How not to do it.

In her semi-retirement, my sister has become an eBay entrepreneur. Her specialty is American glass, and a career in sales has served her well, not that you need a career in sales to figure out what works on eBay; a normal measure of common sense will do. Good photos with multiple views, clear descriptions, frank admission of flaws, decent customer service — is this so hard?

Here’s one of her current listings. It’s pretty typical.

So yesterday, I had the bright idea to do at least some of my furniture shopping via eBay, using the advanced-search option that lets you look in your geographical neighborhood. I found a couple of items for sale across the river, in Windsor. But, shall we say, I got bogged down in the description. Sentence after sentence of eBay boilerplate, ALL CAPS, OF COURSE, and then this swerve onto the detour to Crazytown:

USE THE BUY IT NOW BEFORE THERE IS A BID CAUSE THERE’S NO RESERVE!!!! ONLY ONE CHANCE FOR INSTANT PURCHASE!!! DON’T LET THIS ONE RUN AWAY!!! GO�LOOK AT THIS ONE!!!�PLEASE��BACK UP JESUS’S�VALUES , NOT OUR�HUMAN��ONES!!!! THE TIME IS�COMING FOR HIS RETURN, IF WE�BELIEVE�IT OR NOT!!! ALLOW�JESUS TO BE OUR�SAVIOUR TODAY�WHILE WE HAVE A CHANCE!!!�PLEASE ALLOW YOURSELF TO UNDERSTAND!!! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!!!

Then back onto the main highway — PUT ME ON YOUR�FAVORITES CAUSE IN THE NEXT 2 YEARS I’M GOING TO BE LISTING ITEMS THAT I’VE COLLECTED OVER 40 YEARS INCLUDING AN ENTIRE STORE STOCK FROM 1920’S TO 1953 EVERY WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY AND SUNDAYS — and then, screeeech, back to Crazytown: PLEASE PLEASE AND�PLEASE GO AND SEE MEL GIBSON’S� MOVIE ABOUT JESUS AND�ASK AS MANY OF YOUR�FAMILY (EVEN YOUR YOUNG CHILDREN TO�WATCH IT WITH YOU. REGULAR TV IS SO HORRIBLE LET ALONE THE�SECULAR MOVIES BEING�MADE AND WE LET OUR CHILDREN�WATCH THAT JUNK. THESE PEOPLE AND THE�MEDIA’S�ARE SAYING LIES�ABOUT�THIS MOVIE. DON’T LISTEN TO THE�SAME PEOPLE THAT’S SAYING (PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION AND ABORTION IS OK. FIND OUT�WHAT PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION �IS PLEASE) AND FRIENDS AS YOU CAN!!! IF YOU DO YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT WILL WILL WILL HAPPEN!!!�MAY JESUS CHRIST ALWAYS BE WITH YOU!!! JUST ASK HIM TO BE�YOUR SAVIOUR TODAY.

I don’t need to tell you the text changes color a few times along the way, do I?

Well, happy bidding.

In finding my way around the new neighborhood last week, I discovered the very strange border between Grosse Pointe Park and the city of Detroit. I was looking for what remained of the Lakeside Trailer Court, seen here on the Fabulous Ruins of Detroit website, about which I can’t say enough good things. (Click on the other web tours at the bottom of the page.) People say the border between GPP and the D is “stark” and “dramatic,” and oh yes, it’s those things. You can sit at a traffic light on Alter Road and look to your left at urban squalor, and to your right at…suburbia. Odd.

Anyway, being such a newcomer, I have no idea what to make of this urban-renewal effort, but hey — luck be with you.

Posted at 9:23 am in Uncategorized |
 

11 responses to “How not to do it.”

  1. alex said on February 18, 2005 at 1:35 pm

    Shades of Riverhaven!

    I can’t wait to go slumming with you, Nance. The Fab Ruins site never fails to give me a little fix for my dark-underside-of-life jones, but as they say in Motown, ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.

    When I first got my driver’s license back in 1977, one of the first places I checked out was the quasi-urban trailer park/shantytown known as Riverhaven. All of the most lurid news stories seemed to happen there. The bodies of long-missing persons were always popping up on the riverbanks. A snakehandler held religious services in a ramshackle church and made the features section a few times. An old lady lived on an old bus waist-deep in poop with nearly a hundred dogs that were confiscated. I just had to go see it. Looks mightily like the Lakeside, it does, only people are still living there, for the most part, never mind it’s in a flood plain and government’s been trying to get folks to vacate for decades.

    I also remember hooker hunting on Maumee Avenue on one of the first warm days of spring. It wasn’t enough to read about it. From a distance I thought I was seeing some funky marquee lights as I approached the big bend around the former Harmar School. As I got closer, I realized it was a reflection in my headlights–a gyrating gold-sequined bikini top on a buxom streetwalker. Probably a more effective signal than any at a railroad crossing, both distancewise and for pure, unadulterated flash.

    The same vehicles were circling roughly the same area. A brand-new canary-yellow Pontiac wagon driven by a middle-class-looking suburbanite dad picked up one gal. In the backstreets were houses with red porch lights and ladies in negligees posing in the windows.

    These days it’s all pretty much cleaned up. Cell phones and pagers, I guess. And zealous policing and newspapers that publish names of johns. Heck, these days I’d be afraid of being arrested simply for being a spectator. Or carjacked for being there at all. Those were much more innocent times, yes indeedy.

  2. ashley said on February 18, 2005 at 3:04 pm

    Here is another “ruins of Detroit” website that has more pix and provides somewhat entertaining commentary.

  3. alex said on February 18, 2005 at 4:22 pm

    Ashley, while scrolling through the not-so-fabulous ruins, a South Park ditty started rattling around in my head with the lyrics tweaked: “Blame Africa.” That and commie ideology, apparently.

    Whoever put together this site has indeed articulated what no politician or journalist would ever dare to say because none of them, save for maybe Tom DeLay pandering to Texans, is that simplistic.

    Great pix, though.

  4. Nance said on February 18, 2005 at 4:24 pm

    Ha. “It was not only Ford that had automotive plants in White Detroit: other companies such as Packard and Studebaker also had factories there when the city was majority White. Today, with the changed demographics and non-White city population, only the ruins of these once great American industries remain.”

    Of couse, both Packard and Studebaker went toes-up long before the ’67 riots. Never trust a person who capitalizes “white” to know their history, though.

  5. john said on February 18, 2005 at 4:26 pm

    A********’s Internet use policy restricts access to this web page.

    Reason:

    The category “Racism and Hate” is filtered.

    Ashley…the capitalist running dogs won’t let me see the site you linked. I did like the pictures from the Lakeside Trailer Court site.

  6. danno said on February 19, 2005 at 10:52 am

    How sad. Once beautiful homes and buildings now completely lost. Detroit makes Gary look like Carmel. Does the City have any plans for what would amount to ‘Reconstruction’ after the Civil War??

  7. danno said on February 19, 2005 at 10:58 am

    Hey Alex, I met last month with the Allen Co. commissioners and the city about Riverhaven. Seems they want to obtain a planning grant from us to look into sewer and water for the area. And as always, neither the city or county wants to do anything for them except ignore them. It was quite a painful meeting. Nothing has changed about the views of Riverhaven since I left the county plan commission 20 years ago. The kicker is the fact that both sewer and water lines run right up to their doorstep. It’s the “Fort’s’ version of Appalachia. Very sad indeed.

  8. alex said on February 19, 2005 at 5:01 pm

    Well, Danno, as some cynics around here like to suggest, new utilities and infrastructure only get built when Marla Irving’s husband and his friends own the property that benefits from it.

  9. Pam said on February 20, 2005 at 4:56 pm

    That’s my favorite piece on ebay this week! Even though I’m making more money on some of the other stuff. I’m finding that a lot of people who are involved in the antiques business are “over the top” christians. That mystifies me because most of them would rob their mother to make a buck. It’s the Las Vegas syndrome. Always hunting for the “big find”, the treasure hunt of all treasure hunts. Antiques Roadshow has spoiled everyone. Although today I saw 2 Memphis belles who laughed about waiting all summer for the Roadshow to hit town, “And this piece is a fake!”, they laughed. The other thing you will find on ebay is the hundreds of sellers who end all of their listings with “GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!!” hoping to get more bids from the patriotic over the toppers. How gauche! I recently discussed the dead market for old furs with a fellow antiquer and surmised that they weren’t selling because buyers were against fur. And I was blasted back with “Those same people are right to lifers!!” Like it’s bad to not buy my fur AND be pro-choice. Oh well. I’m living in another world now. It just makes me laugh.

  10. Andrea said on February 21, 2005 at 11:25 am

    The eBay story reminded me of the time a girlfriend and I went to a yard sale, something we don�t do very often. The seller was getting rid of a bunch of Elvis memorabilia and records, of which I bought a few. I made the mistake of asking him why he was selling this great Elvis stuff and he launched into a tirade about how he and his wife just became born-again Christians who could no longer worship false idols. But I guess it was okay for me to while he made a buck off my soul going straight to hell!

  11. alex said on February 21, 2005 at 8:11 pm

    Andrea, that’s exactly the same story I have as regards my ninth-grade Latin teacher. In fact, his religious conversion came as quite a shock, as he was very erudite and had inspired me to view the big picture of world history and Christianity’s minuscule place in it. He asked that I come take away his entire library–I was welcome to it–and what a library it was. But being a lazy stoner at the time, I didn’t get there quickly enough. The garbage truck beat me to it.