I am going to tell you (a) something boring and (b) something interesting, so have patience, my friend.

A. Why offer insurance?

Alexander Kerensky

Alexander Kerensky

In establishing my eBay store, my research into eBay and PayPal policies and procedures has been perfunctory at best, but I have found out a few useful things lately.

1 – If you sell an item and use the eBay/PayPal “print shipping label” function for U.S. mail, you have to pay 18 cents for mandatory delivery confirmation — unless you send the item via Priority Mail or Express Mail. There is no such requirement if you prepare your shipping label on, although charges you more than $13 per month just for the privilege of having it available. I like because you can buy nice little preformatted stick-on shipping labels and you don’t have to glue the label to the box or the envelope, which, when I do it, always makes a huge mess and smears the ink.

You could go to and use its label-printing service, but it’s available only for the more chichi methods of shipping, such as Priority Mail and Express Mail, plus you still have the glue problem. As a last resort, you could actually take the item to the post office, but that’s out of the question as far as I’m concerned. For one thing, I don’t have a car. Having a taxi haul me to the post office so I can save a few cents on shipping doesn’t strike me as a clever economic strategy.

Warren Buffett; photo by Mark Hirschey

Warren Buffett; photo by Mark Hirschey

2 – PayPal Buyer Protection

PayPal Buyer Protection helps you if you don’t receive your item or the item is significantly different from its description in the seller’s listing. Eligible transactions are covered up to the full purchase price and original shipping charges. Certain categories are excluded [things I never sell anyway, like cars and surface-to-air missiles*]…. An item is covered by PayPal Buyer Protection if [you buy the item on eBay and pay for it through PayPal and file your claim within 45 days blah blah blahty blah].

The full PayPal User Agreement is much more complicated and keeps referring you to Part B-7, Section 243.6, and the like, but the POINT is this: SINCE ALL MY SALES GO THROUGH PAYPAL, THERE IS NO REASON FOR ME TO OFFER INSURANCE ON ITEMS I SELL.

If I’m incorrect, please let me know. I still have a LOT to learn about selling on eBay.

B. Famous people I have met

Dorothy Kilgallen

Dorothy Kilgallen

I’m going to reward you for plodding through the above boring segment by telling you about Famous People I Have Met. Most of these are no longer household names. I am 61 years old (as of last Thursday — your gift must have gotten lost in the mail) and you are probably 32 or something, but still….

Dorothy Kilgallen was a very famous journalist, but I was only 7 when I met her, and I was aware of her only as a regular panelist on the erudite game show What’s My Line? which my parents never missed. I was in a fashion show she hosted at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. I got to keep the dress I modeled plus $10, which I wanted to spend on Baby Ruth bars, but my mother talked me into buying a keepsake-type item, a tiny hutch that today hangs on the wall in my kitchen. My mother was wise.

Alexander Kerensky was a leader of the February 1917 Russian Revolution and became prime minister of the provisional government, which was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in October 1917. He was born in 1881, so he was 84 years old when I met him in 1965. I was chairman of the cultural committee in my dorm at Stanford University, and he lived across the street. We engaged him as a speaker, and I held an umbrella over his head (because it was raining) as I escorted him to the dorm. He had lived in the U.S. for a long time, but his accent was so thick that I don’t remember a thing he said. But still….

Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland was an American composer, some of whose works are familiar to you even if his name is not; in particular, Fanfare for the Common Man and the ballets Rodeo and Appalachian Spring. The “Hoe-Down” theme from Rodeo was background music for those “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner” commercials for a long time. In my dorm at Stanford we had family-style dinners; you know, you sit anywhere you like and the servers plop big dishes of enchiladas or mashed potatoes or whatever in the middle of the table and you pass them around. Other girls’ parents or grandparents often visited, so you thought nothing of it if a grandfatherly sort of man were sitting next to you. So I was passing the peas-and-pearl-onions to the grandfatherly sort of man sitting next to me, and I politely introduced myself and found myself shaking hands with Aaron Copland and I almost spilled the peas-and-pearl-onions in his lap.

Minnesota Fats is someone you have probably heard of. The 1961 Jackie GleasonPaul Newman (whose recent death I mourn as I would that of a lifelong friend) film The Hustler might or might not have been based on his pool exploits. I was working as a waitress in Hutchinson, Kansas, in 1981, when Minnesota Fats was in town to promote the opening of a new pool hall. The restaurant normally did not serve breakfast, but it opened specially for him and his companions, the pool-hall owner and another man. I gave them their breakfast, and then they invited me to sit and eat with them, which I did. They called him “Fatty” with a straight face.

Nelson Rockefeller

Nelson Rockefeller

There are others (too numerous to mention) whom I met either at Stanford or in Washington, D.C., when I worked there in 1976 and 1977. I did not exactly meet Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, but I was waiting for an elevator when his security goons got off the left elevator and sort of pushed me aside, and seconds later Vice President Rockefeller got off the right elevator and said “Hi ya'” to me, and I said, “Hello, Mr. Vice President.”

One famous person whom I have not met, although my ex-husband used to work for him and he lives about a mile away, is Warren Buffett. If I ever do meet him, I will ask him for $500 million to rehabilitate selected Omaha neighborhoods that once were grand. That is my dream.

May Whoever Is On Duty bless you and your dreams….  —Mary


* I am joking, of course. Do not sue me. You cannot buy surface-to-air missiles on eBay.

Find unique Christmas and Solstice cards and gifts at Zero Gravity’s new Holiday Store!


One thought on “BORE-ing

  1. Others I should have mentioned: sitarist Ravi Shankar, in 1967, when he was just a little-bit famous; opera singer Beverly Sills, at a charity tea in Omaha; Major League Baseball hall-of-famer Leo Durocher, after a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field; Olympic Gold Medalist Jesse Owens, at the Omaha Press Club; author (*Waiting to Exhale*) Terry McMillan, in 1989, when she was teaching at the University of Arizona….

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