Bad Breaks and Good Signs.

So, I know I usually leave this sort of thing for the end of week update, but in the end I thought it was worth posting. If you’ve been following, you know I am constantly buying and selling on eBay as a second income for our home so we make enough to enable my wife to stay at home with our toddler.

Well, business is good when it’s good. And lately it has been very good. Until this week. Since Saturday, I have had multiple things go awry on the bay, and I gotta admit, it has been more work to resolve them than I expected, and I am taking hits in the process.

But there’s a silver lining.

Things broke bad. First, an excellent inventory deal went south due to a seller’s account, which resulted in my offering a solution that compounded the problem. After 20 e-messages and multiple phone calls to eBay and Paypal by both of us, the final verdict is that my money is locked in an account until this time next week or later.

Then I received an email from a buyer yesterday about my updating his mailing address prior to my shipping ; five hours later when I went to ship the item, I forgot. Now his Jango Fett is en route to Virginia instead of good ol’ Georgia where it was intended.

Finally, I had another inventory deal fall to pieces because for the first time in 5 years, eBay provided a seller with my parents’ former shipping address instead of my current home, resulting in delivery of a package to the wrong place. That was a system error that was no one’s fault but mine, because I failed to remove it after they sold their home. My only solution was to contact the new owners on Facebook, but my guess is that will not lead anywhere. But I made certain to absolve the seller of their worry over it. I assured them I did not blame them in the least for the issue.

Based on that rundown, I am out product on the first, and my funds are on hold; I am out product and fees and shipping costs on the second; and I am out of product and my cost of goods sold on the third. And with the exception of the first issue, the fault is mine; of course, I can still take some blame for the first problem, since my solution only delayed and compounded things.

So, where’s the silver lining?

In this. I took responsibility in each instance. I observed the issue and faced it without fear. I took action where needed, contacted the individuals involved, and ultimately, I stayed cool, collected, and positive throughout each event. In the first, I think I made a genuine online connection, as I was able to engage someone who had made a simple error and come alongside them to solve it—albeit with a few hiccups on the way. In the second, I owned my mistake as soon as I caught it, sent the buyer their money, apologized in two places and chalked up the loss to the cost of doing business. In the third, I did my due diligence, attempted to contact the parties I was able, and in the end I have to just hope—no kicking myself for an oversight from 2 years ago, no blaming anyone else or even systems for the error. I’ve had hundreds of items shipped accurately over the last 5 years, one falling through the cracks is no one person’s fault. Was I to blame for some things? Yes. Was I to blame for all of it. No. And that’s acceptable for me these days.

Now, why the celebration over doing the basic things adults do? Because I battle anxiety and panic, which can lead to despair; but I handled these situations as well as anyone would or could have. For me, that’s a big win after a hard year of much effort to improve. A year ago, this would have been devastating. I would have berated myself for the errors; I would have been less kind to the sellers’ for theirs, and in the end, the situations that were already unfavorable would have had compounded negative mental and emotional effects. This time last year, such issues would have been devastating; today, they are inconvenient.

If you are feeling low, and each obstacle you face seems like an insurmountable hurdle, take heart: you can get to the place where those obstacles are just opportunities to seize responsibility, do right by others, and remember that life continues. You can regain the confidence to face challenges well and overcome them. Even if the end result is unfavorable, you can have the satisfaction of having done the right thing; you can have the knowledge you are forthright and responsible, and you can take that knowledge forward to embrace the next challenge with even more courage.

Things go sideways. Do your best to set them straight. That’s all that you can do. If you do it well, the very act of addressing the issue well is, in a way, its own reward.

Stay the course. Stay strong.

Thanks for reading.