Bored by the endless monotony of waiting for the British summer to appear (ignore this if reading in another country)? No longer thrilled by reading the latest antics at MyLifeis Average? Facebook not doing it for you? Rather than surfing the web in the hope of finding something interesting, have you ever wandered through the bizarre, misspelled, or simply badly categorised world of eBay>Everything Else>Other?
I rather remember a Joan Aiken story — I think it was Dragon Monday, but could be mistaken — when someone brings home a copy of Exchange and Mart and peruses the bizarre items. Magical trouble results. eBay’s ‘Everything Else’ category, is something of the same kind, only bigger. A good start for someone trying to use one of Edward de Bono’s lateral thinking exercises, or an author looking for ideas, or just to pass a half hour.
Today’s selection includes such marvels as a Richard Branson press release, 50 printed paper wristbands (they will actually print the text for you — disappointingly it isn’t actually someone’s treasured collection of festival stuff), a Static Caravan, available for pick up only, a 3 day potty training method, a bestman speech, self defence spray, 100% UK legal, but check with your lawyer before using, 25 headphone earbud earpads, doubtless for people with serious CDO (that’s obsessive compulsive disorder, but with the letters in alphabetical order, like they should be), 17th edition full course and exam papers on CD, though we are not told for what subject, a Brass Pin, suitable for bushcraft or hunting (do you chase the animals with a pin — we want to know!), VW Camper Van transport voucher, S. Wales only, 3-6 months boys clothes, job lot, and also 0-3 months boys clothes, job lot, large red plastic heart, photoframe – leopard print furry, casino roulette winning system (predicts casino results — that additional information in case you hadn’t grasped it from the main title). Someone is also selling Jesus, starting price £0.99, but £5 delivery. Thus far no bids. Also ‘secrets of starting a professional cake decorating biz’
Of course, in among the miscellaneous is a large number of simply tedious items — quasi-legal services such as unlocking phones, and a variety of tacky bits and pieces.
Actually, I think it either isn’t as good as it used to be, or I just looked today on a bad day. There used to be oodles of circus equipment (that is the correct plural noun — an oodle). On today’s look I did find a Magic Sword Through Neck Illusion (Missing Sword). With the sword missing one would imagine that most magicians would give it a miss. There’s also a gold-mining claim, and a FAKE USB flash drive. I admire the honesty of someone admitting that their device is fake, and even going to the point of putting it in capital letters, but I wonder how many people would really want to part with the £0.15 + £1.92 postage. Oops — I take it back. There is now 1 Bid for this item.
A friend of a friend who collected badges once bought ‘collection of fifty badges’ on eBay. When they arrived, it turned out it was fifty of the same badge, which slightly stretches the word ‘collection’.
Perhaps you don’t find the miscellany of eBay Everything Else as amusing as I do. To me, this is like getting an archaeologist’s glimpse of our civilisation from, say, a thousand years in the future. Imagine if all that was left of our culture was the collection of items advertised on today’s eBay Everything Else. What would the future think of us? What would they make of our fascination with, say, ball-bearings, phone unlocking and Hello Kity (sic) mascara?
Philip K Dick had a word for this: Kipple, the collection of useless bits of trash we wallow in. Philip Larkin questioned whether that which survives of us is love 1. Archaeologists would probably argue that Dick rather than Larkin had it better. That which will outlast us all is Kipple.