Not too long ago, I rang my husband up to ask him a very important question. “Is it possible one of our children could have just purchased a car on Trade Me?” I asked, trying to keep the note of panic out of my voice. He quickly checked out our Trade Me profile. “Nope”, came his calm reply and I breathed a sigh of relief. That was close – and the last time I let the kids browse for toys on Trade Me!
Every self-respecting immigrant should know about this particularly useful website. Trade Me, characterised by its banner and Kevin (think that’s his name), the little blue Kiwi bird with a big eyeball, running flat-out, can be compared, I suppose, to Gumtree in SA, only better, I think (I confess I never really used Gumtree). Trade Me, according to Google, is “NZ’s #1 auction and classifieds site”. In other words, it’s an online platform for people in New Zealand to buy and sell pretty much anything. From furniture to pets and livestock, properties (rentals and sales) and vehicles, clothing, books, gadgets and thingy-ma-bobs. Just about anything you can imagine is sold and bought here. (I have yet to see any grannies or in-laws for sale though – just kidding!). They seem to have strict rules about how auctions are run, payments are made, and deliveries/collections carried out. So those with Trade Me accounts ensure their record for good, trustworthy transactions stays clean and they can happily carry on trading. We have bought (or sold) a boat, a rhino (side-by-side agricultural vehicle, not the endangered four-legged, horned creature), cars, books, furniture, vehicle parts, ski clothing and toys, to name a few things.
While it’s not bartering beads, it is easy to use. Items generally sell on auction, with a set reserve (or not). People with Trade Me accounts can bid and watch an auction on an item they are interested in until it closes. The person with the highest bid “wins” the auction. For instance, one of the husband’s good Kiwi friends sold his Land Cruiser and bought a flash (Kiwi word for “very smart/fancy”) Audi from somewhere down near Wellington. He had never seen the car in person and obviously hadn’t test driven it. Going on what the person selling the vehicle had relayed and the photos, he flew down. The seller met him at the airport, he took the car for a drive and when the deal was done, husband’s friend drove the car back north, happy as Larry (whoever Larry is) with his purchase (of course, the seller sent him on his way with a full fuel tank too). Nice.
How we laughed to hear another South African couple relate their car buying and selling experiences on Trade Me. “Oooh gom!” is the particular expression used by the husband when he accidentally purchased a car. It may well have happened a few times now because his wife gets a bit jittery when her husband, sitting on the couch in the evenings, trawling Trade Me on his phone, suddenly mutters, “oooh gom!” We see them driving another vehicle and wonder if this purchase was “aspris” (on purpose) or accidental. Either way, it makes for a good ribbing!
Did I mention one can also browse jobs on Trade Me? Maybe I should have…
PS. Trade Me isn’t paying me for this bit of good press. Just thought it a resource worth sharing.