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HP Forum Archive 07

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Humour in eBay
Message #1 Posted by John Smith on 31 Jan 2002, 6:06 a.m.

Sometimes when looking at the descriptions of HP items on eBay, one finds real pearls of the humouristic genre, IMHO. For instance, here are some commented excerpts taken from the description of an HP-11C recently submitted for auction:

"The calculator is in very nice aesthetic condition."

Sounds interesting. Let's see what's the seller's concept of "very nice aesthetic condition":

"There are a few miscellaneous (very tiny) scratches"

What a pity ! Still, it can be very nice if they are very tiny. Is there anything else to worry ?

" ... and one miniscule dent on the top edge of the metal (you have to really look)."

Oh well, another blemish ! But "you have to really look". Let's do it, are there any pictures ? Indeed there are, but the seller bewares:

"The scanned image exaggerates the blemishes."

Regrettably, the scanned image is so small and dark that you really aren't sure at all whether it is exaggerating anything at all that you can discern. So let's forget about the picture. Any other blemishes in this "very nice aesthetic condition" HP-11C ?

"It is missing the foot pads on the back (easily replaceable)"

Oh me, oh my !! No foot pads ? Perhaps they were removed while opening up the machine ? How's the back ?

"the back is in very nice condition, not banged up, or dented, just a few tiny scratches."

More scratches ! Let's hope that at least the pretty silvery HP-11C logo is ok ?

"It is missing the HP emblem"

!?!?! Very NICE aesthetic condition !?!? How would it be if it were in bad condition !!?! But perhaps the calculator comes with some goodies, the manual for instance:

"The manual is complete and in excellent condition"

At long last some good news !! But ...

"It is bound, not the cheap spiral version."

The CHEAP spiral version ? The seller is (presumably) unaware that it's the bound version the one which is cheap. Spiral versions are easily worth twice as much if not more. Spiral versions will stay flat when reading and are thus much more valuable. Precisely HP changed to hardbound versions to reduce costs, at the expense of great inconvenience to the user. But the seller would have you believe the hardbound version is the one to get, instead of that "cheap spiral version" !

Are we done with the bad news ? Not yet, there's still a big one in reserve:

"The calculator functions intermittently, I suspect a faulty ground."

Incredible. In-credible. But all's not lost, the seller tells us that:

"When it functions, all keys work, and it passes the self diagnostic test"

Well, what a relief ! However, should we pass on this real bargain ? The seller advices us not to, because:

"There aren't many around still with the case and Problem Solving Guide."

He obviously hasn't had a look at eBay lately, because there's been a real wealth of HP-11Cs offered for auction, and most of them had both the slip case and the "Owner's Manual and Problem Solving Guide", and they did even work ! Notice how the seller describes the "Owner's Manual and ..." as just "Problem Solving Guide", as if it were a different, rarer book.

The seller ends:

"Thank you for looking."

You're welcome. And thanks to you, whoever you are, for a real funny time on eBay, I've laughed all the way while reading your description. At least you've been honest enough to tell (all ?) the faults, even if somewhat belittled. Other sellers would equally boast about the "very nice aesthetic condition" of their items without bothering to specify, like you did.

You can see the "funny" description mentioned in this post at this URL:

Re: Humour in eBay
Message #2 Posted by Ellis Easley on 31 Jan 2002, 10:31 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by John Smith

Gee, maybe I could be described as "in very nice aesthetic condition"!

Re: Humour in eBay
Message #3 Posted by Frank on 31 Jan 2002, 5:17 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by John Smith

Sounds like an average marketing pitch, not as bad as some of the infomercials at least, however I would not recommend!! Frank

Re: Humour in eBay
Message #4 Posted by Raymond Hellstern (Germany) on 31 Jan 2002, 7:06 p.m.,
in response to message #1 by John Smith


yes, this is really funny.

A few years ago I bought an 11C for US$100 which was described as in excellent condition by the seller, like 4x4bill describes the manual of his 11C...

When it arrived, it was a shock.

The aluminium bezel and display 'glass' were heavily scratched, you could hardly see the digits, the 11C Logo was deformed (abrased) and repainted (!) with silver color. The housing edges were rounded and shiny from heavy usage. And the manual looked even worse than that heavily abused one from the eBay auction link you gave.

Conclusions: 1. the general communication problem between the sender and the receiver. 'excellent' can obviously mean anything. It seems to depend on what you're used to;-)

2. a picture can often tell more than a thousand words, at least if the seller didn't steal the pic from the hpmuseum;-)



condition definition
Message #5 Posted by on 2 Feb 2002, 7:06 a.m.,
in response to message #4 by Raymond Hellstern (Germany)

Yes, that's right... That's why I've explained what I understood by "Excellent", "Mint", "Good", "Poor" or "Fair" on my pages...

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