Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Adventures in Craigslisting, Clarification

I suppose I should make it clear that these communications with Craigslisters that I'm sharing with you are months old, from May, before I came to Chicago. If anyone was worried that I still haven't sold my car, it and any other items I have mentioned are long sold or gotten rid of. Sorry for the confusion.

Monday, July 28, 2008

First Date in a While

A couple days ago I went on the first date I've been on in three years, the previous being the time I took The Magster Magdus to KFC back in April of 2005 (and, yes, I believe we went Dutch). This one was a little more classy.

The nice young lady who had the misfortune of going on a date with me is one of several people with whom I've been irregularly communicating on a dating website. For the most part, I've just been engaging in small talk with the people that I meet on the site -- the usual "What do you do?" and "What are your interests?" type stuff. Several of the ladies seem to be really interesting people, but I've had no real expectation that any of this would result in much.

At the suggestion of Jaysix, though, I asked one young lady out to the movies. However, in true McBastard fashion I didn't ask one of the ladies that I most favored. Instead, I asked someone I really wasn't interested in. Her profile on the site is kind of bland, and I couldn't tell much from her photos. We'd chatted a couple times, but she didn't seem interesting or interested.

Why would I ask out someone I'm not interested in? The thinking was that if I am scared of being rejected (which is usually the case) and intimidated by someone I'm attracted to (which is always the case), I should ask out someone I'm not attracted to. If I'm rejected, no big deal. Like Nothing ventured, nothing gained taken literally. If I'm not rejected, well, then I've at least got a date. This, in theory, should boost my confidence, preparing me for future encounters with ladies I am attracted to. In single-guy-dom this maneuver is known as "slump-busting." Dumb ideas like this are also one of the many reasons single guys are single for so long.

Surprisingly, the lady accepted my invitation. I prepared myself to go downtown to catch a Dark Knight matinee with some chick, make some small talk, and then head back home. Imagine my astonishment when I showed up to the theater and there was an attractive young lady waiting in the lobby for me. As we waited in line for tickets we talked a bit, and I came to realize that what I had assumed was indifference when we were conversing via the interwebs was actually timidity. And when she did speak up, she was actually interesting.

After the movie, I asked, quite suavely, if she "wanted to, like, go do something." She obliged and we went to dinner. After dinner, I asked if she "wanted to walk around or something." She obliged; we went to Millennium Park and watched the Navy Pier fireworks. She walked me back to Union Station and suggested that she wouldn't mind waiting for my train with me. I was more than happy to have her company. What started out as a movie date ended up taking an entire day.

One of my favorite parts of the date, and this may seem counter-intuitive, is that for half of the evening, we just sat there, not talking at all. In my strange, backwards mind this in endearing, so I enjoyed just sitting there with a dumb grin on my face. I worried that I was boring her out of her skull, but she assured me that, despite our mutual silence, she was actually enjoying herself. In fact, she agreed that we should go out again some time.

I guess the moral of the story is ... well, I'm not so good at morals. Maybe it's Dont judge a book by it's cover? Hell, I don't know. The only thing I'm really going to get from all this is that I should listen to Jaysix more often.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Adventures in Craigslisting, Part 6: Captain Obvious

I put my car up for sale at approximately 9:40 in the morning. By 10:21, not even an hour later, I received this email:

From: [Capt. Obvious]
Subject: 1997 Pontiac Grand Am

Let me know if you still have this car for sale.

[Capt. Obvious]

I know that some people don't pull their posts down even after they sell their item, but I think one can usually assume that an item will not be sold within 40 minutes of it being posted. Trying not to sound too condescending, I explained to Capt. Obvious how Craigslist works:

From: [Mr. McBastard]
Subject: RE: 1997 Pontiac Grand Am

I will take the Craigslist posting down once it is sold. As long as it is up, it will be for sale.

--[Mr. McBastard]

I received this response:

From: [Capt. Obvious]
Subject: RE: 1997 Pontiac Grand Am

You're in brookside right?

Well, I know that this guy was just trying to get more information about me and my car. But instead of reading the details that were readily available to him on my Criagslist post, he decided to annoy me instead. One question at a time. I envisioned his next email would be "Is this a Pontiac Grand Am?" and then "Is it a 1997?" and then "Is it a car?" and so on. Plus, at this point, I had already contacted several other Craigslisters and I wasn't up for any more moronic shenanigans.

So, I sent this facetious response:

Please see the attached diagram. [Pictured to the right.]

This was the reply:

[Mr. McBastard],

If you could provide an address and a time I could look at your car tomorrow that would be great too. A simple yes would have been less work for you too.

[Capt. Obvious]

Capt. Obvious's response was surprisingly calm. My following response was not. I'd like to say that there was some excuse for what comes next, but the fact that I'm an asshole will have to suffice.

[Capt. Obvious],

Because you had such difficulty in comprehending some of the basic concepts of my Craigslist post -- that I was indeed selling a car and that I did, in fact, live in Brookside -- I think that simply providing you with my address may prove fruitless and would probably only result in more questions.

To avoid any further confusion, I briefly considered constructing several more diagrams outlining how to get to my house at an appropriate time (complete with cartoon versions of you, myself, and my car). However, in your last email you seemed unappreciative of my previous visual aid, so I quickly abandoned this tack.

So, instead, I propose that you provide me with your address and a time that I could come by tomorrow and lead you to my house. This course of action may be more effort on my part, but it could prove to be better and safer for everyone involved.

--[Mr. McBastard]

But don't worry, dear readers, Mr. McBastard gets his comeuppance:

I can appreciate that while you seem to write very well that you are a little self absorbed. Maybe you have too much time on your hands and in the preparation of your "diagram" you became a little light headed from the effort required. Good luck in your efforts to sell your car and when you're finally able to offload your car you'll be able to go back to your video games, porn and cheetos. I asked a few simple questions and your taking offense to those questions would lead me to believe that while possibly having a high IQ you've put yourself into a life situation that makes you lash out at others because you've been able to squeeze yourself into a pathetic life. Good luck with that [McBastard]

Well, jokes on him; I don't even like Cheetos.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Adventures in Craigslisting, Part 5: The Sob Story

I received the following email the day that I put up the ad for my car:

From: [Cry Baby]
Subject: 1997 Pontiac Grand Am - $500 (Brookside)
i am very interested in your car for a friend of mine that is going though a really bad time right now. She has no money, just totaled the only car they have. She has 2 children one with health problems and they frequently have doctors appointments. I am going to try and help her with getting some kind of transportation. I myself have had a hard time this past few months and really dont have much to help out, but i can do the work on the car, and i can probably come up with about $200 maybe $300 and i will see if she can come up with the rest. She is stuck here in missouri without family or friends.

Unfortunately, the area of my brain that is supposed to feel sympathy is currently occupied (and has been for the past fifteen years or so) admiring round, jiggly boobs. [Links provided for your viewing pleasure.] I guess it makes me an asshole, but I just don't care about the poor, helpless, lonely, single-mother-of-two friend to some also-down-on-his-luck guy who I don't know, who has poor grammar. I put my car up on Craigslist; I didn't give it to the Salvation Army. Sorry.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Adventures in Craigslisting, Part 4: What?

I made mention previously of how poorly worded and spelled some inquiries into buying my car were. The following query, though, is probably the most incomprehensible of the bunch:

Subject: 1997 Pontiac Grand Am - $500 (Brookside)
pics plase n locaion

I assume this roughly translates to "Send me pictures, please, and your location."

Perhaps it's just me, but when I'm trying to buy something, anything more expensive than a doughnut really (let along something five hundred times more expensive than a doughnut), I tend to use sentences. And punctuation. And real English words.

I'm glad that he was polite enough to say "please" (I think). Nevertheless, I did not reply.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Adventures in Craigslisting, Part 3: The Low-Baller

This post is still in reference to me attempting to sell my car on Craigslist. It's not that weird; it's mostly just me being a dick.

I received two emails that were simple, straight-forward offers, such as this:

From: [Low-Baller]
Subject: 97 Grand Am
Offer: $250
[phone number]

I replied to this one:

From: [Mr. McBastard]
Subject: RE: 97 Grand Am
Counter offer: NO-fifty

Credit must be given to my friend, Mr. P. Tott, for providing the inspiration for this one.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Adventures in Craigslisting, Part 2: The Jealous Boyfriend

This one is really just an extension of the previous post about Craigslisters asking very difficult questions. It starts out the same, with a brief message requesting me to call them, despite the precedent and ease of electronic communication:

From: [Female Name]
Subject: Car
please call me at [redacted],thank you.
As with the previous set of requests, I called this person hoping that perhaps her questions were so detailed that they could not be answered over such an impersonal medium as email.

When the other end picked up, this is (roughly) the conversation that followed:

Male Voice: Hello?

McBastard: Hello, my name is [Cynical McBastard]. Is [Female Name] available?

MV: What's this about?

McB: [Female name] had contacted me about the car that I'm selling. Is she available?

MV: (suspiciously) How do you know her?

McB: I don't. She just gave me this number to call.

MV: (still suspicious) Do you work with her...? I mean, how does she know you?

McB: We don't know each other. She replied to an ad I have up for a car for sale.

MV: (as if he's caught me in a lie) So, how did you get this number?

McB: (annoyed) She emailed it to me. Is she available or not?

MV: Hold on. (fumbling with the phone) This is my phone. So, wait, she was going to buy your car?

McB: (perturbed) I don't know; that's what I'm calling about. Is she there?

MV: Now hold on. Maybe it was me who emailed you. [Female Name] is my girlfriend, but I buy old cars from time to time.

McB: (completely without patience) So, are you interested in buying a car or not? I really don't understand the problem here.

MV: (scoldingly) Now you listen here!...

At that point, I had had enough of the jealous boyfriend and I wasn't about to let him scold me for being fed up with his jackassery. I hung up.

Jealous Boyfriend called back immediately, but I didn't pick up. He left a message, though, and I wish I'd kept it. To the best of my memory, it went something like this:

I don't know what the hell your problem is. You got a real attitude problem. I am just trying to find out the situation with this car and you keep talking about [Female Name]. I don't know who you are ... who you think you are, but you're not going to sell anything talking to people like that. I just wanted to find out if this was a car I wanted to buy and you got a real attitude. So, to hell with you. Good luck trying to sell your car, buddy!

He was right about one thing: I wasn't going to sell anything.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Endless Possibilities

Last week while cashiering at the Pig, an awkward guy came through my line and started talking to me about what I'd studied in school, what work experience I had, and what I planned to do. I tried to answer his questions politely, but there were other customers waiting in line behind him, so I basically shooed him away.

Not long after, he came back through my line, claiming to have forgotten a few things. He gave me his card, asked me when my next day off was, and told me to come in and meet with him. I took the card and was a little astonished that someone would consider hiring me based on my just-polite-enough attitude I have while cashiering. The card read:

Endless Possibilities
Internet Marketing
Ronald W. Lowe

Voice, Fax

When I got home after work that night, I took a look at the websites listed on his card. They seemed like nice websites advertising health and beauty products. But something didn't sit right with me. Why were these websites situated on the ass end of the internet on subdomains of some no-name dot-biz domains? Where was the information about the company itself? Where did I fit into this who thing? So, I sent a quick, concise email to Mr. Lowe asking if he could answer some of my questions:

Mr. Lowe,

My name is [Mr. McBastard]. I was your cashier (twice) at the Piggly Wiggly today. I looked at the websites listed on the business card you gave me, but I'm still not clear on what your business is and what opportunities there are available to me. Please explain to me what you company does and how you think I can help you achieve your goals.


[Mr. McBastard]

A couple days later, I received a reply:

Hi [Mr. McBastard]

That depends on what your goals are. When the next customer is waiting to checkout, there isn't much time to talk. You seems to have good people skills but no immediate direction in life. I wanted to meet and learn more about you.

Your email message came across as demanding. Insisting on knowing the value of the meeting before the meeting. What my business is, I would hope, obvious from my website. I market heath, beauty, home products and more on the internet.

Perhaps, we will see each other again at Piggly Wiggly. Best of luck to you.

Thank you,

Ronald W. and Renee A. Lowe
Endless Possibilities
193 Cambridge Drive
Grayslake, IL 60030
business: 888-369-5741
fax: 888-369-5741
B2C: www.endless.mychoices.biz
B2C: www.endless.wwdb.biz
B2B: www.rlowe6.ordermygift.com

I was a bit perturbed by this response. Why was asking questions about this guy's business met with scolding? What was this guy trying to hide?

So, I did some digging around his sites and discovered that he is a member of Quixtar, the renamed Amway. I had heard of Amway before, but I only had an inkling that it was some sort of pyramid scheme. I did a little internet research and found that it is indeed a pyramid scheme in which the people higher up the ladder try to recruit new people into the scheme and get them to sell products and recruit people of their own. It's not illegal, though, because you don't have to recruit others to make money, but, through bonuses and incentives, you are highly encouraged to.

Anyway, I wasn't about to get caught up in that sort of bullshit. Plus, the guy had irked me with his condescending response. So, I replied thusly:

Mr. Lowe,

My goal is to find a decent job working for an employer who is straightforward. I also wanted to learn more about you and your company. Your email message came across as secretive. Being abruptly defensive about some simple inquiries into your company and the opportunities within makes it seem like you've got something to hide. So, I did some digging.

I am not interested in getting involved in Quixtar, Amway, or any other pyramid scheme which your company is a part of. I may work at a grocery store for the time being and lack "immediate direction in life," but I am not a sap. Good luck recruiting some other poor schmo to sell junk for you on the internet.

--[Mr. McBastard]

I got this reply today:

Again. best of luck to [Mr. McBastard].

Thank you,

Ronald W. and Renee A. Lowe
Endless Possibilities
193 Cambridge Drive
Grayslake, IL 60030
business: 888-369-5741
fax: 888-369-5741
B2C: www.endless.mychoices.biz
B2C: www.endless.wwdb.biz
B2B: www.rlowe6.ordermygift.com

Ah, cheap shot taking the "high road," Mr. Lowe. Now I look like the dick! Oh well, that's well-trodden territory for me.

Circa Now