When I got a mail from Blogadda saying I’d been shortlisted to buy products worth Rs.5000 from Quikr.com for FREE and blog about my experience, I didn’t jump for joy. Not right away.
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”, you might ask. To which I will say, “YES, I get how BRILLIANT it could be.” (which is why I signed up for the activity in the first place) but I was a little skeptical about what I’d find from what promised to be an “Online Classifieds website”. The word “Classified”, to me, always evoked images of small, cramped text and products you wouldn’t need ever.
Phase 0: Getting acquainted with Quikr
Anyway, I logged on to quikr.com, where I was asked to select my location. I was then redirected to http://chennai.quikr.com/. I signed up for an account of my own, which was a fairly easy and speedy procedure. This was even with mobile phone verification as an option in the registration procedure. I proceeded to look at the Categories I could shop under:
My initial impressions of the layout and items listed on Quikr across all categories:
- While the layout isn’t going to win any awards, the text was extremely readable and it didn’t hurt my eyes. The layout succeeded in how utilitarian it was and satisfied the user’s basic navigational needs.
- The ads varied on how genuine/professional/amateur/appealing/lackluster they came across as. It was pretty much like a virtual fair, where you, as a buyer, could wade through what you didn’t like to zero in on the ads that interested you, within and across products.
- THERE WAS SO MUCH VARIETY IN ADS. I honestly didn’t expect this. From guitar classes to a used guitar to a bike to a mosquito net, home cooked lunches and even homemade chocolates, there were ads for everything you could possibly need!!
- All the items weren’t necessarily used. There were a lot of used products for sale, yes, but new products, either sold by individual sellers who don’t have use for it or dealers were available.
Phase 1: Replying to ads for products on my want (and need) list
I think it was after the initial round of browsing that I allowed myself to get a little excited! I then proceeded to consult my wishlist, which I call THE WANT LIST:
Since I didn’t want to buy a straightener just yet (I was sure I’d waste half my day straightening my hair, as I can get pretty obsessed with it) and I knew I wanted to buy the Jigsaw puzzle elsewhere, the beanbag was the obvious place to start. I proceeded to Home and Office Furniture where I found Bean bag under type of furniture. I felt hopeful and restless as I sifted through the various beanbag ads:
Since it was close to midnight, I couldn’t start calling all the sellers. Instead I left some of them messages (by Replying to the ad), asking if it was still available for sale. In some cases, the picture itself turned me off as I wanted a relatively new bean bag that wasn’t already old and worn looking.
A couple of hours later, when I was deleting a few movies to make space for downloading a new movie, I remembered what my friend had told me the previous day:
“You buy all of these things online… why don’t you buy yourself an external hard drive? You won’t have to keep deleting stuff and your laptop will FINALLY be able to breathe.”
And then it hit me, Why COULDN’T I get myself an external hard drive? I didn’t WANT it but I definitely NEEDED it. Looking for external hard drives under Computer Peripherals (which fell into the Electronics and Appliances category) was a little trickier. Some of the drives were too pricey, while others were at such a reasonable price I was sure they would’ve been sold by now. Again, I tried looking for hard drives that were either new or hadn’t been used much. I tried searching for external hard disk ads that were listed nearer to where I lived so that it would be less of a hassle to pick up the product, if at all I got lucky enough to buy one.
I also decided that if this didn’t work out, I’d splurge on books. There were a number of ads for books: ranging from a Georgette Heyer stash to a sale for imported used books, in the Books – Magazines Category under Home & Lifestyle. At the end of that day, my Quikr Message box looked like this:
Phase 2: When My Replies get Replies & I Zero In
I woke up to find my Yahoo Mail inbox filled with mails bearing subjects like “Beanbag” and “available” or “sorry”. It took me a while to realise it was Quikr-related! The sellers had actually responded, and so promptly!
One problem I had was that since I didn’t know the name of any of the sellers, there was no way of knowing which ad the respondent of any mail was referring to when he/she replied saying the product advertised was available or not available. Sometimes, if the seller had given his/her contact number again, I could match the contact number with the number listed on the ad. Otherwise, I’d have to call the few ads I’d saved and ask, again, if it was available or not.
I also still felt like it was too good to be true… like the chance to acquire these beautiful, beautiful goodies would slip away any moment. I started calling the numbers they’d listed under their contact information. A Toshiba 1TB external I’d seen available for Rs.3000/- had already been sold and so was a beanbag for Rs.250/-. But a lot of other sellers responded affirmatively and said I could pick it up from their residence or office the very next day.
A combination of how value-for-money the price was, the vibe I got from the seller, how far I’d have to travel to pick up the product and how close to new it was made me narrow down my choices to:
And because I’m a bookworm and it’s in my blood:
Phase 3: Action!
When I refer to the picking up of all the products I’d zeroed in on from the respective individual sellers’/dealers as a quest, I am only exaggerating a little bit. It was the day after Diwali, and there was a slight drizzle. I was scared there would be a downpour any second, but I wanted to make the pick ups as soon as I could.
As my father and brother had some work on the way, we were all in one car, and had around five stops to make in total.
Our first destination was the office of the individual seller of a Seagate 1 TB external hard disk. We found the place with no difficulty and the seller had the external hard disk ready. He’d also printed out the Invoice. He explained that he’d purchased the hard disk to shift a few files from one office to the other, and beyond that, he had no use for it.
We checked if the hard disk worked on my laptop, went through the warranty PDF and after that, we decided that we’d get it. Though the seller had listed the item at Rs.3700/- on Quikr, he was willing to sell it for Rs.3500, which was pretty great! After the transaction was made, we thanked him and left. I was amazed at how quick and easy it was!
For the bean bag, we had to pick it up from the residence of the seller, which was almost 40 minutes away. Still, after a couple of wrong turns and then finally finding her residence, she promptly showed us the bean bag. It was in great condition. The seller maintained that the price was nonnegotiable as it was barely used and only four months old (she was only selling it because she was leaving the country). We left with an XXXL beanbag in the backseat of our car!
The final Quikr-related stop was at ISHTAM, a used-book exhibition. The books were imports from US, UK and Australia and were at great prices (ranging from Rs.50 to Rs.150 per book). I had to stop myself from squealing when I saw books by Nick Hornby (!!!), Audrey Niffenegger, Alice Sebold, Alexander McCall Smith and other amazing authors (even Sophie Kinsella, who’s such a guilty pleasure) for Rs.100! Only BECAUSE I didn’t want to splurge (I had just bought an external drive and a beanbag), I left with four books (two for Rs.50 and two at Rs.100) and a dopey smile pasted on my face!
On our way back, it started raining buckets. But I was so so happy, and my brother started getting equally excited! We just couldn’t wait to get back and unload everything!
Phase 4: The Happily Ever After!
The beanbag finally got struck off my Want List!
I also have four really fun books that I can read while lounging around on my beanbag! 🙂
And thanks to the 1 TB external hard drive, my desktop computer and laptop can finally breathe.
I can safely say that my experience with Quikr.com was a positive one. It was definitely quicker than what I imagined it would be. Contacting individual sellers/dealers and picking up the item can be done as easily as within a day or two, whether you arrange for the product to be delivered to you or if you personally pick it up. It takes even lesser time than when you order it online, something I didn’t expect!
The sheer variety of products also surprised me, though I would approach ads with regard to tuition classes and job listings with even more caution and discernment. Quikr definitely matches the buyer with their ideal seller, as you have the option of settling for the price and quality that you are most comfortable with. It’s like a mela of new and used stores minus the crowd and chaos! I come away from this experience a little less skeptical about the Quikr experience, and even open to putting up an ad or two, if the need ever arises!