EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 88 - February 02, 2003 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 7

A Guide to Speaking U.K. eBay

By Karen Thompson

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Anyone who has ever conducted trade between the UK and our international cousins could reel off more differences than we care to remember. The most noticeable one that takes into account both our cultural and language differences is the mystical car boot sale. For starters, our U.S. cousins don't have car boots, their cars have "trunks". So the language barrier stops us at the first fence!

For those of you who have been wondering why us Brits would want to sell car boots, and also why there is such a market for them, I will give you the basics. As a nation, once a year we fill our cars to the point of explosion with every unwanted item we can possibly lay our hands on. Then, at some ungodly hour, we drive in the pitch dark, usually to an open field, and park our cars in lines with hundreds of other hopeful householders. We then tip our worldly goods onto pasting tables, rugs, old carpets (usually for sale), and large sheets of plastic, awaiting hordes of bargain hunters to part with hard-earned cash for our treasures.

If, like many, you get bitten by the car-boot bug, you suddenly find yourself clearing out your domicile on a weekly basis. Suddenly every item in your home, and that of friends and family, becomes a potential for profit! Do the kids REALLY need those shoes, does granny REALLY need that hearing aid, does hubby REALLY need his fishing gear (we could spend more time together if he stopped).

The upshot is that, not only can you sell anything at a car boot sale, but you can also BUY anything. So for those of you who are considering a visit from the States, don't forget to add a car boot sale to your agenda while you are taking in Windsor Castle and the Tower of London. You get get your vital "bargain fix" while you are over here.

But this is not the only difference that makes the distance across the Atlantic seem wider. What about postal systems? You have Priority, we have 1st Class. And currencies: You have dimes, cents and dollars, and we have pence and pounds. What about weight measurements? You have pounds and ounces and we have metric (okay, so we haven't quite mastered that one yet!).

And addresses?

Copeland Plaza Suite 798433 # 546 NW east 54th Street Wellbeck 900000000 MN

Where oh where do the commas go?? There must be really long roads in the U.S. Many a time, I've just put different bits on different lines to stop the address circumnavigating the package.

Finally, why don't we have Precious Moments Pottery and picture matting?

And what exactly is a Hershey Bar?

About the author:

Karen Thompson has been a full time eBay seller for over 2 years specializing in bringing art to the wider marketplace. Karen's sheep "Molly" is her faithful companion. She says her lifestyle is "rustic" rather than "rural", and she prefers to be called "colourful" rather than "eccentric". Karen takes her work very seriously and herself not at all! Her auction User ID is karen @

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