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Notes from a small workshop - anecdotes & musings from the workbench
Haynes woodwind maintenance manuals

The scam

Creativity comes in many forms, but if there's one thing that encompasses them all it's the proprietorial feeling you get from having created something.
Be it a song, a painting, a garden, a novel...or even a decent pie - there's a sense that it's 'yours'. Even when you fling the object of your creativity out into the world (which gets a bit messy in the case of pies and gardens) for all to see, you still retain that sense that a part of you goes out with it. In the case of pies this could be somewhat unfortunate.

Now, I wouldn't consider myself to be all that creative - I simply write down the first thing that comes into my head. I then erase it and write down the second thing that comes into my head.
Even so, I gain a sense of achievement from it - some small satisfaction, and a rather curious feeling of having emptied my head of some thoughts in order to make way for new ones.
Understandably I'm inclined to be a little protective of my jottings.

It therefore concerned me when I received a few emails asking me about the identity of a sax that had been put up for auction on ebay. Upon examining the auction I was extremely surprised to see that the seller had lifted an entire review page from this site, jiggled it about a bit, and was using it as a means to defraud people of money. It wasn't so much that the pictures had been used - it was more the words, used without accrediting the source. Worse still, the seller had seen fit to chuck in a few badly spelt 'additions'. Most Un-British.

I felt, too, a sense of responsibility - that my words were being used in a scam, to rip people off...the irony being that the reviews are there to prevent people from making costly mistakes. I decided to act, and headed off to Ebay central to inform them of this heinous crime.
But I soon found myself caught up in a frustrating circle.
Ebay has a means of letting them know about fraudulent auctions, but in order to do so you have to be a member. As this was an issue relating to my business rather than my personal Ebay pastimes, I wanted to contact them in my capacity as the 'guvnor' of this establishment...but as I wasn't a member there didn't appear to be any way of doing so. Every time I got close to my destination I'd be hit with a screen asking me to sign in.
Eventually I ended up having a 'live chat' with someone whom I assumed had something to do with the running of the service. I had a decent enough moan, and was able to have them intervene and pull the auction (eventually).

I was then surprised to find yet more emails coming in informing me of a similar ruse.
Exactly the same format - so presumably the same again I trawled over to Ebay to find someone to have another moan at.
This time though I emailed the seller, with a spurious query regarding the auction...I later sent a suitably snotty email off to him, which was rather satisfying.
This particular auction came as a surprise to someone else too - one of my clients...who owned the horn in question!
We'd clearly both decided to act at the same time, because as I was ringing him to ask if he knew anything about the auction he was ringing me to ask exactly the same thing.

But out of all this disgraceful business came a rather nice surprise.
Quite a few people had stumbled across the auction and recognised the pictures as having come from my site...but quite a few people had recognised the words.
I can imagine that, in some small way, it's a bit like a songwriter hearing someone pass by in the street, singing one of their songs.



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