Facebook has been used for many things since its conception in early 2004 – keeping in touch with friends and family, following trends such as the #nomakeupselfie and the neck nomination challenge, and boasting about your holiday with the obligatory plane-wing over the clouds photo. But most recently Facebook users are utilising this power of connecting to interact with like minded consumers who recognise that another mans trash may very well be another mans treasure. Welcome to the Buy & Sell pages of the Facebook realm.
By joining these ‘Buy & Sell’ groups, mainly divided up into specific regions and towns, these online communities are creating digital marketplaces – but unlike your local street market, here there are no stall fees, no bad weather and you can browse in your pyjamas!
Most sales run smoothly and these are the type of easy transactions these groups were built on. You upload a photo of your item, write a little bit about its condition and the price you’re looking for – people will ‘like’ and comment on your post with their offers, they’ll pay and collect without a problem. But every now and again you’ll come across someone who doesn’t quite grasp the concept. They’ll contact you, agree the price and a suitable time to collect the item, which comes and go’s leaving you wondering when they are going to arrive, or if they’ll arrive at all. That’s when the messages start…“Sorry, I’ll be there in the hour”, “will you be around tomorrow?”, “can I come at the weekend?” At this point, cut your losses; you aren’t a 9-5 retail store and I’m sure someone else will buy the £5 beach bag.
I’ve seen a range of items advertised on these sites, most common are clothes, DVDs and furniture, but every now and again you’ll find a gem; my favourite so far has been a lady who, obviously looking to make a quick few extra pounds, decided to sell her grubby looking, bright pink soap dish with the caption “make me an offer”. The only offer I could think to give her was to bin it immediately.
Needless to say, she didn’t sell her soap dish, but this unsuccessful sales pitch doesn’t give credit to these increasingly popular groups, but just remember, you’ll have to be quick with the cash if you want the goods. So go on – make me an offer.
By Talia Maguire