely justify the means.  You must necessarily have turnover in an antique mall so unless you are buying cheap at garage sales and stocking a small space continually at such a place don’t do it.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

You might consider buying such a place and leasing out small chunks of it to people who think they are going to get rich by selling clutter but; that is the only financial entanglement I would have with such a place.

Now, if you are filthy rich and don’t have anyone to ruin their lives with tax issues having too much money, consider making me one of those people who would love to have too much money to deal with.

110824-buffett

-Best to you and those that you care about!

© All Rights reserved 2015

Garage Sale, Antique Mall or eBay?

I have always looked at the Garage Sale as a method of cleaning the house and not just throwing it away.  You know how you collect things over the years and suddenly you can’t find what you are looking for because all of the other “stuff “is in the way. 

 Treasures quickly turn into clutter and before you know it, they are making a TV show about you.

 All it takes is the loss of a loved one to quickly turn your well organized home into a place that the “pickers” would like to visit!  I get it, it is hard to go through a loved ones stuff and get rid of it.  That stuff is “part of them” and getting rid of something that they once cherished, or had; for one reason or another seems like treason or blasphemy.

The Antique Malls are full of these types of things.  You can be looking around the bins and shelves of “stuff” until you come across a box of pictures that were once treasured family air looms of a sort, sitting in a box waiting for someone to think they recognize them and bring them home.

The Antique Malls or resale shops are such places where stuff has accumulated, waiting to be recycled, re-purposed or thrown into the dumpster

 

eBay is the ultimate place for “stuff.”  There you will find anything and everything. If you should decide to become a seller, your audience will be into the millions of perspective buyers.

eBay has caused some confusion in this area and I wish to clear this up for a few folks.

The reason eBay works is that you have a world wide audience.  Whatever you place on there, the odds are good someone will want it.  If the price is right, it will sell quickly.

 

The eBay Conundrum.

 

While eBay is a great place to buy and sell, it can be a source of miss-information for those of us who sell at garage sales and of course Antique Malls or Flea Markets.

 I have found more and more people looking on eBay, researching what they have and then pricing it accordingly.  On eBay that is ok because, that is where your market is.

If you look on eBay and see that your widget sold for $40, and you price yours at that price in an Antique Mall or Flea Market of Garage sale, guess what, you probably won’t sell it.

What will the market bear?

I recently spent a day in the sleepy little town of Gladewater Texas.  The town appears to have little industry to speak of.  Not knowing much about the town, I would guess that tourism is a big deal for them.  They are known as the “Antique Capital of Texas.”  I did not know this before I stopped by. 

My trip through their town was only slightly deliberate as I had business in East Texas so instead of traveling out on I20, I decided to take the less traveled and slower route out Hwy80, which cuts through many small towns.

First let me say that the down side of this is that there are several stop signs, traffic lights and slower traffic to deal with and, the speed goes from as high as 70 to as low as 30.The local constabularies are sitting behind the 30mph with the radar working so, watch out for that.

The upside is that most of the small towns have lots of charm and worth a visit.  I found antique stores in most of the little towns.  It would appear that a lot of them are mom and pop stores and are trying to make a living by selling stuff.  These stores are places that were once some sort of industry or store, which the big box stores put out of business.

The rub is that many folks price their stuff too high.  They have gone on eBay or some other place and found what top dollar is, and ask it.

In each of these scenarios, the antique mall, Flea Market and of course eBay; who makes the money?  The proprietors of the establishments make the money.  Both the Antique Mall and the Flea market make money if your stuff sells or not.  The same is somewhat true of eBay, as they make money when you list, but they also get a percentage when you sell.

If you are a seller in one of the first two places you need to price the stuff so it will sell.  If you price it too high what you are doing, is this.  You are providing the inventory for the “store” which gives the customers something to look at and a reason to visit.  You are paying a monthly fee to “ market or display” your stuff there and in fact you may very well just be giving your stuff to the store owner, as you may not even sell enough to account for what one months rent is.

When a customer comes in and sees something at your “booth” it should be clearly labeled and priced for what the traffic will bear, and not what eBay buyers are paying.  You must move inventory to make a go at flea markets, of antique stores.  I would try and negotiate a variable rate for the “off season.”

Your stuff should not look cluttered and should be clearly visible.  You should visit your booth and “freshen” it up weekly.  Move stuff around, keep your items that you want to sell the most at eye-level.  Stuff on the ground or too high will be missed by a large percentage of the customers.

If you really think you have some treasure, than put it on eBay where you have a much larger customer base.

I am much too lazy to do any of this, so my hats off to you for doing it.  I take the clutter to some charity where they will unload it and give me a receipt for it, which I than save for the accountant.

Why is eBay so successful?

eBay has worked long and hard at making it easy for you to buy and sell stuff.  Unlike the Antique Mall or Flea Market you can shop in your pajamas, in the comfort of your own home, and sort by category, price and condition with little or no effort.

The Apps that they have created make is incredibly easy to buy and sell on your smart phone!

Those of us who make the effort to come to your garage sale, or drive to places like Gladewater, should be rewarded for the effort by finding trinkets and things at reasonable prices. 

I do a lot of research on particular items and I am here to tell you that some of the prices I found this weekend were higher there, than on eBay!

Economics people, like it, learn it and live it!

No blog mentioning Gladewater would be complete without mentioning the Fork!

The fork is a little restaurant close to downtown.  The Waitress, a lady by the name of Katrina was jovial, pleasant and made the visit much more satisfactory.   The food was better than I expected, which is saying something, because I am picky when it comes to food.

I am not sure how they stay in business, because the prices were “very reasonable!”  

I would also like to mention that the curators of these shops were great at what they do, and made me feel like I was at home.  There is charm in East Texas. These towns are an easy drive from Dallas or Forth Worth. 

I would like to hear about your “antiquing “experiences.  Are you too finding eBay has had some effect on things that you normally sell or buy?

 

Happy Antiquing and enjoy your trip through memory lane. 

Ebay, some things to watch for.

 

 

Greetings to you and so long 2013! 

 

I have spent a number of years on eBay and for the most part been happy with the services and products.  Having said that a few stand out in my mind and I thought an airing of the facts might help someone else.

 

Sites like eBay have accountability built in however; many of us don’t leave a negative rating when the person deserves it, thus skewing the results.  Some of us leave them a bad mark because the item was defective or what have you when it was clearly marked “as is no returns.”

 

I have been known to leave them a positive feedback but then voice my concerns for their way of doing business in the comments.  For instance one fellow sold me something and then just threw it into a “if it fits it ships box, no packing and barely any tape.  Why the post office took it is another story but it did make it.  The box did not survive and the device inside looked as if the Cowboys used it for a football.  Anyone reading his feedback will see that he needs to step up his shipping game.

 

Here is my argument, see what you think.  I have always felt that we are too litigious of a society, we are “sue happy.”  Anything goes wrong and there is some lawyer somewhere looking to make some money and will take the case no matter how petty the suite.  Much like sharks; the more hungry the beast, the more appetizing a license plate or old shoe looks as opposed to a “wrongful death suite” that just don’t fall into “everyone’s” lap..

 Image

Is there a time to sue and is there a time to leave a negative rating?  The answer is yes to both.  If you are suing someone because you see it as a way to make money; (much like the lawyer,) than probably not.  However; if you are bringing legal action as a way to hold the entity accountable, and possibly get them to change the way that they do business, than I believe that you are not only justified, but you should.  The same is true about not leaving five stars. 

 

Did they earn it?

Was the description accurate?

Was the product or service delivered as expected?

Was the shipping “normal” or was it high?

Was the item packed correctly?

If there was a problem, did they go out of their way to make it right?

Did they communicate with you until it was resolved?

 

Online buying has evolved over the years and I would suspect that the day of shopping via printed catalogue will be history in the next few years.  With companies like Amazon, and others, it seems that the market place is much larger, only limited by internet access and access to the mail, or UPS or what have you.

 Image

I collect, purchase and refurbish old radio’s, purely as a hobby.  I visited a re-cycle plant a few years ago where I saw home electronics being shredded, ground up, pulverized etc.  While there is a need for this, I really would like to salvage some of “Americana” via its technology of the 50’s and 60’s and before, for the next generations.  This quest has me looking for and purchasing unique antique e-stuff and than looking for the parts to repair it.  Few young people today know what a tube is or how it works.  We have managed to pack a video camera into wristwatch that still tells the time and only a few years ago (60) the transistor was replacing the tube allowing for smaller power supplies and of course smaller radio’s.  We got the first transistor radio in 1954 which was a combined effort of Texas Instruments and Industrial Development Engineering Associates.  A year later over 100,000 pocket radios were on the market.  That is when Raytheon jumped in to make a better radio hence came along the 8 TP 1 which basically was a radio that doubled the amount of transistors incorporated from 4 to 8 allowing for better sound.

 Image

eBay seems like a natural place for this as it is rife with all kinds of these things.

 

Here are some things that I learned over the years that may help you and or might guilt the person or person’s who practice this type of behavior to stop it.

 

When selling an old “transistor radio” the seller said, “I am not sure how to test this.”  Translated “I have done everything that I know and this thing is dead.”  If you are incapable of installing a 9volt battery and turning a couple of knobs to see what happens, than perhaps you should not be selling on-line.

 Image

“I put a battery in and just static, there are no AM stations in my area.”  Unless you live on the moon or in a cave or a solid brick building, there are radio stations that you can hear, that is especially true if you have the internet and cell phone.  Translated, “this thing is screwed up and I will say this in hopes that someone will buy it.”

 

I guess what I see most of is that “I got this at an estate sale and have no way to test it.”  Folks, the most idiotic person out there knows that it is worth more money if it works and most people who buy at an estate sale know more than just a little about what they are buying.  So, translated, “I did everything that I know, called all of my normal resources and this thing appears to be dead so I will say I don’t know how to test it and it will be someone else’s problem.” 

 Image

A few others that I have received over the years are “for parts or repairs.”  Now this is fair game.  Accompanied along with pictures so people can see what they are bidding on, I now know that it is dead, that you don’t know how or don’t want to repair it and you want to move it.  Here is where the rub comes in.

 

I have bought many such radio’s to find that someone had opened them up and removed parts to repair another radio and then sold what they did not want as “for parts or repair.”  Translated, “I took what I needed, but I am not going to tell you that there are parts already gone.” The real problem is that I can’t prove that is what they did, but I can watch them and not purchase from them again.

 

Another “parts or repair item” is this, electronics that have been under water.  Folks, it is dishonest to sell something as “unknown condition,” parts or repair, I don’t know how to test etc if the item has been under water!  It is ruined if that is the case.  Case in point, I purchased a “lot of 3”  RCA radio’s from the 50’s.  Three radios’ that were of an unknown condition, “for parts or repair.”   There were fuzzy pictures of the cases and that was about it.  By the time you bid against others looking for these little collectables, pay shipping to find out that they are worthless well; that is just wrong on so many levels.  Not only were parts missing out of the three, each and every one was filled with mud.  The cases are not pristine so I pretty much threw away money and have nothing to show for it.

 

My last bone of contention is really the first radio that I bought like this.  As a long time Ham I started my radio hobby with a borrowed Hallicrafters SX-99 back in the late 60’s.  If you have not experienced what I am going to relate, you have missed out.  There is something magical about sitting in front of a radio such as this and listening to stations from all over the world; bask in the glow of dial lights, knobs and meters swaying with the signal strength. It is as if you are somehow connected to the station on the other end. I remember listening to a station in Hawaii and for a few moments I was there.  Shortwave used to be much more influential than it is today.  I think it was used as a propaganda method as well as a way to get information into areas that were blacked out by their local government. To control the people, you control what they hear, see, read and so forth.  We still do it today but that is another blog.

 Image

I think a huge part of the success of eBay is people, much like me, trying to reclaim that lost moment through an old radio or trinket or favorite toy.  I started my search looking for one of these radios.  They are popular these days so the bidding gets intense and they frequently go for much more than they are worth.

 

Found one and bid on it. After an intense bidding war I got it from a local store and by local I mean in Texas.  Bad news there, not only did I pay premium dollar but, I had to pay sales tax.  Good news, I arranged to pick it up some weeks later when we were both going to be at the same event saving me $40 in shipping.

 

At first glance the case was not right; I could tell that it had been dropped.  Looking through the top cover everything else seemed rough but workable.  The money I paid for this the radio should have been turn key but alas, it was not.

 Image

After getting it home I pulled the case off of it thinking I would straighten it out, to discover that this radio must have sat in a barn where water was allowed to enter it every time that it rained and stay until it evaporated.   My guess is that it was in this barn for years.  A restoration of that radio would mean replacing each and every control, the capacitors and who knows what else.  These things are very old and finding parts for them is not as easy as one might think.

 Image

The person, who sold it to me, took it on trade. The person who traded it to him is likely the person who knew its history, and just did not care.

 

So here is my last bit of eBay advice, if they took it on trade, you may want to think about looking elsewhere as that is another escape clause if you are unhappy.  “No returns, all sales final etc” are just things that I tend to stay away from.   Now I know why some take no returns as there are those out there who need a part and will buy your item, take the part that they need from it and than send it back to you as a DOA. You are then held hostage by your eBay rating. 

 

I would rather eat a bug than take advantage of someone or a circumstance or in this case, steal from someone.  Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone felt that way?

 

Watch their feedback, if it is less than 100%, why is it that way?  If you get had by someone; warn others by leaving them less than positive.  eBay has a good resolution center which I have used before but this was really only when someone sold me something that they did not have to sell.  This happens more than you might suspect.

 

Hope that you have a great New Years and that you can use this to your advantage or at least to protect yourself, friends and family from the less than scrupulous people out there.  And by the way, some of the junk on eBay really does need to go to the e-cycle place, especially if it has been under water.

 

Best to you and those that you care about and Happy Bidding!

 

 

 Image

To Lock or not to Lock

Image

This is not the first time that I have written about air travel.

On a recent trip the bags went one way, and the passenger another.  Now if you tried to do this deliberately, you could not orchestrate it but; trying to keep the bag and passenger on the same plane is proving more and more difficult.

The bag finally was returned a week later, and after many phone calls to several different airport personnel who did not have a clue or care. It was almost as if, “hey you are bothering me, I am just here to draw a check, not actually do something!”  I was going to say I may be exaggerating a little but actually no; not at all.  This was the attitude! When asked for her name she would not give it.  Hmmmmm…  And we wonder why the airlines have to cut services, charge more for the services that they still do have, and are still going broke.  Get rid of the dead weight airline people!  Grow a pair!

Usually; when my bag has been rifled through, looking for god knows what; there is a lovely piece of paper in it telling me that it was searched.  “Like I need a piece of paper telling me that my once neatly folded clothes, now appearing as if some gorilla had worn them for a week was not clue enough.”  Still, some notification of who did this would be nice.  On a recent trip the bag was searched, the lock went missing and there was no piece of paper.  Can we no longer afford the paper or did somebody else go through the bag?

These locks are not cheap and for my money not very secure either; as we have no idea who all has the magic “TSA Key”.  I am guessing that there are more than a few baggage handlers who have them in their possession.  So where are all of the missing locks?  A quick look on eBay and I found several “lots of airline TSA approved locks all set to 0.”

I wonder if the seller either works for the TSA, or has family or friends that do, surely not, they surely would not be that stupid.

Here is another issue with this.  I realize that this puts me out there with the conspiracy folks but what if someone wanted to use your luggage to smuggle something out of the country or state, or into the country?   If the luggage (with the payload) makes it through, it then is simply intercepted at the other end. You file a missing bag claim and nothing happens as nobody gives a damn anyway.  You chalk it up to the lousy airline, buy new stuff and write a blog about how crappy the airline is.  But what if the TSA actually doing there job while trying on your clothes, finds the “payload.”  Then they get all puffed up thinking they have found the “bust of the year, their name will be in all of the papers and they will be a hero to women and children alike!  Wheaties will even want to put their picture on a box and they will get money for their likeness being used!” Well, maybe not, maybe then just a simple promotion for doing their job.  Meanwhile; you get arrested and have to explain “the payload.”  Like who would be stupid enough to put something illegal in their own bag.  Well, some idiots do and thank goodness that they do or there would be nothing for the “locked up abroad” folks to write about.   I digress.  Think about it though. Because your luggage is now “unsecure” what if?  Do you realize that in a lot of countries you are not presumed innocent, until proven otherwise?

While the TSA is doing an excellent job of feeling up old ladies and small children, and of course looking at everyone’s “rude bits,” I would be a whole lot happier if they would secure my luggage with cameras, people and of course honest TSA agents.

My advice for now, use a carry-on if you can. Consider shipping your luggage via USPS or UPS or even FED-EX as even that would be cheaper than trying to prove to someone in Bora-Bora, that the drugs or money or what have you in your bag, are not yours.

Failing that, save some money, Use a cable tie to lock your bag.  It is too much trouble for the average baggage handler to cut off, and if the TSA wants in there, they can cut off a lock, they can certainly handle a zip tie.  Put a few extra in your carry on, purse or wallet for the rest of the trip and leave nothing of value in your bag.  Realizing that some Blue Jeans can sell for over $200 a pair (you know the ones with holes in them,) you may want to wear them.  Besides, if they have enough holes, the TSA will have less to grope!

It seems a sad state of affairs when the people who are providing a service think that it is ok to steal from you.  It is equally sad that Americans and for that matter anyone that travels by air; is forced to submit to this treatment.  A major news outlet actually did something that was not politically motivated by taking part in apprehending two TSA agents who on two separate occasions absconded with two different iPads. You would think that in this day and age of cameras everywhere, that the airport folks could put some security in the areas where people’s bags are.  Now that we know what is in everyone’s underwear, how about turning the cameras on the fox’s watching the hen house?

-Best to you and those that you care about!