The Second One – The Wonderful World of eBay

I sat restlessly in front of my computer. I’m practically sweating with excitement. The item I listed has blown way out. Already the bidding has reached much higher than I imagined it would. And there’s still eight minutes to go!

I grin stupidly and hit refresh again and again and again.

I stopped hammering away at my keyboard only when eBay flashed at me ‘Auction Ended’. I breathed a big sigh, one I didn’t even realise I’d been holding.

This item was a piece of furniture and was to be pick up only. So the next step was to send the highest bidder a message and congratulate them on their win. I noted that I would be home all weekend and just to let me know when would suit them best. I received a prompt reply, with a request of a Sunday pickup and a mobile phone number of a person (sex and name yet unknown) I had never met. Replying to this email with my own number and making a point of providing my name, I hoped my highest bidder would reply again with their details. They did. Phew.

So then Sunday arrived. And with it the awkward moments of exchanging cash for goods. She greeted me warmly but her partner seemed to wish he was doing something else on this sunny Sunday afternoon… I wonder why. It became evident that he didn’t realise they were to be taking both bed frame and mattress.

“Yes, I told you it was the mattress too…”

Her voice was a little squeaky and she shifted weight from foot to foot. We agreed they would leave, drop off the frame and return for the mattress. They returned happier and cheerfully said goodbye to us as they loaded the mattress into the back of their station wagon. We waved from the door of our building.

I always find these moments intriguing. I haven’t had a lot of experience with eBay but I have bought one or two things which have required pickup and sold this piece of furniture. Last year we sold my boyfriend The Designer’s car privately. A couple arrived to test drive the vehicle. They drove off, leaving us uncertain on the sidewalk but we were then immediately distracted by the next door neighbour’s bins going up in a blazing flame. The couple returned, announcing that they loved it and would pick it up the following weekend. Then the fire engine arrived and took to the fiery rubbish.

I find these small insights into a life and a micro communication you may never again cross peculiar but also personal and interesting. How do you feel about these intense mini relationships?

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