And You Thought Tetris Was Just an Idle And Worthless Pastime…

Yesterday we emptied and washed out 36 rectangular plastic plant pots. Big buggers, that had served as a movable garden while we planned the permanent beds. I finished the morning soaking wet and dead chuffed with myself.

Then I took a picture of the array of pots and put it on the free website Gumtree. We didn’t want money for the pots – we just wanted them gone.

” Free Stuff ” is a powerful tool. It keeps a Democratic Party Congress and a shoe-polished  Canadian Prime Minister going. It draws flies and their children from all points of the compass. It gets an instant …I mean in 38 seconds…response from a Gumtree advertisement.

I’m smart now: I don’t give out the home address until someone agrees to come to the sale. I only allow the address out to those who promise to rock up within an half hour.

In the case of the 36 tubs I got a keen palm tree propagator who was prepared to leap into her car and arrive in 15 minutes – and she was as good as her word. But her car was a VW Polo. About the size of a box of Kleenex – no bigger than my Suzuki Swift.

What followed was the 3-D version of Tetris. She pushed, shoved, upended, rotated, and squeezed. And we eventually filled up the entire interior volume of the Polo with plastic pots.

She was grateful. Which is silly. Because we gave her a car full of dirt and a week of work. But I cannot stand wasting resources and the pots went to a good home.

Barking Up The Wrong Gum Tree

After a marathon gardening and heaving things about session I piled all the unwanted flower pots, garden furniture, and other backyard detritus into the carport and photographed it on the iPad. Then sent a Gumtree advertisement that it was free to a good home.

The pad went mad, as did the mobile phone. All the eager bods who would take it all…and then I waited. Two callers picked the heavy concrete troughs and birdbath and then a third man arrived with a tray top and danced away with the rest. From a dozen or more phone calls.

I’ve pulled the ad, notified the disappointed, and then received a right wigging from someone who goes by an anonymous name ( always a good clue ) that I had done the wrong thing by giving out my address. I  inconvenienced  him and all the slow vultures who might drive up later and be disappointed.

Clever point of view with free goods or dead mules. First come, first served is the name of the game round here when it is pure takeaway.  That’s how it works with verge shopping and that’s how it works with flowerpot charity.

Bumtree

I have made use of the free selling site and app called Gumtree on several occasions in the past and have been delighted with the results.

While not everything has sold quickly, in most cases something has gone within a three week period, and if I have priced things fairly, it has all been good. But I am wondering about the thing lately.

I accept that there are some items that cannot be sold over this medium. I do not seek to sell them. Yet, when the rulemakers start to be arbitrary about the things – accepting one item and rejecting its brother – you wonder whether they are really smart enough to understand the difference between legal and illegal.

Further, while the listings are easy enough to put up, the first response to many of the careful prices is a flat 30% offer. That’s desultory and predatory at the same time, though not illegal in itself. I always thank the responder for the offer and if I can make any accommodation, I will do so…but the accommodation is a final thing.

Then it starts to get interesting. As soon as the accommodation is suggested, a series of barriers or extra demands are raised. Can the item be sent to the other side of the country at the accommodation price ( ignoring shipping costs ) and is there a vast range of accessories included free with it? Can a friend pick it up and pay by cheque? The odour of fish grows stronger with each text message.

The only saving grace with this is the fact that the advertisement is free in the first place and no goods ever have to be handed over without cash being exchanged on the spot. On all occasions when this has been the case, the deal has been good.

Well caveat emptor et vendor. It is the sort of activity that can be carried out while other things are going on, and no-one can force a sale either way. But if the buyers really do want to do business, they’ll have to do it with dignity. It ain’t a verge collection.