Selling Wales by Chris Green
Experimental justice, it is called. I am in a pilot area for the scheme. I have been granted bail but the terms surrounding my curfew are strict. I am effectively under house arrest and I am also tagged. It would be easy to go stir crazy when you are stuck in a place on your own for any length of time. I have enough problems. I do not want any mental disorders to add to them.
To amuse myself while I am waiting for my hearing, I decide to put Wales up for sale on ebay. Yes Wales, the country, the place with a welcome in the hillsides and nine million sheep. No, of course I do not own Wales. It is a prank. Firstly, I set up a fake ebay account with the name Lou Hacker, and using a crack that I have acquired on the dark internet, I give myself a ebay green star with 9598 transactions and 100 per cent positive feedback. It is important as the seller to establish that I have a good reputation. The crack even writes the bogus feedback. It is amazing what you can find in deep hyperspace. I spend some time deciding which category I should put Wales in. There is not a category that obviously corresponds to a piece of real estate of this size. Might it go in Property, Holidays and Travel or perhaps Collectibles? I opt finally to put it under Wholesale and Job Lots in the sub-category, Novelty Items.
I describe it thus.
A country of 8,000 square miles with a population of three million and its own language, Wales has a rich history, a generous scattering of castles and a world class rugby team. Wales even has its own Prince. You wont need to worry about watering the garden here as it rains almost non-stop. Many famous people have come from Wales including Dylan Thomas, Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and Catherine Zeta Jones.
I struggle a bit after this. Is Rob Brydon famous enough, or Ryan Giggs? Probably not to bidders outside the UK. I had not heard of them before I came here. I add some pictures, Cardiff Castle, The Ffestiniog Railway, a male voice choir from Caerphilly, a field of leeks, a flock of Welsh mountain sheep and the waterfall at Devil’s Bridge. To get the bidding started at a decent level, I put on a reserve of £50,000 and as you do for large items, mark it Collection Only.
Selling a country on ebay is not an original idea. In October 2008, Iceland was put up for sale. Bidders’ questions included: ‘Do you offer volcano/ earthquake insurance? And ‘Will you accept cash on delivery as a form of payment?’ There were twenty six bidders and eighty four bids. The auction reached £10 million before the auction was stopped. My aim was to get Wales higher than this. Wales must be worth more than Iceland. I toy with the idea of putting a Buy It Now for £11 million, but where was the fun in this. I want bidders. I settle for a 24 hour auction.
The bidding starts and very quickly the price rises to £100,000. There is then a bit of a lull but suddenly the high bid is £1 million. bryn5678 (*4299) asks if he would be able to get a mortgage on it. Perhaps a two hundred year one. I do not reply. windsor1 (0), a newby, asks if it came with planning permission for a grouse moor and deer park. I do not reply. By the time I have finished my daily check in with the security company in charge of my custody, the bidding has reached £5 million following a flurry of bids from rothchild1 (*45094) and murdoch9 (*55007). For a moment I wonder if they might be taking the auction seriously. I log in on my iphone as Quentin Thief and start bidding against them. I imagine it is only a question of time before ebay admin close the auction so the quicker I can get it up to £11 million and claim the record the better.
It ends all too quickly. After a bid from hmrc2015 for £9 million, all record of the auction disappears. I take a look in Lou Hacker’s emails for an explanatory message but there is none. I suppose I will need to find something else to occupy me while I wait for my court date. Its a shame really that my movements should be under such close scrutiny. All I did was take a photo of the secret communications base to send to my sister in Russia.
© Chris Green 2014: All rights reserved