As Facebook continues to seep into every single action and process in my daily life, it only made logical sense to start shopping there when I wanted to buy a MacBook Pro. I think this was a 50% subconscious decision as the newly designed marketplace icon is now appearing slam dunk in the middle of my navigation bar, and a 50% I am poor/I am a slave to Apple/I cannot live without a Mac decision. After a 24-hour rat race around Kings Cross, 4 Pret visits in search of a plug/wifi, and 4 attempted bank transactions, I can now say I am a proud Mac owner – but I think it is essential I share my mistakes so no one else, ever, does makes them again.
For some oversight – Facebook marketplace is cheaper and easier (for both consumers and sellers) compared to Amazon and Ebay. As a Facebook seller, you avoid the transaction fee’s that come with the larger sharing platforms. Amazon only allows professional sellers to use the service (so if you’re a student flogging a kettle your screwed), and Ebay charges a listing fee of 10% of each sale. If you are looking for a free sell on an established platform (aka not Craigslist), Facebook is a win win. As a consumer once you enter the marketplace your location service is enabled, automatically showing you the nearest sellers. You can see on GPRS tracking where your seller is in relation to you, as well as their profile, and how many other Facebookers have looked at this item. If you want to make an offer, you simply Facebook message the seller – seems easy enough right? The Mac I wanted was £300 more on Amazon, so I figured I would fire this Facebook Mac Man a message and get the ball rolling.
Once you have chatted a bit to your seller, sent some pics, stalked them on Facebook/LinkdIn, you agree to meet and sell. There is no formal process past the point of messaging your seller, and there is where all of my tragic mistakes were made…
- DO NOT MEET A STRANGER AT KINGS CROSS
Stupidly I asked Mac Man to meet me at Pret in Kings Cross. Kings Cross, which is often mistaken for St Pancreas International, which has 9 exits, has 5 Prets within the area. My Mac Man said he was at Pret wearing all black, I said I was in Pret wearing all black. It took us 35 minutes to find the right Pret, in the right station, and recognise each other. I would advise in the future meeting somewhere with clearer landmarks, wearing recognisable clothing, and not during rush hour after work.
- KNOW YOUR BENCHMARKS
Once meeting Mac Man and getting out the Mac, I wanted verification that it was a working product – but sadly I had not researched the benchmark standards. There I was trying to get on the Pret wifi, to google, “how do you test if a Mac is in good condition.” Mac Man must of thought I was a joke. Once then getting on the internet and downloading Geek Benchmark 4 and seeing that my score was 17,801, I still didn’t actually know what that meant. I wanted to seem professional so I raised my eyebrows and pursed my lips a few times when opening preferences, nodded at the battery bar, and then clicked on About this Mac, and said “oohh good good.”
- AGREE BEFORE ON HOW TO PAY, AND DON’T DO IT UNDERGROUND
After the battery bar confirmation (the confirmation being that there was a battery icon), I knew I wanted the Mac. Hearing of Mac Man’s life story whilst wondering around the various Prets, I felt I trusted him and understood why he was selling it. I confirmed his legitimacy when we exchanged what we had for lunch and who our favourite love island character was, so I said “cool I will pay you for it.” We strolled to the Northern line gate side by side, and at this point I felt accomplished [in my head playing I’m every woman on full blast]. Little did I know, sending a stranger over £500 underground is 100% impossible.
As we came came up to the gate, I nonchalantly tried to pay on PayPal, and was instantly declined. This was because my bank was trying to call me to confirm the transaction, but I was underground and had no signal. In a moment of embarrassment I backed away from the gate, and I said “no worries I will get out cash”. I ran to the cash point. As I was frantically pressing the keys like my life depended on it, I realised my daily limit was £250. At this point I Mac Man was concerned it was me who was the fraud, and in an attempt to seem techy and cool, I whipped out my Monzo card. I joked with him about how good the app is (when really fire alarms were going off in my head) and tried again to send the money whilst walking back to the tube. Being underground in an increasingly hot and potentially the busiest commuting spot in London, the Monzo bank text verification was not coming through. Mac Man was really questioning me now, but suddenly I remembered that I had my RBS bank reader with me – Hallelujah! I emptied my entire bag on the floor to get out this stupid year 2000 card reader, picked it up like a Willy Wonka golden ticket and tried to ram my card in. I then realised there was a stick of gum stuck down the bit where the card goes in. In 100% panic mode – sweat on the brow – I ran to Starbucks to try and get a screw driver to get out the gum. Whilst asking for a screwdriver, a homeless man tried to steal the laptop. At this point I had been with Mac Man for over two hours, I had no money and almost no laptop. Mac Man had to step in.
We decided to call it quits for the exchange today, perhaps we would try again tomorrow. I walked off feeling like a combination of I had failed my driving test and been stood up on a date. I took the charger as a deposit and he took the Mac off Facebook. Anyone doing marketplace sales, agree beforehand on a mutual selling platform.
- MONZO SHOULD BE BUILT INTO MARKETPLACE
For some stupid reason, as if I had forgotten the horrors of the Mac Meet Attempt 1, we decided to meet again at 8.30AM at KINGS CROSS. I had at this point verified the money to be transferred to my Monzo card, added Mac Man as a contact and sent this money to him as a friend on Monzo, underground. Without Monzo, I do not know how I would of possibly paid him without getting out £250 chunks over several days and continually getting lost in Kings Cross. I failed my driving test 3 times, I couldn’t fail Facebook Market place another 2. If you haven’t got a Monzo card, get on it.
I now own Mac Mans Macbook, at a ridiculously good price, with no transaction fees and no legal confirmation. It was easy at first but horrendously stressful when a homeless man almost stole it from me and I had 0 ways to pay for it. I feel if you have a lot of trust in human nature, you enjoy a gamble, and you are good at negotiation then go for it – but expect 0 confirmation of your actions. If you are sensible and like legal binding contracts, this is NOT for you. Luckily me and Mac man are now friends having spent 3 hours in Kings Cross together, so there is still the possibility to make friends not sales.