16 September 2018

Truth in Advertising 1

Craig’s List
In an unusual local ad, a young lady offered men’s shaving services for free, beards and mustaches not included. Curious, I queried the offerer, who politely wrote back.
    She’s an Orlando UCF student. Her privates shaving service really is free– not even tips allowed. Her clients are mannerly, and she finds her hobby challenging, entertaining, and stimulating.
    Maybe it’s just me, but why not? I can’t pinpoint why, but her avocation oddly charmed me. Surely a romance author or French film-maker could find an offbeat story here.
I ended up with a couple of vehicles I didn’t need and decided to sell them through Craig’s List. They were flawed and I made that as clear as possible. It occurred to me both had a criminal element behind them, hence today’s article.

Craig’s List and Small Crimes

Craig’s List has become an international institution, represented in seventy or so countries. Oddly, the US has the most restrictions. Although CL has helped federal authorities solve crimes, state and local prosecutors threatened lawsuits against the enterprise, claiming its personals facilitated prostitution. Politicians further surmised it could encourage pedophilia, citing approximately the same proof found in Alex Jones’ favorite pizza parlour. Sorry, boys and girls, Craig bent to political pressure and shuttered its personals section.

But today’s column (and next week’s) is about cars and petty crimes.

1. Mercedes 450SL

Restoring a forty-year-old sports car started out as a project until other matters intervened. Needing the garage for other things, I parked it in front, whereupon a local kid vandalized it, as described in the following ad copy.

Turns out, after I placed the ad, the State of Florida couldn’t locate all its records, including chain of ownership. It further appeared a woman from Canfield, Ohio may have forged signatures on its title. The DMV is still working out this unexpected wrinkle. In the meantime, I ran this ad and, like a good writer, I told its story.

CL Orlando > for sale > cars & trucks > by owner…

1978 Mercedes 450SL

1978 Mercedes Benz 450SL make:

4.5L V-8

A charming teen miscreant vandalized my 1978 Mercedes 450SL. Neighbors explained I’m not allowed to dismember the little shìt, so I’m selling my poor car for the highest offer.

Body: 2-seater cabriolet designed by Friedrich Geiger. Engine: 4.52 litre 90° V-8 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection. Suspension: independent double wishbone diagonal-pivot swing axle Speed: rated 210kmph, in excess of 130mph. At 100kmph, the machine tachs at a mere 2865rpm. Overall: sexy.

The roadster can be switched from a hardtop to convertible. Both hard and soft tops come with this vehicle. The paint code is Gentian Blue.

It needs a lot of work. CL has no ‘rough’ option, so to be fair, I’m telling you it’s rough. I rebuilt the engine, so retorque head-bolts. I’ve tried to document the damage, mainly smashed windows and shredded tires.

If you always wanted a classic Mercedes sports machine and love tinkering on motorcars, now is your chance. Save back enough cash to sand, repaint, and fix the damn windows and tires, then make me an offer I can't refuse. Hey, I might need the money for bail if I catch that little window-smashing sod.

Can’t get more forthright than that, can I? Next week, I sell a dumb drug dealer’s SUV.


  1. What a shame it was vandalized!
    But you may get a story out of it yet even if you don't get a running sports car.

  2. You know who did it? Why not make him/his parents pay for the repairs?

  3. I think it's only kids who smash windows. Somebody put a rock through our big picture window back in June. I think it was a neighbor who is about 10, but I didn't see him do it. In any case, people around here tend to be unmotivated & it took us 6 weeks to get someone here to replace the window. We paid a bit more but the replacement window is plexiglass.

  4. Janice, that's about the way I viewed it, at least write about the thing!

    Barb, the kid lives in a single-mother household. While she tries to be a good mother, she don't pay attention to the things she should, like her kids running wild. Astonishingly, his younger sister holds her own when his riffraff buddies show up. Fortunately (for the neighborhood), they moved a few months ago.

    Elizabeth, kids (boys?) seem to take particular joy in smashing things. Sexist as it sounds, maybe it's not only boys– I'm thinking of Sean Baker's The Florida Project, starring Willem Defoe.

    Elizabeth, eons before installing security cameras in January, I built fakes out of spare parts. (Damn, I miss Radio Shack!) It blinked an LED and served as a deterrent as long as I remembered to change its batteries 3-4 times a year. Orlando has a great store called Skycraft which is loaded with peculiar parts salvaged from technical gear. It makes a great geeky resource for such projects.

  5. Love the ad.
    Yes, kids do love smashing stuff. We were doing a fundraiser at a small town fair one time, and I proposed getting an old junker car from someone (donated, of course), and selling whacks at it with a crowbar ($1.00) or sledgehammer ($5.00), $10.00 to smash a window. We made a mint.

  6. That's brilliant, Eve! I think I witnessed something like that when I was a little kid staying with my grandmother. Her house was adjacent to the high school, where teens inexplicably attacked a wildly painted car with sledges. I was so little, it didn't make sense at the time, but now I understand what was happening.

  7. Leigh, it was one of our best fundraisers EVER.


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