Selling on Craigslist with a Toddler
I am too trusting. It’s one of the first things I hate and simultaneously love about myself. My trusting nature means I’ll make friends with anyone, and I’ll give anyone the benefit of the doubt. My trusting nature means I assume everyone treats me how I treat them. It also means that I get hurt quite frequently. I take the good with the bad.
Today, I am struggling, because yesterday, that turned on its’ head. Like I often do, I decided, yesterday, to sell my new Apple Watch on Craig’s List. The reasons why aren’t important, but what is important is to know this is something I do pretty consistently. From keyboards ($50!) to cars ($4000!), I’ve had a good experience, and haven’t had any issues. I suppose all good things must come to an end.
I didn’t get many bites when I first posted it which is expected. I had priced higher, and would drop the price throughout the weekend. About 2:30p, I did get a text asking if it was still available.
“Yes,” I responded. “Where are you?”
“Troutdale,” my Craig’s List buddy responded. “Are you ok to meet around Gateway? It’s about halfway.”
That should’ve been my first sign. Gateway isn’t a bad part of town, but it’s certainly not the place where I should be selling high-priced electronics. The second came not long after when I noticed his green texts, indicating his Android device.
“I’m buying it for my girlfriend … she’s an Apple fan.”
“You ok to meet in the parking lot at the Fred Meyer?”
“Yep. Parking lot is fine. I don’t like walking around with all that cash.”
I bundled my almost two-year-old into the car, and met my husband at a grocery store for him to do the transaction. I ignored the slight twinge of anxiety at the back of my brain.
Should I ask for his name? I wonder what his name is.
Should you really bring your son to something like this? I’ve done it before, so it shouldn’t matter. Jake’s there. We’re in a crowded parking lot. It’s fine.
Interesting that after all this selling, this is the first time I’ve met someone halfway as opposed to having them come to me.
After a few minutes, Mr. Craig’s List pulled up. He was looking around the parking lot quite a bit. Something I attributed to him looking for me. He got out of the car, and I saw his girlfriend in the front seat. I waved, as she very pointedly turned away from me, not showing her face.
He counted out the bills to my husband, they exchanged the goods, and within seconds, he and Mrs. Craig’s List were peeling out of the parking lot. Jake handed me the money, and I instantly recognized the stacks of bills as counterfeit. I burst into tears.
To be honest, the mom guilt is what got me. Jake is … aloof at times, and while I was certainly frustrated, I wasn’t at him. I was actually glad it was Jake who exchanged, because I would’ve likely noticed and I’m not sure what would’ve happened if Mr. Craig’s List had been called on it (although I’ve played the potential scenarios in my head).
And it’s those scenarios that had me in tears on and off all yesterday afternoon. Those scenarios that had me moving like a robot last night, stiffly and with my guard up. And it’s those scenarios that kept me from sleeping last night.
Endangering myself by trusting that someone is going to do the right one thing is one thing. But my son was in the backseat, mere feet away from this man who, at a minimum, is ok committing a felony in broad daylight. What would have happened if Jake had called him on the bills? Would Thomas have seen his dada get hit? Stabbed? Worse? Would anything have happened to Thomas and I in the car?
And that’s what I can’t let go of right now. Jake is encouraging me to get a new Apple Watch (the one I sold had cellular; I don’t need cellular). But I can’t. My selfishness and my “keeping up with the Joneses” put my son in danger. My sister has repeatedly told me I was probably safer than I thought. But what if I wasn’t? And what if that stupidity cost me what I hold most dear: my family?
With all of the increased anxiety and depression postpartum, I haven’t ever really worried about the controllable. Instead, I worry about earthquakes liquefying the ground underneath his daycare. I worry about him being scared because someone comes into his school and shoots. I worry about a car plowing through his class as they all hold hands and walk along the sidewalk. (Welcome to my brain and why I am so thankful for Zoloft!)
Until yesterday, me putting him in danger like that wasn’t on my radar. Sleepless nights and the black thoughts that come there, sure. But out in the public? Where everyone can see me and I’m out in the daylight and out of my head and the support is there? I never imagined.
This one will take me a while to process. I am thankful we are all ok. But it’s going to be a hard one.
So … what did I learn from this experience that might help you? What did I learn that even I, a “savvy” Craig’s List-er didn’t think of?
Meet in public. Obviously. But meet inside a store or at a police station, not with the getaway vehicle right there.
Get the name of the person you are meeting. And, if you are in that parking lot, the make and model of the vehicle, along with the plate.
Most importantly, if something doesn’t feel right, trust it. Both Jake and I, after the incident, have talked about how we felt off from the beginning. We should’ve trusted our guts and walked.
What situations have you inadvertently put your child in that you realize, after the fact, was a huge mistake? How did you work through the guilt associated?