About ten years or so ago, I became interested in vintage sewing machines. Not so much for collecting, but more their use as tools to do “Guy Sewing” tasks like working with Sunbrella for boat tops, or Cordura for bags, packs, etc.
After purchasing an old Singer 401 off eBay (which cost more to ship than buy in those days), I went looking for a manual for it.
I found several sites that wanted money for the manual, but before I got suckered, I luckily found a Yahoo forum that provided that material for free!
Free is always awesome!
Going by the credo of “pay it forward“, I unfortunately didn’t have much to offer the Singer groups, but I did have a manual for an old Nelco machine my Grandmother once owned.
I scanned it, processed the files for nice presentation, and uploaded a link to it on a message forum where someone had been asking about finding this very manual.
All was well and balanced in the universe — or so I thought. A few years later I was cruising eBay looking for an item, and “Bless my heart” (Southern-speak for “Screw You Jack”) if I didn’t see my file for sale for $10 by an unscrupulous eBay vendor! (With “free electronic delivery” — not even a real copy!!!)
What puts The Angels on my side, and how I knew it was in fact my file, was that the picture showing the cover of the manual had crayon marks I HAD MADE AS A CHILD on my Grandmother’s booklet!.
There was no doubt: This file was mine.
Now I have a love/hate relationship with eBay. I have bought and sold many items there over the years. I hate the “industrial strength” crap that is used to market old sewing machines, and can’t believe the prices that mediocre machines are routinely sold for these days. (Upcoming post.) But it is what it is.
I contacted the seller, sent him a picture of me holding the original manual (crayon marks visible), and called to his sense of fair play. He promptly responded with an interesting recreational suggestion involving a rolling doughnut. (Yes, I love those quaint New Jersey euphemisms.)
I contacted eBay, and was told that “reselling items in the public domain is not against our policy.”
I called my therapist. (She is on speed-dial just for situations like this.) She felt I should take several deep cleansing breaths, tell myself “it will all be OK” and try to forget it. Yeah… I guess.
BUT IT JUST WASN’T RIGHT!!!!
…And no one would help me!!!
No one that is, except the only true friend who has never lied to me, never talked behind my back, never given me crappy clearance candy from last year (I’m looking at you Easter Bunny), and has been in my hyper-tingly dreams of materialistic anticipation every December since back in the day:
So even though those limp-wristed pansies at eBay do not have the stomach to stand up for what’s right, (and I can’t really afford the gas to drive to New Jersey for a rolling doughnut tutorial), Santa will care. Santa will make it right. I WILL BE AVENGED!!!
So before you think about trying it, just know that me and my crew roll with reindeer, and you don’t want to go there.