84/85 Aint Bad

On this Easter weekend trademe gave to me:

10 mondo grasses
3 glass ceiling lights
2 park bench ends
1 crappy mantle
and a 2m tall ponga to dig out for free

Yes, trademe sure is a treasure trove if you happen to own a do-up villa.

Amongst other acquisitions, Easter weekend saw us digging out a full-sized ponga from a Mt Eden backyard, and retrieve some intricate cast-iron park-bench ends that someone else found underneath their bungalow.

In the past few months we have also purchased an original 100kg cast-iron lamp-post from Christchurch, a rimu mantle piece from Hellensville, dozens of glass spice jars, and several solid brass light fittings from various parts of the country.

Not surprisingly, trademe is probably NZ’s number 1 blocked site in the workplace, ahead of humptypumpty.com. With a traffic rank of 946 (in comparison, lorenz.co.nz ranks in at 6,007,627), it falls just behind google.co.nz, and is New Zealand’s second highest trafficked site.

The reason for its incredible success is that its users are generally honest, helpful, and pleasant to deal with. Every transaction is usually always a positive experience.

So when I won an auction for a $79 kauri mantle piece, I was delighted. But that’s where the positivity ended.

After countless emails and phone-calls, I finally succeeded in arranging a time that actually suited the seller for pick up. We emptied our trailer of ponga roots from our earlier expedition that day, and headed to the rendezvous. Surprisingly, the seller was there at the agreed time and place, and proceeded to lead us to the mantle piece.

She assured us it was original.

While I noticed the water damage and foam bulging out from underneath the ‘wood’, I was still suffering from euphoric trademe-induced-blindness from earlier ponga uprooting, and naiively convinced myself there would be a reasonable explanation.

And when the woman finally got off her cell-phone and started harshly badmouthing the other trademe buyer she had been talking to, I wasn’t too concerned either. Maybe they really were difficult and she was having a bad day. Besides she worked for a company called ‘The Fireplace Professionals’.

She then scuttled off to meet her second ‘stupidly useless’ customer, leaving us to tie down our load.

The auction in question was for a kauri/rimu fireplace mantle, that was described as being in good condition.

The mantle was neither rimu or kauri, but rather an incredibly cheap veneer. The photo of the item was cunningly cropped to disguise the extensive irreparable water damage at the base.

What the trademe photo didn't show

So, now we have a rather expensive item of crap in our garage, that’s probably even too nasty to burn.

After nearly 100 trademe transactions, I left my first negative feedback.

And I’m now back in the market for an *original* Victorian kauri mantle.

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