Shortly after my brief affair with graduate school I landed myself a well paying job. I was young. I was single. I was making a lot more money than I had ever made in my life.
I bought a large, bulky 35" Sanyo television. This was long before flat screens and wide screens and easily lift able televisions. The thing was massive, weighed a ton and because of the shape of the tube it was incredibly difficult to hold onto.
But it showed a wonderful picture and it was nice and big to look at. I loved it.
Well I loved it, until I had to move anyways, and then I cursed at its weighty bulkiness. My poor father in law has helped me move it half a dozen times and every time he threatens to drop it accidentally-on-purpose.
With the China move I decided to sell it. I was tired of moving it, we had no room to store it and I figured with the money we'd make over seas I could afford a new one when we got back.
I posted it on local boards and a few national internet places as well. I put the price low and promised I could go lower for the right story. As I am forgetful and lazy and a procrastinator, none of this happened until about three weeks before we had to move.
Desperate is the word.
About a week into it I got an odd phone call. The call was from a third party operator who told me he had someone on the other line who was making the call, but who was on a keyboard. This person would type something, and then the operator would read it to me. I then responded and the operator typed out what I said.
At the end of each statement I made I had to say "go ahead" as the signal that I was done talking.
Sounds easy enough, and it was, except I kept forgetting to say "go ahead" and there would be these long pauses interrupted by the operator asking if I was done. Or sometimes there would be a long pause where the other guy had expected more out of me and he would ask me if I was still there.
At the time I thought he was just using some internet dealie instead of calling, perhaps to save on long distance, but now I guess he was hearing impaired.
Still we agreed on a price, and we arranged to set up details via the e-mail.
I sent the pricing and instructions on how to deliver. And waited.
Just as I was getting perturbed, he e-mailed back. It sounded like all things were go, but to be honest the e-mail was so full of spelling and grammar mistakes, I wasn't sure what he was really saying. There was something about him needing to locate his shipper and something else about Western Union. To be honest again, it started to sound like a scam, but again it was so horribly written I couldn't be sure. I wound up replying that it was all ok and to simply let me know when he was ready.
More days passed and I sent another e-mail explaining I was leaving very soon and needed to get the sale completed by the next week. He e-mailed me saying he was sorry and that I would have the payment early the upcoming week. Again all the e-mails were poorly written and didn't make a lot of sense, but again I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
I got a few other responses but ignored them as I hoped this original one would come through.
About Wednesday I gave up and offered it to the church. After much discussion they arranged to have some stout fellas pick it up. We hobbled it down the stairway, nearly dropping it twice and I was finally done with the TV.
On Saturday, after we were already in Indiana I received an e-mail from dude asking me if I had received his payment. Suddenly his words were very clear and the deal he had tried to make with me was that I would cash his check and contact his shippers. For some reason he said he was unable to get his payment to the shippers in time so he sent "extra" to me. I was supposed to then go to Western Union and make the shippers payment via that service out of my own money - the payback was already in his check to me you see.
Scam city. I'm certain his check would have later bounced and he'd be walking away with my good payment to the shippers. I even suspect he would be the shipper and the whole weird phone call is so that I would not recognize his voice when he arrived for pick up.
I decided to not respond to his e-mail. The only things I could think of to say were rude, rude and socially unacceptable. As I had already given him information about me I didn't want to piss him off and make him do something harsh or illegal to my personage. There was also a small nagging part of me that thought maybe he was hard off and on the up and up and I didn't want to crush the poor guy.
He e-mailed me again the next day and I decided to write a polite letter explaining he was too late, that I had given it away, and that I would never pay his shippers as it sounded like a scam. Then I said don't contact me again.
He hasn't, but I still feel mad and dirty.