Monday, October 4, 2010

Not Much of a Gambler

Maybe I'm strange in this day and age, or maybe I have more than enough suspense and stress from everyday things, but I like to maintain some control over my life. I want things to have a certain outcome. Gambling's not the place to do that. I spend a lot of time in contemplation, mentally picking my way around obstacles between me and my intended destination. Gambling on anything doesn't get me there. Sure, I say "I need to win the lottery." But do I play? Well, there's been a joke around about a guy praying to God for years to let him win the lottery. Finally, one day he hears a big booming voice say "Buy a lottery ticket!!!!"
Close, but I'm even worse. I buy the ticket, forget to check it. Sometimes it turns up before it expires. Sometimes the ticket's even been worth a couple dollars (never more than $10.), but uncertainty is not my thing.

I don't gamble when I drive that the other cars are going to follow the rules of the road (maybe even the law) or even exhibit any type of courtesy. I know they won't. I'm always surprised when they actually do drive as though other cars also have a right to be on the road. That's pathetic. I'm always happy when someone just offers me a simple courtesy of not running off the road on a merge. But for the most part, I'm not going to risk my life in the false belief that they'll do the right thing.

Why is it that sometimes since the inception of pay TV, with more channels than ever to watch, they all decide one or two nights a week they have free reign to throw at us any kind of garbage. Is it a secret message for people to get off their far-too-fat (mine included currently)_ _ _ and take out the trash? We'll smell it soon enough if we don't. Meanwhile, what's on the TV stinks. So what to do when your day is mainly spent in too much pain to do much of anything? GO SHOPPING! And that's what I've begun doing over the past month.

That's a gamble too, but far more interesting (and sometimes educational) than anything else. Different than what I'd find at the local K-Mart, WalMart or Target. Maybe pricier often than Penny's and Macy's or even Kohl's. Some things look so much more substantitive and sparkly than they appear in person. Even with a money back guarantee, you still have to repay the return shipping if someone has somehow misrepresented. I don't like to pay for other people's sins. But things are pretty and the information interesting, but a gamble of sorts ina sense. I could buy a few lottery tickets for the amount I've spent shipping things back. Funny how fast they forget to enclose the promised gift with the purchase. Well guess what? I'm out the shipping cost, but no matter how much I like it, it's going back not because it's junk but what came out of the sales persons mouth was.

The question having been posed "Where else can you get this...etc."; I, of course, had to check. It's that thing about not gambling again. I want to know for sure I'm paying the least amount possible for something I think at the moment I must have. I didn't need it before I knew it existed. But now I do, and the quest begins my longest streak of anything resembling habitual gambling: Internet auctions.

In this month of experimentation, I have not to date had any negative reaction to any items I've bid on and won. I begin to worry my luck might run out. Ebay's reputation and success are well deserved. It is a tight-knit ship which opens the door to the world and it has been my good fortune so far to be happy with 90% of what I received.

Last year I made some direct purchases on the internet and the vendors I bought from split 66% happy, 34% the items were a little flimsy by comparison to everyone, paper catalogs included. (I'm an artist. I need various supplies. I'd go broke trying to keep in art canvas at the local crafts store, which are a saving grace in a pinch. All the vendors who have serviced my winning bids have wasted no time in delivering and with a quality I am very pleased with. I'm almost done shopping for Christmas gifts and the multiple people in my life who decided to be born right in the season.

I haven't "won" the bid on everything I selected. I didn't expect to. I have a budget and if someone else really wants it that bad to get in a tit-for-tat thing, I let them win. I wasn't the least upset about that. But something went haywire today and I am furious.

I logged on with a merchant I've made a lot of purchases from and saw an item down to one minute which had not yet been bid on. So I logged my bid. Almost immediately, across my computer screen flashes a competing merchant carrying a similar item for 4.5 times as much and inerferes with my bid because now he's blocked my screen. It was long enough for the clock to run out. That's foul. I will try to track down that malefactor and I will block his access to my computer permanently. When you play dirty pool, that's what needs to be done with you. Especially since Ebay works so well because the people on it are honest and don't resort to dirty tricks. I bid on a couple of site which are off-shoots ("links") to Ebay. Above board. One of the merchants (yes, I read the rules), if there is a last 30 second bid, extends the auction by 30 seconds until the bidding stops. Fair play is the name of the game and I'm very happy to share my money in exchange for their goods. One other site had no bids on a certain item until my bid. Almost immediately on my entry, the bid price went up one slot. Hey-peopel-that-may-be-an-illegal-act. Merchants are not allowed under Federal Law to "one-up" ANY bids, either electronically, personally, or by personnel. Yes, I do my research. I haven't exactly had a sheltered life. I've done my share of Social Work, I watch the news only rarely (same story, different victims, different perps). I can't do much about most of it except write my Congressman or the UN if I know a way to prevent a bad thing.

I've wondered what it is about people stealing that I find so despicable I want to shoot them. They have not only accessed something they had no right to have, they have just caused a pocket of uncertainty where a certain thing was. They have just gambled with my life. And nobody has the right to do that.

Peace & Love & Do Not Covet. You might avoid a big war, or just one with your neighbor, or the one society will wage on you when they catch up. It won't be thru the courts. You'll be locked out of people's homes, social activities, lives, and sharing. You'll be ostracized. You will be barred out if you're not locked in jail. And if you want to whine about why, look to yourself. What did you think you deserved?

Reign Peace.

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