They say you should be careful what you wish for. At least that’s what my parents told me.
Hang on. Please. We’re not accepting questions till the end. Please let me finish. You see, I know a thing or two about stupid questions. I used to ask them. A lot.
I did it on purpose. Ain’t I a stinker?
Let’s say you want to sell something on Craigslist and you’re writing the ad. Anticipating the stupid questions that are sure to come, you try to imagine everything the idiot masses might ask. You write an informative and cohesive advertisement for your item. You include pictures and measurements. You thought of everything.
Except the stupid questions, of course.
That’s where I come in. I’m the guy asking the stupid questions.
I’ll give you an example:
Ad: “Out of print Tomb Taker action figure, poop intact, original shrink wrap, unopened, mint in package. $999.”
From Tom: “Dear seller. I’m interested in the tombee figure. How much is it? Is the poop accessory included? Also, has it been opened? Hurry, because I want to bid so bad.”
I used this tactic a lot. Especially during the heady days of eBay. (I mean in the old days when it was still an auction site.) The days when I was spending $1,000 a month on Styx CDs and my dice collection. I’m still not sure why my marriage at the time didn’t work out.
The idea is simple: How will the seller respond to your idiotic questions? That’s the proverbial window into their very soul. You want to know their true nature before they have your money. Because once they have the money it’s too late.
Three things might happen:
- No response: This is not a good sign. When transactions go sideways (and they always do) you need a seller who is willing to work with you to resolve conflicts. The strong silent types are not good at this. Recommendation: Do not buy. Danger, danger! Move along. There are other action figures in the sea.
- Angry response: Ah, paydirt. You just peeked behind the thin veneer and got a rare glimpse of the future. A future that is sure to come if you give this person your money. You just avoided stepping in a pile of poop and that’s priceless.
- Compassionate response: You get a timely reply that patiently answers your questions with kindness, even though they were already explained and answered in the ad’s subject line. And they don’t point that out. Ding ding ding. We have a winner! This is a person we can work with.
If you purchase things from people online I think you’ll come to agree that this technique is invaluable. You’re welcome!
What stupid questions have you been asked? Maybe someone was doing a science experiment on you, too.