a cautionary tale

In this day and age, a lot of our goods and services are provided through the Internet.  Sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes you run into someone who is  a little off for lack of a better description.

Sometimes people offer goods for sale via the Internet, only to pull the deal back because someone in their world (like a family member) objects.  I had that happen the other day with a pair of bookcases I had found on Craigslist.

I was seriously bummed because I have been looking for bookcases I truly like for a couple of years.  But I couldn’t object to this person pulling back the goods I had agreed to buy because well, they were family pieces and someone else in the family seems to want to keep them.  And this person told me before I went to pick them up and no money had been exchanged.  I was bummed out, but obviously that wasn’t meant to be, right? No harm, no foul.

I wish all the offers I responded to were so easy even if they did not work out.

Take another couple of things I have been on the hunt for.  This woman was moving out of the area and advertised well, most of her house contents for sale.  I took a look at photos of some of what was being offered for sale and made an offer to purchase a few things, and my offer was accepted. The person doing the selling seemed emotionally/mentally scattered and told me I had to wait a “couple of weeks” to pick the items up that she was swamped.

Ok, no problem.  A couple of weeks went by.  I checked in via phone and was asked to wait a couple of more weeks.  At that time this person did a data dump on me telling me more about her life than I needed to know (or was comfortable knowing).  She was, after all, a complete stranger to me, not even an acquaintance made through a mutual friend.  I figure sometimes in this world people just need people to listen, so I did.  For like 90 minutes.  I don’t even sit on the phone with my closest friends for that long. It was strange, but I figured this person was ok, they just needed an ear so to speak.  At the end of the conversation the seller asked for me to have patience with her for a couple of more weeks, and to feel free to check in with her for updates. I said that was fine.

This new couple of weeks stretched on into more and more weeks.  No firm date arrived to pick up the goods, but I received things like mass e-mails being sent by this person.  Nothing bad, just those chain e-mails that either contain jokes or prayers or a little bit of both? (I find them super annoying and for the most part delete them.)

Yesterday it all came to a head.  I was outside a church waiting to go into a funeral and I received an e-mail to my phone as I was getting ready to shut it off and go in.  It was this person again. Sorry for the inconvenience she said, but someone else wanted half of what I had already agreed to purchase and had been waiting weeks to pick up.  That was kind of my breaking point so I said thanks for letting me know, I think it best if I just walk away from the whole deal and thanked her for her time.

Then the e-mails started.  A bunch of quasi kooky missives from someone with obviously a lot going on emotionally, but some of them were sort of off the charts.  Thankfully no phone calls, and this morning I decided I would just block the e-mail out and file the e-mail correspondence away.  I have no need of that particular brand of drama.  Truthfully I hope this person finds peace or whatever it is they seem to be missing in their life.  It’s a little odd when people go off the rails like that, but also a little sad.

But I learned a valuable lesson.  First to listen to my instincts. I should have walked away and gotten out of the deal when a perfect stranger did a rather intimate data dump of their life on me.  Second, was I should have gotten a date certain once the deal was struck and walked away once the waffling started. Third, if something seems too good to be true, sometimes it is.

I try to be kind to people for the most part.  But this was just a very odd experience.  But all sorts of people touch our lives, right?  Guess you have to take the good with the bad.