Lynn Hudoba: Zou Bisou Bi-Zhu Zhu
How I learned the hard way to put a protective password on all of my electronic devices.
Chiot, puppy, murphy, Zhu Zhu, giochi preziosi, chien, dog. That’s what the eBay invoice said that appeared in my inbox from out of nowhere.
I engage in quite of bit commerce on eBay, but almost exclusively as a seller of wares. I’m not used to getting invoiced. Must be a mistake, I thought. Until I opened the email, and then I knew exactly what had happened. My daughter had made a purchase on eBay. She’d gone and helped herself to a fluffy-eared little minx of a Zhu Zhu puppy named Murphy. From France. For 30 Euro. That’s like $10,000 right?
As I’ve written about previously, I am the anti-hoarder. I have the constant urge to purge and, as such, always have something posted on both eBay and Craigslist at any given time. So naturally I am always logged in to eBay on both my computer and iPhone. I am nearly obsessive-compulsive about checking to see if any of my trash-soon-to-become-another-man’s-treasure has received any bids.
And when my obsession met up with my daughter’s obsession with computers, iPhones, and all things Zhu Zhu, well, I guess I should have seen this coming. She loves to search online and find pictures of the things that she loves. And, for those of you not familiar with eBay, you can either place bids for items on this online auction site or simply click on a big blue “Buy It Now” button.
I can just imagine what was going through my daughter’s mind. Buy it now? Yes! Right now! After which she probably ran to the front door to see if it was sitting on our porch.
I’m pretty sure that after you click the “Buy It Now” button, another page comes up asking “Are you suuuuuuure you want to purchase this item?” Along with a lot of fine print that says you will be beyond the point of no return and contractually obligated to purchase the item. I think that button says “Confirm.” I suppose in the interest of fact-checking, I should probably test that out to make sure I’ve got that right. Let me just verify the process with this one-of-a-kind 14th century Ming vase that I happen to have here on my screen. Doh!
Based on the description of the item that my daughter had purchased, I thought she had bought several of the toys. But it turns out that it was just the one, and those other words in the description are just various translations of the word “puppy.” After a quick Google search of current exchange rates, I calculated that she had paid $40 for a single Zhu Zhu puppy. That I could probably run down to the CVS and get for about $5 on clearance, because as any cooler-than-thou 7-year-old can tell you, Zhu Zhus are kind of over.
The seller was one Gerard Karine from Saint-Benoit-sur-Siene. Even though the original posting and invoice were in French and I had no reason to believe that Mr. Karine could read English, I wrote him a long and blathering email about my situation with lots of exclamation points and “sorrys.”
In a case of clichés come to life, Monsieur Karine was on holiday for the week and wouldn’t be able to respond to my pleas for mercy until he returned. I pictured him being unable to respond until he peeled off his Speedo and got some blood flow back to his nether regions.
While waiting for his response, I posted about my situation on Facebook. Amongst the many smart ass reactions (“Mon Dieu!” “Quelle horreur!” “Merde!”), were other mothers’ stories of phone calls to Africa, rogue Kindle and iPhone app purchases, and the prize-winning story from my friend Rhonda of a $65 Monsters Inc. costume that showed up on her doorstep in a size 2T. Her son was 11 at the time.
While the stories made me feel better, they didn’t solve my problem. Which by this time I had made into a mountain from a mole hill and blown up into an international incident. The timing so happened to coincide with the NATO summit in Chicago, and I briefly considered tracking down the newly elected French president and asking him to intervene in this matter of global import.
A couple days after Gerard’s supposed return date, as I was working up a head of steam and about to fire off my next message which may or may not have included the phrase “cheese-eating surrender monkey,” I received a cancellation notice. No note. No argument. No drama.
Pfft. Just like the French to give up so easily.