When a Facebook Marketplace deal feels more like a shady Craigslist deal

I’ve been selling stuff on Facebook Marketplace like the apocalypse is tomorrow. Everything from cameras to golf balls to yard tools, all of it has a price tag.

Most buyer interactions go fine. They really do. Except for that one guy who drove away cussing me out. That’s a whole other story! Those stories are very few and far between, though. The drama in this story started when someone reached out about an item I listed and wanted to come get it immediately. That’s fine with me, except that it was about 8pm. It just feels different when it’s dark out, don’t you think? I rarely give out my address when asked where I live so I wasn’t about to do that until this person was basically heading out their door (I give them a nearby address so they can at least know approximately where I am). In hindsight, I should have just met in a public place because it was getting late, really dark, and bad things happen in the dark. Anyway, it was a woman I had been conversing with on Facebook. She kept calling me buddy, which might have been the first red flag! She said she was on the way and sent her phone number. I sent my address and then the phone conversation happened. Second red flag, it wasn’t a woman on the phone, it was a man. Supposedly the woman’s boyfriend. He said he was a little over 20 minutes away. The item is one you plug in to power on, so I told him because of COVID that he can’t come in my house but I can plug it in and show him through the door that it works. He was fine with that.

Meanwhile, I had 20 minutes to mentally go through various potential scenarios for how this could go down. In that time, and I won’t get into specifics, but I was able to put a few safeguards in place to protect myself and keep the upper hand. One was clipped to my waistband. The other was a few steps away, and practically loaded. 

The gentleman showed up and I met him outside by the driveway. I met him as he got out of his car, which was a good way to size him up before he would have an opportunity to approach my door. We then went through the process of verifying that the item powers on. He stayed by the transparent storm door, but still got a little closer than I preferred. He was nice enough. The third red flag was that he asked a couple of questions that a pessimist would call invasive. It almost seemed as if he was curious about what else I had in the house, and that didn’t sit well with me. I envisioned what would happen if he made any sort of move towards me.  

In the end, there wasn’t any drama. I wouldn’t say it was “much ado about nothing,” but I’m glad he paid for the item and left without incident. Hindsight is 20/20 so looking back at it now, I could’ve, and should’ve, done a few things differently. I didn’t put myself in a good situation, and in fact, I willingly put myself in what could’ve been a bad situation.

Next time I won’t be meeting at my house and definitely not after sunset. I know there are plenty of good people out there, but why take chances and especially, why make it easy for them? I’ll chalk this up as a learning experience that I’m grateful for, especially that the red flags weren’t a sign of actual danger.

Have you had any experiences like this? How did you handle it and what did you learn from it? Comment below and thanks for stopping by!

-Out of the Wilderness

Published by Ben Wilder

Since 2005, I've called Nashville home. I'm the leader of the pack, which includes an 11-year-old beagle and a 9-year-old blue heeler mix. My days include writing, video editing, dog boarding, and other fun activities. Thanks for checking out my blog, I hope you enjoy it!

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