In 2006, the moment I separated from my ex-wife and moved into my swanky bachelor pad, I bought a brand new TV. Seriously, like, that day. She got the TV in the divorce, which was fine with me. I’ve always had an affinity for the latest and greatest; if it’s shiny and new, sign me up! So I headed to Best Buy and bought a Hewlett-Packard 37″ flat screen LCD television, very state-of-the-art for the time. Yes, that H/P, the company better known for computers. They got into the television business for a few years, it turns out.
The kicker is, I paid something like $1,500 for it. Nowadays, you can buy a brand new way-cooler, way-bigger TV for a helluva lot less. I should know: a month ago, I bought a new 50″ Roku Smart LED HDTV for like $250. The ol’ H/P still worked fine, but it was big and bulky and the sound quality wasn’t fantastic. It had long ago been relegated to the basement, and with a new job I figured it was time for an upgrade, so I done went and upgraded. And placed an ad on Craigslist, offering up the H/P behemoth for $50. Which kind of pained me considering what I’d spent for it originally, but then again I did get 14 years of trouble-free service out of that beast. I call it a beast because, while it was cutting-edge at the time, it’s a lot wider and heavier than today’s crop of TVs. Key word being “heavy.” That’ll come into play in a minute.
There weren’t any immediate takers, so I renewed the ad after it expired and then basically forgot all about it. Until yesterday, when I got a response from a woman named Kim. Said she wanted to buy it. Yay! We’d made plans for her to pick it up today, but when I hauled it up from the garage this morning, I realized the original remote control had long ago disappeared. We’d just had it hooked up to our cable and were using the VAST-supplied remote, so I hadn’t even thought about that. I emailed Kim to let her know she’d have to pick up a universal remote, but I’d knock $20 off the price to offset that if she was still interested. She was. Great!
She showed up at 5:35 this evening. I opened the door to find a heavyset older lady, masked up (thankfully). “Your steps are so steep!” she said by way of greeting, clearly winded.
Personal interactions are weird in the COVID era, so I invited her in if she was comfortable with that. She was. But then she took one look at the TV and declared, “There’s no way I can get that down to my car.”
No problem, I assured her. I’m happy to load it in your car for you.
She then proceeded to write me a check. Ugh. There’s an unwritten rule that these types of transactions must always be completed with cash. Whatever. She informed me that she just transferred money from her savings to her checking account so “there shouldn’t be any problems.” Meanwhile, she’s wheezing through her mask. Asthmatic-like not COVID. I’m fairly sure, anyway. Just in case, I scrubbed my hands with hot water and soap the minute she left. And then did it a second time, for good measure.
Check in hand, I lug the TV down our not-steep steps to her car.
“Is it heavy?” she asked.
Umm, how do I put this delicately? FUCK YEAH IT’S HEAVY. The thing weighs 52.9 lbs. according to the online specs. I did not mince words and told her yes, it’s quite heavy, and asked whether she had anybody to help her unload it once she got home.
Why, no. No, she did not.
I asked her where she lived. Clear on the other side of town. I briefly considered being a Really Good Samaritan, but I had dinner cooking on the stove and Tara was not home. Plus, I’m only going to do so much for $30, which might or might not ever end up in my account, you know?
She unlocked her door (after fumbling with the keys forever while I pretended the TV didn’t weigh a ton). Back door finally open, she said, “Excuse the mess back there!”
The mess back there was putting it lightly. Her entire backseat was overflowing with crap. It was dark, so I couldn’t even tell what exactly that crap consisted of. Maybe that’s for the best. I’m sorry, but if you know you’re going to be picking up a big TV and bringing it home, wouldn’t you take a few minutes to clear out your back seat?!
There was so much shit back there I couldn’t get the TV to slide all the way in, so I went around to the passenger side to open that door in order to pull it through. The rear window was covered with duct tape and when I yanked the door open, stuff spilled onto the driveway.
But I finally managed to get it in there. I strongly urged her to find somebody, a neighbor, a stranger, anybody, to help her get the TV into her home, because there is no way in hell she’s going to be able to manage that on her own without breaking a hip or collapsing a lung, and I don’t need that on my conscience. I feel bad, but she assured me she was super thankful to find such a great TV so reasonably priced and said it would help her tremendously, so I don’t feel too bad.
In retrospect, I probably should have just donated the damn thing to Goodwill. Sometimes — more often than not — Craigslist transactions just aren’t worth the hassle.