If you’ve ever used KIJIJI to find or purchase an item you may be able to relate to this story. Yes, you can get incredible deals. And, yes you can save a lot of coin. But, be forewarned, picking up those items may be dangerous to your health.
Once upon a time, my sixth month pregnant daughter found a Crib she wanted to buy on Kijiji. As Kijiji virgins we were quite apprehensive about how this worked. We got some advice from our more expert relatives. Really, it seemed quite easy.
This is how the fairy-tale all went down.
First of all we had a 70 mile trip to Thorold, Ontario. Long story short, we arrived at 3 pm, the time allotted by Tracy (the seller), for crib pick up. She had said in her ad that this very expensive crib was used at NANA’S place when her, “kids stayed over”. She said it was in excellent condition.
We were expecting to arrive at a house, given that this was a very high end crib. Upon our arrival, it seemed as if we were to pick up the crib at NAN’S place; kind of a sketchy high rise apartment building right in downtown Thorold.
When Sherrie and I were in downtown Thorold last summer we both thought – OK this town is a little bit rough and tumble. Of course, being right on the Welland Canal, that’s what a lot of small communities here are like – rough and tumble sailor towns (lots of drinking establishments and tattoo parlours).
Get this, one of the tat parlours was called, “Lynard Skin-Arts”. “Rock n Roll and feel the sting”, I guess.
Meghan looked at me and said, “Dad, we’re not going in there!”
Well this place resembled one of those apartments you’d see on 48 Hours or in the movies, you know the ones about gangs and serial killers. As we entered, we got the feeling that this was a housing project or something. I don’t think I’ve been in an 8 story apartment building that didn’t have a security controlled entrance.
The doors to this place hung wide open, almost inviting mayhem from the street people we saw cruising outside. No matter, a nice Pakistani man opened the door for us. Maybe this octogenarian was the security guard?
There was no list of tenants, nor was there an intercom system to buzz us up. The office with the bars on the window was closed. So, after exchanging furtive glances, we headed directly to the elevator.
We were followed by a little old lady wearing a toque. Oh yes, she entered the elevator with us. The elevator was about the size of a small closet. We were nose to nose. We were literally exchanging breath. I was hoping mine wasn’t too noxious. As for toque lady – well that’s another story.
She began with, “That girl is your daughter, isn’t she?”
Her long crooked figure pierced the air towards my daughter’s face, forward and back and forward again
“Well, yes,” I said.
“I can see you look alike,” she added. “Yup, she’s your daughter.”
I said, “No one has ever said that before.”
(Everyone thinks The Smurf looks like The Good Wife and not at all like Grumpy.)
“Oh, well,” she added. “It’s my job to study faces. That’s just what I do! Tee hee!” Then she smiled that kind of smile you see in horror movies. You know the one that has premeditated murder written all over it. She kept staring into my eyes as if she had the power to penetrate my thoughts.
Egad, get me out of here!
I didn’t mention that on our drive down Meghan was very nervous about this trip. She was having problems dealing with this Kijiji thing! You know random acts of retail!
We were a little thankful when we reached the sixth floor without incident. Meg’s partner, Jeff, and I both hate elevators. If you learned anything from these BLOGS it is that Grumpy has a rule about elevators.
This elevator was the kind claustrophobia was invented for. When that door opened we all jumped out. I was afraid Toque lady was going to follow us. I was relieved when she did not.
Meghan said, “So….. We just go up and knock on the door, then?”
Jeff and I nodded and said, “Seems so!”
So, that we did. Meghan walked up to the door and knocked.
A voice from inside, somewhat similar to that of a witch said, “Come right in! The door is open!”
Now usually someone OPENS the door for you. Usually a person is cautious about letting a stranger into their home unless, of course, they are armed and dangerous. Not here, my friends. We were asked to open the door and, “Come right in!”
Meghan says, “Should I open the door?”
Jeff and I nod as we take up Ninja like stances. I’m thinking even though the price for this crib is right, we aren’t going to find Bob Barker behind door Number Three.
Meghan opens the door and two little dogs run out, both friendly, jumping all over us. They looked like some kind of cross between a pit bull and a Chihuahua; real ankle biters
Then NANA emerges, blouse open, boobs in full view. In the background we see a guy who has very little skin left to add more of the biker tattoos he seems to favor. I’ll bet he spends a lot of his spare time at “Lynard Skin-arts”.
Meghan looks at me as if all of her the full force of her apprehension has come to pass.
No matter, the lady is quite nice, despite the fact there are no lights on and the apartment is clutter central.
All of the parts of the crib are stacked in the foyer. The crib is painted black. So, we politely say. “We can’t really see it!”
Granny says, “Oh, you can turn on the lights then.”
She said that as if turning on the lights didn’t occur regularly in this little lion’s den. When I reached over to the three switch panel, two of the switches were tapped in the off position.
Upon inspection we see that everything looks to be in good order save for a few paint chips and scratches. Jeff and Megs decide to close the deal. All of us want to get out of there as fast as we can.
As Meghan hands NANA the cash, I can’t help but think that our little purchase is going down much like a drug buy. The atmosphere is so right.
Nana holds up the mattress and says, “You know THIS is the comfort mattress. I bought it. Katy really liked it, you know.” Eyes wide, smirking – yes, we believe you granny! But, the way she said this had me thinking that perhaps Katy had gone away somewhere never to return.
NANA says, “I brought my son over to help you carry the stuff down.”
We can’t figure out whether this dude is the hubby or some guy who is addicted to Miami Ink. No matter, he smiles that kind of smile you saw in the mountain man from the movie Deliverance. Maybe I do look a little like Ned Beatty –soft, pudgy and nonthreatening.
So we gather up the stuff and make our way out. Mr. Tattoo actually says to old Grumpy, “I’ll take that heavy stuff for you, so you can take this lighter stuff?” That, of course, was followed with a big smile and a wink.
As we approach the elevator I feel that a “GRUMPY” moment is about to occur. A Grumpy moment is one of those nervous moments when the old guy does something – let’s say – out of the ordinary or just plain stupid.
We wait for the elevator for a time period that has me counting up to about ten thousand.
Biker dude says, “So, where you from?” I think he’s trying to break the ice.
“Simcoe,” I say.
“Oh, ya, I was ice fishin’ that way just last week,” he says.
I’m thinking, there hasn’t been any ice on Long Point Bay this winter. So, I continue with, “Well that’s interesting. The ice must have been fairly thin.”
“Oh, no, the ice was eight inches thick up there on LAKE SIMCOE!”
Oh, right, we are the Lake People; the ones that live on the bottom of Lake Simcoe and only come up out of the water during Valentines week searching for baby cribs on Kijiji. Its part of our spring mating ritual, I guess.
For God’s sake, doesn’t anyone know there is a town called SIMCOE near Lake Erie? That’s a few hundred miles in an entirely different direction from Lake Freaking Simcoe. But, because I’m not in the habit of scolding or correcting bikers I simply smile and nod my head.
When the elevator door opens, I jump in as if propelled by rocket fuel. Problem is the door closes behind me immediately. The last thing I hear is Meghan shouting, “Dad, press the DOOR OPEN button.”
But, that’s too late for me. I start pressing all the buttons because it feels as if the elevator is stuck and the door isn’t opening.
Duh! I’ve put myself in elevator Armageddon!
The elevator jolts and I’m on my way. I can’t tell whether I’m going up or going down. I clutch the bed rail I am carrying fully prepared to use it to either pry open the doors or as a lethal weapon.
When the door opens I jump out like a jackrabbit. Too bad I’m on the second floor.
I look for the exit and find the stairs. As I’m descending I notice that this stairwell might be used for more purposes than going up and down. The footsteps behind me have me scrambling for the first floor. Just as I am about to open the door to escape, I turn to see this giant (I’d say 6’8”) smiling at me like he was a hawk and I was a little mouse. He looks a lot like Boo Radley from the movie To Kill a Mocking Bird. I’m wondering if he collects baby crib parts.
I’m carrying a tiny mattress and bed rail, so naturally I feel vulnerable.
Get me outta here, Lord!
Finally, I emerge into the lobby and find that Megs, Jeff and Mr. Biker Dude have just come out of elevator.
We load my brother-in-laws van in about 30 seconds, No, I’d say about 20 seconds.
Screeching tires, we fish tail out of the parking lot like Startsky and Hutch. The van drifts to the right as we squeal past you guessed it, Lynard Skin-Arts! I never thought buying an item off Kijiji was like working undercover.
Really, we all feel as if we’ve just made a huge crack score on Queen West in Toronto. Nevertheless, the goods are in decent shape and my little girl is happy.