I’m a great believer in recycling what you don’t want or need anymore, every little bit to help the environment.  And even if pre-children you don’t tend to buy second-hand clothes or items for yourself, it’s highly likely that you’ll turn to handmedowns, nearly new sales and the like when dressing baby or children.

Although I do look out for new bargains (Gap on 30% off VIP days, voucher codes online, money off holiday promotions at supermarkets) for N’s clothes and then sales for toys, I also keep a watch out for second hand items.

I used to be a prolific ebay seller (and buyer, to a certain extent), but with buyers seeming to not read descriptions, the hassle of postage, sellers not being able to give negative feedback where buyers haven’t paid/gave wrong addresses or the like, as well as the costs having risen, I’ve now turned to other more local places to pass on and sell items we no longer want or need.  And that’s where my problem comes.

Freecycle should be a nice simple idea.  I’ve given away a lot of items, although I’ve also struggled to give some away.  In our area, because we live outside the town, people seem to want items delivered to them in town, even though they’ve getting the item for free.  Bit of a cheek if you ask me especially when it’s worth a reasonable amount of money.  The good thing about freecycle is, that you can choose who you want to give the item to if you get more than one response.  So for example, I like to pass on any crafting supplies to those working with schools or craft groups where possible.

I’ve tried Gumtree which doesn’t exist for our town; my local county ones aren’t much better.  I’ve never managed to sell something on there, and although I’ve contacted people to try and buy items, I’ve either had no answer or the item’s been sold, but never removed.  I find it too slow moving, and people don’t update their items regularly enough.

Unlike our local Facebook selling page.  I love the idea of having local selling pages – in our area there’s lots of options.  One, which was the original group, has rules, and other breakaway ones which don’t (which means you can never find anything because every photo gets loaded to the wall rather than nice neat albums.  They also have fewer members so fewer opportunities for a sale.

I’ve sold quite a few items over the last couple of years via our local main page.  But crikey, it’s a palaver.

First you have to time it just right to upload your photos (albums only remember, unless you’re unloading by phone).  They do mass deletes to avoid the page crashing every so often, and I always forget to check, so several times I’ve spent ages uploading to find that the next day everything’s gone.

All items have to have descriptions, price, and now they want you to specify where you are for collection.  It makes sense, but actually mine’s complicated.

Collection could be from home or work, out of town, or in town.  If you’re really lucky, nice and in need, plus buying a decent amount, then I might deliver.  So I’d rather enter into conversation about the location part.  But all of these are minor compared to some of the buyers.  I’m sure you see similar on any selling sites near you.

Some classics I’ve seen:

The ‘brand specific’ buyer

“Wanted, XXX brand pram, must be purple, immaculate condition, have a raincover, foot muff, drinks holder, used for less than 3 hours in dry weather only, must be delivered on the day my baby is born and free”.

Ok, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but it’s not far off.  The requests that people put in for specific brands and quality is ridiculous, and quite frankly taking the mick.  What about just asking ‘please does anyone have a pram suitable for a boy?’.  Then you can choose (or not) from what’s on offer.

The ‘sod the near offer, I’ll offer peanuts’ buyer

When I’ve stated a specific price, there’s often offers.  If I’m open to offers I use ‘ono’ to indicate that.  But it still doesn’t stop people asking.  And making ridiculous offers.

One time, I had a brand new buggy for sale, including changing bag, footmuff and raincover.  It was worth £200, I was asking £150 ono.  One person offered £60 to ‘take it off your hands’.  No love, I’d rather put it on ebay which is what I’ll do if it doesn’t sell here.

Quite frequently people seem to think that a near offer is less than half the asking price.  I’m quite happy to knock a couple of quid off in some situations, but when the item’s cheap and I know people won’t travel out to me to pick it up, there’s no way I’m going massively lower, unless it’s been on sale for a long time or I just want to get rid of it quickly.

Maybe as a buyer I’m not cheeky enough to barter low – usually because I know an item’s a lot cheaper than I’d get it elsewhere in the first place.

The ‘I’m going to threaten the seller to get my way’ buyer

Of course, where there’s bargains to be had, there’s people who get nasty.  One recently was 3rd one the list for one item I put up for sale.  Number 2 person had inboxed me before number 3, but commented on the item at the same time as the latter.  Number 2 got the item – she was really easy to deal with, was lovely and chatty and appreciative, plus was buying it for her aunt.

In the meantime, I’d had number 3 woman messaging me, accusing me of bribes (I’d got the asking price, although someone way down the list had offered more to have it ahead of others).  She had also been messaging the person who got the item.

It astounds me that people can get so nasty.  To be honest, if she was ever the first person on my items, I’d never want to sell to her.

and finally

The ‘I can’t be bothered to turn up’ person

I hate lateness, but this group of people (and there seem to be a lot of them around), aren’t just late.  They just don’t turn up.

After arranging times, location, providing directions, a phone number in case of problems, there still seems to be a serious inability to be polite and inform me that they’re not going to turn up.  Instead, when I remind them or ask if they’re coming, they give me a silly excuses

‘I had appointments’ – er yes, with me

‘I don’t like the weather’ – it’s winter, it’s bad weather, if you don’t like driving in it then don’t agree to buy an item.

Maybe I’m odd, but I think if you’ve arranged to buy something or meet someone, and that you have their phone number, a quick text to apologise if you need to call it off or rearrange.  I asked the ‘weather/driving phobic’ whether she still wanted the item after she didn’t turn up, and she rearranged, not telling me a second time that she wasn’t turning up. I can’t understand how these people think this is ever appropriate.

I might have rearranged my day, inconvenienced myself, or had something I could have been doing instead if I’d known they weren’t coming.  The worst was when I’d agreed to deliver an item to someone, at a specific time.  They weren’t in when I turned up – no call, no note on the door, no message, no apology.

Thankfully there are some who are really nice to deal with and that does make it worth the while.  But asking round a few friends, it appears this is pretty prevalent when it comes to local selling sites.  Are people really that rude, thinking everyone deserves something for free, and then thinking it’s ok to just not turn up or call?

12 Comments

  1. What a great post! I sell a lot of items to local customers and equally I have purchased a number of items locally as well as, other places actually around the world (does that make me a world traveler? LOL). But one thing that I really try to hold fast to is “say what you mean and mean what you say.” I strive to maintain integrity in my transactions and feel it’s appropriate to expect the same from others. But all in all, I really enjoyed your post, thanks a lot!

    • I agree. I think treat others how you want to be treated. Obviously some people just don’t think about others.

  2. So true. I’m a serial eBay seller but it does wind me up. I use couriers rather than the post office now and have tried to make it as convenient for me as possible to sell things and make money – I no longer sell anything if I’m only going to make 99p, it really just isn’t worth it! x

    • At least the PO prices for parcels have come down a bit in price again after they went up ridiculously. Couriers won’t work for me unless I take the parcels to them as I work and then they won’t come out to us (or not according to their websites) for pick up.

      One of the problems on ebay is the number of items on there means there’s less bidding wars, people getting savvy with bidding, so you’re less likely to get the money you want for items you think should go for more. Although I did put on a broken camera for parts and it sold for a lot more than I anticipated.

      The 99p – can’t understand how someone would make any money on that, even with free listing!

  3. I sell a lot of items on the facebook selling pages and I have experienced all of the above, most recent being a lady that just didn’t turn up to collect and item who then text me the next day asking if she could pick it up then and still didn’t come for it! Grrr really winds me up. Great post 🙂

    • Drives you insane, doesn’t it. It doesn’t seem to occur to people like that, that people have lives and it doesn’t revolve round them.

  4. I have never been good at utilizing the 2nd hand options available. We are fortunate to receive a crazy amount of hand-me-downs but I will totally agree that buyers AND sellers can be completely annoying. I went to consign a bunch of basically new brand name clothes and the shops wanted to make an appointment for like 2 months later. I was like um… if you think I cleaned out my closets to sit and look at the mess for 2 more months you are NUTS. And to Goodwill I went.

    • I know what you mean. Also, the second hand shop near us states if items don’t sell within 6 weeks they need to be collected. Luckily, the owner was always pleased with the items I took in, so would be fairly relaxed about it, which was a relief as the shop only opens a couple of afternoons a week. Maybe they’d sell more if they were open better hours.

      There’s also the seasonal aspect – the shop won’t take items out of season, but that’s generally when you clear out. At least charity shops take items at any time of year.

  5. I have never heard of Freecycle until I read your post. Went and looked it up. LOVE IT. What an awesome resource I have been missing.

    • Glad I’ve passed on the message then. It’s great, and I’ve also found a new very local (ie my nearest village), similar initiative, but more on bartering. So selling, giving away, products but also services or availability of loaning items out. Nice idea, not sure how up to date the website is though.

      I’ve never been given anything via freecycle though – although there’s rarely anything of note I’m after. I do have a friend who’s had lots of things though

  6. Ohh I love the local facebook selling groups to me….I’ve had some luck selling on there and a few bargains but there are some idiots on there…..I’ve had run in’s with a few idiots messing me about…..lol

    • There seem to be more and more about. It’s not helped by me living outside of town, but if people are reliable I don’t mind helping them out a bit in dropping off if I’m already going into town. But I do like to see people making some kind of efford. Just plain rude some of them.

%d bloggers like this: