Thursday, December 04, 2008

Advent Calendar - Day 4

I heard on the local news yesterday morning that two people had been robbed at gunpoint after arranging to meet someone to purchase iPhones that had been offered on Craigslist. Two things that made me think of -- my sister bought something from someone on Craigslist over the Thanksgiving weekend, and we were talking about it, and I asked her how she was going to get it. She said she was meeting the woman at a parking lot somewhere -- I can't remember where, but a public place, which I thought made sense. Now I'm wondering if even that's safe.

I occasionally sell stuff on eBay, usually yarn that I no longer need, and a couple of weeks ago I had someone ask if they could come pick an order up. This person won a $5.00 ball of yarn, wrote and said she lived fairly nearby, was retired and thus "flexible," and could she just pick up the yarn and have me remove the shipping charge from the order.

Well, in the first place, the shipping charge is not just for the shipping part, it's also supposed to cover "handling," i.e., the cost for the packaging and my time in preparing it. Not that it's a big deal, but that nickel-and-diming thing is always a little irritating. Also, the reason I love things like eBay is that I can be my normal antisocial self and don't actually have to interact with people, sad as it may be to say.

Anyway, I thought, well, no, I don't want to do that, but should I? I felt kind of bad, but I wrote back to her and said that I wasn't comfortable with that, and would prefer to mail her the package, and she sent me the money with no more conversation, which was a relief.

It didn't really occur to me until later that, while I'm sure everything would have been fine, it could have been a scam, or a ploy -- buy something cheap on eBay, then rob the person who shows up to deliver it, or, I guess more likely, rob the person when you show up at their house and they let you in. I'm glad I didn't agree to it, in any event, and will keep it in mind in the future. It's too bad, but that's the world we live in.

I was reading this the other day: Thoughts on Japan from a first-time visitor, and this comment struck me:

Perhaps what I liked the most is the very strong sense of security. You never feel threatened or insecure. You never worry about that sort of thing.

It would be nice if we could feel that way here.

Be sure to check out the Advent calendar.

Click the thumbnail above to go to the Advent Calendar page. Once there, click on the number corresponding to the day of the month. Some of the days will have details on little contests or drawings, so check each day for a special note.

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