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Topic: rude reactions to condition requests - why?

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Subject: rude reactions to condition requests - why?
Date Posted: 7/8/2009 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2007
Posts: 31
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Hi all-

I hope you'll permit to vent some frustrations.  Why are some PBS members so rude when they encouter a condition request?  My condition requests are very simple - no marks/highlights on the text pages, and no strong smell of smoke.  Sound fair?  Apparently it's not.

I had to clearly specifiy the "no marks/highlights rule" - even though it's already part of PBS's own guidelines - because I got tired of getting books that should never have been posted in the first place.  In the beginning, I was very tolerant of such things.  After all, PBS is a used book site.  But it soon became obvious that some members were using PBS as a place to simply dump unwanted books.  The final straw was getting a book that was marked from cover to cover. And I mean that literally - every word on every page was either underlined, circled, or highlighted.

The problem now is when some people see my condition requests, they not only take offense, but insist on complaining to me in a PM.  Why can't they just decline the request and keep their comments to themselves?  Has anyone else encountered such behavior?

Thanks for letting me get that out.



Date Posted: 7/8/2009 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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I've not encountered that sort of thing but I understand your frustration.  If people dislike your RC they should decline and move on.  It's easy enough to do.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 9:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2009
Posts: 2,402
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Poor upbringing? General miserableness?  I'm sorry you have had to deal with that sort of nastiness. I've had a few myself and it gets old fast.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,484
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I have a RC.  And it is my theory that a RC is a request for a favor.  So I try and word mine in that light.  I'm clear, polite, and say thank you. 

I sometimes put an even stricter RC on for books that I want to keep.  And for that one I add that I am willing to wait for the right book.  And they should not accept my RC if they are uncertain.

There is an older thread about writing a RC that I found really helpful in editing mine.


But why folks send nasty PMs after turning folks down?  I have no idea.  It sounds like a total waste of time and energy to me.  The whole point of our RC system is to make it easy and guilt free to turn them down.

Last Edited on: 7/8/09 10:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/8/2009 10:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Larry, I'm sorry you have to deal with such cyber-unpleasantness. But you are not alone. See related thread  from recent past.

I'm also sorry you are getting books that obviously do not meet even the general postability guidelines. But please do mark them RWAP, ask for a credit back,  as quality control on the site depends on the receiving members.

What I've learned from the forums is that there's no pleasing everybody. You would rather people keep their comments to themselves. Others want specific reasons why a book does not meet their RCs. I have also learned that tone and wording counts for a lot in reactions to RCs. Whether justified or not, just having an RC connotes to some a more demanding person requesting books, and in the end since each book is equal to one credit (whether it just meets PBS guidelines or meets the most specific RC) there are members who just won't bother  for just that same one credit.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 1,410
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I think that part of the problem is that you can't just decline, you have to give a reason in the box.  I'm not sure that others know that the reason goes to you in a PM.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,631
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Geez, all it takes is a simple "my book doesn't meet these conditions".  No need to be rude about turning down RCs.  I'm sorry you've hit a rash of rude PBSers.

I don't have RCs so I haven't experienced that.  I've only once had to turn down an RC and that was because they needed a book from a no-pet home and I have 2 cats and a dog.  I denied with a simple "I have cats and a dog".  I assume the other person has pet allergies.  Even though my pets aren't allowed to read my books, they are around them.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I don't have any RCs but I have turned down RCs on books that are not from my library...if they that say "no smoke smell" or "not from a smoking home".    When I decline I will mention that though I don't smell smoke -smell is subjective.  I will give my nickname - if they want to contact me they can - no reason to be rude.

Date Posted: 7/8/2009 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 880
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Last Edited on: 7/2/10 12:49 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 7:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
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I haven't had any unpleasant experiences with my RC as of yet. I noticed a lot of people asking for no books smelling of mold or smoke and also for no excessive highlighting or pen marks, so I added those to my RC.


However, I'm interested in the classics and it can be difficult to find a classic that isn't abridged. Sometimes, when you pick up a book, it will say "adapted" on the cover. Or the cover will look fine but on the back of the book where the summary is, it will say "adapted."


But I've found that 9 times out of 10, the book will only say it's adapted on the INSIDE. Which can make it hard ordering books from amazon, not just PBS.


So, in my RC, I politely ask that I've ordered an abridged or adapted version from you, let please let me know and I'll cancel my order.


But I've heard so many horror stories of people getting nasty PMs back with their RC that I'm just waiting for the day I get a PM asking me "well, why the heck did you order an abridged book when you didn't want it?"



Date Posted: 7/9/2009 8:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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It is unfortunate that some people seem to have a need to express vitriol and snarl at folks, who always must complain about something and make their opinions known, and usually in the rudest way possible. (As my dear old dad used to say, "Some people would bitch if they were hung with a new rope!") LOL

Best thing to do is simply ignore those nasty comments and move on. Arguing or trying to reason with those type of folks is pretty much useless, since they obviously know it all, have seen it all and done it all and their opinions are worth gold in the halls of the kings--what could a mere mortal like yourself possibly know? My own belief is that whatever energies you put out into the world, you get back at you, so for me it's a great comfort to know that people like that will have their paths strewn with cowpats from the devil's own herd. (To paraphrase BlackAdder...) :-D



Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 9:29 AM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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I have an RC and thankfully have never gotten a nasty comment.  If fact I rarely get a comment.  The request is cancelled and the request moves on to the next person.  I just had one get cancelled this week.

I'm always amazed to read some of the comments others receive.  As Cherly says, best thing ignore the jerk that wrote the nasty comment and move on.  Of course if it's nasty enough you can report it to The Team.  Nasty isn't wanted here at PBS.

Subject: RC's
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 10:08 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,441
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I don't have an RC. I have never gotten any book that makes me want one.  I would not have a  problem with Larry's RC. If you can't meet the RC requirments, then just give a short statment as to why and move on.

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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As my dear old dad used to say, "Some people would bitch if they were hung with a new rope!"

That made me LOL.  Never heard it before. 

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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There are a small number of cranky PBS members, I've seen some of them post on the forums and any type RC appears to incite them to snippiness.  Another small minority of crankys are the members who ignore PBS rules and feel any book, no matter how crappy the condition, fulfills their mailing obligations. 

Welcome to PBS Lawrence, and so sorry about your early exposure to the crankies :-(  but they really are in the minority here :-)

Last Edited on: 7/9/09 12:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I think the smell of smoke thing sets of the rabid people because that is very subjective.  What one finds smelly might not be smelly to another BUT that does not give someone the right to be rude.

I have only gotten a small amount of RC's and one of them I could not meet due to having a cat. So I just put "could not meet conditions". 

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 2:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I think some people react badly to RCs for different reasons.  They could be an especially sensitive person who takes everything personally, or they could just be having a bad day.  You just never know.  I read and consider all RCs, and either my book meets them or it doesn't, and if I'm not sure, I turn them down.  If I'm reasonably certain the book does meet them, I always accept.  I use PBS postage, so that greatly minimizes my risk if I should happen to cross paths with an unreasonably picky person.  I think you should do what you can to feel comfortable with what you're sending & if you aren't, don't send it.  You don't have to and there's no reason to get cranky about it.  People want what they want, & they earned the credits to order it.  It's not my place to judge the merits of RCs & comment on them, I just need to determine whether or not my book meets them.  On the receiver end - If there's a good chance you'll get turned down several times, you should be aware of that & be prepared for it, and if it's not acceptable to you, then consider changing your RCs.

Last Edited on: 7/9/09 2:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/9/2009 3:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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How are your RCS worded?  Is it possible that they come off as pushy or demanding without your intending them to be? 


Date Posted: 7/9/2009 4:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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Does your RC have a demanding tone to it?  Does it use a lot of negative words such as, don't, not, won't accept?  Many members who've received unpostables write their RCs in anger and frustration and they end up writing the most unfriendly, bitter, ridiculous RCs. Make sure your RC is written with a positive tone and eliminate those words listed above or only use a negative word no more than twice.

Is your RC more than 25 words? Writing paragraphs in which you explain every possible reason and justification and sad RWAP stories behind your RC won't get you the results you want--a book which meets posting guidelines.  Long RCs irritate the heck out of a lot of people. They don't care about your swapping history. They just want to know what you want. No explaining necessary.

Is it written clearly, concisely, no vague demands (don't smell of smoke).

Are you demanding books that are in like new condition, giftable condition, or excellent condition. Do you ask for only "good" books. Requests like these are subjective. Sure you can ask, but you might get denied a couple of times because most members don't want to sit there and guess if their idea of "good" matches your idea of "good."

Can the sender do a quick mental check--a yes or no--to your RC. Or do they have to guess at what you want? 

You didn't share your RC, so I can't pinpoint what's causing the unpleasant responses you've been receiving. I bet it's something in your RC though.

That said, I wouldn't share your RC here unless you have a supremely thick skin and can take abusive constructive criticism

Subject: My condition guidelines
Date Posted: 7/10/2009 1:30 AM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2007
Posts: 31
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I've had to explain my condition requests in more detail, but only because I was getting lots of junk books, with major amounts of marking/highlighting.  I wanted to reiterate PBS's own guidelines, which people either don't seem to read, or just ignore.  I do specifiy, quote, "As long as it fits PBS guidelines, it should be fine."  As far as the smoke smell issue, I also specify that, "if you can't smell anything, it should be fine."

When I get a request with specific conditions that I'm unsure of - like the smoke smell issue - I accept the request, then immediately send the requestor a PM, saying that I don't smoke myself, and I don't smell anything, but I can't guarantee it's never been in a smoking environment.  ery Then they either take the book, or cancel the request.  In this situation - where I'm the "giver" - every requestor has been grateful that I took the time to contact them.

I don't mind if someone dislikes my conditions, but why do they feel the need to criticize and complain?  All I really expect is for books to meet PBS's stated guidelines.  I don't think that's asking for too much.

Thanks for your replies, everyone.  Overall, I'm very happy with PBS.  I guess I just needed to let off some steam.



Date Posted: 7/10/2009 3:53 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Some people just have a knee-jerk reaction to RC's.  Some people insist that the RC's imply that they don't send PBS postable books and it insults them.  I know that many people have tried to remedy the problem of unpostables by reiterating the PBS conditions of a postable book.  And I'm beginning to think that nothing will make someone read something they don't want to read or abide by.


Date Posted: 7/10/2009 7:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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Lawrence wrote: As long as it fits PBS guidelines, it should be fine."  As far as the smoke smell issue, I also specify that, "if you can't smell anything, it should be fine."

Those are rather vague, IMO, and I would turn them down. I'm one of those that likes simple, clear "tell me exactly what you want" in the RC people. I would turn down your request, but I wouldn't be mean or rude about it (being that I'm such a nice person and all! LOL) but truly, I would re-word your RC to be more definitive. If I have to PM to clarify things, I'm just not going to bother and I know there's lots of other busy folks out there who feel the same. Phrases like "should be fine" leave way too much room for personal interpretation, and I turn down anything that mentions "smell" because who knows where my nose stands up against yours as to whether or not we smell something? If you were to write, "not currently from a smoking home," that I can do.


Date Posted: 7/10/2009 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 4,412
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"I've had to explain my condition requests in more detail, but only because I was getting lots of junk books, with major amounts of marking/highlighting.  I wanted to reiterate PBS's own guidelines, which people either don't seem to read, or just ignore. "

See that is just it - The people who will ignore the posting rules of PBS and post underlined, marked-in books will likely not follow your RC's either!  And you're probably missing out on many postable books because the conscientious members, who are following the rules, will turn down your RC for the "smell" part because they worry their sense of smell might not be as sensitive as yours.

If you receive an unpostable book, you can RWAP anyway, right? Oh, but you might not get your credit back from the culprit whereas it's guaranteed return of credit for a RWAP on RC violations? Is that right? If not, RC's reiterating PBS posting guidelines seem pointless.

"Some people just have a knee-jerk reaction to RC's.  Some people insist that the RC's imply that they don't send PBS postable books and it insults them. "

Exactly. That's another group of books you're missing out on - those of members who [feel] they are being chastized in advance for the quality of their books!

I do normally turn down subjective RC's, too, but I did accept one similar to yours re the smells. To my mind, saying, "if it smells okay to you, it'll likely be fine" gives me the final say. My requestor was fine with the book, but if she hadn't been, [shrug] I would have pointed out that the book did smell fine to me.

Date Posted: 7/10/2009 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
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 I do specifiy, quote, "As long as it fits PBS guidelines, it should be fine."  As far as the smoke smell issue, I also specify that, "if you can't smell anything, it should be fine."


Eliminate your use of should be.  It's is subjective and suggests you'll be the judge of that! God help them if their noses aren't as sharp as yours because if you detect an odor, there'll be a RWAP on their heads.

"If you do not detect a cigarette odor, please send the book" . See the difference ? Crystal clear directions, although many members do not want to give a book a sniff test either. Sometimes you can't win.

Stay away from terms such as should be, maybe, prefer, probably. 



Date Posted: 7/10/2009 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 6,832
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Hi Larry,

Welcome to PBS! Ignore the snarky comments on your RC, but I'd change my RC and remove the "should" (like Laura suggests).  I read RCs, and my book either meets or does't (and if it doesn't, I write "doesn't meet RC's"). I'm sorry you ran into a rude member, there's no excuse for that.