The internet has made selling stuff much easier. Hasn’t it?


IT’S SUCH a chore to sell something nowadays. Back in the days of the old-school hard-copy Trading Post or Weekend Shopper, you’d advertise your stuff, someone would ring you, come around if they were keen and buy it if they were really keen. It was simple, and you rarely had to deal with dickheads. Oh, how times have changed.

Sure, the internet can spread your wares to a wider audience, and auction sites such as eBay let the market determine value, but buying and selling etiquette seems to have been lost for good.

The moment you put something up online to sell, you’ve got every Monday’s expert trolling in their two cents about your item, even though they have no intention of buying it.

And how many times have you sold something on eBay or via social media and not been paid? Or sold something like a bonnet, only to have the buyer ask if you can post it? Or you do actually get paid for the item but the buyer then treats you like mini-storage for six months until their cousin’s sister’s mother-in-law’s dog finally picks it up from you next time they’re in town to see Neil Diamond?

Then there are the lowballers. Say you want $200 for something. The lowballer will say: “I’ll give you $50 cash today.” Well of course it will be cash, you moron. It’s 50 bucks, not 50 grand, and since I sure as hell don’t have eftpos or credit card facilities at home, offering cash is not an incentive, it’s your only option. Another example: I recently advertised a near-new part for sale for $30, including postage in one of those 500g bags – they’re like $8 straight up. A fair deal at less than half replacement cost. Then it starts: “Will you take 10 bucks posted?” Er, no, I frigging won’t; I’d rather chuck it in the bin than sell it to you to make a measly two bucks.

Look, I don’t mind some haggling; in fact it’d be un-Australian not to try. It just used to be far less insulting. And whatever happened to saying ‘hi’ and ‘cheers’ when you communicate with someone?

The worst of the worst though is the payment planner. “If I give you $150 now, can I take the car and pay the remaining $1850 off at $50 bucks a fortnight? I can give you a written-off VN and a leaky tinny as swaps.” Yeah, sure thing! I don’t know you from a bar of soap, but I absolutely believe that paying me will be your highest priority in front of your booze and smokes. Oh, and I’m certain you’ll pay for all the speed camera and toll fines you rack up under my name in the meantime.

In any case, most of the people who contact you are just time-wasters. If they text you, they aren’t serious. If they offer you less for something like a car, without even questioning you about it or looking at it, they aren’t serious. If they ask you to call them because they have no phone credit, you guessed it, they aren’t serious. And if they start wanting payment plans, there’s a good chance you’re never going to get paid.

If I want to buy something, I make a phone call, engage in actual human conversation, ask the questions and get my arse over there before someone else sandshoes me for it. Deal done.

Is that too much to ask?