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.
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.