I’ve had a lot of funny questions and eBay horror stories over the years, and I thought maybe a little FAQ and buyers guide might be helpful, humorous, or enlightening to some of you.
Truly, my most frequently asked questions. Not the most useful, but the ones I get most often.
Q:”Do you have this 80 year old hat in another (size, color)?
A: Sorry, no.
Q:”Your measurement says this is a size 38 jacket, I’m a size 46, will if fit me?”
A: Sorry, no.
Q:”What color is it?”
A: The color it looks in the pictures and says in the description.
Q:”How do you know the (sweatband/liner/hatband/brim width etc.) is original? Could this be a fake?”
A: No way of knowing for sure, but everything matches and it would be an awful lot of trouble to go to.
Q:”What would you estimate the X value of the felt as?”
A: The X rating system is meaningless and varies maker to maker and year to year.
Q: “If you end it now, I will give you $15 for it.”
A: “There are two hours left, six bids, and it’s already going for $35.
And now a short buyers guide – sort of a response to all the eBay transactions gone wrong that I’ve had.
Sizing: Tagged size varies. A lot. It did then, it does now. I wear a size 38 jacket- I have clothes tagged 36 to 44 in my closet, all fit about the same. And that’s modern stuff. In the 50, 60, 70, 80 year s that have passed since the garment I’m selling was new- who knows what could have happened? Rain, humidity, heat, wear- they all do their part to shrink or stretch. And this is why I provide measurements. Please do not look at a size tag and ignore the measurements. And don’t assume the measurements are wrong. Wishful thinking won’t make your coat or jacket fit.
Condition: Everything I sell is vintage. Unless I’ve stated otherwise, if it’s 70 years old, it’s going to have an issue or two. Don’t just look at the first two pictures. Actually read the entire description. Actually look at all the pictures. If you’re going to be dropping $175 on a hat, take the thirty seconds it takes. If you’re going to be dropping over $200 on an overcoat, read the sentence the describes the damage. Because I do my best to describe what’s wrong. And sometimes I miss things. But in years of selling only one complaint was actually due to something I missed. And the guy was cool about it and everything worked out.
My expectations have changed in dealing vintage. I wouldn’t say I’ve lowered them, but they have changed. When I get clothes and hats in, I expect them to be in the shape described and packaged well. That’s not always the case, I get my fair share of crushed hats and wadded jackets, but even that is fixable. (I hate to think what people would say if I represented and delivered product in the way it’s been done to me.) But I expect the item to be vintage. I expect to sometimes get something with a bit of a smell, or a moth bite or two. I expect something that has been traveling for half a century or more.
I get these things in, and I do my best to make them look their best. Steam for the wrinkles, Steam and sun for the smells. I reshape, recrease, brush, clean and otherwise make the items more presentable. When I list, I make sure my pictures are good and that my descriptions are accurate.
But I still get people who buy things that have been around for 70 years, and their complaint is that it’s old. I still get people who buy things with damage and then complain that they have the exact damage that was clearly mentioned. I still get people who buy things that are clearly measured and complain that they didn’t read them and that it doesn’t fit. And in dealing with unreasonable people in a selling system that’s stacked against the seller, there’s unfortunately not a lot I can do.
As a parting shot, to quote Syms, “AN EDUCATED CONSUMER IS OUR BEST CUSTOMER”.