Show me the money!!
I may have met the most awkward/angry person in the world today and I loved every second of it. Today marked the last of many recent Craigslist transactions that had me rolling in the money-money, Tim King style. Unfortunately, unlike my friend to the sunny-sunny south, this wasn’t income earned but rather sales of used gear. As much fun as it is to hold so much cash in my hands or “make it rain” (continue reading) I really shouldn’t be gloating or celebrating. This money doesn’t really belong to me as much as it does to my credit card company as it will be deposited in my bank to cover the replacement equipment I have already purchased. It feels a little like celebrating your your favorite teams playoff win on REPLAY, when you know they lost the series the next day. But I guess I should just live in the moment, right? Anyways this post isn’t about me selling off the final piece of Canon gear I owned, as I make the switch to Nikon, but instead a celebration of the weird people you only meet from Craigslist.
In the past few months I have slowly been selling off gear and other random unwanted things in attempt to cleanse and remove useless clutter from my life. The majority of these sales have been through ebay and Craigslist. I prefer Craigslist for two reasons; you save on the outrageous fees that are associated with ebay and paypal. But more importantly, I am a social person so I enjoy the face to face interactions that accompany a Craigslist transaction. Maybe I am weird, but I enjoy seeing what applefreak09 and nuffsaid182 look like. Often these people are quite normal and friendly individuals, but sometimes, like today, you hit the jackpot.
While I don’t want to toot my own horn, I feel like I have become pretty proficient at the Craigslist game over the past few months. I have sold for as little as $100 and for as high as several thousand. These transactions have brought me to corner coffee shops, restaurants, food courts and even Safeway parking lots. The transactions take place in public settings and are organized based on where I am doing errands during the day. Today I became the “Super seller” of Craigslist as I had a double header–a morning and afternoon transaction!
The morning transaction couldn’t have been more pleasant. I met a very lovely lady, we chatted about her upcoming travels to Vietnam, shared twitter names and exchanged the money for lens. We both walked away happy.
My afternoon craigslist date had a completely different spin. I had a feeling the exchange might be somewhat awkward based on the few phone calls between the seller and I leading up to the exchange (If you are selling I find it key to talk on the phone to the buyer, as it has reduced the number of flakers). In this case, I couldn’t be more excited to meet the man on the other side of the curtain.
One of my favorite things about Craigslist is trying to guess what the other person will look like based on their phone voice. Are they tall, short, fat, old, bald? This guy, lets just call him Bob, was always friendly on the phone, but seemed a little bit different. I was having a really hard time imagining what Bob was going to look like and was really excited to put a face to the voice? As I walked towards the meeting spot–a local coffee shop– I instantly spotted the buyers (Bob and his wife) and introduced myself. Bob looked like a chemistry teacher who had gotten too close to the bunsen burners a few too many times. But he was actually quite nice and a little less awkward in public than on the phone.
In all honesty Bob was a bit of a let down. I think my expectations for this final transaction were too high and I had built Bob up to be far more awkward and bizarre than was humanly possible. When he turned out ok, I was disappointed. Fortunately for me, he brought along his very powerful wife. She was not only acting as his body guard, but also clearly wore the pants in the relationship. It was quickly evident that he was horrified of her. I soon realized why; this woman either hated life or the hated the sun, or maybe both. It was a beautiful day so I suggested that we do the transaction on a bench just outside the coffee shop. This idea absolutely infuriated her: ”You are going to count the money out here?” Her facial expressions and tone of voice don’t translate well in writing, but just imagine I had asked her to cut off her right leg and beat a helpless kitten with it (she was the ultimate cat lady, so maybe you can start to imagine her horror?)
I held in my laughter and expressed my lack of concern based on the fact that we were literally two feet away from the door of the coffee shop. She scuffed and turned around angrily and began muttering under her voice- which continued throughout the entire transaction. Bob apologetically inspected the merchandise and quickly found it satisfactory. He asked his body guard of a wife for the money and she huffed and puffed again as she passed it over. I could tell that this exchange was something that was going to eat at her for days, if not years. It was very obvious that in their relationship she had trained Bob to more or less be the runt of the litter, and she expected that everything she said be carried out to a T. I could just imagine her grilling her husband years down the road: ”Bob, how could you let him make the transaction take place outside?”
After confirming all the money was all there, I thanked Bob and said my goodbyes. ”Thanks Bob have a nice day. Have a nice day Janet!” She turned to me and snapped “I hope you DON’T have a nice day” and shuffled off to her car. Again I could do nothing but hold in my building laughter, but soon this really uneasy feeling started to run through my body. I suddenly felt so sorry for Bob. He had to deal with this woman all the time. If she were so unpleasant for such meaningless things as a 2 minute interaction, imagine what he must endure when they run out of milk, or the microwave goes down.
I safely returned home and gathered the cash from the most recent transactions together before heading to the bank. I have never had so much cash in my hands and was determined to “make it rain.” Unfortunately, I don’t like strip clubs or hookers or just senselessly throwing money away. So I did the next best thing… I turned on youtube videos and I re-enacted my own rock star or drug dealer lifestyle as I ostentatiously threw the money up in the air and onto my bed. This quickly grew old as one of the bills floated through the air and landed precariously on the edge of the heating vent. Making it rain=great fun for rappers, scary for the me. This gregarious celebration also felt a little like celebrating a recently purchased blood diamond. Yes the money was beautiful and enjoyable, but at what sacrifice. Did my newly acquired asset (cash) result in another unnecessary death. I certainly hope not, I hope you are out there Bob and your wife hasn’t killed you yet for failing to make us go into the coffee shop.