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[UPDATE: The scary washing machine was bought by "Bryce" of Manukau City for $5,160. Bryce has 176 positive feedbacks on TradeMe, and zero neutrals or negatives.]
The scary washing machine auction is drawing to a close. But even as a nation laid low by recession, swine flu and a fumbling All Black team finds rare cheer in following “the beast”, TradeMe’s compliance team is vetting bids and threatening legal action against larrikin bidders.
As of 1.30pm on this, the closing day of the auction, TradeMe commercial director Mike O’Donnell told NBR that the scary washing machine has clocked more than 677,000 pages views in the past week. That is to say, more traffic than all bar the very largest New Zealand websites see, for all their pages in total, in any given month.
Even two days into the auction, people as far a field as Russia, Canada and the UK were watching.
Mr O’Donnell said that puts this “viral auction” among the top three of the year, up there with John Key’s cast, and the piece of pita bread that its seller said looked like Jesus Christ.
With the auction entering its final hours, Mr O’Donnell says TradeMe’s compliance team is now vetting and validating every bid.
The lead bid, as NBR writes, is $2060.
This puts the scary washing machine considerably ahead of a valuation solicited by NBR from The Appliance Centre in Balmoral, Auckland, where sales rep Erroll put the value of the 1985 top-loading Fisher & Paykel Kelvinator at “maybe $25. But I don’t know if the boss would take it”.
Certainly, if Erroll’s boss read the scary washing machine’s description on TradeMe, he would be unlikely to accept the appliance.
It’s owner, of Waterview, Auckland, relates that “On [the] heavy duty spin cycle it sort of sounds a bit like the tortured howls of 1000 undead writhing in the sulphury pits of hell mixed with a train with carriages full of scrap iron sliding down the road with no wheels, on fire, into a bell factory.
“Once while washing a load of towells [sic] it got a bit out of balance and it got so out of control for a minute that I swear I actually saw a porthole to another dimension open above it just for a second, there were dinosaurs on the other side.”
The Balmoral Appliance Centre rep was not immediately aware of the impact that multidimensional ability would have on price. Sourcing spare parts would remain a problem, he said.
A legally binding contract
But while the auction is providing surreal comedy, given that it’s a charity auction the TradeMe team is working hard to make sure all bidders understand that the lead bid must be honoured.
“Courts have always found that a winning TradeMe bid is a binding legal contract,” Mr O’Donnell told NBR.
“We will consider legal action if the winning bidder doesn’t pay up. They would be messing the charity around, and that would be a bit crap.”
The scary washing machine auction is due to close at 9pm tonight.
Below: The Beast on TV1's Close Up. Watch the full clip here.
Imagining a tenth dimension: