I used to have a boat for sale on Craigslist.
It was a nice, clean, turn-key little trailerable boat for a good price. I was willing to entertain trades. The boat's value was documented by a recent full marine survey. No way to get hurt on it. I priced it below value. Should have been a snap. But in 2011 the economy is still sucky, and none of the prospective buyers could pass a credit check. I knew Craigslist was a bad, bad place -- akin to some seedy, urine-reeking alley in, say, Oakland, California, or Harlem. Mostly what you attract on Craigslist are society's losers, the leftovers, the problem cases, the head cases, the dopers, child molesters, murderers, fools and assholes. Why? Because that's the mentality that Craigslist appeals to. Like attracts like? That's my theory.
It was a BOAT for God's sake. A lousy $6000 boat. How complicated or unpleasant could it get.
I must have fended off every single type and strata of human vermin that exists on the planet, from the Nigerian Scammers to the American Scammers to the Russian Mafia scammers to prostitutes who wanted to trade services to tattoo artists who wanted to trade services to cops who wanted to trade services (uh, exactly what services would those BE, sir?). The list is too lengthy for the Internet. And there were the outright assholes, the crack-heads who were really pissed because I wouldn't take $400 and payments, or their girlfriends, mothers, daughters -- you freaking name it. Craigslist is Craigslist. It caters and appeals to the bottom of the barrel, the film around the toilet rim, the LEFTOVERS of society. Well, so be it. I'm a big boy with lots of Federal law enforcement years busting corrupt politicians. I figure I can deal with Craigslist. After all, you sorta have to, if you want to sell anything anymore, because Craigslist, being free, has run just about every other classified advertising solution out of business. That might be fine if Craigslist then replaced all those honest businesses with something that works. But it didn't. And it won't. And so here we are, the American public, almost completely without a way to sell our stuff because the sheer aggravation of trying to deal with Craigslist's losers and assholes, not to mention the certain apoplexy of trying to deal with Craigslist itself, makes it simply NOT. WORTH. THE. TROUBLE. Craigslist ain't even worth free.
A case in point:
I get an email out of the blue from a guy who calls himself Abraham Seminario, at AbrahamSeminario@aol.com, and here it is for your perusal, in Italics:
"PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF WE CAN TRADE"
Great! I was curious so I browsed to his ad and took a look. Here's the ad in Italics:
Nice 1996 Honda ST1100 motorcycle with less than 42K miles. " TRADE " - $4900 (brentwood / oakley)
Date: 2011-08-19, 6:16PM PDT
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Nice 1996 Honda ST1100 motorcycle with less than 50K miles. Looks great and runs great. Never wrecked. New Yuasa HD battery last month. Honda topbox; clearview 22" windshield, good tires and brake pads. Normal maintenance each year except for the timing belt replacement last year. Thought it would be good insurance to replace it due to age since no problems had occurred ( Honda suggest replacement at 90,000 miles).
In addition Has power outlet in instrument panel with lighter. Has 40 amp. alternator to handle electrical loads easily. Gas mileage is excellent and typically between 50-54 mpg. Has been inside over winters in heated storage.
Sale for $4,900 Cash
I will trade for a Jeep, Rv, Boat, Car, Truck, etc.
Please call for more info. (925)325-3865
I immediately remembered looking at the bike in previous weeks, and dismissing it because the price was unrealistic. I also didn't want 50,000 miles, and I didn't want 1996 carb'd technology. But since this guy was approaching ME on it, and since there was a possibility I could be talked into it for the right deal, I figured I'd explore it a little deeper and see where it lead. The first thing to do when considering any purchase of this type, of course, is to consult the Kelly Blue Book values. I did that, and here's what KBB says about this bike, assuming its condition is "EXCELLENT":
You see this all the time on CL. Really -- like 2 out of every 3 ads, and then sellers wonder why their stuff doesn't sell.
But the KBB isn't the end-all, be-all of vehicle values. In the end, it's WHAT YOU CAN GET that determines the actual value. Trouble was, I'd seen this bike on Craigslist for a long, long, LONG time, and it clearly wasn't selling. The NADA book puts the high value higher, but it lists the low value much lower -- like in the mid teens. I looked around Craigslist and found quite a few of these in the $2500 to $3600 asking range. I'm not sure why they're valued so low. I, personally, always kind of liked them. They're not fast at all, so that might be a factor. But still, they're not a bad low-end sport tourer. I already had a bike, so I wasn't hot to get a bike. I figured this might be fun for awhile, and in a few months time I'd just sell it off. I figured I'd start asking a much more realistic $3800, and if I had to, I slide down to as low as $3200 in order to actually make the bike go away, and even then it might not sell. There are plenty of these around. Of course that's far below the clearly documented value of the boat. So the bike owner would need to sweeten the pot a little. Actually, he'd have to come up with another couple of grand, in cash or trade stock, and that would STILL have me losing a little more than I cared to on my boat. I was hesitant to get involved with this bike at all, mostly due to its age, and due to its mileage. True, some of these bikes will go 100,000 or more miles. But many (many) won't. By the time you hit 75,000, you're starting to wonder and you're a little hesitant to take off on long trips. I like to be done with a bike by about 50-60,000. Maybe I'll stretch it to 75,000, but from 50,000 to 75,000 is only 25,000 miles -- less than a year for me. And just TRY to sell a bike with 75 or 85,000 on it. KBB lists the trade-in value at $2225.
Still.....there was a possibility here. I wanted the boat out of my driveway. I could park the bike in the garage and fiddle with it over the winter. Better to have a bike than a boat. I could have possibly, just possibly, put something together with this guy. I emailed him back very politely, as follows in Italics:
Hi. I have actually looked at this over the past weeks and I do confess some interest. There was a time when I was hot to get ahold of this particular bike. Unfortunately the mileage is much higher than I like, and if you check the Nada and KBB you'll see that your asking price is way over the street values. I still could be interested but I would have to see either some cash, or some more trading materials. I can maybe meet you in the middle somewhere, but as it stands I just can't lose that much value on the boat. I did have a full marine survey done on it last year which put it at exactly $5000. Then I added the 1000 watt stereo, the new VHF radio, the GPS, the Sonar and a couple of outboard brackets for kickers. So the value is very well documented at $6000 or above. If I owned the bike and I was listing it for sale, I would list it at about $3800 and hope to get $3200. I would probably ride it for a couple of months and then sell it myself, so that's what I'm looking at. I have other bikes here. Where is the bike?
This was my way of opening the door just a bit without being too committal. I figured a polite discussion would ensue and maybe we'd come to an agreement, or maybe we wouldn't. No big deal either way. Abraham Seminario could have replied in any number of ways or, if he wasn't interested, he didn't have to reply at all. Decent human beings conduct business decently. What other kind would you want to do business with?
Abraham Seminario did reply, and here, in all its glory and all its putrid, fermenting ugliness, is his so-intelligent retort:
FUCK YOU. DOME ASS
So there we have it. A real bright boy. A true sociological prize. Just another California genetic blank. One more hot-headed Craigslist asshole among countless millions. Steps were taken to make sure this human turd couldn't easily contact us again.
I think it's official: The world is now overflowing with them, like some rotting Chinese Sanikan toilet.
There are on this earth some types of gutless wonders who would never, ever act like this in real life to another man's face, because they know they'd sooner or later pull this childish tantrum on the wrong person somewhere in the world and lose their teeth, or possibly their life. Often it's the "Banty Rooster" types who perpetrate this crap -- the "Little Man Syndrome", the "Short Man's Complex". We've all seen it and been disgusted by it. They sneak around on the Internet, sniping here, insulting there, screaming obscenities even when decency would have served them better, even when they have not been attacked or provoked, even when there's no logical reason whatsoever to show the world the inside of their rectum. I think they just LIKE being dirty little assholes, but only, of course, when they have an imaginary barrier between themselves and their target, like a closed car window, or the distance of miles. These are the fools who cut YOU off in traffic, then flip YOU the bird, and when you end up next to them at the next light, they'll never, ever open their door and talk face to face. Never. In combat there are a handful of methods for purging these lousy shits from the units, because they are worthless in a clinch, they are a detriment to and a drag on morale, and all they do is whine and cultivate dissent. Pretty soon even their friends want to throttle them.
I had another dirty little hunk of human feces insult and threaten one of my office girls once. For zero dollars I filed an anti-harassment suit against him. Since I didn't have his full name and address I filed against John Doe/IP Address. Once filed, I had subpoena authority. With subpoena authority you can do amazing things. For $217 in attorney's fees I served his carrier (Verizon) with a subpoena and that revealed every single thing there was to know to bring him to trial. Let us just say that he was AMAZED when we caught up to him at his home. He thought he had been so invisible, so anonymous. Dirty little punk. The smirk on his face is gone now.
My boat ad had been posted on Craigslist without a single complaint or flag. Yet only hours after hearing from Abraham Seminario my ad was flagged off as spam. I wonder what could have happened? Let's see -- here's some speculation: Abraham Seminario emailed every one of his friends (assuming he has any), and fed them some sort of ridiculous story, and implored them to flag my ad. Being unthinking clods, they did so. And voila, my ad was gone.
Let's take a closer look at this, just in case this is really what happened. To send a stupid, unprovoked email like that could be considered the first instance of criminal harassment. Most prosecutors insist on three instances before they'll formally file charges. To flag another person's ad for no legitimate reason could be considered the second instance of criminal harassment. We already know which email address and IP address the offending email came from. It's a simple matter to subpoena Craigslist for the IP address(es) of those who flagged the ad. And it's even easier yet to subpoena AOL for Abraham Seminari's server records to see if he sent emails to any of those who flagged my ad. If he had people out of state do the flagging, it becomes a Felony. Suddenly, if he did this, this is no longer just plain old harassment, it is CONSPIRACY to commit harassment. And at this point it becomes ever so much more fun to prosecute because you can file it with the FBI and the penalties are staggeringly more harsh.
Craigslist is the bottom of the sewer barrel. It's the worst. It attracts the worst. I think it LIKES the worst. It's not a "service" nice or decent or honorable or logical people use. They've tried; they are giving up in droves. And now so have I. I would FAR rather PAY MONEY to an advertising service in order to be able to conduct reliable, professional business with a reliable, professional company, instead of wasting my time rolling in the elephant dung under the bleachers at some Third World Circus called Craigslist.
Abraham Seminario, come at me again. Just once. In any way you prefer. I'm right here waiting, you ignorant lump of pus.
So you don't LIKE this aspect of life in these United States? You wish the world was made up of INTELLIGENT and LOGICAL, even REASONABLE human beings? Of course you do. The state of our society could be advanced thousands of years if not for those members who relentlessly struggle to drag us down and backwards.
So what to do.....
I went to a bar with a friend many years ago. I thought we were just going to socialize. He had other ideas. Immediately upon entering, my friend was beset by some real pieces of local hillbilly garbage. They were taunting him, bumping against him, walking by and whispering that he wouldn't make it out alive, etc. My friend stood stoically and never uttered a word. I watched and considered it great entertainment. My friend was a Navy Seal and as tough as they came. Still, there were five of the bad guys.
At some point my friend decided he'd reached his limit. He grabbed one of the punks by the throat and slammed his head down on a neighboring table. The yuppy-puppy patrons were backwheeling, girls were screaming -- the usual. I thought Andy was going to pummel the guy half to death. I figured I'd let him take three, and I'd take the other two if it came to that, because Andy was frankly stronger and tougher than me. But Andy had apparently REALLY had enough of these suburban twats. He grabbed the dazed fool by the top of his hair and bent his head backwards over the edge of the table. From his pants, to my utter astonishment, Andy drew a 30 inch machete. He'd had it there all along, knowing this would happen, and deciding that he just didn't care any more. The bad blood was worse than I realized.
Andy drew the little jerk's head back over the edge of the table and hauled back with the machete. I was standing directly behind my friend, and I remember saying, "Oh shit." As the blade came down I hooked my arm into Andy's elbow and stopped the downward swing. The fool who'd started it had become fully conscious just as this happened, and I believe for a few seconds he thought he was already dead. As I said, it was great entertainment.
It took a week or so to get all the legalities sorted out, which constituted most of the downside of this, but the punks were well known trouble-makers and the sheriff's department had less than no sympathy for them. No charges were filed.
I was lamenting to another friend perhaps a month later about the unpleasantness of the incident. It had been fun, but had I missed Andy's arm by one inch, been just a split second slower, it would have been tragic. I was saying to this friend that I wondered why the world had to be such an often putrid place, populated by trouble-making little assholes like the five guys who were after Andy. Why did I always have to put up with those sub-human losers? I wanted life to be "better". I wanted PEOPLE to be better. I had better things to do.
My friend acted as though he was in deep thought for half a minute, then said, "Well, let's see now. How COULD one avoid ugly incidents like that in bars.....?" He tapped his fingers on the table.....thinking.....thinking....and I thought hard right alongside him. Then he slammed his fist down on the table-top and made all the guns jump an inch (he was our gunsmith). "BY GOD! I KNOW!" He bellered. And I awaited the dissemination of this obvious epiphany with baited breath. Finally he continued, "UH.......DON'T GO TO BARS!!"
And that epiphany was transfered straight from his brain to mine, and I GOT IT.
Don't GO to bars, and you will never, ever experience stupid incidents IN bars.
Pretty damned simple. I'm ashamed I didn't grasp the concept earlier in life.
So I say to you, if you're tired of dirty little Craigslist snipers and scammers and fools and insolent, illogical drunks and dopers and deviates and ripoff artists and fools and disgusting, shameless cowards and assholes, the solution is simple enough:
DON'T GO TO CRAIGSLIST.
If you do, you have no one to blame but youself, because that's one place this mentality lives....and THRIVES.
You don't walk down dark alleys in Oakland or Harlem at 3 a.m.
Don't, then, also go to Craigslist, because those places are one and the same.
Note: We have a great deal more information on this case in our files; we're so far declining
to disseminate it. We'll wait and see if the case becomes any larger through future developements.
Let us just say that people who work in retail sales might be more mindful of the image they project.
Realistically priced models below: