Middle class problems - Tactical Ninja
Jul. 9th, 2013
09:54 am - Middle class problems
Thing that gets up my nose: Paypal.
I mean yeah, it's a fast, convenient, easy way to pay. Thing is, it's a fast, convenient, easy way to pay that refused to process payments to Wikileaks. Remember that? Yeah, I hold grudges. Or, at least, I don't want to support an organisation that values the ability of governments to silence dissent over open communication. Whether it's possible to donate to the KKK through Paypal, I don't know. What I do know is that I cancelled my account when they stopped payments to Wikileaks and they've been trying to get me to sign up again ever since.
Never mind the complaints I hear from various folks about arbitrary holds put on accounts, privacy breaches, and general erosion of the rights of users over the years. I just don't want to support them.
However, sometimes you're not given an option - like when you buy something through a site that operates all its payment processing through Paypal. In those cases, I opt for the 'pay by credit card' option without signing up for an account.
Yes, I know, that is a compromise of my principle, and if I were truly walking my talk, I would choose not to buy the products from people that insist I use Paypal at all. I guess I'm not perfect. Sue me.
However, I draw the line at creating an account. I know it's not compulsory, because I have on several occasions just entered the appropriate information and it's been paid and that's good. But there are some sites that seem to have crossed off the option for 'just hold your nose and pay', which leaves Paypal free to use coercive methods to get you to sign up.
Top tip: I do not respond well to coercion.
Today's adventure - trying to buy a new phone case. You'd think it'd be easy, but my phone is old enough now that the market's moved on and my options are specialty shops that make custom ones, or shipping one in from overseas with associated postal costs. I thought I'd done OK finding a site called StillPerfection.co.nz. This site is one that allows you to create your own phone case. So I did. Vis:
I thought $20 wasn't bad for such a thing. Not a fancy design, but works for me. So anyway, all was good till it came to payment time. The shipping rate of $7.77NZ alerted me to the fact that this company is probably not actually in NZ. But I thought, what the hell, it's a nice phone case and it's still about the same price as any of the others (of reasonable quality) that I'd looked at. Then they had the Paypal option only for payment. It says 'select payment method' but there's only one thing to select. Hmmm, okaaay...
And then I get to the Paypal page and it's auto-entered my country as United States. I'm kind of used to this - pretty much all sites that aren't specifically NZ ones do this and yes it's annoying but I guess par for the course. However, when I went to change the country, the usual 'hold your nose and pay' form disappeared, and was replaced by 'create an account'. With no other options. I could either create an account or not pay for my item.
I chose not to pay, and instead opened a ticket with StillPerfection asking them to provide me with a suitable payment option. Last time I did this was with a company in Australia, explaining my stance on Wikileaks, and they happily emailed me and sorted something else out. I am hoping this company will too - or at least adjust their Paypal settings to allow me to pay without signing up. Because if that's my only option, they'll lose my business.
And, I noticed that the ticket time, which was 9:15am NZ time, was 5:15am Some Other Country time. And when I looked at the World Clock, I discovered that that particular time step places the company with the NZ domain name, right smack in the middle of China. So I don't have a lot of hope for getting a satisfactory response from these guys. You never know, it's a pretty professional looking website - but IME dealing with odd requests from a tiny country that's nowhere on a global scale is very low priority for these kinds of online businesses.
I love how even a company based in China treats the United States as the default.
Anyway, having made a long story long, the upshot is that I still don't have a phone case on its way. Not exactly a life and death situation, but a niggle just the same. I found a site in Australia, but they only ship to Australia. Everything on Fishpond is a) ugly and b) 'ships from Asian supplier'. I have nothing against Asian suppliers, but I was kind of hoping to find something closer to home. My current case is a knock-off, and it doesn't fit right which is why it broke so quickly.
So, where can I get a phone case that doesn't insist I'm in the US or demand I sign up for Paypal to pay for it, and actually fits my phone?
The burning question of the day, clearly.