Alex Casey unearths some truly chilling reflections of modern day Aotearoa.
Looking for endless scrolling but don’t want to put up with the existential dread of TikTok, the never ending discourse of Twitter or the self-esteem hoover of Instagram? Try Trade Me. Honestly. These days, what gets my dopamine pumping is not the Mad Butcher’s breakfast sausage or even Rawdon Christie dressed as a hot dog – it’s an amazingly weird Trade Me find.
Take, for example, this German Shepherd wearing a Friends T-shirt who is maybe at the airport?
Or this man who photobombed the Pink vintage 60s linen top photoshoot while trying to get another beer:
I asked Dan Taipua, another fellow Trademephile who has been documenting his finds for years in various Facebook albums, about why the Trade Me hunt is so appealing: “With the exception of Facebook and Instagram (though it predates both), Trade Me functions as the largest ever repository of New Zealand photography,” he explained. “Amateur though it may be, it has a direct connection to the lives and environments of everyday New Zealanders.”
Mirrors have a particularly special role, both literally and figuratively reflecting the lives of New Zealanders across the country. “Mirrors have a recurrent mythic value,” mused Taipua. “From the divine bronzed mirrors of Japan’s ancient sun worship to Jacques Lacan’s modern theory psychological personhood developed through the Mirror Stage.” Basically, if you ever need to gauge the mood of the nation, head straight to Home and Living > Home decor > Mirrors.
Because it is Friday, and the internet was basically built on listicles about people taking funny mirror photos, please allow me to add my contribution to the canon. These are the most bizarre things I have ever seen reflected in mirrors for sale on Trade Me.
10) Michael… Jackson?
I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him how much is the vase?
9) Dogs in a state of existential crisis
“Ha ha”, you might think, “dog got into the shot”. But look closer.
A breathtaking insight into the fragile nature of existence. A+
8) Couples clearly having an argument
Throughout this longitudinal study, I have gleaned that most mirror listings seem to happen when people are moving house or renovating, based on the proliferation of moving boxes, drop cloths and empty rooms in the background. According to this equally sound research done by a local moving company, moving house results in relationship problems for 75% of people. It makes sense, then, that the occasional mirror shot would capture a moment of pointed-finger tension.
7) People in witness protection
Tfw you are about to go into witness protection but you still have to sell your Beautiful Vintage Queen Anne Style Dresser and Bevelled Mirror.
6) Big bear
Is this what people are talking about when they talk about The Bear? I am going to go ahead and assume… yes.
5) IDGAF fingers
‘Tis rare to encounter a reflection of interest in a humble wing mirror listing, but the passion and aplomb demonstrated by this gregarious seller takes it straight into the top five.
4) Inflatable unicorn
Yeah sure why not.
3) Dead animals
Thanks for the easy trade, nrman_bates2022.
2) Haunted doll and haunted baby
I know this is a terrible way to find out, but if you have looked at this photo you are probably going to die in seven days. I don’t make the rules – she makes the rules.
1) Extremely chaotic Fall Out Boy poster
Fall Out Boy? More like Wall Doubt Ploy – because this is a deceptive, deceptive piece of photographic bamboozlement. At first glance, one might assume the poster is upside down on the wall and the mirror is resting against some sort of velour chaise lounge, based on what one might assume to be scrunched up blinds in the right hand corner.
Wrong! I made the mistake of posting it in our work Slack, seeking confirmation from my peers that the poster was in fact upside down, and let’s just say things started going down swinging.
This ain’t a scene, it’s a goddamn disgrace. The Fall Out Boy poster is stuck to the CEILING so the trader can stare at Wentz, Stump et al as they sleep and presumably engage in other nefarious nocturnal activities. Move over Yanny and sayonara to Laurel, this is the ultimate internet mindfuck.
Thnks fr the mmrs Trade Me, A++++.