You get a message on your phone that a Royal Enfield 'bullet' is being auctioned for Rs 3,750. Would forward the message? Well, that's what many people in Kerala did. The message was circulated so widely that the cops actually had to step in and issue a clarification.
The message that went viral on instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp was the picture of a notice which said the Armed Reserve Police camp in Ernakulam is about to auction off 33 motorcycles, five of which are Royal Enfield 'bullets', for Rs 3,750 each, reports said. Also on the auction notice were multiple cars and a minivan that the police force wanted to sell off.
However, some things in life are truly too good to be true. Rs 3,750 was not going to be the price of the motorcycles. Police had to clarify that Rs 3,750 was only the deposit one would have to make to even be eligible to take part in the auction. The price at which bidding for the motorcycles would begin, called the base price, would be decided internally.
The cops say they have been receiving many calls asking for details, and were initially surprised by the enthusiasm. Now, they are expecting a large turnout at the auction.
Police auctions are a fairly regular practice across the country. The cops usually auction their old cars and motorbikes, and sometimes even old furniture. It is only rarely that they manage to sell off everything they are trying to auction. Often, vehicles remain unsold because there just aren't enough people who are interested in bidding for them.
The kerfuffle over the unbelievable pricing of the motorcycles underlines the risk of taking forwarded messages seriously. Perhaps it is now a good enough time to appreciate the phrase, 'too good to be true'. If it is too good to be true, it probably is. Most times, anyway.