I am, if nothing else, a woman of many pet peeves. One of my biggest ones is the following little scenario on PayPal.

Let’s say you live in St. Louis Missouri. A reasonable, well known place, right? You plunk your address into PayPal, typing St. Louis, and PayPal sends you your little confirmation postcard and, once it arrives at your door, you confirm the address, viola, you have a confirmed address on PayPal.

So now you purchase something from me. I use PayPal shipping to ship to your confirmed address and I get the following message in bright red.

Please note, the shipping address is different from the U.S. Postal Service’s recommended address. The U.S. Postal Service recommends this shipping address:

xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx
Saint Louis, MO 63109
United States

We suggest contacting the buyer to confirm their correct shipping address.

Obviously, I am x-ing out the address of my buyer in this example for their privacy. “The U.S. Postal Service recommends” part makes it seem like this change is optional but, no, I cannot proceed until I change the addresses you have given me to read Saint Louis.

Can we stop for a moment and address how ridiculous this is? It’s your confirmed address so obviously that address works and the post office delivers to that address (isn’t this the whole point of having a confirmed address?), otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten the confirmation postcard. Even so, is there a postal works or, for that matter, person in all of the USA who wouldn’t be able to figure out that Saint Louis, MO and St. Louis, MO are the same place?

This, sadly, is not the only example of this, though this is the most obviously stupid and the one I ran into the most recently. It is often astonishing what the address verification objects to from simple and widely used abbreviations, such as above, to spacing, order of words (North Main Street versus Main Street North) and all manner of things that would never trip up a human being.

Now I don’t object to the address verification. Heck, I want them to make sure the address I am mailing a package to is valid before I waste money on postage.

But the question is, why aren’t they running this address verification on the address you type in to be your confirmed address? Why didn’t they force you to type in Saint Louis from the start to avoid this situation?

Ready for the conspiracy theory? (The eBay foil hatters will love this). They have made the address verification intentionally ridiculously nitpick-y to invalidate the Seller Protection Policy on as many items as possible.

Because, in the end, this situation is more than an annoying step where the seller needs to edit your address. Once I edit your address, even for something as tiny and silly as the above, I get the warning that I am no longer shipping to your confirmed address and, as such, am no longer protected by the Seller Protection Policy. (Now, if you are a PowerSeller, with the new rules on ship to address, you are still protected in this case but for the average seller, this is a huge problem as they are not protected.) So if you want to claim you didn’t get your item that St. versus Saint issue can stand between PayPal protecting my money or your getting an automatic refund.

So my choices are either change the address and cross my fingers that whatever PayPal rep I get will see the issue and be sympathetic if this transaction leads to a claim or to annoy my customer by asking them to change their confirmed address to what amounts to the exact same thing. Of course, I’m going to take my chances and change the address rather than annoy my customers.

Now, I was kidding with the conspiracy theory above. Honestly, I believe this is just a stupid inconsistency in the programming and, for all I know, they could have fixed this recently and I am just catching the old addresses submitted before they introduced address verification on confirmed ship to addresses. But I do know that I have always gotten a few of these a year and I continue to get them so it is still something that gets me annoyed each and every time it happens.