Trade Me: the gift that keeps giving

December 30, 2010
By

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

It’s that awkward time of the year where Christmas is wrapped up (no pun intended) and the New Year is looming on the horizon.

There’s really not much to do except eagerly await news of whether this is my year to get something in the New Year honours (I live in hope), work your way through a fridge full of leftovers (luckily Seymour the Wonder Cat likes trifle) and plan the Christmas pressie book/music voucher spending spree.

However, spare a thought for those less fortunate: yes, not everyone got exactly what they wanted for Christmas.

As Kiwis chomp on their indigestion tablets after too much ham, pavlova and bubbly, they are also listing thousands of unwanted Christmas gifts for sale on Trade Me.

A press release from the auction site on Boxing Day estimated that since 4pm on Christmas Day, more than 12,000 items had been added to the site’s auction listings.

And they reckoned most of those were from punters trying to ping off unwanted gifts.

In fact, Trade Me spokesdude Paul Ford says Boxing Day listings were up 20 per cent on last year, with  most items added between 8pm and 11pm on Christmas night.

So is it that the gift-selecting abilities of Kiwis have turned to crap or are the intended recipients simply more mercenary these days? And which came first: the desire to get rid of undesirable pressies or the ability to sell them online?

I guess the fear of being caught out stops us from regifting those unwanted socks or other festive undesirables and being able to sell to a total stranger at the other end of the country makes the whole online auction thing look like a pretty good way of dealing with it.

However, knowing my luck, if I tried it I’d end up with the person who gave me the unwanted gift bidding on the item so they could give me a matching set next Christmas.

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