In our final entry into this 6-part series about the fate of an Amiga I once owned, let’s consider some aspects of morality. For someone with close to seven years of sobriety, where I take sobriety as meaning being honest with myself and others, how does that apply to selling? How does that apply to the idea of keeping my word to one prospective buyer but having another come along with a more exciting price?
Before I paste in the interaction, let me provide full contextual exposition.
Counter-point to irony, now that we know the full situation, where I posted the computer without full knowledge of its price, had received eight interested buyer inquiries within one hour of posting the ad, we can now judge the situation without hiding any details. I went with the high-baller “Dan” instead of the first-responder “Ben.” I went with this decision because my feelings of being ripped off, from low-balling myself, were outweighed by having a more reasonable price thrown my way.
Here was the conversation:
Me: “Sorry, turns out someone stopped over and bought it just now.”
“Ben”: “Well that’s just shitty. May someone do that to you in the future.”
Me: “Sound fair. Take care.”
Is this a question of morality versus money?
As much as I think money is evil, we need it to survive, and money itself isn’t inherently evil. Only the value we place on it over others. For me, when I sell items, I’m not looking to make friends. I want to find out why people want the stuff I’m selling to write about them, perhaps in provocative 6-part essays exploring the moralities of going one direction over another, but money isn’t the primary decider.
I go with what my gut instincts tell me.
Over these past seven years, and hopefully more, of sobriety, I have learned to trust myself. I don’t think I’ll ever trust myself enough to have just one glass of alcohol, because I know that in my darker hours, that will be my reference point for reality. I will remember that event more than I will remember any other. That relief from the pain will be more real for me than any other event. For me, writing is the closest I can to expressing that unworldliness we might all experience, where we might share our darkest thoughts.
I failed someone in exchange for someone else’s satisfaction.
However, “Ben” isn’t a friend of mine, and although I did give him my number for ease of communication before “Dan” swooped up the prize, I am not overly worried about the curse he placed on me. Even Collector said, “Are you, um, obligated to sell it to the first guy for $20?” For me, buying and selling are not paths of morality, and even outside of those thoughts, I do not walk the straightest line. I walk a line that is straight-enough for me. If that means I dip my toes into some morally questionable territory, I do so with the trust that I can guide my ship through those murky waters toward a goal most suitable for me.
I have no bad feelings about this decision of mine.
I want to avoid doing the same thing in the future. I wrote about these experiences so that others may exercise the forethought I did not. When others have offers, decisive, between their “Bens” and “Dans” in their lives, they may not jump as quickly toward the first-responder. However, this won’t be much more of a weight than one of split-second guilt. I may think about this from time-to-time as I do with all of the morally-questionable actions I’ve done over the years, whether I knew about them at the time or not, but they don’t often weigh me down as much as the strife I encounter from people directly.
My answer was aloof because it was written.
If I had responded in person or over the phone, I might have responded more aggressively, responding hurt with hurt, but given the benefit of a second’s time to compose my thoughts, I decided not to perpetuate that hate. I deserve it. I am not a good person for having ruined “Ben’s” day here. I do look at it, however, as yet another example of thousands where our actions will always cause adverse consequences, so I think it’s better to make a decision and stick with it, then to regret it later due to wanting situations to happen in their most optimal state.
I can’t fix this situation, but I can fix future situations.
When others act in ways I disagree with, rather than lashing out at them, I can decide to let that roll off me. There is no need to retaliate against everyone. It is important, too, to accept criticism and feedback as avenues for growth. This is just a one-off example, told through six 1,000-word essays in a period of five hours? If I did this frequently, then yes, that would be a stain on my general morality. As it stands, I am not the white knight in shining armor.
My armor is rusty and in disrepair, but do I want it to be free and clean?
I prefer to have the edge of being able to look at a situation, figure out what’s gone wrong, comment on it freely, and get an immediate response. If that decisiveness means owning some of that rust in my armor, then that’s a weight I carry. Now that I’ve emblazoned contents of this sales transaction permanently into my memory through these essays, I’ll never forget the sense of balance I need to keep when selling future items.
I’m not completely ruthless, however.
If the last-minute high-ball offer had come after we’d departed our homes or works for our mutual meeting spot, then no, I’m not that terrible. I won’t misrepresent what I sell.
Otherwise, though, I was just selling some computer stuff, not actually using it as a complex moral situation…
|Quotes:  If you liked this essay series, go check out Collector’s Instagram for cool toy photography.|
|Sources: My selling experience.|
|Inspirations: This didn’t really tie in much to my half-hearted theme of the Year of the Rat, because in the English sense, a “rat” is someone that “rats” out others, and I only “ratted” out myself.|
|Related: Other Sober Living essays, but this is also part of the Selling Zeal section, too.
Amiga Clearance A01/06 – Introduction
Amiga Clearance A02/06 – Posting
Amiga Clearance A03/06 – Fitness
Amiga Clearance A04/06 – Selling 1
Amiga Clearance A05/06 – Selling 2
Amiga Clearance A06/06 – Rats
|Photo: A close-up shot of the ports to show there was no rust. I posted the ad with all that I knew it to be and nothing misrepresented or miscalculated. I sold it for AS-IS. If it didn’t work… well, this ain’t no Zombiepaper Thrifts.|
|Written On: 2020 January 03 [34 minutes, from 10:01am to 10:35am while listening to the FF7 soundtrack, written in WordPress.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 January 03 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|
|And now that we’ve arrived at the end of this 6-part saga, let me throw some additional information. When buyers and sellers use craigslist, you’re as anonymous as you want to be; you can use a fake name, the aforementioned fake emails, burner phone number, and all other ways to protect your anonymity. When buyers and sellers use these social media-influenced apps, you can see their profiles. For someone like me, I’m just here to get rid of stuff and gain some stories to tell, so it’d only be useful if I wanted to sell a bulk amount of things. Others might be looking for long-term profit, aka, selling for an expensive price to eventually resell at a premium.
“Ben” is a computer reseller.
Does that mean “Ben” wouldn’t have enjoyed the Amiga? It’s hard to say, but I think “Dan” is fixing up the Amiga right now, whereas “Ben” could have been more likely to resell it for $50 or $100.