After finalizing the purchase of The Biggest Mattress in All the Land, the final thing I had to do was arrange for the sale of The Incomparably Small Previously Owned Queen-Sized Mattress. I knew it wouldn’t be hard considering it was a top notch mattress and that unlike Brooke and I some people are still forced to suffer the indignity of a bed smaller than a mid-sized sedan.
I followed the Standardized Rules of Selling Items on Craigslist and sorted the responses to my ad in the following order: Women who wrote coherent emails, women who wrote semi-coherent emails, Men who wrote coherent emails, women who wrote incoherent emails, Men who wrote semi-coherent emails, Foreigners, Men who wrote incoherent emails. Then I began responding. It turns out that the holidays is a tough time to sell a mattress. (You don’t often hear on Christmas morning, “A used mattress! Just what I always wanted!”) I actually made it all the way down the list to “Foreigners,” which culminated in a series of very confusing emails concerning the problematic lack of a “bed holder,” which I assume is another more stupid way of saying “bed frame.”
Disheartened, I decided to take a few days, regroup and repost the ad. Thankfully, the second time around I got a hit in the first email from a nice sounding woman who used punctuation and capitalization and everything. We made an appointment for her to come by and take a look at the mattress one day after work.
On the appointed day, she called saying that she was held up in Manhattan on the Upper East Side purchasing a bed frame from another Craigslister – which I won’t judge, but personally I prefer all my bedding materials to come directly from the sweatshop machine operators hands to mine – so would it be alright if her husband came by to look at it instead? Sure, I thought. Why not. Coherent woman must be married to coherent man, right?
Not so. Half an hour later, a man who I can only describe as “Huh?” approached my front door. If he were more self-aware, he would be ironic, but no such luck; he is genuinely doofusy. He comes in and begins inspecting the mattress. I offer to lay it down in the living room so he can test it out. (Note that this is more for my entertainment than his benefit.) He accepts, and we labor to lay down the mattress in such a way that it avoids the trash can, the Christmas tree and the coffee table. Puppy immediately jumps onto the bed, of course, prompting Doofus to let out a concerned, “Oh no!” as though Puppy’s paws were made of knives and red wine. Brooke holds Puppy back and Doofus lays down. I immediately sit down and type on the computer to prevent from laughing as Doofus rolls around, commenting on the softness, at one point rolling over directly into a low-hanging tree branch.
He then gets up and calls his wife, who says that she is just now leaving
Brooke: “Is Doofus going to stay here until she arrives from the
Me: “I don’t know. Can we kick him out?”
Brooke: “I think we can.”
Me: “Let’s suggest the coffee place around the corner.”
Brooke: “OK. Want to fool around later?”
Me: “Yeah, that sounds fun.’
Brooke: “OK, cool.”
He gets off the phone and I immediately, perhaps too quickly, say, “Coffee! It’s good, right around the corner.” Thankfully, he obliges and as he leaves Brooke and I agree that we need to stop selling stuff on Craigslist.
45 minutes later, Doofus returns with his wife. She is very nice; so nice, in fact, that I wondered if maybe Doofus had experienced some sort of head trauma after they married, and she has been too kind to leave him, instead standing by his side hoping that he will one day wake up and be the sort of man she once knew him to be. The two of them lay down on the bed and Puppy looks at me like, “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?” After some crafty salesmanship on my part where I highlight the pros of the mattress (“It was so expensive, and everyone loves it”) and pressure them into feeling as though they would be uncool to not buy it, they say they will take it. The wife goes out to the waiting truck driver, leaving me and the husband alone to complete the always awkward money transaction.
The husband counts out a wad of cash and hands it over. I’m trying to act all humble about it, like, “Oh, this is so fortunate! I can’t wait to donate all this money to
From across the room I see Brooke shoot me a puzzled look. Even Doofus stares at me confusedly. “A receipt?” he asks. “What good would that do?”
“Yeah, what good would a receipt do?” Brooke echoes, walking over to us now. I immediately realize the stupidity of what I have said, so naturally I try to cover it up with a lie. “Yeah, you know a written receipt. Someone once gave me one when I bought something off Craigslist. You know, just a piece of paper that showed that I paid him the cash and he gave me . . . the rug?”
Brooke is looking at me like she doesn’t even know who I am and Doofus seems even more confused. “But why?” he asks. (“WHY ARE YOU BUYING A USED MATTRESS?” I wanted to respond.) “Would the guy take a return?” Doofus and Brooke laugh at this. “No,” I proudly state, perfectly willing to accept the absurdity of the moment, “I guess he wouldn’t.” Happy to leave the conversation at that, Doofus then repeats, “So do you have a ten?” (Oh, a ten! Like change. Yeah, that seems a lot more plausible than a receipt.)
Just then the mover comes in, a real burly guy who seems bothered by the fact that he isn’t home watching the Spike channel. “Is this the mattress?” he asks. We all look at him. “Yeah, this one,” I assure him, pointing to the mattress on the floor in my living room, and officially remove myself from the situation.
Brooke and I close the door behind them spouting Good luck’s, as though luck had anything to do with it, and move to the front window to watch as Doofus yells at the mover for rubbing the mattress up against the dirty gate. Without taking her eye off the scene, she asks “Did you really get a receipt from someone off Craiglist?”
“Of course not. That would be ridiculous.”
The mover, fed up, puts his side of the mattress down on the wet ground. Doofus simultaneously yells and groans under the weight of trying to lift the mattress himself.
“Yeah. That would be ridiculous.”