I sadly read your post about hams who ripped you off for postage and
the meager cost of your books. Unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me in
the least. You state..."It's a sad commentary on our society in general
but I thought that hams were a closer fraternity and above that!"
Bruce, you, like myself, are in your mid-fifies and we remember a
different society and social ethic. The "club" we called hams back
"then" was far smaller and the admission generally required sacrifice,
study and a great deal of enthusiasm. Yes! You are quite correct...
there was a spirit and comradery that has disappeared with the
increasing numbers, changing social ethics and hobby entrance
Bruce, you also live in a part of our country where most of the old
timers still hold a persons word as his bond and people don't generally
have need for written contracts. Sadly, those ethics don't often
translate intelligently across the length and breadth of this country
via e-mail and the Internet. It is indeed a sad commentary on living
But this is old hat. I hate to say it but you should have known
better. Old books are just old books to some... but to others, they
are dear collectors items worth considerable money. It is not unusual
to see these things selling for three to five times their cover prices
and even twenty times... for really old stuff in good condition. Sorry
you didn't realize that. However, after thirty to forty years has
passed.... what these books are selling for is nothing compared to what
you would have made had you taken their purchase price and simply
invested it at compounding bank interest. What this means is that
whatever is asked for these books may never be "enough" and is almost
always (for the collector)... a steal at any price!
Then again, standard business practice would dictate that you not send
anything requested through the mail unless it was fully secured by a
check that you have already cashed and received payment on. It is the
buyer who must wait a reasonable amount of time for his check to clear
and who must have faith you will send what you promised. Your failure
as a seller to do so upon receipt of proper payment... would be a
criminal act punishable under the Federal mail fraud statutes.
The fact that you were taken advantage of... only happened because you
let it happen. Whether you like it or not... you WERE in fact doing
business... expecting some payment for product rendered and sadly, no
one really does ANY serious business via the mail... based on an
ASSUMPTION that the buyer's money will follow when the product is
received. To have labored under a different assumption is a testament
to how out of touch one is with today's business ethics. It is not
unlike the guy wearing the "kick-me" sign disparaging all the passers
by who did as instructed.
All of the above I'm afraid only serves to rub salt in an open wound. I
truly regret having done that because Bruce, you are a rare breed who
we should only cherish and NEVER disparage. I deeply commiserate with
your anguish since I too would easily have been tempted to act as you
have done. As it turns out, it would have been an act better reserved
for a different time and a different age.
Yes! Bruce, in spite of all the above... I do share your pain.
Roger Elowitz, K2JAS
Morganville, NJ about 30-mi SW of NYC
At 11:20 PM 12/10/97 +0000, you wrote:
>The story below is not intended to be a gripe but rather a warning to all
>on the reflector. You cannot trust some of your fellow hams. To me
>Early in November I cleaned house here in the shack and came up with a
>number of old books that I did not need anymore. They included old ARRL
>antenna manuals, VHF/UHF handbook, etc. I posted to several reflectors
>if anyone wanted them for the cost of the postage they could have them. I
>received about 60 responses and eventually sent out the 20 books to
>hams. It is now one month later and guess how many have sent me a
>a few stamps for the postage? You got it! None, na da, zip.
>Several weeks later during the Thanksgiving holidays, I uncovered another
>15 or so books including old ARRL handbooks, several RSGB hardcover
>etc. Again I posted to the reflectors the availability of the books but
>this time asked $5 each for them. I received an even larger number of
>responses but as I promised, 1st come 1st served, and off went the 15
>to about 12 different fellow hams. Guess how many responded with the
>promised $5? Wrongo! This time I actually received a response from two of
>the recipients. One sent the promised $15 for 3 books (and a very nice
>note)and the other actually included an extra buck for the postage.
>This is no big deal for me as I was going to throw them out anyhow but I
>think that it is sad when someone makes a promise and then reneges.
>sad commentary on our society in general but I thought that hams were a
>closer fraternity and above that.... oh well, next they will tell me
>is no Santa Claus
>73, Bruce Makas, K1MY
> Cape Elizabeth, Maine 04107
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