the things in life that are free

Love it or hate it, it holds the answers. Where else can you find a $20 TV, a cheap date and a free bicycle in just a few clicks’ time? Yes, it’s taking over the world, and its well-known name is Craigslist. Yet not all great things in life are free — or CG-standards inexpensive. Post an ad selling something, and you’ll find out firsthand.

Let’s take my example: Last weekend, I posted a friend’s iphone for about $340. A long overdue favor, the sale was going to be a bit of proof of my good friendship to him — well, in my head at least. So when the first reply hit my inbox, i jumped! “Is the item still available?” said Mercy James. Well, Mercy James, hallelujah! I wrote back instantly offering my phone. In a few minutes, she wrote back:

“Thanks alot for the reply,i very much appreciate it….actually i
supposed to come and check the item out but im out of states right now
so i wont be able to come over and pick the item also pay by cash and
i believe that the item is in its best condition? and can be presented
as a birthday gift? please note that am shipping the item to an
overseas partner so i will include $80 shipping fee,
i will arrange for
the payment of the item though paypal cos i believe its the best to
make an online transaction,so send me your paypal email address or
request for a payment so that i can proceed with the payment of the
item asap.Thank you very much
Hope to hear from you soon.”

Lawd have Mercy, I thought: Not only does she want to pay me the full price, but she’s offering to pay shipping too! I was ready to send her a payment request, but suddenly, I hesitated; something wasn’t right. I wasn’t sure quite what it was — I mean, it’s not like they were asking me for my bank account numbers, so I figured it couldn’t be a scam — but I decided to sleep on it. I shut my computer then and went to bed. This morning, as soon as I reached work, I shifted through emails in my inbox.

“I give you $200,” said some overconfident jerk. “How’s $100 sound? Meet tomorrow, downtown?” How’s about NO?! Then, I came upon good news: A woman wanted the iphone for the full price! But when I looked closer, Latifudeen Olamide’s circumstances sounded suspiciously similar to Mercy’s:

“Thanks for your mail,i am buying the item for my son who school in
oversea.i will add $120 for shipping,i would have prefer a local
transaction but i am out of town presently…kindly get  back to me
with your paypal email account so i can pay now.hope to hear from you
best regard”

At that point, I gloomily turned away from gmail and began my workday. But at lunchtime, curiosity mixed with hope struck me again. That’s when I met Jenny Mark, a truly fantastic individual:

“I think the price is okay for me but i will like to make everything $470 both the item price and the shipment fee.But i will like you to ship it to my son in West Africa for his birthday presentation gift and also i will like to pay you through paypal OR Western Union Money Transfer.It secures two parties in transaction. please i need this item immeditely to be shipped if you can provide your paypal request orinvoice for the payment.
Hoping to hear from you soon.
They say that when you’re stressed, you should find healthy ways to relieve the tension, such as with stretches, a walk around the block, etc. But they only say that cause they have no victims lined up to lash out on. I decided to be innovative in my stress busting moves, and so I typed again:Aw, thanks, but I really wouldn’t want to rip you off: $470 is just too much for this phone, and you seem like a nice person, so I don’t want to take advantage of you. I’m sure your son in West Africa would enjoy the simple things in life, like riding a bike through the beautiful trees, way more than sitting crouched over a phone, texting.
Wish you all the luck, Jennifer!

And after she insisted, I struck again:

Aw, Jenny, you keep insisting, you must be such a kind woman! But I assure you that $470 is too much for this phone! I’m sure you can find a better deal elsewhere. I just don’t want to take your money when you can spend it better elsewhere, say for clothes or another bike for your kids, for example. You seem so nice that if only you were here, I would pay you just for being nice.

Give my regards to your son, who I’m sure will appreciate your well wishing anyway, iphone or not. :)
Have a blessed day,

And then more:

Money is never a problem when there is love, and understanding. May peace be with you and sonny.

She stopped insisting at that point, but I still continued emailing her every half hour, just to be annoying:

When you reunite with sonny, give him my greetings. Tell him I’ll come to West Africa right after selling my phone and we’ll all hold hands and sing kumbaya. :)
All my love,

And: “kumbayaaaaaaaaa yayayaya,” and “ yayayyaya,” and “jenny i think i love you. will you write me back soon adn tell me you do too? :) KISSIES!!!!!EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.”

And to finish off the job:
I just dropped the phone, and the screen broke. Do you still want to buy it for a grand total of $450 (original price + sihpping + $5 extra to convince me that you’ll actually fix my beloved phone)? Let me know so you can pay soon because I really need the money to pay for my dog sitter while I travel abroad to West Africa!! :)

Hi Mercy,
That sounds great! I look forward to doing this business with you! Before I give you my paypal informations, I’d like to ask you a few conversational questions to make sure you are legit and I can trust you:
1. What do you do?
2. Where do you live in the States?
3. What is your favorite color?
4. If you found an extra $25,000, what would you do?

I doubt Jenny will bother me again. As for Mercy and my friend Latifudeen, they probably won’t have much to say to my message either. Like an Irani woman, I’ve fought the power (and won?).

In the meantime, the phone is still unsold. But what does money matter? Like I said, not all great things in life are free or cheap. Some you have to offer an extra $120 shipping for. Others — like friendship — you just have to trust in, without a price tag.


About tali2

I am a recent grad of the wonderful English major. Though I don't regret studying English one bit, I realize why my teachers, parents, friends, and imaginary mentors warned me against it: Because it leads you nowhere. But it did give me great writing skills which I hope to continue honing in this blog as I chronicle the tribulations of the terrible job hunt in the terrible job market of NYC. And I hope that my blog reminds fellow unemployed recent grads that you are not alone, inspires some hope within us, while presenting a snapshot of our lives to others who do not share the same self-imposed troubles.
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