I’ve been searching for a bike rack on Craigslist for a while now. I know what I want (Saris Bones) but finding a used one at a good price can be difficult and the timing has to be right (they sell quickly).

Yesterday I found a Saris Guardian on there for $40. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but I was OK with it. I emailed the person last night asking it it was still available. In order to make this as impartial as possible, below is the time line of emails quoted exactly.

Me:

“Hi,

Do you still have the bike rack for sale?

Thanks.

Bryan”

Notice how I open with a greeting, use a complete sentence, and use a closing with my name? I’m a firm believer that our correspondence is a direct reflection of ourselves. This includes emails.

Response:

“yes, the rack is still for sale.”

Me:

“That’s great news. I’d like to buy it. Just let me know when it’s a good time to pick it up and if you’d like to meet somewhere. I live in Dallas near the Plano Rd/635 exit. I work until 5 so it would have to be after six or so.

Thanks.

Bryan”

I’d like to point out here that I committed to buying the bike rack in this email with the words “I’d like to buy it.”

Response:

“There is a starbucks just south of george bush and west of 75 where I could meet you.

710 West Renner Road, Richardson, TX?

My number is XXX XXX XXXX (number removed for privacy)

How about 6:15?”

This is where I may have gotten into trouble. Because the guy setup a time/place to meet, and gave me his phone number, I took this as a commitment by him to meet and let me buy it. Obviously I was mistaken.

Me:

“Sounds like a plan. My number is XXX-XXX-XXXX (number removed for privacy).

Thanks.

Bryan”

I just confirmed the meeting place/time.

Response (7 hours later):

“change of plan, someone was able to meet me near my home earlier today. Thanks for your interest”

I was kinda floored as I thought he and I had a done deal. Then he goes and sells it to someone else?

Me:

“You sold it after I told you I would buy it?”

I admit I was lax in this email. I did capitalize the first letter of the sentence though.

Response:

“yes, it worked out better for me to do a closer quicker sale. sorry for your dissapointment.”

What he’s really saying is that it was more convenient for him.

Me:

“Am I disappointed? Sure, I would have liked the bike rack but what really bothers me is you committing to me and then selling it to someone else. I just want to leave you with one piece of advice, a man is only as good as his word.

Take care.

Bryan”

Response:

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but unlike ebay, there are no contractual obligations on CL. Please consider my email alerting you to the fact that I would not be showing up as a sign of decency. I don’t recall saying ” I promise to sell this to you on oath of death”. I don’t sell things on craigslist for other people’s convenience. I know that will make sense to you after you cool off a little bit.”

I read this last reply from him and just shook my head. To me, a sign of decency would have been following through on the commitment he made to me to meet. He doesn’t recall saying “I promise to sell this to you on oath of death” (oath of death is kinda overboard isn’t it?) but I wonder if he recalled setting up the time/place to meet after I committed to buying it?

There was no point in replying to his last email. I knew it was a lost cause and I would just be wasting my time. He wouldn’t understand. Or maybe I’ve lost the big picture here. Set me straight if any of you think I’m in the wrong here thinking that it was inappropriate for the guy to sell it to someone after committing to meet me and after I told him I would buy it.

I’m off to search for another bike rack.

Image courtesy of Mel B.