The Outsider – March 19

PAR Steve ThorntonPosted on

Early last July I made a somewhat anemic attempt to sell my 2003 Suzuki SV650. I cleaned it, photographed it carefully (in a cemetery, of all places), and placed an ad on Kijiji dot ca. Here’s what I wrote under the heading of 2003 Suzuki SV650S in Excellent Condition:

“A great bike for someone moving up from a smaller bike or just starting out, the Suzuki SV650S is a twin cylinder sportbike that’s comfortable, lots of fun to ride, and not intimidating yet powerful enough for experienced riders to enjoy. It’s in very good condition, with low mileage, good tires and chain, new battery, and no problems. An instant runner and a very good runner. Cheap to insure, easy to ride, comfortable, and great looking sport bike.”

I think I asked $3,000 for it.

To my surprise, after waiting a few days, I looked for it on Kijiji and couldn’t find it. I wrote to the marketplace website and asked about it, and here’s what Kijiji wrote back to me:

“Steve, upon review of your account . . . we’ve made the decision that we are not the appropriate advertise platform for you personally or your business model. We do appreciate your understanding and cooperation. I deeply apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you and we thank you in advance for respecting our decision.

“Thanks for chatting with us. Have a great day!”

I persisted and got nearly the same wording back in subsequent email messages. Appropriate advertise platform? Aside from the dumb grammatical error, this message made no sense and contained very little information. And they were wrong in appreciating my understanding and cooperation.

So I tried something else. I think I tried to sell a pair of socks. And guess what? Again, ad refused. My socks business model, apparently, was not right for Kijiji.

I thought that perhaps my motorcycle photos were a bit too professional, but there are plenty of very good photos (yes, most are crap, but there are lots of good ones) on the site, and they evidently weren’t indicative of a business model that wasn’t right for Kijiji.

I considered the possibility that my phone number, relatively new to me at the time I tried to post the ad, had been used by some miscreant earlier, someone who had ripped off Kijiji somehow. Made them upset. I hope so, anyway.

I did keep the socks, and last fall I rode my Suzuki about an hour’s drive north of Toronto and stashed it in a garage. However, between the time I tried to sell it and the time I put it away, things had happened to it.

I had parked it in an apartment building’s lot, outside, and somehow, a dime-sized dent landed on my gas tank, which was otherwise pristine. And then, even worse, the squirrels got at it. When I rolled it off its parking spot, I noticed toothmarks. Squirrels, or possibly some other small creature, had chewed out about a three-inch section of fairing plastic just under the windscreen. The tooth marks are obvious, as is the damage. Now, I don’t know what to do about that. I suppose I can look (on Kijiji?) for a cheap replacement piece, but I don’t know if I’ve got enough interest in it to do that. The bike is insured until June 2019, so I may just use it to goof around on those lovely Muskoka roads for a while, then garage it and wait for its value to rise, and rise, and rise, as the decades roll by. Fat chance.

I may never find out why Kijiji refused my ad. But the day after I rode the bike to the Orillia, Ontario, area in bitching cold weather, I got a phone call from someone who had seen my ad—on Craigslist. He lives in Toronto and wanted to see the bike, thought it might be a good deal for him. So I too-honestly explained about the squirrel and the dime-sized dimple and took photos of it to send to him. He never called back, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to ride the bike back down to Toronto and freeze my buns off on the chance that he would buy it.

Anyway, I’ve still got my 16-year-old Suzuki, which I bought to use for track days and did ride a few times on some racetracks in Ontario. Had a great time with it, learned that it will go faster around a corner than I had ever asked a motorcycle to do on the street, and didn’t crash it. And as I read about the new bikes in this magazine, it occurs to me that even without all the sophisticated electronics, the +200 horsepower engines, the Öhlins suspension and the Brembo brakes, without any of that stuff, not even ABS, my old Suzuki SV650S is one fine motorcycle. It will take me down a twisty road at a sporty pace, in much greater comfort than a full-on sport bike would, its insurance bill is bearable, tire replacements are cheap, and it’s even a good-looking bike after all these years. I wouldn’t mind selling it, even with a squirrel-induced price reduction, but if I don’t, I’ve got a decent bike for a sport ride in some nice country not far from home. And I won’t miss that 150 extra horsepower or the anti-slide ABS or the 6-axis inertial measurement unit or the Brembos. So maybe I’ve got something to thank Kijiji for.

But I don’t think I will. As it turns out, they were right. Kijiji dot ca is not an appropriate advertise platform for me. But damn, I’d still like to know what I did to scare them off.

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3 thoughts on “The Outsider – March 19

  1. That’s very strange, indeed. I’ve sold dozens of items through Kijiji, and even bought the odd thing, or two. Never had any issues. Maybe the guy who reviewed your ad was a Harley guy.

  2. Maybe he was. Or maybe he was a member of the Squirrel Clan, hoping for another chance at a Suzuki dinner. (I must just try them again, to see what happens.)

  3. I have sold MANY things on Kijiji, UNTIL THIS YEAR! I tried to put up some ads for riding gear, which were a PITA to put on their site, so I tried on “Castanet” which might be local BC – NOT sure – and stuff WENT OUT THE DOOR!
    So ‘Kijiji’ – NFG – ‘Castanet’ – EXCELLENT!

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