CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - When Ian Usher’s partner of 12 years left him broken-hearted, he decided the best way to move forward was to auction his whole life, in one job lot.
From Sunday, June 22 for one week, Usher’s life is up for sale on eBay with the package including his $420,000 (US$397,000) three-bedroom house in Perth, Western Australia, a trial for his job at a rug store, his car, motorbike, clothes and even friends.
Usher, 44, told Reuters he had been inundated with emails from all over the world since he put his life up for grabs in March, largely from people supporting him but also from those who were asking for advice on how to change their own lives.
“I was taken aback by how much interest there has been and by the amount of people it has inspired and had an impact on,” said Usher who is hoping to raise up to $500,000 to fund a new life.
“I’ve had emails from people saying they decided it was also time to sell their house and move on after suffering a loss.”
Usher, who is from County Durham in Britain but moved to Perth in 2001, set up a website (www.alife4sale.com) for the sale. Critics have denounced the site as a gimmick to attract advertising revenue, but Usher says it has earned him very little and is definitely real.
The site opens cheerily: “Hi there, my name is Ian Usher, and I have had enough of my life! I don’t want it any more!”
His decision followed the break-up of his five-year marriage and the end of a 12-year relationship with Laura. He has declined to give details of the break-up but Laura is now with someone else. She has not commented publicly on the auction.
“This is nothing to do with revenge or making someone feel guilty. It’s about me doing what is right for me,” he said.
Usher said he got the idea from a friend who had the notion of selling his life through a newspaper advertisement during a bleak period but never did it.
He says he’s not the first person to put his life on the block.
Australian philosophy student Nicael Holt, 24, offered his life to the highest bidder last year to protest mass consumerism.
American John Freyer started All My Life For Sale (www.allmylifeforsale.com) in 2001 and sold everything he owned on eBay, later visiting the people who bought his things.
Adam Burtle, a 20-year-old U.S. university student, offered his soul for sale on eBay in 2001, with bidding hitting $400 before eBay called it off. Burtle admitted he was a bored geek.
Usher said some people think he’s mad but most are positive.
A poll on his website has garnered about 70,000 votes of which a third think the sale is an awesome idea, another third say it is interesting and about 15 percent think it is nonsense.
“My girlfriend left me today. Before I thought your idea is absolutely crazy and dumb. Now I understand you!” Kai from Germany wrote in the guestbook on Usher’s website.
Usher’s friends say they are used to his unusual ideas and happy to befriend and help whoever moves into his shoes.
“Rightly or not, we expect the buyer(s) to come from overseas or over east and likely to know very little of Perth. And we know how it is,” they said in a statement on his site.
The auction closes at noon on June 29, with Usher hoping it will meet the reserve price, which he says is reasonable.
“As long as the auction is a success I will leave Perth with my passport and wallet and I’m off,” said Usher, who didn’t want to give away his plans before he’s sure he can fund them.
Editing by Miral Fahmy