I had a weird conversation last night. The First Reader and I are shopping for a beater pick-up truck. His vehicle needs to go in the shop, we’re planning to move, and we’ve been wanting a truck for hauling what-not for some time. So it’s time to get it done… I’m taking my usual route of shopping craigslist (owner only, which I’ll explain more in a minute) and our friend has been hitting facebook marketplace and sending us links to trucks he thinks are suitable. It’s… amusing, at times, to see what’s out there. I have a thing for vintage and antique trucks, so I’m having to step hard on the ‘ooh, pretty!’ reaction. For one thing, to all of our annoyance, car manufacturers have stopped making the kind of light truck we want. A lil’ Ford Ranger is about what we need, since we have a small trailer and no plans to shift anything massive around (notwithstanding the family joke about my inheriting this massive freight trailer… I have no idea where the started, but it makes us all start laughing every time it comes up and I point at my mom-mobile and ask ‘how the heck am I supposed to haul that!?). The First Reader would like a four-banger. I’m looking at 6s too, but I pulled up an 8 and he muttered at me last night, so that’s right out. He’s exhausted from working long hours and in no mood to shop, so I’m doing it.
Which leads me to yesterday. I never know, when I try to contact sellers on craigslist, what I’m going to get. For one thing, despite my specifically only wanting to buy from owners in a private sale, a lot of small fly-by-night dealers list their wares in the owner-only section knowing that people like me will skip them otherwise. I despise this, and will look carefully at the photos of the car to be sure I’m not looking at one that’s on a lot, or has been photographed in such a way to deliberately hide that it’s on a lot. I’ve driven up to an address in the past, gotten out, and dressed the guy down for false advertising before getting back in my car and leaving. If I wanted to buy a vehicle from a dealer, I’d shop the dealer listings. And I don’t. We’re paying cash for this, just like we do for all our vehicles, and we don’t fancy paying the ridiculous mark-up dealers put on their cars to make it seem like people are getting value for their trade-in. We’re not trading in, we’re not financing, and I’m willing to pay a fair price but I’m not playing the debt game.
So I try to call this dude. He answers, and it’s like we’re connected through tin cans and a string. The call drops, and I get a text apologizing that his phone wasn’t working right. I ask him if we can come look at the truck – it’s in the next town over from us – that night. Now, mind you, he has it listed for $1200 obo on the site. He texts me back that the truck is going to be $750 without a title, or $1500 with title, because he’d taken out a title loan on it that day. Uh. Dude. I want the title? I want to drive it, I text back. We have to have the title, or no sale. Yeah, no title, he texts back. So when are you coming to look at it?
I’m not. I finally texted him saying ‘if you don’t have the title, we’re not going to buy it. How did you think this was going to work?”
Logic? He has none. I’m going with drunk, desperate, and stupid in this case. We have several other leads we’re following up on today. One that the First Reader will be going to look at is owned by a nice older man with a slow manner of speaking that I took to over the phone. I try to trust my gut in these cases. There was an incident a couple of years ago, when I was shopping for a car, and the title thing came up. Only they had the title. What made me suspicious is that they weren’t willing to drive the three miles to meet me at the BMV or my bank to transfer the title (needed a notary, hence bank). They wanted me to come back in an hour, when a friend of theirs who was a notary would meet us at their house and do it. I took the title in my hand and looked at it, then looked back up at the two men in front of me. “so… who’s Margaret?” I asked, reading the name off the title. “um, oh, she’s my aunt. I’m selling the car for her.” One of them shifted his eyes to look at the other guy. I handed the title back. “I need to talk to my husband…” Such a useful out, for a female alone. The First Reader didn’t give a flying flip what I bought. But it was a graceful exit for me from a suddenly shady situation. What were they thinking was going to happen when two dudes were trying to sell a car titled to an obvious female name?
I know logic isn’t taught in schools any more. Five minutes on pretty much any social media site will tell you that. But really. Take five seconds and consider the immediate consequences of your actions. If you’re trying to raise money, maybe don’t list your truck and immediately hock your title within hours of doing so? It’s a good deal, he texted me an hour after my final text to him. No. No it is not. Were you thinking I was going to walk into the scumbag’s store with you and pay off your loan? Because that’s not happening. And I know for a fact that scrappers around here aren’t going to pay you $750. In fact, when I had the accident and we scrapped the Honda, I got nothing for it. And when we had the minivan hauled off after it had been sitting for a couple of years, the scrapper insisted on having the title even though no money was changing hands. Which wasn’t a problem. We wanted that hunk of junk out of the driveway.
Ah, well. I shall continue to be amused by the amount of stupid around me, and cherish the bright lights of intelligence I occasionally encounter. I have the privilege of working with several bright folks, which really helps. Although it makes it a bit shocking when I have to encounter the general population again and facepalm my way through those interactions. Logic? It’s a rare and elusive beast some days.