My wife is very entrepreneurial. That's a fancy word for always trying to make a buck. She has an uncanny knack for seeing the resale value in just about anything. Her business philosophy has always been "There's a lid for every pot." (I cleaned that one up considerably.) She has offered things for sale that the average person would deem "trash." But, as the old expression goes: "One man's trash is another man's treasure." She's not forcing anyone to buy her stuff, but if some like-minded person seeing a bit of viability left in something that they can snap up for a couple of bucks — well, that's the service Mrs. Pincus provides.
Recently, Mrs. P has been offering items for sale on a local Facebook marketplace page. This page has been set up as a virtual yard sale, offering a wide variety of new, slightly used or very used items without the hassle of cluttering up your front yard or driveway with the soon-to-be discarded from your house. Just take a picture, compose a brief but truthful description and wait for someone to see the same value that you see. Once a deal is made, electronic payment is logged and Mrs. Pincus sets the item out on our front porch — a safe, contactless pick-up in these cautious times during a pandemic.
Well, this is the internet and on the internet everyone has a fucking opinion. Immediately, Mrs. P's post erupted with a barrage of insults.
"Why are you selling trash?"
"You should be ashamed of yourself for selling junk!"
"This is garbage."
...and many more variations on the theme.
There were some comments expressing legitimate interest, but, as if often the case, an initially eager potential customer disappears after their first question is answered. But, one person replied with interest. A text chat ensued and finally the gentleman agreed to purchase the cart for five dollars. However, he explained that he is older and, therefore, doesn't use any of these payment apps. From the grammatical structure of the majority of his texts, his command of cellphone technology was spare. He promised to drop off a five dollar bill in an envelope when he came to collect the cart. We weren't too worried. After all, who would come out of their way to steal a less-than-new shopping cart? And if that was indeed their scheme, hey! it's only five dollars.
The buyer said he'd be by our house around 3 PM on Saturday. He said he lived about a thirty-minute drive, so around 2, Mrs. P set the cart out on our porch. And we forgot about it.
3 o'clock came and went. So did 4 o'clock. And then 5 and 6. The sun began to set and that poor shopping cart stood as a silent sentinel under the illumination of our porch light. Just before my wife and I were ready to turn in for the evening, Mrs. P's phone signaled a Facebook message. As expected, it was the cart buyer. He went off about crossed plans and time constraints and some rambling story involving his wife. The gist of his message was that he would not be coming to get the cart today, perhaps tomorrow. He apologized several times and even offered to leave six dollars for the inconvenience. He said he would come Sunday morning. As my wife confirmed his arrival time, I went downstairs to bring the shopping cart inside.
Early Sunday morning, I returned the shopping cart to its spot on the porch. The buyer — allegedly — would be coming before noon. He didn't. Just before 4 PM, we heard the unmistakable sound of our wooden screen door open. It had to be the buyer finally collecting the cart and leaving his payment in the space between our screen door and front door. But, within a few minutes of the familiar "creak" of our door, my wife received an irate Facebook message.
"Why you sell me crap?" it read. Before Mrs. P could type out a calming, level-headed response, another message chimed in. "One wheel wobbles! This is junk dammit!"
"Are you still here?" Mrs. Pincus replied, hoping to catch the buyer still on our front porch. No reply for a long time... until suddenly an electronic "DING" announced a new message in angry thread. "No! This trash! GOODBYE!"... followed by more silence.
Oh.... and we have six bucks.