I would like to start off this post by saying that what follows is a true story. I don’t mean to imply that my other stories are not true, but this one might seem a little hard to believe. So I wanted to make sure that everyone knows I am not making this up.
A couple of days ago I rode my bike to the library to return some books. There is a Bank of America that shares a parking lot with the library, so I stopped at the bank to deposit a check.
As I rode up to the ATM a white truck pulled up and the driver rolled down his window.
“Hey guys, listen to what just happened,” he said.
At first, I looked around to see who the “guys” were that he was talking to. I was all alone, so I figured I must be the “guys” he was calling out to.
He went on to explain that he owns a store that sells speakers and he just met a client who accidently gave him two more speakers than he had ordered. He said something about how the guy only spoke Spanish so there was a miscommunication and he wasn’t able to give the speakers back. So he had two extra speakers and he said he was “looking for cool people to give them to.”
I’m sure with my bike helmet and backpack, it isn’t hard to see why he thought I was “cool”.
I told him that I didn’t need any speakers but that didn’t seem to faze him. He got out of the car and showed me the speakers as well as a website on his phone that showed the value of the speakers to be over $2,000.
I asked him why he couldn’t just sell them in his store along with the others he purchased. He said, “bro, I can’t do that. That would be illegal.”
I didn’t really understand why, but since I am not up-to-date on my speaker laws, I said “oh, okay” like a dummy.
After I told him no thanks a few more time it was clear that he wasn’t taking no for an answer. I finally said, “Best I would do is 100 bucks” thinking this was such a low ball offer that he would give up and drive away.
To my surprise, he said “Throw in an additional $20 for beer and you got a deal. And I’ll even drive you and your bike home.”
To this, I gave in and figured what the heck, maybe I will resell them a make a couple of bucks. So I withdrew $120 from the ATM.
It is here in the story that I would like to point out that not only did I break the cardinal rule of not talking to strangers, but I was about to give a stranger money and jump into the back of his truck. I never claimed to be smart, but in my defense I figured I could probably take this guy (despite his advantage of having about 30 more tattoos than I do) or at least I could out run him if something happened.
Back to the story…
Since his truck was filled with boxes of speakers, I told him I would sit in the bed of the truck and hold my bike as we rode to my house. I figured this would make it harder for him to kill me, you know, if that was what he was going for.
As we drove away from the bank, I looked at the box of speakers. I decided I would Google the speaker’s brand so I could get a better idea for how to resell them.
The first page of Google pulled up results about a scam that described the exact scenario that I currently found myself in. (You can check out that page here). People had posted about a guy with tattoos pulling up to them at the bank in a white truck and offering to sell them speakers.
Even I am smart enough to realize that I was sitting right in the middle of a scam. I’ll admit that I was a little embarrassed.
At this point I remembered a saying I’ve heard numerous times, “if it seems too good to be true, it is.”
When the truck pulled up to stoplight, I considered jumping out of the truck and riding away. I visualized a chase like the following scene from Premium Rush.
But before I could muster up the guts to make a break for it, the truck was moving again. Realizing that I probably shouldn’t let this guy see where I actually live, I yelled for him to pull over at the next left.
Once the car parked I hopped out and told the driver that I looked up the speakers on my phone and found people posting about the scam. I apologized for wasting his time but said I would be keeping my money.
At first he pretended like the internet was crazy, saying “you can’t believe everything you read online.”
When I told him that it described the exact scenario including his white truck he responded by saying, “uhh…well…this is more of a van, not a truck.”
I’m not a car expert, but even I know the difference between a truck and a van, so I just kinda smiled. At this point I think he got the idea and he said, “your loss.”
I apologized again and rode away. I decided to take a long zigzag path home, looking over my shoulder the entire time. Maybe I watch too many movies, because I kind of thought he would follow me home. He did not. I guess he didn’t want to waste any time before finding the next sucker at a bank.
I wanted to share this story with you not to explain how exciting my bike rides to the library can get. Rather, I wanted to reinforce the saying that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
I have heard this saying dozens of times, but chose to ignore it for a chance to make a few bucks. Next time you come across a situation that seems a little too good, I hope you are smarter than me.