Observing the FB Marketplace buyers

This article is just a list of personal observations. SO don’t get your knickers in a twist if you find a description of yourself here – because we’re all here. I am writing this article based on my limited experience of selling a variety of objects on Facebook Marketplace – what you will see below is a snapshot of the kinds of people I’ve met and how they came across.

The Rug

I sold two rugs in the last 6 months. This is because my cats had fleas in January and although I treated them and the house with a zest of a professional pest controller, I didn’t want to risk that single one surviving flea larva making a comeback because it hid in that one rug fibre that the industrial chemicals could not reach. So I sold both to houses with no pets.

While my friend summed me up with a joke that I’m peddling special guests, I wanted to make sure that people buying them will in fact not have pets, just in case. Fleas can’t survive in a house without pets as they fail to reproduce on humans.

Weirdly enough, the buyers for both rugs were remarkably similar.

The characteristics: an older lady with grey hair, driving herself to the pickup with her daughter. The first buyer drove a fancy 4×4, the second one drove what looked like a soap box tilted to one side. But seriously, that was the main difference – otherwise they could have been cousins down to the perm. Interestingly, the one who drove the cheaper car and was due to pay £25, left me with £30 because ‘she couldn’t get change’. Judge me as you will, I was not about to offer change. BUT also remember, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. Could it be that if she was less frivolous with her change, she’d be driving a car that doesn’t sputter at the engine start? I don’t know.

The two rugs brought me £50 total.

The Keyboard

There were two buyers really wanting the keyboard, aside from many, many timewasters. Although I stated in the ad that the price was non-negotiable, they both negotiated. One wrote me a short version of her life story which I really appreciated (a struggling singer by night, a retail worker by day), the other one was a bit less chatty and simply suggested a collection time within the hour. They were both going for the same price, so the keyboard went to the guy who was willing to take it off my hands within the next hour.

The man in person was a little more chatty and it turned out that he’s moved to the UK for a better life. A typical story of an eastern-European economic migrant follows – he worked on building sites, was not happy with the quality of work (no offence, but local builders are not great in London), started his own construction service company and is now doing great. He was buying the keyboard for his 6 year old daughter who really wants to play. Honestly, this man could have been my brother, my cousin or any of my non-British male friends. He paid in clean £20 bills and was on his way because his Little Princess was waiting at home. It was a cute encounter, honestly. And it made me scratch my head again, why did the British vote Brexit again? Because if he’s the reason, I might just as well look into leaving the country and paying my taxes elsewhere.

The keyboard sold for £140

The Monstera

I occasionally sell plants on FB marketplace. Yes, I’m that sort of a person to buy a plant, grow it a party of 20 babies and then sell them on to recoup the costs on the original purchase. So for the last few weeks I’ve been selling Monstera Adansonii. These are small-ish cuttings with 5 or 6 leaves, fully rooted and growing well. Weirdly enough the last 3 I sold all went to immigrants from East Asia. How I know that they were immigrants? Because every single one of them spoke with a strong accent – my broad guess would be that one of the 3 ladies was Indonesian and the other two possibly Vietnamese. My ear for East-Asian languages is a bit meh, so they could have been Chinese or Korean or Thai for all I know. BUT here are the common features of each sale: they all showed up on time. They all paid in cash. They all were polite/relatively friendly but to the point when communicating.

My 4th Monstera was a Monstera Deliciosa little plug plant, picked up by a young-looking mixed race girl – fair skinned, judging by the facial features of African heritage and with 3C kind of hair texture. While I don’t usually pay much attention to people’s looks, her face looked almost perfectly symmetrical and she’s very pretty. Not that I’m jealous but I’m totally jealous of that symmetry. She too showed up on time, was friendly and to the point. Out of the total of 4 Monstera buyers she was the only one to pay in notes instead of coins.

Two of the Monstera Adansonii and one Monstera Deliciosa sold for £5 each, the largest Monstera Adansonii sold for £6.

While I have sold quite the variety of items recently, it is fair to say that the grand majority of the purchasers have been women. The men sometimes show up for things like kitchen worktop offcuts, an old guitar or a random garden decoration, but probably based on the items I’ve been selling they just have more appeal to women. What I have also noticed is that women seem a lot more pointed in their search. I seem to receive a similar number of enquiries per item from men and women, but while women are usually wanting more information than men they are also much faster to request a collection window and agree the sale. I don’t know whether this is a common trend or just my experience and the chances are that I will never find out. What I have however found out is that should a person send you just the ‘Is it still available?’ pre-formatted question and nothing else, the chances are they won’t be buying today.

What are your experiences selling on Facebook Marketplace? Has it been a success, have you had any issues, do you have any tips?

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