posted in: Chicago 0
"Beware pickpockets" sign. Photo: Wikipedia
“Beware pickpockets” sign. Image: Wikipedia

Are you in the market for a bed? I’d love to sell you one. If you’re one of the two scam artists who tried to rob me this week, I’d love to poke you in the eye, which is the PaperGirl way of saying: [REDACTED] you.

I have a beautiful oak bed I need to sell. The bed is modern minimalist in style. Oak. Gorgeous, deep brown finish. Low to the ground. A fantastic bed. I got it on Overstock for a head-slappingly good price and I have the receipt to prove it. But that’s not all. I have a dreamy, cloud-like mattress to sell, as well. It’s a Charles P. Rogers “Estate 5000,” which clearly means it’s good. These things were purchased and used by me for exactly three months while I was in Washington, D.C. Remember, all my furniture was here in Chicago. The first months I was in D.C. I rented furnished apartments; when I moved into the Kennedy Warren, furnishing was on me. I needed a place to sleep, so I bought the bed and mattress.

I came home, though, so now I have these enormous objects in my hallway. They must go. I made cute signs and posted them on my building’s bulletin board, but that was three weeks ago and no bites. So, Monday evening, I posted an ad on Craigslist. Together, the bed and mattress are worth many hundreds of dollars, which is important to note because my experience with Craigslist would’ve been different if I was selling a collection of half-grown Chia Pets for four dollars.

Immediately, I got emails and texts from people who said they wanted to buy my stuff. I was thrilled! I communicated with the one guy — not a great speller, incidentally — who wanted the mattress and a gal who wanted the bed. Strangely, they both were out of town and told me they’d have a mover come get the furniture. Seemed reasonable. One offered to PayPal me. That seemed fine. PayPal is safe. One said she’d do a cashier’s check, which was okay with me, too. Those are legit. I’d love to tell you I was unsure about either of them, but I wasn’t. I was excited to sell my stuff and reclaim my hallway.

Clicking to edit an ad on my Craigslist page, I clicked the “Avoid Scams & Fraud” tab. Everything they warned against was happening to me: text messages with bad spelling, asking for my PayPal account number, the cashier’s check option (Craigslist says these are always, always fake), and the employing of a third party (e.g., a mover, a friend.) I felt sick. I was totally playing into scam artists’ hands. Once I understood what was happening, I texted each person back and said, “You’re trying to steal from me. I’m not interested in speaking with you. Good luck.” No response from either “buyer” since then; I have the hunch I was right.

I’ve had my purse stolen. I’ve had two bicycles taken. And my car was towed once by legendarily evil Lincoln Towing Service in Chicago, which is a kind of larceny. The feeling one gets when one has been suckered, or fooled, or taken advantage of, or relieved of personal belongings without consent is a feeling akin to having a nightmare. Because like a nightmare, when you’re stolen from — or about to be stolen from — you’re disoriented; you’re confused; it’s spooky; there’s a kind of dread and vulnerability present; there are boogie men.

When I blogged about my condo up available for rent last summer, it worked: I got tenants. Maybe this will work, then: I am selling a bed and a mattress. Facebook message me if interested.