Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back on air, nine puppies delivered, and that's it for eBay...the guilt! The guilt!

Aberdeen, and onto the airwaves for the first time in four weeks. The first hour of the first programme feels a bit odd, but after that it's plain sailing, encouraged by the hundreds of emails, texts, letters and the occasional bottle of whisky welcoming me back.
Back home, Lucy has delivered nine puppies, mother and offspring all doing well in Yell (thanks to the fantastic care of Chris and Penny from Vikingstar St Bernards). Magnus is somewhere in Finland, and I have another car, whereby hangs a rather sorry tale which has chastened me severely as far as eBay is concerned.
What happened was this: In June I bought a white van from a chap in Glasgow, a Mercedes Vito. It's been handy over the summer, shipping Mag's stuff home from uni, running about the islands with dogs, lawnmowers, large quantities of stone etc. Last week I sold it (on eBay) to Kwame from Romford in Essex, and we agreed to meet in Glasgow for the handover of cash and keys. That meant I could ship Mag's belongings south for the new university term. then Kwame could drive home to Essex.
Just north of Dundee, a horrendous vibration erupted from the front wheel. RAC man Glyn managed to diagnose and repair the problem - the bolts holding in place the (new) driveshaft had worked loose. He tightened them up and we were on our way.
I had already telephoned Kwame and told him I didn't think the van would reach Essex, and he should cancel his Ryanair trip north. Too late. Kwame was in Glasgow and keen to take the van anyway.
We got there, unloaded Magnus's stuff (and Christopher's, and Stephen's and Tom's, indeed the entire student population of Shetland)and there was Kwame, with wife. I knocked £100 off the price and he, apparently happy, went on his way, despite my warnings that the driveshaft bolts could still come loose again.
Magnus's flatmates arrived, we helped carry their stuff to the (inevitably) top floor flat he's staying in, and then I headed for Queen Street for more eBay adventures. A Ford Maverick Chasseur awaited me in Brechin.
And this old, £1500 four wheel drive looked (and still looks) as if it may just be OK. I drove it to Aberdeen without incident, and it may just get us through the winter. No word from Kwame.
Until today. Still apparently happy, he was safely in Romford, but on Sunday had managed to get only as far as Abington, where the driveshaft had given up the ghost, along with the wheel bearing. He and his wife stayed the night, and somehow managed to get the Merc fixed next day. It had been, he said, very nice to meet me. Guilty? Oh yes.
Still, he did get a bargain, what with the £100 off and the fact that the van was very cheap even without that. But all of this has taught me a lesson. In the past two years I have bought and sold, ulp, 10 cars, vans and motorcycles on eBay. It has been an adventure (that winter trip from Tonbridge to Shetland in a heaterless, almost roofless Citroen 2CV) and a disaster (the Orcadian camper van that wouldn't do more than 15 mph. It has been fun (it's the ease of browsing that makes eBay irresitible) but it has been very, very expensive. And it has to stop. Right now. It's taking up too much time and costing far too much.
Because here's the horrible truth: eBay doesn't save you any money. At all. It's a drug, and you pay a premium for all that surfing'n'bidding. Kids, stop now before it's too late! or better still, don't start!

1 comment:

Wendy said...

And don't the hours just fly by when you are mentally spending all your money!! It's not Ebay it's EvilBay!