April 3, 2013

Judgement calls

Category: Random

After putting up an ad for about a month now and after entertaining countless queries on the item I was selling and not hearing from the potential buyers ever again , Squirt’s (cheap) temporary cot bed which we bought from IKEA a couple of months before he was born has finally been sold!

And there’s a little story that came with it.

This time round, when a potential buyer contacted me, asking if the cot bed was still available and that if she could come by to see the product, I was just too happy to oblige. Given the fickle-mindedness of interested potential buyers who had contacted me and then changed their minds, I was expecting more of the same. The only difference was that she made an appointment with me to come by the next day. I didn’t think anything of it.

Next day came, and closer to the time of the appointment, I received 2 missed calls. When I called back, a man answered the phone saying he is the husband of the lady who was asking about the cot bed. He said he was making his way to our apartment.

When he finally got to the main entrance, he called again saying that the security guard had refused to let him in even though he stated his intention of seeing me. I had to talk to the guard and convinced him to send the bugger up.

As I hung up the phone, I suddenly had a “light-bulb-red-alert” moment. Silver Bullet was out of town, the kids are already in bed, and I was all alone at home. What if the guard made the right call? What if the potential buyer wasn’t genuine, but, was actually some random people with a sick mind? What if something happen inside my own home because I let a stranger in – be it female or male?

I tried to push the thought out of my head, telling myself that it was just my paranoia on over-drive. But I went into the kitchen anyway, trying to find a weapon small enough to conceal in my pocket – apart from a kitchen knife that was too big for the pocket that I have (save for a butter knife!),  I couldn’t find anything when the doorbell rang.

I then took a deep breath, convincing myself that I was nuts and opened the door. The wind knocked the hell out of me when I opened the door to a much disheveled and scruffy-looking man in berms, tattoo all over his body with some facial piercings. I was already paranoid and given the circumstance, I couldn’t be more judgmental – simply put, I wasn’t prepared to see what I saw!

Flustered, I asked if his wife came along. He said he was alone as she had to take care of a baby. In my head, I went, “Right! It could be a convenient excuse for any ill-intention person”. But my other alter ego cursed me for being judgmental.

I knew I had to think fast, so I politely told him to give me a minute and closed the door on him as he waited outside. I reckon the guy was probably offended when he saw the reaction on my face – but what’s a woman alone in her own home supposed to do?! (I know, I know, I should have thought about it, but honestly, none of that thing crossed my mind before the guard refused to let him up)

So in a split second, I decided that I should call the guard up, just in case – for, should something happened, it would be better to have someone accompanying me rather than no one at all. I wasn’t counting my luck on the guard to be honest (he is usually not very keen to leave his post), but luckily for me, our trusted, regular maintenance guy picked up the phone.

In my pidgin Thai, I asked him to come up to the apartment and tried to explain to him that I needed him to just hang around.  I wasn’t sure he understood, but he said he would come up anyway. I then quickly decided to drag the dismantled bed pieces out to the hallway, instead of leading the guy to the room to see the cot bed. That way, our maintenance guy would arrive just in time, he could inspect the goods and decide if he wanted it after all, and if anything untoward happened, I could just bash his head with the wooden planks!

Just as I opened the door again to show the guy the goods (me apologizing profusely) which I dragged out to the front door, our maintenance guy came up. I tried to tell him my intention, but it was not getting through. He then decided that he was not needed there, and wanted to leave. (Arrrghh!) By then Mr.Tattoo decided that he would take the cot bed, and I took the opportunity to tell our maintenance guy that perhaps he could be so kind to help get a taxi. Just as quickly, our maintenance guy disappeared into the elevator. (Argghhhh!)

Mr. Tattoo thought the goods looked fine, didn’t really bother to inspect it and handed me the money right away. We chatted a little bit and when I asked, he said that they have a 2 week old baby. He told me that they got some cheap bed for the baby because they didn’t have much money. The bed they have did not appear safe to them, and thought that the IKEA bed we were selling came with credible safety standard and seemed to be good value for money.

Just as quickly, even though I was still a little wary, I warmed up to Mr. Tattoo – I somehow felt a little guilty for my paranoia. In my defense though, under a different circumstance, I don’t think I would be half as judgmental or paranoid.

I then offered him some water  – which he was grateful for, while waiting for the taxi to arrive. And knowing that he has a new born, I asked if he needed anything else.

Funnily enough, I ended up leaving him alone in the dining area several times because I was running up and down to get stuff from the room, including a couple of old mattress covers and newborn clothings for his baby. I thought it would be better to give those stuff away since they were still in a pretty good condition, and he certainly didn’t seem to mind hand-me-downs.

In the end, all ended well. Nevertheless, I don’t think my paranoia was unfounded. The me-being-alone- at-home scenario when strangers visit to view items we want to sell and not knowing if they are genuine buyers, is,  in retrospect, quite a scary thought. It was really stupid of me to agree to meet up with strangers when Silver Bullet wasn’t around.

The incident was a good reminder to err on the side of caution. It made me realise that such things should not be taken lightly as one never know what is going to happen. And when things do happen, they happen in a split second, and by then, it might be too late.


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