David Mor­ley

“The net has spawned Su­per Trolls: Key­board Warriors who are a more un­pleas­ant hy­brid than the first Prius”

Motor (Australia) - - SKID MARKS -

THE IN­TER­NET has cre­ated sev­eral new species over the years. There’s the Airbnb-er, which couldn’t ex­ist be­fore the world­wide web be­cause it had nowhere to roost. And then you have your dull-aseach-other co-dwellers who never would have got to­gether were it not for, ahem, dat­ing sites. (And, ap­par­ently, DTF does NOT stand for De­ferred Till Fri­day.) Dick­heads with an opin­ion have al­ways been a re­al­ity, but the in­ter­net has spawned a race of Su­per Trolls and bred them with the Key­board War­rior for a more un­pleas­ant hy­brid than the first Prius.

Most of those species I can avoid (largely by never go­ing near a dat­ing site or on­line fo­rum), but there’s one new species that I can’t seem to shake. I speak of the On­line Seller; a crit­ter who comes in all shapes and sizes, but one who seems pos­sessed of a com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor of giv­ing me the ir­rits.

It’s not that I’m a ra­bid con­sumer. My ver­sion of shop­ping best-prac­tice in­volves work­ing out what I want, dis­cov­er­ing where it’s sold and then vis­it­ing that lo­ca­tion for a sim­ple, quick hostage ex­change. I give them the money. They give me the stuff. No­body gets hurt. But on­line shop­ping? Vastly more likely to end in tears, I’m afraid.

Now, you would think an on­line store or hub would have a vague idea of how to con­duct it­self within the con­fines of Aus­tralian con­sumer law. Ap­par­ently not. My most re­cent deal­ings with a take­away food site in­volved them charg­ing my card even though the ac­tual pizza shop was shut that day. Wouldn’t have hap­pened in the old days, be­cause there’d have been no­body at the shop to take my take­away or­der.

So, I emailed the web­site and po­litely – no, re­ally – gave them 12 hours to have the money back in my ac­count or I’d be hav­ing a chat with the ACCC. Took them six hours. Mind you, I still didn’t get my pizza. Why didn’t I just ring the pizza joint di­rect? Be­cause, thanks to its af­fil­i­a­tion with this par­tic­u­lar web-hub, it doesn’t ad­ver­tise its phone num­ber. You ei­ther deal through the hub or, short of vis­it­ing in per­son and hav­ing to pick your way through the sleep­ing drug­gies in the door­way, not at all.

The other type of on­line seller is the home-tat­tooed flanno-hanger sell­ing his car through a web­site. Here are a few tips for this, kids. Don’t tell porkies in the ad. If the thing is a bald-tyred, de­fected shit­ter (which is why you’re sell­ing it) don’t ad­ver­tise it as an ace­con­di­tion, low-kay, 10-outa-10, minter. ’Cos it won’t take me more than a few sec­onds in your drive­way to rum­ble you. And then I’ll be sad and un­happy that I’ve driven for an hour to look at it and you.

Seems to me that ‘on­line sale’ equals a li­cence to bull­shit. But a dunger car is, if you know what you’re look­ing for, hard to cover up. Bo­gans, for in­stance rarely, if ever, man­age to scrape off all the dead Yoko­hama from the rear wheel arches. Bundy Rum stick­ers al­ways seem to leave a shadow after they’ve been re­moved and a welded-up diff does not equal ‘grandpa spec’.

“Tell you what”, said the last dick­head try­ing to sell me a (barely) rolling trib­ute to skipped main­te­nance, “I’ll throw in a cou­ple of DVD play­ers if you give me cash”.

“Nah, mate, I reckon they’d fall through the rust holes in the floor be­fore I got home.”

“Ah well,” he says, “never hurts to ask”.

Turns out he was wrong. M

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