Thursday, May 3, 2007

General Store Owner Discovers eBay

(Someville, Ohio) Gus Franklin, proud general store owner of 35 years, has entered cyberspace and he’s loving every minute of it.

For years Gus had the vague sense that computers were out there, but he just wasn’t interested. That all changed last August.

“I was watching the boob tube late one night and a professor came on” Gus explains “He called himself a video professor, and golly, I thought hell, why shouldn’t I learn to run the computer? Yes, I always thought those new gadgets like computers and cellular telephones were for city slickers, not for folks like me. I’m an old pro when it comes to throwing away those AOL cds that come in the mail, do you get those too? Once I even wrote them a nice letter telling them I wasn’t interested, but they kept on sending ‘em. It got so bad I finally had to tell Randy, Randy is our postman, I finally had to tell Randy to stop bringing them to my house because I had no use for ‘em. To make a long story short, I made up my mind and drove my Ford truck a few hours to the nearest Sears Roebuck and picked up an economy model computer. Thanks to Video Professor, I finally learned to run that sucker. It was none too hard neither.”

Encouraged by the ease with which Video Professor allowed him conquer his fear of computers, Gus sat up and took note when he received a Video Professor catalog in the mail. That’s when he learned there was a place he could set up shop in cyberspace, it was a little website called eBay. Gus ordered the Video Professor eBay tutorial and took to it like a fish to water.

An eBay store is born

Today Gus’s eBay store sells glass coke bottles, bugles, an assortment of Indian arrowheads, WWII era toys made out of tin, and American flags with 30 stars. “Once we got Wisconsin, our union was perfect” Gus explains, “California was the beginning of the nation’s downfall.”

“I’ve had requests from buyers all over the world, from Germany to Japan to Katmandu, but I refer them to my policy at the bottom of the page. It clearly states AMERICAN BUYERS ONLY, NO EXCEPTIONS.”

Gus includes a hand-written note and a ribbon with each order. “I try to give my customers the same friendly service they’d get at my general store.”

Gus confesses that there’s nothing in the world he prizes more than his perfect feedback, even the smallest smudge on his online reputation would keep him up at nights. There was one close-call that he’ll never forget. “One time a fellow actually gave me negative feedback. He said the flag he ordered never arrived. Didn’t give me a chance to make it right, just left the feedback. I tried to send him a message through eBay message service, but he didn’t reply. Well he only lived one state over, so I figured what the heck, and I drove all the way to West Virginia to sort it out. I had the man’s shipping address, so it wasn’t none too hard to track him down. He was a nice enough fellow, and as it turns out the flag was lost during transport. It’s a good thing I'd anticipated that possibility, because I had another flag waiting in the truck to hand deliver to him. He was very happy to have the flag and he thanked me and agreed to retract his negative feedback. I’m proud to say that I’m back to 100%. I always strive to give all my eBay customers the same friendly service they’d get at my general store.”

Asked about his future plans, Gus shrugs and reaches for a soda pop from under the counter.

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