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Law of Cards: Parody Interview with the Inventor of the "Non Auto" eBay Listing

Law of Cards: Parody Interview with the Inventor of the “Non Auto” eBay Listing

It's happened to us all. While searching eBay for a specific autographed card, you type the player's name and the word "auto," hoping to fine-tune your results only to autographed cards. Up until a couple years ago, your search results would only have been autographed cards. Nowadays, however, quite a few of your search results will be base cards without autographs, but they show up in your results because the seller placed the irritating phrase "non auto" into their eBay listings.

Given this ever-increasing trend, Law of Cards caught up with the self-proclaimed inventor of the "non auto" eBay listing in his shanty in the swamps of Mississippi for a telling, parody interview.

Law of Cards: Thank you for sitting down with me today. You've indicated you wanted to conduct the interview anonymously. So, what should I call you?

Jeb: Well, my eBay store is called Just Exploiting Buyers, so, just call me Jeb for short.

LOC: OK, Jeb, you claim to be the one that came up with the "non auto" eBay listing?

Jeb: Yup, I invented that.

LOC: Invented? That's a strong word.

Jeb: It's a durned invention. Once I came up with it, I got more views on eBay and more base card sales than anyone.

LOC: How'd you come up with your "invention"?

Jeb: One morning I woke up at the crack of noon, and wanted me some breakfast. So, I got my Lucky Strikes, some Sunny D, and a box of Trix. But I was outta milk. Now, luckily, that's when I started dating me a dancer named Porsche. She's the really good, one-eyed dancer from that truck stop down the way.

Anyway, she liked drinking her coffee with some kinda creamer. So, I filled my bowl with that stuff, thinkin' it was milk, and it tasted bad. So, I told Porsche that her milk had gone bad, probably because it was sitting on the table for days. That's when she told me that "milk" was actually "non-dairy creamer" which meant it was not milk. So, I'd been tricked into drinking something, and I got mad, but I couldn't do anything about it, because it said right there on the package "non dairy." It didn't lie to me or anything. And that got me thinking that the word "non," well, it was a magic word. You could do all kinds a stuff with it.

After that, one day I noticed I had me all of these base cards sitting around, not doing anything. And I thought, "Hey, if I called them "non autos," maybe someone would be tricked into thinking they were autographed cards and would buy them from me. Or at least clog up the popular searches.

LOC: So, you admit that the reason you "invented" the phrase "non auto" was to dupe people into paying more money to you?

Jeb: Now don't try and get all lawyery with me. I'm engaged in what's called truthin-advertisin. My listings say what the card is. It's a "non auto." It ain't my fault if people skip over the "non" part.

LOC: Don't you ever get complaints from your buyers?

Jeb: Sure, all the time. But my listings also say that I have a "No returns policy." So, again, truthin-advertisin. I'm doing nothing wrong. As far as I'm concerned, it's the buyers that are doing something wrong. They're not reading. Or looking at the pictures of the cards that clearly show there are no autograph.

LOC: What about the listings where you say "non auto" and don't include a picture of the card?

Jeb: Oh, those are my second, new favorite invention. I get a lotta buyers on those.  But again, truthin-advertisin.

LOC: You said "new favorite invention." Do you have any others besides "non auto"?

Jeb: Yeah, I'm inventing stuff all the time. I just have one of those minds, you know? What I'm really proud of is that starting last week, all of my cards are now listed as not just "non auto," but also "non relic," "non 1 of 1" and "non rare." Ever since I started doing that, woooo doggeee. I'll be able to afford me a real, 100 percent zircon diamond for Porsche for our three-year dating anniversary.

And next week, I'm gonna try my new "hall of famer" listings. For these, we'll also add a phrase like "non Sandy Koufax" or "non Babe Ruth" to all of our cards. The sky's the limit!

LOC: I'm sure you noticed that there are a lot of eBay sellers who also use your "non auto" ideas…you've really started a trend.

Jeb: Yeah, I can't believe all of those people are stealing my invention and using it to make them money. But the jokes gonna be on them. I just filed me a patent on the "non auto" listing and I'll be filing for trademark protection also. As soon as I get those, I'm gonna start suing too!

LOC: Well, I think that's a wrap. I just want to check some spellings with you. Like Porsche. How do you spell that? Like the car? Or the actress Portia de Rossi?

Jeb: Just like it sounds. P-O-R-S-H-A. Porsha.

LOC: Noted.

The information provided in Paul Lesko's "Law of Cards" column is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered in the sports industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, the Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC or any attorney and the user. Neither the transmission nor receipt of these website materials will create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the readers.

The views expressed in the "Law of Cards" column are solely those of the author and are not affiliated with the Simmons Law Firm. You should not act or rely on any information in the "Law of Cards" column without seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on websites or advertisements.

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Paul Lesko has litigated complex and intellectual property actions for over 18 years. Don’t hold the fact that Paul is a lawyer against him, he’s also a rabid baseball and college basketball fan, and an avid card collector. He's also the author of the novel Gastric Bypass, available for purchase at Amazon. Paul can be found on Twitter @Paul_Lesko and Google+.

User Comments


I love things like this! This was really fun to read. Keep up the great work and I hope for more articles that have fun with stereotype skits like this. We as a people are just way too uptight and just need to laugh now and then. It’s also very American in that this is truly “Freedom of Speech”!


I totally agree with it being annoying to see the results in your search but all you have to do is type in -non in the search box and it will Eliminate such results,Furthermore i really dont approve of the STEROTYPING thing and i think it’s kind of Classless in my opinion and Quite Honestly i Don’t appreciate this type of Article on Such a Classy Website. Very Disappointing…

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