The other day, I evidently created a Craigslist post that I had no recollection of making until opening my email the next morning. Accompanied by the image preceding this paragraph, it said, “Does anyone want anything? Anything at all? There’s a decent chance I’ll give it to you.” A number of responses came in before the post before got flagged and removed, with only this one exchange carrying any bit of real weight to it.

Aaron: I could use 700 bucks to get my bills caught up. ????????

Me: What’s your email? You have e-transfer?

At this point I have no intention of giving him anything.

Aaron: My email address is in the email exchange I believe [redacted] I have used email transfer before. Thanks in advance… lol. I’m sure your just messing around but it was sure fun to play along! ???? Take care.

Me: Too many people asked for money and nothing else, which to be honest is a bit boring for me, but understandable. I get that dollar bills are the most coveted item of all in our little world, but it’s only useful for trade, not for happiness in and of itself unless you’re insane. Anyone who asked for less than $100 received that amount. Anyone who asked for more than that got $20 instead. It has something to do with my commentary on greed but I’m not sure what so don’t quote me on that. Enjoy your time.

At this point I send him $20, mainly so he’d wish he initially said an amount between $20 and $100.

Aaron: Wow not sure what to say but I will take a stab at it…
I get your point of view. It took a big swallow of pride for me to even answer that email. I don’t care about money like most and left a high paying construction management gig to work for 20 bucks an hour at Canada Post. I walk 20 km a day and have slowly destroyed my body but I get to walk my kids to school and I usually can make it home to see them by 330 if I hustle. They are what matters most and I make the budget work.
I also wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a kind gesture. We just barely made our bills yet again and that 20 bucks went to help pay our rental/home insurance. I also took the family out for Fish and Chips for Mothers day with the rest.
I didn’t really know what to ask for to tell you the truth. The thing I would wish for most in this world is to cure my wife’s health issues but sadly that is beyond a craigslist post. Not trying to play up a sad story I just wanted to thank you. I hope your kindness touched many others the way it did for us. Take care and I will pay the kindness forward real soon.

This last email had an attachment containing a photo of his family, two young kids and an evidently sick wife, enjoying the fish and chips, as well as several screenshots of his bank account proving that he, in fact, doesn’t have any money. WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS INFORMATION??? I’m sure I did not expect or want to feel any real emotions because of this experiment, but he has forced me to. I very, very briefly consider sending him a foolish amount of money, but instead I put it all on one spin of the roulette wheel. When the turn is over, 13 Black remains devoid of the silver ball, and so it goes…

Here are the rest of the responses, as well as my replies and thoughts on their message. They mostly go nowhere and are included primarily for those curious as to what various Vancouverite Craigslist surfers would request in such a circumstance.

Nikola: Dear Madam/Sir, thank you for the generous offer, I recently moved to Canada and I am on tight budget so any little thing will be put to good use. Could you please let me know when and at what adress would I be able to pick the stuff up? Many thanks and kind regards, Nikola.

Me: Hi Nikola, Please be more specific.

Nikola: Hello again, Thanks for the response. I’m not sure what exactly are you offering? Anything? Do I have to give you my soul in return? 😀 To be honest, your post got me intrigued and that’s why I contacted you not knowing what’s it actually about and I would be thankful if you’d tell me more about what are we talking about. Sincerely, Nikola.

Me: I cannot be more clear. You need to have something specific in mind. An item preferably. Be inventive. And don’t ask for money. I already gave enough money away but those people are boring. I get bored quickly, and when I get bored I move on.

Nikola: I feel you on that one, it seems that in life we must choose between boredom or suffering. At least us regular mortals. Well I love getting other people’s free stuff from craigslist (one men’s junk is another one’s treasure) but it’s hard for me to get around without a car or better yet, a pickup truck. I know it seems like I’m pushing it but that’s the only thing that comes to my mind when someone asks me what I need. It would help me work wise, too. Another thing – I am a drummer but I’ve no drumset since I came to canada. I love electronic Roland v drums (neighbours dont hear the noise). Last thing – if someone told me they can get me anything I want, I’d ask for my own place to live in. Other than that, I don’t think i have many wishes, I’m quite modest I guess and could keep living without these things. If I’ve gone too high in the value, which I’m pretty sure I did – it would be cool if you set a limit at least so I’d know exactly what i could ask for. Thank you for breaking my routine with this interesting conversation!

This guy went from no direction at all to naming a number of specific expensive items, none of which he will receive from me.

Richelle: Hi, First off, your ad made me chuckle. There’s a bunch of things I’ve been surfing Craigslist for for free or cheap. Let me know what you’ve got. Ps3 games, A chaise lounge, A trampoline (any condition. I want the mat for a project), PVC pipes/fittings, Tub shower walls, A patio zero-gravity chair (or other outdoor recliner), Wooden planter boxes, Gazebo, Wood color foam floor tiles (like is used for kids play area), A back massager, Corrugated clear roofing material
Sorry. It’s a long list. I know. If you’ve got any of it, I can come pick up pretty much any time. Cheers.

Me: This is quite a list, but it gives me something to work with. Which PS3 games do you already have? Besides that, I can do a couple of other ones. I will put them on top of my car tomorrow, I’ll let you know where it is at that time.

Richelle: I have: Darksiders, Tomb Raider (2013), Portal 2, Uncharted. I’m just starting this whole gaming thing so I haven’t got much.

Me: Go to the pale blue dot, in the alley behind a grey car, if you want these games and the planter. There may also be an unused back massager if i can find it in time.

[Editor’s note: The “pale blue dot” image has been omitted for privacy reasons, but for all you Sag Hags, no, it is not the photo you’re thinking of. Also, the referred to “These games” are Jacob’s and the author has no business giving them away, but all the same there’s gotta be some kind of squatter’s rights at play after this long.]

Richelle: Thanks! I live about 45 minutes away and we’re just having a mother’s day lunch right now, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to come. Is there a time you’d prefer me to come at?

Richelle: We’re leaving now and should be there in about 45 minutes

Richelle: Got it. Thank you. I liked your sign. 🙂

The content of the sign is between me and Richelle.

Erik: Astronaut Ice Cream, $400 Or Baked Eggplant from Toshi sushi?

Me: What’s your address? Or a nearby store (if you don’t want to give out your address and are okay with picking things up there).

Erik: Your post got flagged for removal, prettty sure it was because of the scary images. Hahaha.

He also included his address in the last message. I send him the astronaut ice cream from Amazon and intend on delivering him a baked eggplant after my next meal at Toshi. He picked my favourite item on the menu so I’m more than happy to do this. The cash request, like most of the others, goes unrequited.

Cindy: i like a water cooler, washer and dryer, fridge or stove. carpet or rugs. patio set.

Me: At some point in the next week, you will get an email with a Google Maps pin drop. 20 minutes later I will place at least one of the items you requested in that spot. Hope you get it before the scavengers!

Cindy: i change my mind. i like a million dollars instead

Me: you got greedy… i might still give you a rug

I elect not to even give her a rug.

Tron: I’d like some eauro bumpers for my 1983 bmw 320i. Let me know what you can do, Thanks.

Me: Do you have specific ones you want? Want to make sure they fit.

Tron: If you search e21 euro bumpers any set will do. Thank you so much, looking for to them!

I wonder if he’s actually expecting to get these…

I choose not to respond to any of the following individual messages.

Heather: If you’re legit…you’re awesome!

Duane: A car please.

Bree: Anything eh…? How about $1000? 😛

Jaime: What is it?

Larry: I want a new convertible top for my car

May 20 – Louis Theroux gets a partially philanthropic experiment
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