All my life I have been a pleaser. I want other people to be happy, and if they aren’t I take responsibility for it. Whether or not it actually IS my responsibility is irrelevant.

Over the years this has become increasingly difficult to manage. I’m exhausted from trying to make sure that everyone around me is content. Little by little I’ve taken various opportunities to assert myself. Many times guilt is involved, usually undeserved, but it registers, nonetheless.

Over the last six to eight weeks I’ve had the chance to view and analyze this process from a short distance…almost a “first step” in self-assertion without self-recrimination. I’ve been selling items on ebay for several years. It’s an enjoyable way to put some mad money in my pocket…or should I say, my Paypal account. So far I have 100% positive feedback from my customers. That may be about to change, and I’ve decided to suck it up and accept it, rather than back down from an unfair and unreasonable buyer just to keep him happy.

Back in April I listed a sports item upon which this buyer bid and won the auction. He paid for Parcel Post shipping. In a timely manner, I packaged the item and sent it off to the address on his ebay account. I always pay to have my packages tracked by the post office. I consider it my little insurance policy.

About 2 weeks later I received an email from Paypal that a buyer had filed a complaint against me for non-delivery of an item, but that they had refused the complaint because not enough time had elapsed to validate it. One of the next emails I opened was a “Where’s My Item” message that came through ebay. It read as follows:
“I was wondering the amount that I had paid for delivery of this item you would think I would get it next day, what’s going on? Why is the shipping so expensive? Paying over $19 to have it delivered to me 2 weeks after payment I think is not right. Mitch.” (Transcribed exactly as written and received.)

5/13 11
“Hi Mitch,
The shipping on your item was actually $12.29, and that paid for Parcel Post delivery, which normally takes about 2 weeks. Here’s your tracking number, so you can see where it is. xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx. Sorry I didn’t check the shipping cost after I sent it, because it actually only cost me $9.50 to ship it. I’ll refund the difference into your Paypal account. Jane.”

Am I the only one who detects a bit of belligerence in filing a complaint about an item that isn’t late, and without checking with the seller first? He only messaged me because Paypal told him to, and in my opinion the message was undeservedly irritated.

In my people pleasing way I responded without irritation. The refund was just an ethical matter – not part of my pleaser behavior. At least, I don’t think it was.

A few more weeks passed, and I got another notice from Paypal that Mitch had filed a second complaint. Rather than wait for him to contact me, I took the bull by the horns and sent the following message:
Dear Mitch,
Paypal informed me that you have filed a complaint due to lack of delivery. I used the tracking number that I sent to you, and here is the result I found:
(Copied and pasted: ‘Undeliverable as addressed to __________ __________, CA. It is being returned as appropriate information is unavailable.’

I have not received the returned package. I believe that Paypal is holding the funds that you sent, and I will find out how to have them returned to you. I don’t know what was wrong with the address. Sincerely, Jane.”

As it turns out, I was working with incomplete information. Here’s the response I received:
“Hey Jane,” (considerably friendlier, don’t you think?)
“I have been tracking the package since the day you first sent me the tracking number. I called USPS to find out where it is. Evidently after tracking the history of the package it’s been back and forth from the east coast to the west coast a couple of times since you mailed it. The USPS has on file my new forwarding address, but has seem to have failed to make a connection to my new address here in Raleigh.” (As in North Carolina – not California!)
“I totally blame the USPS because they have in their system my forwarding address, but it is unfortunate that you have to refund the money and not the USPS. I will be bidding again in the near future. Mitch”

I had 3 reactions to this message. a) If the USPS has your new address, why isn’t it on your ebay account? b) It isn’t the USPS that is to blame. And c) Please don’t bid again!

But wait…there’s more.

“Hello Jane,
I got a notice on June 6th from the postal service that the package finally made its way to Raleigh N.C., however, they want me to pay $11.49 to pick up the item. If I pick it up and pay for delivery, can you refund me the shipping of $11.49? Otherwise I will let the item be shipped back to you and have a full refund. Let me know because I have until June 21 before they return it back to you. Mitch”

At this point I forwarded all of Mitch’s emails to Paypal, and responded to him as follows:
“Please return the item to me. It would probably be a good idea to put your correct address on your ebay account. Jane.”

It took a couple of weeks, but the package finally arrived back in PA – and guess who they want the $11.49 from in order to get it back?

It’s a good thing all of this has been happening through email, because I don’t know if I’d be able to do what I’ve done face to face. I refunded Mitch some money – minus the original shipping and minus the $11.49 it will cost me to get the item back.

Predictably, he’s not happy. Several more emails have gone back and forth. He’s needed 3 explanations to understand how much I deducted and why, plus the reaffirmation that Paypal ruled in my favor and returned all monies to me. So far my feedback is in tact. That may be because he understands his mistake. Or it could be because he knows that I can put feedback on his account as well.

I’m proud of myself, though. I never said a nasty word, but I didn’t let someone who was in the wrong walk all over me either.


7 comments on “Becoming”

  1. Good for you, Janie!! I was always like that, but my husband taught me that you can stand up for yourself without being unpleasant, most of the time. If one must become a tad unpleasant to get an idea across to someone who is used to pushing people like us around, well, then, it must be done. Otherwise, these cretins just go on rolling all over nice people who would NEVER treat someone that way!

    • Thanks Muellerin! Your comment gave me a smile. I can just hear you saying
      “These cretins just go on rolling all over nice people….” LOL. Love you so lots!!!

  2. Sounds like you handled it like a Christian to me…..maybe with a tad of Chuck Norris thrown in for good measure…

    ..nah…just kidding….you did good.

  3. I hate that kind of stuff. You done good.

  4. Hi sweetie – I’m a people pleaser too and it always gets me in trouble. I’m so proud of you for the way you handled it. There comes a time when even we people pleasers must stand up for ourselves and say “ENOUGH” – good job ! Btw EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer sends her love and a *lick* 😉

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