Its said that the average household has around £1000 of unused and unwanted goods, gadgets & furniture lying around. TV’s in the attic. Mobile phones in drawers. Furnitutre in the garage. Sometimes, old cars sit feeling sorry for themselves on the drive, having never been driven for years.
If you ever found yourself strapped for cash, it is almost certain that if you looked hard enough around your home, you could easily rustle up enough cash to fix the car, upgrade your TV, finally pay Mum & Dad back or, in my case recently, add it to moving fees and to the baby fund.
I can say with confidence, that I am a dab hand when it comes to selling on gumtree or eBay. Not without several years of practice, mind you. How you describe an item, the way you photograph it and even how you title it, could be the difference between collecting cash, or collecting dust.
Many of my gumtree transactions have been smooth and successful. Ive sold items as big as caravans and items as small as camping chairs. Most gumtree shoppers are easy enough to deal with. They browse their local area for a particular item, and if you’re lucky enough, they’ll spot your amazingly written and photographed advert. Once they have read the description, they get in touch with you and arrange a suitable time to come and view (and hopefully buy) your unwanted item. Its generally a pleasant experience.
However, more than often than I’d like, a Gumtree goon comes into my life and really, really gets my goat! Let me explain why.
In my adverts, I carefully take photos of what Im selling. I write a short paragraph, describing the item. I’ll list any flaws, dimensions, missing parts and any broken bits (if necessary). Then, I’ll list my terms of the sale. By this, I mean how I’d like to be contacted. I explain that texts will be ignored, please email me or call me during business hours, and please do not contact me with insulting silly, silly offers.
You can imagine my irritation levels when I received a text from an unknown number at 10:30pm one week night. Yes, this was a gumtree goon, interested in a computer desk I had listed for £20. The text messaging tennis between myself and this unbelievable duck egg, was astounding, if not unbelievable.
Goon: Do you still have computer desk?
Goon: What size is it?
Me: Dimensions are in the ad description.
There was a short pause.
Goon: How much do you want for it?
Me: As it says in the ad, £20.
Goon: Offer you £5?
Me: £5?! its listed at £20.
10 minutes passed by.
Goon: £5 and an unopened litre bottle of Perno?
I didn’t respond.
Another 10 minutes passed by.
Me: Please delete my number and do not contact me again.
I broke my own rules that night by actually responding to the text. But, the desk was taking up valuable space in the freshly decorated nursery and had been listed for over a week. I wanted it gone. Gone for the price of £20. Not £5 and a bottle of gut melting liquor.
Other similar experiences have included phone calls about a mountain bike I’d been selling. One merry gentleman rang me and asked for the bikes frame size. It was written in the bloody title, you know, the one he had to click on, to read my advert!
An older lady once called me, enquiring about an old Peugeot car I had spent a few weeks fixing up for sale. She wanted to know what colour it was. Now, I was certain that the coloured photo on the listing, would have been enough. Was she colour blind? I don’t know, but, she wasn’t illiterate, and for good measure I had written the colour in the advert description. Green!
A foreign gentleman called me late one evening. Reluctantly I answered. He was enquiring about a caravan I had for sale. It turns out he was very interested, but lived five hours away. He was so interested, in fact, that he packed his wife and child into the minivan and drove through the night for five solid hours to my front door, arriving a little past eight in the morning. When he arrived, he spent less than ten minutes examining the caravan, to then offer me less than half of what I was asking. When I declined, he got upset and pleaded with me because he had come so far. That was his problem. Why on earth would you travel that far to buy something you hadn’t even seen? Needless to say, he left and the caravan remained with me, taking up valuable space on my drive.
It could be enough to put you off private selling. However, the money that can be made and the satisfaction of sending an otherwise unused item back into use, is far too great. So, I have compiled a list of some top tips to gumtree goons everywhere, to ensure you stop wasting precious time and save yourself needless embarrassment.
1. Please read the advert and the description. Follow the sellers instructions. If they ask you not to text, don’t text. If they ask you to call during business hours, please do so. By sticking to the sellers terms, you save any unnecessary hostility or shirty replies when you do get in touch and the seller reluctantly responds to your text or answers you call.
2. Can you actually afford the item? Then please do not contact a seller. Stop asking for an 80% discount, offering your hamster as a swap for a Range Rover or being so arrogant, as to believe that just because you offer ‘cash’ and will ‘take away today’, it will change the sellers mind and will accept your insulting, embarrassing offer.
3. Read what the seller has written about the item. Look for sizes, colours and conditions. Carefully look at the photos. Do not glance at the advert and ask questions that have already been answered. You could save yourself masses of time and further shirty responses. If its not written in the advert, however, then ask away.
4. Stop time wasting. More than I’d care to remember, I have wasted mornings and afternoons waiting on gumtree goons who say they’re coming to view or buy an item and then never show. It wastes time and money, as you stop any other potential buyers, because you believed the last idiot, who said he was coming. Oh and he’s suddenly stopped responding to your calls.
To the goons who can’t read, won’t read or refuse to use the brain and eyes that god gave you, you are a small minority who are sucking the pleasure out of an otherwise productive and pleasurable pastime. And you know what? That really gets my goat!
Did you enjoy this rant? Read Part 1 here, Cinema Commandos.