May 26, 2022 0 comments
By Brian Lockhart
The Orangeville Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police has set up a space in its parking lot that will be used for a safe trade project.
It’s a place right in front of the detachment where you can meet a stranger to do business online.
I don’t know how many police departments do this, but I’ve heard of it being done in other detachments and police stations around the province.
Online commerce and sales have become a real business. If you have something that you want to get rid of but still has value, you can post it for free on sites like Craigslist.com or Kijiji.com, and probably many other sites that I’m not aware of.
If you have something people are interested in, you will definitely get a response.
The first time I advertised online was for my car which had served me well but eventually developed enough problems that it was time to get rid of it. No sane person would buy this car, it just had too many problems, so it was time to scrap it.
I placed an ad with a photo of the car and a description of its condition stating that it was nearly complete but good for scrap. At the time, the price of scrap metal was quite high.
To my great surprise, I almost immediately received offers from about fifteen interested scrap dealers. Apparently they have people monitoring these sites as part of their business.
This car was missing the next morning when a guy arrived with a six-car transporter and an envelope containing $300 in cash.
The transaction was easy and completed by a legitimate business owner, who no doubt took the salvageable parts from the car and turned the rest into scrap metal to be melted down and recycled into the fender of a new car at a later date .
The next time I placed an ad, it was a very different experience.
I had ordered a pair of “Doc Martin” boots from a company in China. They actually looked like Doc Martin, and coming from China was a complete rip off. Yes they were cheap, but they looked good and the price was right.
Unfortunately, the Chinese version of the shoe sizes does not really match the North American version.
My size 10 1/2 boots felt more like a size 9. I tried them on and walked around for a while to see if I could break them. No – when your boots are a good half inch shorter than necessary, not much walking is going to make them comfortable.
What to do with a brand new pair of boots that you will never be able to wear? I took a picture and placed an ad for sale online for the same price I paid for them.
Almost immediately I started getting replies, not from local people. I was getting requests from all over the province, which seemed a bit crazy – it was just a pair of boots.
Late that night I got a message from a guy in Barrie asking if they were still available.
When I said they were he said he would buy them and could I keep them for him. I answered in the affirmative. I would keep them for him.
He then offered to drive down from Barrie immediately to collect the boots. That meant he would have arrived at my house around 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning
I declined his offer, but said if he came the next morning I would be there.
He said he could be there at 9:00. Sure enough, at 9 a.m. sharp, my doorbell rang.
This guy was super happy to have these boots and worried that I’d already sold them before he arrived – like I had a 3am appointment that beat him to it.
Yes, he was a little crazy. They were just a pair of boots.
The problem with selling online is that you will meet someone you don’t know. Not everyone has the best intentions when they show up to take a look at the phone you’ve advertised for sale.
The police initiative that allows you to meet directly in the parking lot of the police station for a sale, at least offers some security knowing that most people will not try to commit a criminal act while being recorded under cameras surveillance with police a few steps away.
This is a good move that can provide some comfort when you need to meet a complete stranger and money is at stake.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.