My PayPal account was closed a few weeks ago, and I am still adjusting to life without it. It’s funny how little time it takes for such a service to be taken for granted and then one day, it’s gone.
Now I’m back to the good old days, accepting only cash or trades for my zines. Remember well-concealed cash? Once PayPal came along, all those cute little envelopes with stickers and colourful ink, bundled up $1 U.S. bills and Canadian $2 coins taped to a piece of paper or thin cardboard inside, stopped showing up in my mailbox, and I was sent email notifications of ‘Payment Received’ instead.
I’m not complaining. PayPal is one of the most convenient services the internet ever did invent, and I’ve completed hundreds and hundreds of zine-related transactions through PayPal, both selling and buying.
But that’s all over with, now that I no longer have a credit card to keep my PayPal account open. And believe you me, I went through hell and back with customer service trying to find a way to keep my account open without a credit card. They were not even slightly helpful.
Last year, I went through the process of filing for bankruptcy, but I changed my mind and backed out at the last minute. For about a year, the bank, credit card company, and eventually a collections agency, harassed me with phone calls and letters demanding I pay my debt. It got to the point where not only could I not afford my minimum monthly payment, I could not afford any payment at all. I owed thousands of dollars in interest alone. Soon they were calling several times a day, on both my cell phone and my mom’s home phone.
After much ado, they finally sent me a letter saying that if I didn’t pay my debt in full by the end of the month, they would be taking me to court. So I called up the collections agency and we had a pretty dramatic screaming match.
From then on, my mom was kind enough to take over the business side of things, seeing as how I couldn’t keep it together myself. She and the collections agent struck up a deal: if I could pay half my debt by the end of the week, they would call off the rest.
With that over with, I am working on paying the remaining debt interest-free to another party, and the calls and letters have stopped.
Losing my PayPal account is the only unfortunate consequence of getting rid of my credit card. One good thing about no longer having a PayPal account or a credit card is that I can no longer go on late-night, depression-fueled shopping sprees on Etsy or Amazon. However, now that readers have to make an effort beyond clicking their mouse to get their hands my zines, sales have come to an almost total halt.
Only a couple years ago, I didn’t have PayPal, and all my zine transactions were taken care of through snail mail. It’s kind of shocking to me how much that has changed in such little time, and disappointing too.
Hanging out at the post office and finding letters and packages in my mailbox is like tangible proof that I am part of a community. And truthfully, I’ve been feeling a little weirded out lately over just how many zines I have sold to people who have never had any communication with me at all, even regular readers who have been buying my zines for years yet never sent me so much as a note. I like notes and letters and zines and pen pals and making friends and keeping in touch with my friends in the zine community. I send out a lot of letters and trades. PayPal cut out the friendship and special bonds and turned zines into almost nothing but a quick transaction. You click ‘Buy Now’, I make another trip to the post office, knowing that even though your name, address, and email have become familiar to me, I don’t know who you are, and I will probably never hear from you.
Of course I don’t expect a letter from everyone who reads my zines, and I certainly don’t expect to form a friendship with everyone either. But it seems like if people can’t get something instantly, they don’t want it at all, and that makes me really sad. PayPal is just one aspect of the internet that has changed the way we make and share zines forever. But you didn’t need to have a PayPal account to get people to read your zines ten years ago, and you shouldn’t need one today either.
So you can’t get my zines through PayPal anymore – so what? Write me a letter, send me a toonie, trade me your zine. Snail mail owns my heart. I’d love to hear from you!
19 Water Street
K9V 2C9 Canada