I don’t normally do “sponsored” posts. I have no interest in writing about forex exchange companies, grocery coupons, or casinos in Brunei, and these are the kinds of sponsored post offers that I normally receive.

But a couple of weeks ago Gumtree.co.za contacted me and asked if we could work together. For those of you who don’t know, Gumtree is an online classifieds website similar to Craig’s List. I had never heard of Gumtree before I moved to Joburg. But it’s huge here — as huge as Craig’s List is in America. Gumtree is also big in the U.K. (where it was founded) and a few other countries.

Before typing my normal polite decline, I stopped and thought. I had never used Gumtree before and it so happened that I had something I needed to sell. Why not try to sell it on Gumtree and then review the experience? Hence, this blog post.

I needed to sell, of all things, a set of tires (tyres, to the South Africans and Brits among you). Five enormous, steel-belted radials that belonged to my late boyfriend Jon. I had been putting off selling them forever for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I have zero interest in tires and I can’t imagine why anyone else would.

But my landlord was dropping polite hints that the tires needed to go. (They were stored on his side of the property.) I half-heartedly asked a few friends and they weren’t interested. I asked at the tire shop down the road and received a blank stare.

“Well who buys tires, then?” I asked the lady at the tire shop.

“Put them on Gumtree,” she said.

Two days later, I received this offer from Gumtree. I had run out of excuses.

Lucky hauled the tires out of storage and rinsed off the cobwebs. I dutifully photographed the tires — not the most exciting visual subject matter. But at least I knew that I would have the best-photographed tires on Gumtree.

Tires tall

Five beautiful ti(y)res.

Tires closeup

Closeup showing the tread.

I then signed up for Gumtree (it took about 30 seconds), and posted my ad, which I modeled more or less after the other tire ads on the site (there were many). I clicked “post ad” and waited.

Gumtree screenshot

I didn’t initially intend to include the Melville Cat in my ad. But he seemed dead-set on photobombing my shot and I saw no reason to dissuade him.

I received two responses within an hour. At that point I became a little nervous. This is the only downside to Gumtree: You have to correspond with complete strangers and (in this case at least) allow them into your home, running the risk of being robbed or scammed.

The first email I received came with one of those scary red warnings saying, “This message may not have been sent from xxxx@gmail.com.” I carefully copy-pasted the address into a new window and emailed the guy back. Before I even finished corresponding with that guy, I got a message from a man named John, whose email didn’t come with a warning message. I immediately sensed that John was legit. I arranged for him to come see the tires the next day. I made sure Lucky would be there so I wouldn’t be alone, and John promised to bring his family along as proof that he wasn’t an axe-murderer.

John came, looked at the tires, and we negotiated a final price.

Within 36 hours, my tires were sold and everyone was happy.

John and tires

John’s new tires. There was some controversy over the fact that one of the five tires had to travel in the back seat with John’s two kids. All was well in the end though.


My new cash.

Done. Gumtree is awesome.

As stated above, Gumtree sponsored this post. But all of the views and experiences described here are 100% truthful and my own.

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