One minute after meeting him, it was clear that Van-Man was nuttier than squirrel turd. So why did I get into the van with him? To humor him? Because I’m an inveterate risk-taker? Didn’t Texas Chainsaw Massacre start just like this, I was thinking, as I climbed up into the passenger seat and buckled up.
The pictures he posted online were shadowy, but the van looked straight. It was a blue, mid-90s Ford Econoline Conversion van with silver and black trim, and it had the raised roof – more or less what I had been looking for.
An hour and a half later, when he pulled into the fast food lot where we agreed to meet, I could see he had dinged up the body more than a little bit. Van-Man explained that the van did not agree with him and that he needed to sell it before it did him in.
When he opened the van up to let me see the inside, I immediately decided I wouldn’t buy it – that is, if I hadn’t already come to that decision. In spite of the low mileage, the van’s insides were thrashed and all kinds of nasty.
The guy refused to let me drive it until I bought it, but insisted on taking me for a ride so I could see how well the van performed. I had no intention to purchase the van, but I decided to humor him. During the test ride, Van-Man fulminated about the evils of the government and laid on some heavy conspiracy theory jive. When he finally mercifully returned us to the parking lot, I told him his van was not for me. When he pressed me on why and I told him that I was looking for one “a little less chewed up,” he about lost it. I thanked him for meeting me and offered him a handshake, which he rebuffed. He muttered some choice words under his breath and took off in a huff. I counted my blessings that our acquaintanceship ended there.
One more notable experience:
Once I purchased a cargo box for my Subaru Outback. The guy I bought it from on Craigslist was a perfectly nice fellow, and he sold it to me for a song because it had a small dent in the fiberglass. I connected it to my roof rack and drove home uneventfully. Much to my chagrin, I later noticed that I couldn’t get the rear hatch up more than 1/3 of the way with the box on the roof, even after playing with the location of the roof bars. Whoops! I put the box up for sale on Craigslist and had a few feelers before finding a guy who arranged to come down later in the evening.
The guy showed up a few minutes late in one of those Honda Prius clones that was loaded to the gills with crap on the roof. I found it odd that he came to look at my roof box when he already had one on his roof, along with a bike up there and some other stuff. Without ringing my doorbell or calling me, he began walking around and inspecting the box on my Subaru (which I guess isn’t that abnormal). He was a small, muscular guy, and something about him struck me as off. He made odd small talk about nothing in particular and offered me some “homemade granola” from a bag he had been eating from. I demurred and tried to steer the conversation back to the business at hand. He made a couple of lowball offers that I refused, and then he offered to trade me the box he already had on his car. In the end, when it was clear that he wasn’t going to buy it, I thanked him for coming and told him goodbye, walked back into my house.
By now, the sun had started its descent, the sky was turning a crepuscular shade of purple, and the air began to grow cold. The man walked back to his car, which was parked in front of my house, and started the engine. Glad to be done with the awkwardness of a botched sale, I went to the fridge and started preparing dinner for my wife and myself. Fifteen minutes later, it was dark, and I walked to the front of my house only to discover that the guy was still sitting in his car. Bizarre, I thought, but I didn’t think too much about it, and went back to the kitchen for a beer. 30 minutes later, my wife pulled into the driveway, and the guy was still sitting there in his car. I told her what had transpired, and she suggested that I stop using our house as a meeting point for whack-jobs on Craigslist. I texted the guy that he was in a spot our neighbors use to park, but he just sat there with the engine idling all the same. 30 minutes after that, after I had closed up the blinds and turned off the lights in the living room, I stepped out for a breath of fresh air, and the guy was still there, now with his parking lights on.
Finally about an hour and a half after our initial five-minute meeting, he pulled away from the curb and drifted down the street into the cold night. I was relieved that I didn’t need to confront him or call the cops.
So, finally, the QOTD: What’s the craziest Craigslist kook you ever dealt with as a buyer or seller?