Selling the ‘Rello on Ebay.it
Posted by Andy Steves in on September 15, 2010.
The end of our semester was approaching. My friends were saying “only a couple weeks more,” and things like that. To me that meant it was time to sell my bike. So I went down to Porta Portese to ask the bike dealers if they were interested. Porta Portese is the Sunday flea market where all the illegals sell their stolen goods won from the previous week. Besides the temporary market, there are a few more-legitimate pawn shops, bike shops, and motorino shops lining the street. I wanted to see if I could get an offer for my bike and just be done with it.
The problem was that my bike was nicer than anything else in these second-hand shops. So no shops were interested. I then put the bike up on Craigslist. The next day, on Ebay.it. That is a nerve-wracking experience--you have to make sure you read everything on each page and that the right boxes are checked. Otherwise, you could sell a €1000 bike accidentally for €20. It’s scary enough when the site’s in English. I made a bit of a mistake setting up the timing of the auction because it’s ending right now as I’m writing this on a plane coming back to Rome from Dublin. Hope it's going well.
Right before I made the auction, I climbed up onto my roof to take some glamour shots. Imagine that, me coming out onto my little porch with the large frame of my dear bicycle over one shoulder. Clambering up onto the travertine railing I can see the street six floors below. I do a tightrope turn and slowly walk up the incline part to step over the ridge of the roof of the apartment. I make it up without any tragic accidents and am able to take my pictures with the shining dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the background. After my photo shoot, I sling the bike back over my shoulder and repeat the process in reverse order.
My first auction ended with the price at €300, so I contacted the buyer and told him I couldn’t sell it for a price that low, and that my minimum is €500. I’ve explained my situation to a few Italians here in Rome, and they’ve all told me I wouldn’t have trouble selling a bike up north in Milan, or Torino, but Rome and the South is a different story. It’s strange to think that in the capital of the nation, they really don’t have much expendable income. As Italians don’t see any possibility of buying real estate due to the exorbitant prices, they wear their paycheck--they don’t think twice about spending the equivalent of $200 on a pair of pants.
I decided to redo my auction so I took some more detailed pictures, expanded my description and ticked the “ship anywhere” option. This time my auction started at €475 with a buy-it-now at €750, and I set the length of the auction for seven days. Several days later, I received a message asking if I would sell it for €500. I responded yes. We talked over the phone a couple times and it became clear he was from where I was headed the next weekend, the Cinque Terre. He could meet me at the station and we’d make the transaction right there.
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