Unwanted gifts soon find their way into the on-line market place

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Quick and easy on-line sales – but even Del Boy wouldn’t buy some of them Quick and easy on-line sales – but even Del Boy wouldn’t buy some of them

If you have nothing better to do on Boxing Day, you could do worse than go on-line and key in a search using the words ‘Unwanted’ – ‘Christmas’ – and ‘Gift’.

You will be amazed at how quickly some people’s well-intentioned gifts end up on the market for a second-hand buyer.

As you browse, the benefits will be two-fold. Firstly, you will burn off some of the calories that piled on throughout the festivities as you laugh so much at some of the objects on offer. Secondly, you might actually pick up a bargain or two.

The laughs will start almost immediately. The sheer contradiction of some descriptions will have you in stitches. For example, ‘Gorgeous scarf, pink and purple, unwanted xmas present!’ begs two questions straight away. If it’s so gorgeous why is the seller so keen to risk upsetting the dear aunt who gave it to her beloved neice not 24 hours ago, by palming it off on e-Bay?

And secondly, the image that accompanies the description of said scarf (pink and purple – really?) will underline just what an uphill task this particular seller will have in attaining their reserve price of 15p.

No matter, keep scrolling. Here’s another one. ‘Unwanted Christmas present – Arsenal away shirt, XL.’ What tale of human tragedy lurks behind this sale? Could it be that the Arsene Wenger’s boys are performing so poorly that our erstwhile Gooner has had enough, torn up all his matchday magazines, binned his scarf and is now keen to claw back some of the cash he’s spent already this season by trousering a crisp twenty pound note?

We could be generous for a moment. Maybe our Emirates regular has put on a few pounds and is no longer an XL but has ballooned to XXXL, rendering his girlfriend’s gift useless. Or it could simply be a severe case of Chinese whispers corrupting a message so much that ‘Gerry’s gonna love a Home Brew Kit, by the way’ could easily transform to ‘Gunner lover Gerry’s got a home kit, so buy away’ by the time it reaches its destination.

The sad thing is that this whole ‘Unwanted Christmas Present’ listing is not just a December/January phenomenon. It continues throughout the year, with potential sellers apparently unhindered by the shame or guilt of being caught out by the person they lied to on Christmas Day when they said: ‘Oooh, it’s just what I wanted.’ In September of this year you could have picked up a 4x4 Experience worth £120 or a remote controlled boat, still going for not much more than the cost of a night out at the pub.

So if you’re not just in it for laughs (some of the spellings will raise a titter, too e.g. goregous, origional, definately) you could pick up something useful for a very good price.

But you do need to time it right. Christmas visits seem to extend way beyond Boxing Day so even though the goods start to go up quite promptly, it might be a week or so before it gathers full speed ... but then when relatives have packed their bags and headed back home you can watch the floodgates open.

It’s not just the goods that raise a smile, either. Some past comments have shown a tongue in cheek honesty that simply has to be admired.

‘I’m a girl with absolutely no interest in cars whatsoever, can identify a Mini at a push, and yet someone gave me this,’ says one exasperated seller as she tries to off-load a custom gear-knob.

While another entry says: ‘I don’t quite follow the logic of this – I hate the stuff’ beside a picture of coffee-maker.

Classic entries included an unoponed secret Santa gift from an office worker. ‘I know my colleagues,’ says the punter, ‘and I’m not prepared to chance this ... are you? The gift measures about 20cm, I tried shaking it, but there’s not a lot of movement.’ Well, that has to be worth 99p of anybody’s money, surely (plus postage and packing).

I’m thinking of putting something in the travel section. ‘For sale, unwanted Christmas gift ... I’ve just sold it on e-Bay but I need someone to accompany me on my guilt trip.’ Any takers?

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