For a moment, Metlink, the public transport arm of Greater Wellington Regional Council, thought all its dreams had come true when it received an opening bid of $29,990 for an old train.
But it turned out the Trade Me bid was from an enthusiastic 4-year-old whose mother was alarmed at the prospect of owning a retired full-sized two-carriage unit.
"I'm really sorry," an email to Trade Me from smiley134 said. "My 4-year-old was playing and placed a bid, I don't actually want to buy the train, can my bid please be removed?"
Metlink customer services manager Zelda MacKenzie replied: "For a moment I thought I was falling in love with you, smiley! But then you blew it all."
Trade Me allowed the bid for the English Electric train to be removed yesterday after warning smiley134 to start looking for loose change down the back of the sofa.
MacKenzie said: "I find it fascinating, because when you bid on something you have to click two or three times to confirm. The child has to be exceptionally bright if they can read all that."
Trade Me spokesman Paul Ford said it was the seller's prerogative to remove the bid but "it is annoying to have bids removed, and particularly annoying for the seller".
The train, which operated in the Wellington area in the late 1940s, was taken out of service this week and put up for sale.
There have been no other bids but there are nearly 150 comments, ranging from genuine questions about how to transport it, to quips about trading it for a toy set.
"Is the Fat Controller included? The train might need to be kept in line," said nzfatmatt.
The auction closes on Monday.
- © Fairfax NZ News