Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another of Those Things That I May Only Ever Do Once in This Life

Yesterday evening, I gave away my TV, Digital Antenna Receiver, and DVD Player. To a racist.

Since I'm heading off-continent for a few months starting in August, I've been pretty thoroughly downsizing my holdings (retiring many t-shirts, selling things like half stacks, guitar pedals, and French horn music and mutes, giving away many books, donating even more books to the library, selling and giving away much of my furniture). This is generally a fun thing to do, at least for someone like me that doesn't really care much about material possessions, so enjoys the opportunity to practice what he/she preaches. Also, a lot of what I have was given to me, so it's nice to re-gift the stuff. That's the case with the table and chairs I gave away to an incoming MFA student, and the other tables that I'm giving away to another just-moved MFA--all given to me at some point whilst moving/living here in Miami. And with the TV and receiver that I just gave away last night; the TV was given to me by a former MFA, and the receiver was purchased with a receiver-purchasing gov't card given to me by another friend. I bought the DVD player, but like eight years ago, so giving it away doesn't really feel like a loss of money.

So this is how to give away a TV, Receiver, and DVD Player:

--Have a friend come over and take a picture of them with his digital camera
--Post the picture on craigslist, saying "buy this stuff, $20 for all of it"
--Sit back as zero responses roll in for your stuff (perhaps here it deserves mention that the TV is not a flat screen, but an old-fangled CRT thing)
--Delete your "for sale" post, and switch the picture over to the free stuff category on craigslist
--Sit back as dozens of responses roll in for your now-free stuff
--Weed through the responses, many of which are spam, for the earliest, most realistic response
--Take note of the email from craigslist saying your post has been flagged and removed, presuming that this has to do with the amount of spam you generated for yourself with it
--Respond to that real-seeming response, telling them to come on by for the stuff

I'd add additional directions for how to specifically find a racist to give your stuff to, but I don't really know how it happened. Except that, once the guy showed up, on the way up the two flights of stairs to my apartment, the guy was talking like a regular Mel Gibson (I was gonna say Mark Fuhrman there, but being at a computer-on-the-internet five days a week gives me ability to update my topical references). Basically dropped an n-bomb or two every other step. Which is, to the say the least, awkward, especially when one lives in an ethnically and racially diverse neighborhood and building like I do. Luckily we didn't pass anyone.

I did have the thought, for a moment, to say something, like "You, sir, are a racist!" or "Okay, racist, no TV for you." or "I'm sure your interactions with these other humans has very little to do with their being of a non-white complexion." But I didn't. I just went ahead and gave him the things. Which seems fine, in the end, really. He seemed like a nice guy otherwise. Sounds like he was planning on giving the TV away to someone else himself, so it'll keep on giving, until the tubes finally burn out.


Blogger nate said...

You might do better in the future by ending all follow-up calls with some version of the following script:

"Oh, there's one more thing: The TV tuner's broken so it only picks up the Spanish-language channels, and the DVD player has the 20th anniversary special edition of Do the Right Thing stuck in it. So..."

[Suitably awkward pause]

"How do you feel about that?"

You might think at first blush that these claims would fatally reduce interest in the equipment you need to unload, but remember it's listed for free on craigslist, where you could list a paper grocery bag full of crap and have people beating down your door within 20 minutes. When I moved away from Arlington I put up an offer for a free "end table" -- or rather an approximately cylindrical hunk of particle board with some kind of wood-grain-patterned laminate running almost all the way around it, which held my telephone and unopened mail -- and despite getting exactly zero bites in a week from a "$3 or best offer" listing, I successfully gave it away in about two hours, most of which time was taken up by the recipient driving 40 miles from Manassas to my apartment to claim an unsellable item which, if merely tipped onto its side, became basically indistinguishable from garbage. So, to summarize, I think you can actually choose your beggars with abandon.

7/14/2010 7:57 PM  

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