I've been working out with a friend's P90X video for several months now. It was a sequel to curling cans of baked beans.
I promised my buddy that I'd return her videos in May, but I really like them and it cost $130 for a new set! I was heading back toward the vegetable cans last week when my brother-in-law drove up in his new wheels.
"Where'd you get it?" I asked.
"You bought a truck on Craig's list?"
He said it as if my question was stupid. Although, come to think of it, I asked it as if he were stupid.
I thought it absurd to make a significant purchase from a stranger on-line, until I started talking to other people in my life. Many of them had made significant purchases at the on-line dealer.
So I figured what the heck, if Jesse can buy an automobile on Craig's list, certainly I can find my video set there too.
It felt sort of creepy, like the clearance rack at K-Mart. But when I searched for my prerecorded calisthenics routine, I found that A LOT of people in the Triangle region either aren't meeting their health and wellness goals or got a little tipsy and made a bad decision on QVC. The prices varied - usually cheaper in the outlying towns - $55 in Fuquay Varina (probably don't have a DVD player); $50 in Knightdale (may not have a TV). I found one in Raleigh for $60, brand new, an unopened package. The seller only accepted inquiry calls - no emails.
I felt like I was doing a drug deal.
My palms became sweaty as I punched in his number. A Jersey shore accent answered, "Yo."
"Do you still have the goods?"
"No bro! Panera, North Hills, Wednesday, 4:45. I'll be wearing a black shirt."
"I'll be in a bow tie..."
"Nothin'... ah, dude."
Panera? Clearly he was trying to take advantage of me. He didn't want me to know where he lived. I knew he was a scam artist. All of these on-line wheelers are.
I got there early, the cash in my front pocket. I was tired. I'd tossed and turned the night before. What if he dupes me? What if I get home and the "brand new, unopened P90X package" is really a Richard Simmons' Party Off The Pounds VCR tape?
Would it be insulting if I asked him to open the box before I gave him the money? Would he pull a switch blade if I offended him? Wasn't there a Craig's List killer? What if this dude had some crazy infatuation with men who wear bow ties?
I wiped my brow with my M & M cookie napkin.
Now I smell sweet. This is bad. I'm leaving.
As I stood to move toward the door, my phone rang.
"I'm by the counter," he quietly offered.
I could see him. He looked normal, and small. He clearly hadn't removed the contents and used them.
"I see you."
"Well OK. Are you going to come up here?"
I hung up and headed toward a table in the front of the resturant.
He handed me the package. It looked legit.
I pulled the money out of my pocket and sat it on the table in front of us, tucking the edge under the salt shaker.
"Can I open it?"
"Go ahead. It's all there."
I didn't remove each CD, but I did dig down deep enough to see the case and a nifty nutritional pamphlet I hadn't even expected.
"You should have used these. It's a great workout."
"I don't exercise. Kills my back."
He sifted through the wad of cash.
"All three Jacksons - right there like I promised." I can't believe he didn't trust me. "I guess we both got what we wanted."
And with that, my dealer disappeared into the maze of cars in the parking lot.
I headed home - and inserted three of the CD's to make sure they weren't home videos of Jersey boy's family.