When life gives you Craigslist scammers, make John Hughes lemonade.

I've had an interesting year or two. 

I've become a father. I've leased upwards of 6 cars and then either re-leased them to other people or sold them. I've fallen in love. I've hurt people. I've just run the gamut. 

It's created an odd version of me. I write less. I get so stressed out by all of these dumb decisions I've made that I lash out at people in awful ways. I've mastered the art of projection at a Donald Trump level. It's a (large understatement) bummer. 

So, when your life becomes a mess, you get a mop or an incredibly nice Swiffer Wet Jet. You learn to make your son your entire life. You learn to tell the people you love and care about that you (wait for it) love and care about them and that you're sorry for keeping your foot in your mouth for upwards of a year straight. You drop to the floor, you cry a little, and you just stop. 

And slowly but surely, it gets better. And better. And you begin to see the you that you used to be again. 

You find him laughing and writing again. In a bit of a surprising way...

A few months ago, I was selling a Volkswagen e-Golf on Craigslist. I tried it, it was fun, but it turns out commuting with an electric car just wasn't going to work for me.

However, a man named Scott Donald told me it was going to work for him. His "clients", rather. They wanted the car, badly. Even if they aren't real people. 

Craigslist spammers/scammers are a fascinating breed. It's hard to even be sure who or what they are. Are they robots automatically responding to things in the hopes that some person will bite on some odd thing and send money somewhere like Malaysia? Are they real humans with poor written communication skills that are so close to knowing how to scam someone, yet so far away because they may or may not know how to use words in the format of complete sentences? 

Who knows what or who Scott Donald is. I really can't say. But I know this:

Our correspondence has brought me back to life in a way I've missed. It's been the best time I've had writing in forever. And I look forward to his emails everyday. 

Below are my back and forth emails with Scott as we tried to work out a deal to get his "clients" my Volkswagen e-Golf. These are 100% real, and seem to still be going. Enjoy.


EMAIL 1:

Scott makes his play, even though he's busy with other business things, so it's pretty clear this is serious.


EMAIL 2:

I risk my life and send my home address to a Craigslist spammer who may or may not also be a murderer, solely because this might be a fun back and forth so why not die for it. (I used photoshop, but yes, I honestly sent my whole address.)


EMAIL 3:

Scott writes back a day later (even though he is constantly urging for ASAP responses, which seems one-sided and rude, Scott) and lets me know I should Oil the electric vehicle, which does not use oil. 


EMAIL 4:

I assure Scott that the well oiled, non-oil-requiring machine is his if I receive payment in the 3-5 days promised, and let him know that it will go back on the market otherwise. 


EMAIL 5:

After 20 days of not hearing from Scott Donald, he emerges at 5:39am with an urgency and news that the check is in the mail, but for $110,000, which is $86,000 more than I had asked for. Even though this has clearly passed my 3-5 day deadline, looks like the ball is in my court and I've got a real conundrum on my hands.


EMAIL 6:

I do swiftly respond as asked (as I always have, Scott, no need to ask anymore), but sadly, not with an answer I think Scott likes. I even throw in a flippant "haha" that says: "I'm disappointed that you believe the car is still available, Scott. And I also do not believe you are a real human being."


EMAIL 7:

Scott responds even swiftlier, and I think now I know why: Scott is in a real pickle, and he needs to get that money back and a new car to his clients, p-r-o-n-t-o. I'm concerned Scott has made promises he can't keep to these mysterious buyers.


EMAIL 8:

Being the good guy that I am, I try to calm Scott down and let him know that I've got a few ideas for how he can get out of this. Heck, maybe even how we can get out of this.


EMAIL 9:

An amazing turn of events occurs: not only is Scott excited about my new ideas, it sounds like he's in. Who knows how a man who is commissioned to buy vehicles for people suddenly becomes a man who is interested in used home furniture and electronic goods, but who am I to judge. Maybe Scott's just a guy who's always looking for a good deal.


EMAIL 10:

Seeing a new deal falling into place, I let Scott know my big idea. And I also let him see a little bit of the real me that I've been afraid to show him until now. 


So far, no word from Scott on what he thinks of the deal. To be fair, it's a LOT to take in, so I imagine he's just running the numbers by his son to make sure the California electronics store can handle that kind of inventory. It's surely going to change their business model, so if I were them I'd take my time, too.

I'll let you know if he ever gets back to me. If this has left you with anything, I hope that it's this:

No matter how weird or bad life gets, no matter how awful your decision making skills tend to be, everything will always be okay. It gets better. Always. 

Because somewhere out there, there's a Scott Donald waiting to correspond with each and every one of us. We just have to let them in.

Drew Hoolhorst

San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

I have a black belt in feelings.