Mr.Boxybox@aol.com buys a bass.
This is the story of how Jon and I sold a bass to Mr.Boxybox@aol.com. There's no reason in particular why I'm putting this page together, except that this whole episode really annoyed me and made me feel bad and I just wanted an opportunity to share it with everyone (gee mimi, that's so nice of you...) Anyways, I know no one will read this, but that's okay. I have a box of animal crackers and a couple of hours to waste. Here goes...
Once upon a time, we had a Musicman Stingray 5 for sale. We listed it for $990 - the price included a fancy leather gig bag. As you may or may not know, all our prices on our site are 'as is' (since I don't like 'bargaining'). Anyway, one day I get an e-mail from a person that I'll refer to as 'Mr.Boxybox':
How Much is the sale price on the SR 5??.
That's the whole e-mail. No 'hi' or anything. And nevermind that the price was clearly listed on the Stingray's page - Mr.Boxybox still had to ask. So anyway, I e-mail him back and tell him that the price is $900 without the gigbag, $990 with the gigbag (this was a new Levy's all-suade gig bag that lists for $360). Then he e-mails me back with a new question:
Maple MusicMan necks and fingerboards tend to get "dirty" looking quick.....
Is the neck and board worn or dirty looking??
I am very interested
I answer by saying that the fingerboard was in excellent condition, and that the pictures represent the actual condition of the bass and fingerboard pretty well. Thinking that he's concerned about the condition of the bass, I also pointed out that the bass has nicks and scratches here and there. He responds:
I did look at the pics. You still did not really answer the question. I am not so much concerned with slight body scratching. Could you answer take a look at the neck and give me an answer??
Hmm. I thought I had answered his question, so I didn't understand what this e-mail was about. Plus, the tone of the e-mail - I dunno - maybe I'm way overly-sensitive, but I found myself kinda annoyed. I decided to respond, and be as clear as possible about the non-dirty nature of the fingerboard:
hi mr. boxybox, the neck and fingerboard is not worn or dirty looking. ~ mimi
I figured that if I use his exact words then he could stop being so confused. His reply:
OK. If you include the Levy gigbag Ill take it at $900. You will have postal money orders by Tuesday along with a FEDX airbill to ship me the bass billing ny account.
I e-mail him back (politely) declining his offer. He responds saying that our discount (what discount?) is too small 'for such a large item', and that I should 'let him know if I reconsider'. Okay, whatevers. I decided to let it go.
Later the same day, I get an e-mail from a Box555@aol.com:
I see you still have the MM StingRay 5. I REALLY want the bass if you are including the gigbag at $900 consider it sold. I HAVE CASH...............
Hmm Since I am so smart, I was able to recognize the subtle connection between Mr.Boxybox's e-mail and this one. But, since I am not 100% psychic, I took the time to write another 'rejection letter' to this new Box-character, 'just in case' it really is a different person (yeah right):
i'm sorry but i really can't take 900 for the bass plus the gigbag, i just can't afford to give that gig bag away for free (we had to buy that gigbag). we'd be losing money. sorry, i hope you understand. thanks again for your offer though,
A few hours later, another e-mail from Mr.Boxybox:
I would like to ask what is your price with the gigbag?? I am still interested.......THANKS
Wow. I couldn't believe it - this guy is persistent! By this time I'm simultaneously amused and irritated - I e-mail him back telling him that the price is (still) $990. I don't hear from him again...that night. The next morning, I get another e-mail:
Well if the bag is not included at $900, how much more for the bass and the bag? Could we do $950?? Is the StingRay maple fingerboard showing dirt or wear? Thank you. Will await your reply
I think it was that question about the fingerboard that just made me roll my eyes. I didn't bother to answer this time.
Later the same day (I'm not making this up), I get an e-mail from a STRASH55@aol.com. The subject header reads "Musicman Stringray 5 (white/white/white) $900":
Is this bass still avail??
Pics?! Ugh! What's wrong with this guy?! The aol address, the double question marks, the $900 asking price... By this time I'm becoming increasingly confident of my newly-discovered psychic abilities, so I didn't answer this one either. Then, incredibly, later the same afternoon, ANOTHER e-mail from Mr.Boxybox...
Can I buy the bass @ $900 still?? I do want it......without w/o the bag
Would prefer w/ bag ....how much extra??
*sigh* Forget it. I ignore the e-mail. Apparently he gets my hint.
Fast forward five months. The Musicman Stingray has long since been sold. I haven't received any e-mails from Mr.Boxybox or any Box-variant. It's a good five months. In the meantime Jon has a very pretty Jazz bass built by Mr. Jim Mouradian at Mouradian Guitars in Cambridge, Massachusetts: brand new Warmoth body (swamp ash with a AAA quilt maple top), gloss transparent black finish, EMGs, brand new Moses Graphite neck, new hipshot ultralight premium tuners, etc, etc. So anyway, we eventually decided to put this bass on our list of basses for sale ($1350). Shortly thereafter, guess who e-mails us? (How'd you know? You must be psychic too!)
Hey I love your custom jazz bass.
Interested in a Modulus Vintage j as a trade/ partial trade??
Trans white/ same pickups w. EMG preamp also.......
OR interested in any other basses??
I have some older Fender Jazz's etc.
What is your best cash price??
It's Mr.Boxybox@aol.com again! Whee! Now I know what you're thinking - "If Mimi answered this e-mail, then it's her own damn fault if she had to endure more lame e-mails..." Well, yah, that's true. But then I figure everyone deserves a second chance, no? (I'm being stupid, aren't I?) Of course I remember him (who would forget?), but I bite down hard and force myself to respond....'nicely'...
hi mr. 12x12,
i'm sorry, but we're not doing any trades at the moment. thank you for the offer though :)
A few hours later, I get a response:
I think I saw the body on EBay before you had the bass built-
Would you sell it for a cool 1 K ?
Suddenly, I start getting lowballing-flashbacks...ugh...oh no... I know what he's talking about (Jon sold a similar looking Jazz body on ebay a couple of weeks earlier, but I don't feel like explaining, so...) but I decide to just ignore his $1000 offer:
hi. that was a different body - flamed maple. this one is quilt maple. sorry! goodbye!
Note the smiley face. That is, unfortunately, a very disingenuous smile. But it's all I could manage under the circumstances. Then he sends another e-mail offering $1000, this time without the case. I decide to reply with a clear explanation:
i'm sorry, i just can't sell the bass for $1000. first, we'd lose money - we don't do the 'huge mark-up' game, so we can't do the 'huge discount' game either. second, it's brand new and is made of only the highest quality components. it's equal to or superior in quality and sound to basses being sold in the $2000+ range. high quality items are expensive.
i appreciate your offer, but the selling price is firm at $1350. i'm selling this bass with a hardshell case because it's safer for the bass. if you were able to pick the bass up in person then of course we'd be more than happy to take off the cost of the case. hope you're not too disappointed.
Three days later:
Ok I have a few questions:
-How is the weight of the bass?
-Are there side dots on the neck?
-any dings, nicks, scratches?
-where are you located?
Would you take $1250? Or ?? I am serious about the bass.
I would still pay shipping and get you the money right away.
>-How is the weight of the bass?
>-any dings, nicks, scratches?
no, the bass is absolutely perfect
>-where are you located?
the bass is in boston (cambridge)
>Would you take $1250?
Ok, now I admit that this one is a pretty rude letter...oh well. Then this one later in the day:
Lets work this out.
What will it take??
Who do I make payment to and where.
Can I get a telephone # as well.?
Then I get a great idea. I decide to wash my dirty little hands of Mr. Boxybox - I call up Jon and tell him that I'm sick of Mr. B. and that he can have the pleasure of 'taking over' (he says 'okay')...
i'm not trying to be difficult. i'm just trying to tell you that the bass is being sold for $1350. i don't like to artificially inflate a price and then make deals later. it's just $1350. if you think about it, it's a very very good price for an excellent instrument.
if you would like to talk to jon about it, you can give him a call. his number is blankity-blank-blank (boston).
Yay! Free! Well, almost free - dumping Mr. BoxyBox on Jon takes a few more e-mails. He e-mails me that he wants the bass. I e-mail him with payment info. He responds with a question:
Would Jon be able to get it to FEDX on the same day??
I e-mail him back saying no, that it would have to be sent out the following day. Then:
I do want the bass.
If I send US post office money orders totalling $1350, will Jon be able to
ship same day?? OR does it not make a diffirence..??
*sigh* I e-mail him back...if only to tell him that yes, it makes NO difference. *silent scream* Jon can mail the box...but...it...has...to...be...the...next...business...day... *heavy sigh*
Fine with me...Ill still get the bass on Friday.
Are you certain Jon can arrange the pickup??
If so All I will need to do is send out the payment and airbill tomorrow.
He will have to call early [the next day] to insure FEDX will pick up... Is this the case?? You sound familiar with the procedure.
I call up Jon and tell him to take over the e-mailing before I maim Mr.Boxy via mailbomb. So Jon e-mails Mr.BoxyBox.
hi boxybox - i talked to mimi. everything sounds good. i'll be ready to sign for the stuff tomorrow. take care, jon
I dont think I will call...I needed the number for FEDX.
I will take care of business so to speak tomorrow and then e-mail you the
incoming tracking number. OK?
Very anal retentive. Then, the next day:
I am getting ready to send out this $1350 and all the sudden got very nervous.
I know this may sound like a strange question.....but what if for some reason
I just don't like the bass?? Would you guys offer me like a 24 or 48 hour deal??
This bass is kinda unknown I really have nothing to compare it to.
Please advise asap I am ready to send out this FEDX here and will await your
hi boxy - a '24 hour deal' is fine. if you don't like the bass, you can send it back to us. as long as it's in exactly the same condition as it was when it went out, of course we'd be happy to refund your money. take care, jon
Then Box responds...
Thank you I feel much better, as hard as it is to buy a bass sight unseen its even harder when the bass is one that you cannot say...."oh I have tried one of those".etc. Do you know what I mean?? Especially for $1350.
24 hour approval is super appreciated by me. Are you certain you wont have a problem getting FEDX to pick up the next day??
Then the next day (when FedEx was supposed to bring his payment):
FEDX attempted????What happened?? Noone there.
We don't really know what this one was about, so Jon just ignored it, and then later that afternoon Mr. Boxybox e-mails us again:
I guess you got it......FEDX came back, I called them.
Are you all set for a pickup??
So how many times does someone really have to ask about scheduling a pickup anyway? Geez. Jon reassures him:
ok no problem. fed ex said they'll come either before 9am or between 1-5pm. what a weird schedule. can't figure these guys out. thanks again for sending the money and airbill so quickly :)
Then Box e-mails back, with another request:
great thanks....please mail me after the bass is picked up.
So...the next day, FedEx indeed comes to pick the bass up and so Jon (as he was asked to) e-mails Mr. Boxy with the news...finally!
just got home. the bass went out this afternoon :)
let me know what you think when you get it!
We also get some random e-panicking in the meantime:
any work from FEDX yet??
Then - taa daa! - the bass arrives! Jon gets this e-mail in the evening:
I git ths bass this morning and I just gave ot the runthru on my Redhead.
2 comments first the good-
The top looks better than the pics.
The type for the bass said Brand New, its new however there is little
scratches all over the top, I would'nt call it brand new. $1350 is alot of
money for the bass and I am a bit disappointed. I am a tad uncomfortable at
$1350.....any comments would be welcomed.
Hm, interesting... I call Jon up and ask him about the condition of the bass. He says 'Nope - the bass was absolutely perfect when it left.' That's good enough for me. So then I ask Jon how he understands Mr. Boxybox's e-mail. He says 'I think he's looking for a discount'. I agree. I ask him if he can write the response - I just don't want to talk to this guy anymore. Jon says 'ok, no problem':
hi boxybox - i'm glad you like the sound, but i'm kinda surprised by your comment about the scratches. the body went straight from the [Warmoth] box to [Mouradian] shop then into the case [after completion]. i'm the only one to play it (as far as i know!) and i consider that new condition. if it's not up to your standards, though, please as i mentioned earlier, feel free to send the bass back. i wouldn't hold any negative feelings towards you at all. i consider that bass worth every penny of $1350, that's why we priced it that way (we compare it to what else you can buy for $1350), but i know the worth of a bass is very subjective. if you're sending it back, please let me know tonight or tomorrow and i'll know what to do with marking it 'sold' or not on the website. thank you! :) take care, jon
I think that's a very smart way to write that e-mail. Anyway hour or so later, we get this e-mail:
Well I would hate to send the bass back, I am just a bit disappointed I would
feel better at $1250. It was a reach for me to go the $1350, dont get me
wrong its a super nice bass, what do you think??
Yup. That's what we thought (I told you we're psychic). Suddenly, whatever miniscule shred of respect I might have had for Mr. Box is now gone (it was previously about the size of a small postage stamp). So Jon writes another e-mail:
i see. i was really hoping that you would love the bass, mr. mouradian and i really tried to think of all the details that would go into making that the nicest jazz bass we could imagine. i'm also truly puzzled about the scratches because mr.mouradian is a total perfectionist (i think you can tell by the construction and set up of the bass) and all i did was pick the bass up from his shop, transport it back home, plugged it in to do one final sound check, detuned it and then packed it away.
regarding the price, i'm not sure what to say except that we honestly think that bass is worth _more_ than $1350. we try to sell basses for good prices, and we don't bargain on prices because we set the prices on basses as low as possible from the beginning. so if you don't feel that the bass is worth $1350, i'd be inclined to ask you to return the bass. if it's in the same condition as when it went out, it'd be easy enough for me to just sell it again. i've owned and played lots and lots of jazz basses and i thought that one was special. anyway, i'm getting off the subject, but i hope you understand where we're coming from.
so anyway, whatever you decide is really ok with us. if you'd like to call me up, please do so. i'd be more than willing to explain this over the phone. take care, jon
Finally, the last (I hope) e-mail from Mr.Boxybox, about an hour later...
Well thanks for the input. I am keeping the bass. I appreciate your
willingness to take it back though.
The case is super cool also...
Okay, so we only had to respond to about 20 e-mails (well, 30, if you wanna count the Stingray ones too) to sell a bass to Mr. Boxybox. Some of you may be wondering (and I wouldn't blame you), "Mimi, are you really that hard up to sell a bass that you'd be dumb enough to keep corresponding with someone like Mr. Boxybox?" I guess the way I look at it is that whenever I meet someone, at the very very least that I'll be able to find at least something (one thing?) that I'll like about her or him. For example, I've never met someone that didn't have a nice smile, or maybe a nice laugh. And maybe I just couldn't see the likable thing(s) about Mr.Boxybox through the medium of e-mail. I feel like I shouldn't 'not' sell a bass to someone, just because they're niasty. Well - I wouldn't sell a bass to Pol Pot, or the CEO of Monsanto, or Henry Kissinger, or Teddy Roosevelt,...well, you know what I mean. ~ mimi
Postscript! Wait - it's not over!
Okay, I was wrong. I thought we were finally rid of Mr. Boxybox. I was wrong. On March 19, We get this e-mail:
I am having a problem with the bass.
I am sure you must have noticed- you seem very particular.
There is a strange vibration happening with the "A" string. Its seems like
it needs to be pressured down - meaning needing a string tree or something-
I tried everything evem changing the strings-
NO MATTER what it has this strange vibe on the open note-
I realzie the 24 hour window of approval has passed but this needs to be
Its a killer bass but this is a REAL problem
Waiting your advise
Uh huh. Since Jon is on a trip, I decide to respond (*groan*)...
jon went to northern california and he'll be back in boston on april 2. you can get in touch with him then.
i don't think the bass needs an additional string tree for the A string. the location of the tuning posts closer to the nut should provide more than enough downward tension. anyway, jon tests all the basses before they're sent out, and if there were any strange vibration i'm sure he would have done something about it. he's very exacting about such things. i'll probably talk to jon before he returns to boston, and when i do, i'll talk to him about you and the bass.
So I get this:
I can assure you there is a problem-
and its did not just develop in the last day.
PLEASE let me know what I can do I am not happy
Okay...so this 'strange vibe' did not just develop in the last day - it was there all along? This doesn't make sense to me - is he saying that Mr. Mouradian, Jon, and even Mr. Boxybox himself did not manage to detect this 'strange vibe'...? Hmm - very interesting. I'm getting an intense feeling of deja vu just about now...
please clarify a few things for me. i think i am hearing you clearly but i want to understand how you are thinking about this too:
1) i was under the impression that jon offered you a 24 hour approval period. is this true?
2) i was also under the impression that you told jon that you wanted to keep the bass. is this true?
3) you say that this vibration has not developed during the last day. are you saying that the vibration was there all along but mr.mouradian and jon did not notice it?
I quickly receive a reply:
On point 1: CORRECT
On Point 2 CORRECT (see #3)
On POINT 3 The vibration is due to construction- it has not developed over
the last day- I simply did not notice it right away- it is only a problem
when playing the open string- It has had to have been there all along...
Okaaaayy... Like I said: I'll talk it over with Jon, right? ...but before that happens Mr. Boxybox decides to go ballistic:
Well I guess you people won/t stand behind your product-
Its now been 2 more days and still nothing.
If you only knew how hard I had to work to acquire $1350- maybe your attitude
would be diffirent.
I realize that in the first day I said the bass was OK, but come-on people 2
days is hardly an eternity- I think we both know that this is just not right.
Its plain and clear that BunnyBass is some kind of scam or something-
I guess I am left high and dry-
It sure would be nice for even a reply- $1350 is alot of money - I dont know
what my options are now but you can be sure I will relay my experience as
much as possible to anyone any everyone who asks about dealing with people
over the internet-
I am just a player and I feel like I have been screwed-
Okay, fine. *making hand-washing motion* Enough already, I give up.
So there it is everyone - you better listen to Mr. Boxybox. Beware: BunnyBass is a scam, or something.
wait! there's more! update added january 16, 2001:
gueeesss who i just heard from...? *wince*
>HELLO-i couldn't believe it. i just told jon to take care of it. his e-mail:
>I bought the MOSES Graphite necked trans quilt Jazz bass from you a while
>back.........the bass is baaaad to the bone.
>I would like to offer you $1700 for the Dolphin you have-
>Ill pay all shipping and overnight you the $$$$$$
>hii still can't believe it - after what he said to us in his last e-mail? all i can say is 'wow'.
- yes, i remember you. i don't mean to offend you, but i remember
>very vividly going through quite a lot of nonsense with you the last time around
>and i'd like to avoid doing business with you again. thanks though.
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