UPDATE MONDAY A.M.: we had the mother of all windstorms last night, 60 mph winds, power down all around D.C., my area (north) is gridlock due to downed trees. I, your faithful Scent Slut, drove, parked, and hoofed it the rest of the way to my local WiFi hotspot, where I fought for a seat and am blogging until the power goes out again or the signal goes down (which seems to be happening.) I’ll get on here today as I can, hoping in the next 24 – 48 hrs they can get the power back on in our neighborhood… okay, here’s the post:
I need to get this off my chest. If you come back on Thursday, I’ll have a really friendly post on a lovely fragrance I’ve been wearing.
Q. How is eBay like a whorehouse?
A. There are so very many, many ways to get screwed.
I´ve been reading threads and following theories and pondering for days, ever since eBay started booting some of its fragrance decanters and Basenotes followed suit because they figured maybe they were next. There´s talk of the pressure, the intense pressure, manufacturers must be exerting on eBay – the teams of rabid lawyers crawling up their nether parts, threatening them with expensive lawsuits pressure pressure pressure
Yo – you cowboys running eBay – show me. Show me the letter threatening legal action. Because I would LOVE to know who´s leaning on you.
Let´s PRETEND … for one second … that it´s Chanel’s lawyers who’ve been nosing around in the Whorehouse. Riddle me this, Batman: why isn´t Chanel demanding that they end the sale of all the truckloads of counterfeit Chanel goods on eBay? The poorly quilted logo purses, the faux scarves, the bogus jewelry, the fake bottles of perfume (there are 148 bottles of Chanel Allure on there right now, and how much of it is counterfeit?), manufactured in Taiwan or Pyongyang or wherever – how did Chanel´s crack legal team fail to notice all that stuff?
My guess is the general response from the eBay cowboys is – hey — they have no control over the vast, unending sea of counterfeit Chanel goods on their website. I mean, they can´t be checking every label on every (obviously fake) $90 quilted handbag to see if it´s obviously fake, right? They´d have to get up from the poker game to do that, and somebody might steal some of their chips! Hey, you´re in the Whorehouse! You decided to come in, sucker! Anyway, they´ve graciously allowed people to set up loooong photo-filled articles giving hot tips on how to avoid fakes, but beyond that they can’t have done much, so far as I can tell, to try to stem that particular tide.
Because think of the money they´d lose!!! Balenciaga Le Dix handbags by the dozen – fake! Enough David Yurman necklaces for every ladies´ bridge club in the entire state of Connecticut – bogus! Knockoff Kate Spade! Chanel and Armani and Gucci and Louis Vuitton this and that and the other, below a certain price point and being sold by a volume seller, and you have two options: it´s stolen, or it´s fake. And the owners of the Whorehouse know that. And Chanel and Gucci and Balenciaga and Armani and everyone else knows it too.
Somebody complains, and the owners of the Whorehouse put down their cards and whiskey for a minute, reach down, grab a big ol´ handful of their cojones, and … ban decanting? Thank God. Protecting the Iowa housewives from themselves! Their poor purchasing decisions! Saving them the pain of smelling Black Orchid!
Who threatened eBay? I did get a lame email back from the Whorehouse, in response to my question as to why they´re booting the decanters. It was totally vague, didn´t mention VeRO, and directed me (via a link) to their list of banned items – a list that covers explosives, kidneys and rattlesnakes, but does not reference fragrance samples. My guess is it´s a freestanding fragrance manufacturer (why the big guns at places like Chanel aren´t raising hell with eBay baffles me, but that´s another topic.) Let’s be hypothetical – let´s say it´s… oh … to pluck two names completely from the air – let´s say it´s Bond and Philosophy, both outfits that have reputations for protecting their perceived rights fairly aggressively. Well, if they threatened eBay, I think eBay should have done what it did with the people selling Bare Escentuals – it should have sent out an email to the decanters and named the threatening outfit, saying they were demanding sales discontinue for that particular brand. Then everybody wins. The folks at eBay cover their asses; the complaining company is happy; the decanters are still in business; and … we know exactly which lines are complaining. Heh heh. And that is a piece of information I would really, really love to have. Because I would be more than happy to never, ever buy from whoever is complaining, if I could manage it, because I wouldn´t want to bump my sweet-smelling rumpus up against their property rights.
This post was supposed to be funnier – I wanted it to be funny – but instead it´s mostly angry and sad, just like me. Some of the most beautiful things I have ever smelled, and I will never own a bottle of, came from eBay decants. Unless you’re a hardcore collector willing to shell out some serious money, how else do you get a taste of the vintages, like Guerlain Djedi or Coty Chypre? Rare Shiseidos? Patou Ma Collection? There´s only so many vintage Baccarat flacons to go around, and eBay hooked you up. And how about the current stuff you can´t get here except maybe in New York or L.A.? The Caron urns? The non-export Serge scents? Taking access to that kind of beauty away from people isn´t just wrong. It´s criminal.
When I was a newbie, before I had Patty, my fragrance angel and total enabler, I got almost everything from eBay decanters. I´d been lurking the blogs for awhile, and one of my most joy-filled fragrant moments was when I realized – hey! I can buy samples of all this crazy stuff on eBay! I bought samples by the fistful from Diane (Dragonfly) because I liked the way her store was organized. Buying a sample of Etro Messe de Minuit on eBay was how I met Patty. Even now I buy (sorry, bought) the occasional decant from eBay because, impossible as it seems, there are still one or two bottles of fragrance that Patty doesn´t personally own.
Have I mentioned how much it chafes me that decanters — the people who are, with a couple of exceptions, actually selling genuine samples of the fragrances instead of counterfeit bottles — are the ones being booted under some sort of bullshit “counterfeit” claim? And, of course, booting them won´t cut down on eBay´s cashflow in any noticeable way. Don´t worry, shareholders – it´s not like they decided to do anything about the massive bogus-product business in the Whorehouse! I don´t know who pointed a pistol in their direction, although I´d love to. What is it that made their ninny legal department nervous? I guess I should be grateful I still can´t buy dynamite and kiddie porn on there.
I love the Whorehouse, don´t get me wrong. I´ve had some fun times there, even when I´ve gotten screwed. I´ve always respected, in some weird way, the combination of ad hoc democracy and lawlessness that exists there. Decanters on eBay have been part of that ride; today, in their honor, I´m going to wear something a little sad – maybe Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande, from their non-export line. It´s a really beautiful scent. And unless you live in Paris, good luck finding that from anyone other than a decanter.
Clint Eastwood: cyber-cinema.com