17 December 2006

Yet More Ugly Singaporeans in E-auctions

This post is a sequel of sorts to the last one about disgraceful Singaporeans.

Just as it was Chris who introduced me to blogging last year, it was also he who introduced me to the mechanics of e-auction about 2 years ago. (Come to think of it, I do have a lot of reasons to be grateful to Chris, don't I? I really ought to treat him better.) The first item that I sold via auction was a 17-inch CRT monitor which was still in good working condition. It had been lying in my storeroom for weeks, gathering dust and at the same time occupying precious space in my small HDB flat. It suddenly occurred to me that electronic items would go out of order if not used for some time, just like our brains. So why not try to sell the item via auction and get back some pocket money? It makes very good sense, doesn't it? So put it up in Yahoo auctions I did and the item was sold for $60 in a matter of days - not bad at all.

Since then, there is no turning back for me. I have sold various items via auction and have also bought quite a few. Among the other items I sold were a 14-inch CRT colour TV, a 19-inch LCD monitor, a VCD player and a brand new wireless keyboard and mouse which I won in a Sitex lucky draw last year. Among the used items I bought were an XBox set with games, a mini-mahjong set, a pair of PC speakers with subwoofer and even an electronic book about the Linux operating system for only 50 cents. In fact, you can buy or sell almost anything via auction, whether old or new. For example, if you have mistakenly bought 5 copies of the Singapore Encyclopedia (like I have, thinking that you could make some money since you got them at only half price due to your 'connections'), you can sell the extra copies via auction. But whether you make money or not is anyone's guess. The only items you are not supposed to sell are illegal items like firearms, pornography, state secrets, your blood and organs (not the type that play music), yourself, your spouse, your children, etc. It is also unethical to sell perishable items that are past their 'use by' dates. Used items in good condition are generally acceptable for sale via auction, except for used underwear and condoms, no matter how good their condition.

Just as in a brick-and-mortar business, you will encounter all kinds of people in e-auction. The Chinese has a famous saying with obvious meaning - 'one type of rice will grow one hundred types of people'. Here I share some of the more interesting experiences with you.

I encountered a buyer who wanted to return a perfectly good item the very next day because he found out that it didn't quite suit his purpose. I had every right not to take back the item but he was quite apologetic and offered to compensate me for transport cost. Basically I am quite a soft-hearted person. In the end, I took back the item and charged him only a nominal transport fee.

Then there was this buyer who changed his mind the very next day after winning my auction item:

His sms: "So so sorry, I have 2nd thoughts about buying this item. Need to consider again. So sorry again."

My sms: "Maybe you can let me know what you are using the item for and I can advise if it is suitable?"

His sms: "At first, I want to use it to connect my PC to the TV set. But the wires will be messy."

My sms: "*Rolling eyes* Okay, then convince me why I shouldn't give you a bad rating?"

His sms: "Go ahead and give me a bad rating. I deserve it."
(For those who don't know, once a deal is done, buyer and seller can give each other a rating. There are 3 types of ratings - good, neutral or bad. The rating counts and accompanying comments are recorded for the whole world to see. The purpose is to give potential buyers and sellers an idea whether that individual has a good track record so far and hence would be considered safe or unsafe to deal with accordingly.)

Again, my soft-heartedness did me in - I gave that person a neutral rating.

Then there was an interested buyer, probably a member of the fairer sex, who posed some very funny questions regarding my VCD player which was on sale for only $12. She obviously didn't know that I like to respond to funny questions with equally funny answers:

Interested buyer: Barter trade?

Me: Huh barter trade? Pay me with 10 kg of rice ah?

Interested buyer: Now is 20th century, exchange my auction item.

Me: Correction, now is 21st century NOT 20th century. Exactly my point - still got people do barter trade meh? Anyway I took a look at your 35 items on auction - they are mostly ladies' handbags. Being a man who is straight, I have no use for a handbag. So sorry lor.
Needless to say, I didn't hear from her ever again.


Chris Sim said...

Still dare to say. I tot u so many tricks. But being cynical and giving swipes at people is not one of them. That one is inborn one, proud monkey.

So, it seems like you've made quite a bundle from the junk you sold hor? How about lunch for the may who introduce yahoo auction to you? LOL.

re-tired.re-freshed said...

Victor, would you believe I've never traded on Ebay or the likes? Maybe I should go sign up for an account. Wah, I've learnt yet another thing from you. BTW, the Singaporeans you mentioned in this post seemed pretty decent to me. I was expecting worse :)

Victor said...

Chris - No problem. Lunch on me the next time. BTW thanks for buying me lunch at Botak Jones just now. Wah very full and satisfying, buurrp.

Ivan - You should try e-auction if you are looking for something or if you have something that you no longer need but is still useful. Sometimes you can get real good deals and offers. And it is less technically intimidating then blogging for sure, trust me. ;)