My wife has been operating an eBay store for — gosh! — I don't even know how long. Years ago, when she first started, I used to help pack the merchandise that she sold. That was a long time ago and the process of running an eBay store has evolved into — well, closer to running an actual store. And Mrs. Pincus runs things in much the same way she ran her parents' general merchandise business in a Pennsylvania farmers market for many years. She has a designated day for listing, a designated day for packing and specific times to take shipments to the post office. However, due the the global reach of eBay and her participation in international sales, Mrs. P has been unable to limit the hours dedicated to answering customer (including potential* customer) inquiries. She regularly checks email and quickly replies to any and all questions. I have awakened in the middle of the night to see my wife's face illuminated by the glow of her cellphone. "What are you doing?," I'll groggily ask, knowing darn well what she is doing.
A lot of questions regarding the items that my wife has for sale can easily be answered by reading the listing a little further past the title. Mrs. Pincus routinely answers questions about an item's size, color and other components — all of which are included in the brief description a mere mouse-scroll below the title and photo. But — as we have come to learn — people don't like to read. They like to be read to. Rather than exert a little investigative effort (very little), they like to be told by someone who has done the investigating for them (commonly known as "Let me Google that for you"). However, not every question can be anticipated. Mrs. P does her darnedest to include every possible measurement, every shade of every color and every piece of pertinent descriptive information, but, sometimes you get that one question that results in a good head-scratching.
Recently, Mrs. Pincus offered a plastic novelty magnet in the familiar shape of a bottle of Heinz ketchup for the reasonable price of $7.99. Feeling extra generous, an "or best offer" was added to the price. Dated 1982 and manufactured by a long-defunct company called Arjon, this cute little magnet would be a welcome addition to anyone's novelty magnet collection (and before you ask — yes — there are plenty of folks who collect novelty magnets). One such collector contacted Mrs. Pincus with a two-part question about the Heinz ketchup magnet. The first part was "Would you do a 'Buy It Now'?" This is a feature that a seller can set up to enable a quick purchase for a price that is agreed upon by both parties. Mrs. P does this quite often. Part Two of the query was a bit more..... unusual.
"Are you a Christian? We are." This was followed by a little smiley face comprised of a colon and a closed parenthesis.
Mrs. P was taken aback. Of course, she wants to sell this stuff. That's why it's on eBay in the first place. Of course, she doesn't want to lose a sale at the cost of offending a potential buyer. So, Mrs. P replied in a firm and diplomatic way — way more diplomatic than I would have been.
Like most folks who freely promote their religious beliefs as though they were discussing the weather, they are either convinced that everyone shares their beliefs or they feel they are doing the Lord's work, convincing a lost lamb to join the comforting fray. Either way, it is always a losing argument, usually met with cheerfully narrow-minded reasoning and unwavering commitment. They will never ever see the other side of the argument. There is no "other side," as far as they're concerned. This case, of course, was no different, as this revealing response shows:
First comes the sermon, the stirring message of reaffirming faith and back-handed enticement into the ways of their dogma. Then, back to business, because — well, they obviously want that magnet. (perhaps as an offering). But they also feel a divine obligation to save another poor soul from the fiery grip of Satan. So, they offered four bucks on the magnet. Mrs. Pincus politely declined the offer, hoping that this exchange would now continue as a business discussion, but she knew it would not. She replied, attempting to make her position clear.
But, as expected, they were not finished. They would not rest until our eternal, everlasting spirits were fully accepted into the Kingdom of... of.... Everlasting Acceptance. Their parting salvo was phrased this way, still mixing business with religion to their very last breath... er, offer
By the way, if you'd like, the beautiful 1982 Arjon Heinz Ketchup magnet is still available on eBay.
Shipping is extra. Religion is too.
*A potential customer is anyone who asks a question about an item, though hasn't necessarily made a purchase... or has even hinted at making a purchase. Mrs. P has learned to treat every inquiry as a paying customer. Who knows? The goal is to get them to end up as one.