|You don’t get to steal from me!
The Internet with its amazing capability to reach people globally has been something of a blessing for us war gamers. For through this medium one can connect with other players in an area, join a conversation on a forum or Facebook group you can even buy and sell games with ease. Games that in the bad old days of the 1970s one would have to either special order from a FLGS or purchase through mail order, can now be found with a few key strokes and a click of a mouse. (For you youngsters out there mail order consisted of filling out a paper form, writing a check, and mailing it to the company, then waiting four to six weeks for your package to arrive.) Every publisher and retailer now has their own online store and then of course there is a huge market in used, and out of print , titles offered by individuals and private sale.
This ability to connect and search world wide has allowed me to find a few personal “Grail” games and expand my gaming library quite a bit over the past year or so. Yet, there is a downside, as in all things, to this wonderful and seemingly painless way of buying, selling, and promoting the hobby in general. For, though I have found that the majority of gamers are honest and forthright, there does exist a minority that is the complete opposite.
It is of these people I wish to speak.
I am sure we have all heard the horror stories of fraudulent Kickstarter projects in which the backers lost their money. Then there are the miniature painters who offer services, receive the minis and money to paint them, and then never deliver. The private seller who advertises a game on Facebook or Ebay, as complete but when you get it, it’s anything but, and lastly the seller who simply does not ship what you paid for. In my many transactions over the years I have personally received damaged and incomplete games. Had to chase, no less than three, sellers down with constant emails to try and get them to ship what I paid for (one was a publishing company with really bad customer service) and one time I even reported a person for fraudulent behavior. Only once have I ever received my money back or compensation for damaged goods.
I have remained silent as to the bad transactions which I have been subject to until now, because as stated earlier these are a minority. Most of my buying and selling goes off without a hitch between good and honest people. I have been loath publicly speak about this dark aspect of our community so as to avoid shedding a negative light upon the hobby as a whole. But that ended yesterday when I was contacted by a friend, who was obviously being hustled.
The story is familiar, he had bought a few games second hand from an online buy and sell group and paid upfront through PayPal, which is the standard. The seller was someone who is pretty well known in the war gaming community, at least in face book circles, and my friend could with confidence expect no issues. However, as days turned to weeks, and weeks to months with no package in sight it became evident something was amiss. So my friend contacted the seller, who said he had shipped and would check the status. Then the seller said “oh no I didn’t ship sorry, what’s your address?” a week later he told a different tale and a few days later another until all the excuses piled up into such nonsense that not an ounce of truth could be sifted out of it. Eventually my friend was forced to ask for his money back, which I believe he got, and walked away shaking his head in disgust.
Now ask yourself; “Would you as a newbie to the hobby be inclined to stick around after being treated thusly?” After researching a title you thought would get you into war gaming you find a seller and then they blatantly lie to your face, take your money, and treat you as if you are a bother? ” I don’t think so, and unless the victim is given some kind of moral support from other members of the community they will more than likely walk away forever with negative thoughts in their head. For what has been proclaimed a “dying past time”, or at least aging, this type of dishonest behavior has a much more significant impact than what it would seem otherwise.
Insincere and morally bankrupt people are everywhere, yet in our shrinking world we need to be vigilant in policing them from our ranks, for they can and do hurt us all.
I do not like being lied to, hustled, or stolen from. I’m quite sure I am not alone in this and the savage instincts of my people boil up quickly when confronted by such behavior. But what good is such rage when everyone is behind the invisible keyboard walls of the Internet? We cannot satiate our anger and disdain with violence if we are unable to get our hands on the offending party.
There are no clear cut solutions or methods for dealing with the parasites amongst us. Extermination is out of the question obviously. Yet I for one am going to do what I can, to help isolate, and castigate the thieves, schemers, and liars lurking on the fringes of our hobby. They are a blight, an ugly brown smear, tainting one of the few things I find truly wonderful in this world.
So, what do you do? Well number one is “Speak up” don’t be like me and quietly seethe and try to get it resolved through back channels. Tell your friends so they can avoid suffering the same or worse at the hands of the transgressors. If you run a forum or group, consider banning people for acts of theft and or fraud, thereby excluding them from the community that they wish to prey on. Let all know that such people are not welcome or tolerated and they will slither off to other parts of the net to spread their evil disease.
The old saying goes, “Shit happens”, and it does, everyday real life issues will oft times take precedent over everything else.
But if the “Shit” is you personally then it’s simply time for you to go and we should all do our utmost to help flush you down the toilet.