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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!

schoolformaps.etsy.com

Maranda Elizabeth
19 Water Street
Lindsay, Ontario
K9V 2C9 Canada

Views: 109

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Comment by Colin Tedford on July 10, 2009 at 5:48pm
Sorry to hear about the money troubles. I went through some money stuff a while ago and am hoping to make a zine about it at some point. I hope things are different where you are, but here in the U.S. collection agencies can be surprisingly sleazy and unscrupulous - of course, I didn't learn this until I'd already given a lot of money to one :/ Anyway, I hope you and/your mom make sure to have agreements in writing, and that all goes well.

I would feel a little lost without Paypal, even though I don't actually sell much online.

Good luck!
Comment by Dorian Shaw on June 26, 2009 at 5:17am
ditto Chantel-student loans OWN my life. Nothing like living paycheck to paycheck when you're 30 and have stupid credentials that are pretty meaningless.
Comment by Amazing Sunflower on June 18, 2009 at 1:17pm
Thanks for sharing your struggle. It was a compelling read.

So many people I know are sunk in credit card debt. Most of those folks have student loan debt too.
Comment by Saling Pusa Distro/closed on June 17, 2009 at 12:52pm
Do you need a credit card per se? I have an account, linked to my debit card... although reading this article, suddenly I find the whole old fashioned way more appealing :S
Comment by Eunice on June 17, 2009 at 3:53am
Awww Maranda, that it is a pity. We don't use our credit cards anymore as we, aha, maxed them! So I have paypal take payments from our bank account directly. I just had to verify the account and it works. I know that snail mail is wonderful, but I live in the UK and it's just not practical for me to buy one dollar or whatever from the post office to send. Luckily, I can get your zines from marchingstars. Otherwise, would you accept IRC's instead as payment?

My first perzine is almost ready and I'll be sending you a copy when it's done!
Comment by daisiesnbruises on June 16, 2009 at 9:44pm
i'm so glad you posted this and linked me via twitter!
can you have an etsy without a paypal account?
Comment by W. Alan Fare on June 16, 2009 at 9:03pm
I had a PayPal account up until a few years ago, but only for buying. I cancelled it when I signed off of e-bay. I find it much better to do things the old~fashioned way and keep the postal service in business! Hell, when I got into zinedom there wasn't an internet! It's a different world now, but I still live in a world where snail mail is the only way to order my zines.
Comment by kath on June 16, 2009 at 7:50pm
thanks, I liked your article. I've found I'm going back towards hand writing letters & sending postcards more these days like I did when I was young prior to everyone having email. I'm not sure if it's part of the 'slow movement' or what. but it's nice to get mail. and not having paypal would probably help curb impulse spending on the internet as you mentioned as it takes longer to prepare the mail cash to send - at least you know people really want them if they've gone to all that trouble! sorry to hear about your financial woes - credit cards are evil. debit cards are better if u must have one because you need to have the money before you can spend it.
Comment by Bri Zine on June 16, 2009 at 7:32pm
ps i think that means i should write you a letter soon, huh? :)
Comment by Bri Zine on June 16, 2009 at 7:32pm
i have paypal set up to send money but not to receive and some days i'm really glad for that. snail mail for the win!

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