Trash into treasure: online auctions

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

If you ever wanted proof of the old “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” adage, look no further than online auctions.

Sure, there are lots of useful, interesting and sometimes even exciting things being pinged off by online traders. A seller by the name of Unigirl got more than $45,000 for her virginity when she sold it on this week and I’m sure the general consensus is that particular auction lot falls into the “treasure” category rather than “trash”.

I can’t help but wonder how the buyer will gauge their level of, ahem, customer satisfaction. I mean really, what if they aren’t happy with their purchase? Will they take it to the small claims court?

Of course, there are the wee horror stories that serve to remind us that we aren’t the stupidest people in the world, that there are plenty of others out there on the weird wide web just waiting to show the world their stupidity, and their dangly bits.

The now-famous “naked bloke selling kettle on eBay” photo is a good reminder to all those in the habit of practising their photography skills while unclothed: avoid reflective surfaces. Oh, and a warning: that Snopes link features some dodgy looking naked reflections.

Sadly, that wee photo spawned the internet phenomenon of reflectoporn. Yes, the original kettle photo may have been unintentional but after its rise to infamy, there were plenty of exhibitionists out there trying to sell stuff online with photos that were both disturbing and funny. And just a little bit sad.

It seems that every week there’s an auction somewhere in the world for a piece of toast that looks like Mother Teresa, or a Jesus-etched potato chip, so I’m now finding all those more than a little boring. However, I was quite taken with the spider in a bath auction on Trade Me. Said spider may or may not be dead and may be missing a few legs but it is in a bath tub and all proceeds from the auction are going to the SPCA, so if you want to be a part of this historic auction, get bidding because it closes tomorrow.


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