Earning an online Purple Heart

…& returning home a military hero ?  

Not exactly.  

Far less patriotic, shallower than a supermarket tabloid diet, and more valuable than a completed correspondence course on celery management, be prepared for instant fame and admiration :Your Star's Turned Purple!

Imagine the elation when I opened my eBay message box to see :

 Take a deep breath and read on :  You’re awesome! You’ve achieved a feedback rating of  500–earning you a Purple Star!  We want you to know how much we appreciate your valuable contribution as an eBay community member. It’s people like you who have helped make eBay, The World’s Online Marketplaceâ„¢, a safe and vibrant place to buy and sell.      

Pardon me while I revel in undeserved glory for having made the WORLD a safe and vibrant place.   In the first year I bought a few items on eBay, but since that time became primarily a seller of the useless clutter that accumulates like dust bunnies between an old bed and the hardwood floor.

If you read Roger Johnson’s excellent column in the magazine, you’re miles ahead of the eBay universe.  Learning to cull through hyperbole, inadequate and deceptive photos, and often illiterate descriptions can be a challenge, but rewarding if you can be patient and inquisitive.  

On three occasions, I was offered power seller status because we had sold cars. This elevation into eBay stardom is a clever ploy to place you, the seller, on every known spam list.  Instant fame if you enjoy insurance come-ons, cheap prescription drugs, fractional ownership opportunity ( didn’t that used to be called ‘timeshare’ ?), and seminars on how to make millions, at home, no risk involved, by buying foreclosed and tax seized properties and flipping them at huge profits without ever leaving your couch.

Say goodbye to the lottery, Ponzi schemes, counterfeiting, chain letters, tax fraud, and bank robbery; make easy money at home, relaxing by the swimming pool, with the family dog on your lap, your wife in her lemon chiffon gown gracefully serving you a favorite beverage.

Gazing from your oceanfront estate you hear only the cascading surf crashing onto the shore while pelicans taunt the resting sea otters.

I passed, in spite of personal letters from CEO Meg Whitman complete with her authentic, simulated, replica signature, reproduced to welcome me to the exclusive power seller club.

As a recovering cynic, you need to master the separation of the pipe from the dream.


  1. Roger J says

    So, do we have to address you as Your Highness now or can we still call you Doc?
    Now that you and Meg are rubbing elbows, you might be considered for a cabinet position. Better start working on your acceptance speech.

  2. insightout says


    Call me irresponsible. I took my first eBay power seller packet, imagine a 9″ x 12″ folder with pockets, fake letter from then CEO, Meg W., suggestions on how to open my own “store”, and the kicker, a large decal in vivid color to place on my front door ? car window ? that proclaimed to the world, “EBAY POWER SELLER”.

    How to respond distastefully I thought to myself, so I offered the packet on eBay at 99 cents. Within four hours I had two bids…it was up to a heart racing $ 1.25, and twelve watchers, when it was ignominiously jerked by the company as being an ‘inappropriate” offering. Think of that. If they pulled every inappropriate item, they’d shrink by 75%. Or more.

    I still have it in my basement..it’s yours for two bucks.