poems of the month

orpheus in soho

a seriously sexy man


measuring my face

old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

the book of nothing

confession from belgrade

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

the second coming (rebus)

gloss on rilke's ninth duino elegy

wine and roses

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa: a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of
omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic

the love of pierre de ronsard






the maxims of michel de montaigne

revolutionary maxims

nice men and
suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper


art, truth and bafflement




the three bears

three albanian tales

a little creation story


lazarus the leper



an occitanian baby-hatch

ancient violence
in the amazon

home, sweet home no longer

the ivory palace

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

are doctors autistic ?

single track in the snow

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you


londons of the mind &
dealing death to the caspian


a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

a holy dog and a
dog-headed saint

an albanian ikon

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope


this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

combatting normality

fools for nothingness:
atheists & saints

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

the visit

towards the zen of sex




metamorphotos NEW LINK



tombeau de kurt schwitters

three movements of melting ice




Discovering - too late - that I had paid almost twice
as much as expected for an item on eBay
from a seller in the USA,
because of 'international delivery and customs charges',
I asked him instead to pop it in a jiffy-bag
and send to my friend in Colorado...

But two days later I got this:

and another two days later my friend in Colorado
is surprised to receive a corkscrew in her mailbox.

So I decide to take up the matter with eBay,
and eventually I stumble my way to the Help-through-Chat link.
I wanted to talk on the telephone,
but the number given cannot be reached outside the UK,
and I am currently in France for a few weeks.

Customer Support Chat Transcript
SR# 1-26868727066

[after about 4 minutes waiting]

Welcome to eBay Live Help, my name is Shirus. How may I help you?

This concerns the purchase of a corkscrew
(Item #: 281337559330
Transaction #: 1207369119018)
and the associated
International Delivery and Import Charge: (Transaction ID: 6B071055TH984660B)
which almost doubled the price of the corkscrew.

This item was in fact sent to an address within the US
on my post-purchase instructions.
I therefore request a refund of the charge.

Thank you for sharing the details. I will surely help you with it.

[wow! this sounds hopeful]

Please stay online while I check this for you. I'll be with you in a moment.

Thank you for waiting.

To assist you in better way, I need to connect you to our concern department,
so that you get the best support. Shall I connect you with them?

Yes please.

[after about 5 minutes' wait]

Has transferred you to: Julie Anne

Julie Anne
Welcome to eBay Live Help. How can I help you today?

Regarding transaction number 281337559330 :
The seller sent the item to an address in Colorado, on my instruction.
It was not, therefore, sent for onward mailing to France.
I therefore request a refund from PayPal of the $24.39 "shipping and import charge"
to Pitney Bowes, over and above the delivery charge within the USA.

Julie Anne
Please give me 2 minutes to review what you have discussed with the previous representative.

Julie Anne
Thanks for patiently waiting.

Julie Anne
I understand you want to claim your refund for the item you have not receive.

Julie Anne
May I please ask if you open a case through PayPal?

No, this is not the case at all. The item arrived yesterday in Colorado, as I instructed the seller
to do, after discovering that to send it to France would almost double the price.
In the final price (before the overseas surcharge) postage within the US was included.
So I am requesting a refund of the $24.39 for international delivery.
I have not opened a case through PayPal.

(I am sorry, but I don't think your English is good enough for the job you have been given.)

Julie Anne
I respect your opinion.

I paid $24.39 for a service which was not used.
It is not so much a PayPal issue as an eBay one. I am requesting that eBay authorise a refund,
a simple enough request, don't you think ?

Julie Anne
I fully understand the concern you have expressed in this situation.

Julie Anne
Please bear with me for 2 minutes while I investigate this for you.

Julie Anne
Thanks for patiently waiting.
I can see that your issue here is being handled by a relevant department.
I would therefore need to transfer
you to them. Please stay connected while I direct you to them.

You have been connected with eBay customer support.
[which I was already connected to]
The next available chat agent will be able to assist you.

Thank you for your patience.

Estimated wait time as of 7:59 PM:
05 minutes

Your position in queue is # 49

[after about 14 minutes' wait]

Julie Anne
Has transferred you to: Keith

Thank you for contacting eBay New Customer Support.
My name is Keith how can I help you today?

Hi Anthony, how are you today?

hold on a sec...[while I turn off the stove, for I had started to make my dinner
when I realised that I was number 49]

Re transaction number 281337559330 :
The seller sent the item to an address in Colorado, on my instruction.
This postage cost was included.

I therefore request a refund from PayPal of the $24.39
"shipping and import charge" to Pitney Bowes.

So the item was sent to an address in the US and not the UK?
[He is in the UK call-centre. Julie Ann - surely not her real name -
is likely to be Latvian or Ukrainian.]


I see, you would need to contact the seller of the item in relation to the shipping charges
as it is the seller who states the postage cost in their listing.

I instructed the seller to send within the US because I did not want to pay the outrageous fee to Pitney Bowes for a small corkscrew that could be put in a jiffy-bag and sent to France (not the UK). He duly did as instructed.
Pitney Bowes will have been paid nevertheless for sending it to France.
I wish now (too late!) that I had not instructed the seller to send the item to my friend in Colorado.

I understand, this is something that eBay would have no control over and the issue would need to be raised with Pitney Bowes.

A nice get-out. Thanks for nothing, Keith, Zombie - or Robot..
It is now 20.15 in France, and my dinner is burning.
I started this ridiculous process three-quarters of an hour ago.

I am sorry for the delay in getting through to us but we are very busy this evening.

Not-a-Zombie [feeling that he is turning into a zombie]
It is the utter primitiveness and ineffectuality of this "chat"
that I am railing against.


Let me see if I can find contact information for you, one moment

thank you...

[after 3 minutes]

You can find contact information for Pitney Bowes at the below link

Thank you. Now I can eat my dinner !
Over and out.

Thank you for contacting eBay Live Help. Have a great evening.

Chat Session Ended, Goodbye. (5010)

[needless to say, one cannot contact the faceless Pitney Bowes
except to buy a service or sell them something]

Having talked with friends who have been similarly scammed by eBay, I learned that even if Pitney Bowes do send an item, THEY DO NOT PAY ANY CUSTOMS COSTS because they use the United States Postal Service.

Small items are of course generally not opened or examined by European customs, but go straight through to the addressee. I know two such addressees, who paid fees for non-existent services and received their item through ordinary mail, with no customs examination, no customs declaration even provided, and no address from which the packages were alleged to have been sent. There was in fact no evidence of anyone doing anything except popping the items in a post-bag and laughing all the way to the bank.

Pitney Bowes are thus committing massive fraud, aided and abetted by eBay, and based on the average American's total ignorance of the liberal world outside the USA, let alone the ease of posting something to the European Union.

This (eBay says) takes 180 days.
Goodbye faceless, rip-off eBay.

A note on the enantiodromic perversion of the word

A 16th century abbreviation of the word chatter,
which could refer to the chattering, twittering and chittering of birds
(including stonechats) - or to gossip -
it is closely related to the Dutch koeteren
which means to jabber.
There is no etymological link to natter,
which is closely related in meaning.

The Online Etymological Dictionary asserts:

[The] meaning [of] "familiar conversation" is from 1570s.
Chat show, for what in U.S. is a talk show, [is] attested from 1969.
Chat room in the online sense is attested by 1994, from the days when AOL ruled the Web.

Familiar conversation and gossip are definitely not what I enjoyed online with the eBay zombies.
On the contrary, it was anti-chatter, stilted quasi-communication neither fluid nor fluent,
neither familiar nor inconsequential,
and definitely not the verbal equivalent of primate mutual grooming.




PayPal's protection for buyers only applies to "payments for certain tangible, physical goods.
Payments for: intangibles, services, vehicles
(including, without limitation, motor vehicles, motorcycles, caravans, aircraft and boats),
custom-made items, airline flight tickets, eBay classified advertisements, items prohibited under our Acceptable Use Policy
or licences and other access to digital content".

Please also note that "Significantly Not As Described" claims which are associated with a purchase of an item outside of eBay
are not eligible for reimbursement under PayPal's protections for buyers.



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