Selling Things Online: When "Gently Used" Meets Crazy Lady

A few days ago, I had a telephone conversation that forced me to believe I was a victim of a Roy D. Mercer prank call. I suspected this multiple times during the conversation. Yes, multiple times-as in the number of times you’ve wanted to punch Kanye West in the nads.

But it wasn’t a prank. It was real life.

Being pranked would have made so much more sense than living in a world where such an entertaining, yet disturbing, conversation is capable of taking place. Would you like to hear about it?

Of course you would.

It all started with an extremely common event. I posted some of my children’s old clothes on a Facebook consignment page that I often use. Sounds completely normal, right? How could this simple act of trying to recoup a little cash on some of my daughter’s stained Under Armour hoodies birth my overwhelming concern for our country’s gene pool?

A person, with a Facebook profile photo of Betty Boop and a name that included the word “Sassy” in it, inquired about the clothing in the comments. In extremely poor grammar that took twenty minutes for me to decipher, she said she wanted to talk to me on the phone concerning some questions she had about the clothing lot. 

I reluctantly gave her my number, because seriously, who actually talks on the phone anymore? And seriously, do I want some faceless chick named Sassy to have my digits? But seriously, I could barely read her grammatically flawed comment, so I figured it would be easier to just speak to her.

Boy, was I wrong.

A few moments after I gave her my number, my phone rang. This is a summary of what took place.

 “Hello?”

What greeted me was a tone eerily similar to what I imagine the crossbred banjo-playing cousins in Deliverance sound like.

“You is the one with that clothing fur sale on Facebooks?”
“Uhhh, yes, sir.”
“This ain’t no sir!”

The gender reveal was a shock to me, but I assume four packs of Doral cigarettes per day for three decades are capable of giving a person the same voice pitch as Darth Vader.

“I’m sorry. Yes, mam.”
“I need them clothes fur my grandbaby girl. What size is they?
“Everything in the lot is a size 6 or 6x.”
“What’s the x fur?”
“Excuse me?”
“You said they’s a 6x. What’s the x fur?”
“Um, I’m not sure. It’s like a 6 ½.”
“What you willin’ to trade fur em?”
“Um, cash?”
“What else? You’se need a mattress?”

Please imagine my face at this point. It's the same face I would make if I found a fish in a tree.

“Uhh, no, sir-mam. I don’t need a mattress. I’ll take 30 bucks for the whole lot. I have 10 pair of pants and 15 shirts. Everything is name brand and in great condition. $30.00 is really a steal.”
“You’se don’t want a mattress fur em?”
“Nose I don’t.”
“My grandbaby girl’s mama done left her up here with me when she went down to Flurda with her no-good boyfriend in October. Hell, it’s February. Damn near ValenTIMES.”
**crickets**
“I ain’t complainin’ though. I love her and don’t mind keepin’ her. She ain’t been in no trouble since that Girl Scout thing last year.”
**crickets**
“My husband got that breathin’ disease like you’se see on them commercials. He alright, but we got a lawyer. He busy trying to sue the factory for that breathin’ disease, so I’m with my grandbaby girl most the time. She seen them clothes on my Facebooks and she want them.”
“I, um, well, I’m sorry to hear all of that. I’ll be glad to sell you the clothes.”
“You’se won’t take a mattress fur um? We got a Serta my son don’t use no more. It’s clean.”
**crickets**
“It been in storage a few months since he was incarcerated, but Devon covered it with a tarp he used to keep on his Camaro.”
**crickets**
“It’s a good mattress. I bet it retail fur a lot more than them clothes.”
“I’m sorry, sir. Mam, I don’t need a mattress. I can take $20.00 for the clothes, but that’s as low as I will go. I have a lot of pieces, and this isn’t cheap clothing,.”
“This mattress ain’t cheap, either.”
“I really don’t need a mattress.”
“Alright, my grandbaby girl want it all.”
“Okay, can we meet tomorrow?”
“I ain’t got a car right now. Leon wrecked it yesterdee.”
**crickets**
“He blind as a damn bat and hit the mailbox. It was his mailbox, though. Serves him right after what he done to Martha.”

She begins to laugh, but it turns into a bronchial episode that warrants the hacking and disposing of lung butter.

“I, um-“
“Can you bring’um over my house?”
“Oh, no mam. I can’t do that. I only meet in public places.”
“I live on the public highway.”
“No, I can’t.”
“Why?”
“I just can’t do that. I don’t know you.”
“We ain’t dangerous peoples. I got a Chihuahua meaner n’ hell, but we ain’t dangerous.”
“No, mam. I don’t particularly want to be around mean Chihuahua’s either.”
“Alright, I can meet you this weekend. I’ll borrow a truck from my uncle. It will hold the mattress.”
“I don’t want a mattress. I need cash.”
“I have a mattress.”
“Is this a prank? This is a prank, isn’t it?”
“What?”
“Who offers a mattress in exchange for children’s clothes? And the backwoods accent is a little much. This is a prank, right?”

At this point, I start calling out the names of people who I assume are responsible.

“I don’t know who you talkin’ bout, lady. I’m just tryin’ to get my grandbaby girl some clothes that she saw on the Facebooks.”
“This is a prank, right?”
“You don’t believe I’m tryin’ to get my grandbaby girl some clothes? Well, I can go down to the Wal-MartS and get her some clothes. I can get her some stuff much cheaper than the stuff you tryin’ sell me.”
“Maybe that’s what you should do. I don’t think we can make a deal here.”
“You sure you don’t need a mattress?”
“I have never been surer of anything in my life.”

Once I hung up and tried to process it all, I still wasn’t convinced that it was a legitimate conversation, so I started texting people who I assumed were responsible. They genuinely had no idea what I was referring to. One friend asked if I was intoxicated when I asked her if she was trying to trade Devon's mattress for my daughter's jeans.

So I searched Betty Boop’s Facebook profile and came to the conclusion that this was a real person, with a real grandbaby girl and a real Chihuahua that’s meaner n’ hell.

And a real mattress.

I don’t mean to sound judgmental, but I just don’t understand how some people’s minds work. And I don't understand why I'm always chosen to carry on conversations with people who would rather pay in mattresses than cash.

And I don’t think I ever will understand. Ever.

Side note: My computer’s autocorrect has never been more confused at anything I’ve written. My laptop must think I’m on drugs. Also, I’ve never typed “mattress” so many times in my life.

Image credit K Whiteford