Monday, 25 July 2016

Ebay and everything that is wrong with this country

I have become addicted to getting rid of stuff from Chateau L and flogging it on Ebay. My house WILL look nice. The clever thing to do would have been to hire a skip for a fortnight and blitz it, simply closing my eyes when I found something that might have been worth something and tossing it in regardless. This would have been a much quicker route to success, however you can't argue with a recovery of several thousand pounds. The hassle has however been remarkable, boxes of junk hanging around the house for weeks, boxes and tape everywhere, endless packaging up, and then awkward trips to the post office before work. Worst of all however have been the general purchasing public. Some of them have almost made me regret not going down the skip route.

The worst are not the ones who bid, win, and then disappear never to be heard from again. I mean yeah they're annoying, definitely up there, but not the very worst. I'm currently waiting for someone who bought Mrs L's bike on day 30 of a day 30 listing to pay up. It's been over a week now and there has been complete radio silence. We were quite excited that somebody had finally bought it as it has been clogging up our shed for ages, but as I presciently observed when the auction ended, I'd only celebrate when it had gone. Four emails later and I've heard nothing whatsoever. I've got their address mind you, so in theory I could cycle the thing across London and toss it in their front garden. In pieces perhaps.

No, the worst ones are those who ask tons of questions, one after the other, including asking for information that is clearly listed in the description. Along the lines of “What size are the black 9F shoes you are selling?” This continues for some while, the questions getting more and more obscure or alternatively daft. “And what colour are they?”. Patiently you respond nicely, however tempting it might be to call them out as total idiots – the black shoes are black you complete cretin. And then you never hear from them again. Life is obviously too short to complain to them or about them, what is the point, but only once across loads of auctions have I had a guy come back and thank me for answering all his questions, but that he was very sorry as he had found a similar item nearer. I mean it's only polite isn't it?

Near the top of the list are those that write urgently insisting that the item be posted asap, first class (they have paid for second, the cheapskates), as they absolutely need it the following day. I go out of my way to get this done, to send it on precisely the day they want so that it arrives on a certain day. I know only to well how annoying having to stay in for a delivery is. And then you never hear from them again. Can you spot a trend? No thanks, no feedback, no nothing. You wonder why you bothered.

Then there are the ultra-agressive types. Those who type in capital letters, insisting that there is MAJOR PROBLEM with whatever it was, a scratch on the sole of a shoe for instance, and that unless you immediately give them a large refund they will be sending back the package at YOUR EXPENSE and YOU WILL PAY FOR IT. Right. To refer them to Arkell v. Pressdram is the very tempting response, but why bother for a fiver or whatever? The name of the game is to pacify. To grin and bear it. To make people feel like they are winners in life. All the while that skip looms in the back of your mind...

This I suppose is a microcosm of the British public, or that is what I am calling it anyway. The I'm all right Jack selfish attitude that blights our population. The loss of personalisation caused by social media, online shopping, and a general decline in knowing what it is to behave properly. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but surely it does not need to be this way? Shallow and vacuous, a little politeness goes a long way. Pleases and thank yous, it is not much to ask.

All this said, I have now managed to get rid of some 190 different things. This includes the aforementioned shoes – the buyer tried to wriggle out of it by the way but I was having none of it, lots of infrequently used optical equipment, a waistcoat, every single last piece of my extensive fishing gear collection, wooden trains, lego spaceships, copious amounts of whisky, a Dungeons and Dragons book from the late 1980s (why did I still have this?), old computer games, airline amenity kits, a 1950s light meter, the list is almost endless and every departure is a minor victory. Set against this is having to deal with people that I would probably actively avoid in real life. Thankfully it is nearing the end now, or at least until we attempt emptying the loft. A couple boxes of junk (yes I am the descendant of Gerald Ratner) linger on the upstairs landing, but they're gradually going down and it won't be long before I can chop them up and smuggle them into the weekly recycling. And then I may delete my account lest I ever do anything so stupid again. But let me first re-list this bloody bike. 


  1. Those people with their stupid questions, eh? It's like asking "Wanstead Birder? Is that a blog about birds?"

    1. have a point. Kind of. If it were just about birds it would be very boring. Instead it is boring without birds. I have actually thought about renaming it, the title is a little disingenuous these days I have to admit. Perhaps it should be renamed Wanstead Boring? A certain ring to it, and still begins with a B. I could just change it now and again, like the Fawlty Towers sign at the start of each episode.

  2. How much for those black size 9 shoes? and do you have them in a Size 8?