A few years ago, prior to our 5th born’s birth, my wife and I searched Craigslist for a new stroller. My wife researched the options and was interested in purchasing one classified as a “Pram Style.” Brand new, these items ran in the hundreds of dollars…heck, I could of saved money by jamming handles into the back end of a Yugo. However, a pre-owned Pram was a different story. Delaina found a stroller online and negotiated a price less than one hundred dollars…Yes! Only three trips to sell plasma!
Delaina dialed the number, talked to the woman of the home, and set a time for the stroller to be delivered. The woman’s husband drove up to our house one evening; I met him down at the street. In the fading daylight, he popped the trunk, pulled out the stroller, and launched into his sales pitch…actually more of a live infomercial. He noted the checkbook in my hand.
One lever reclined the seat. A button transformed the stroller from front to rear facing. Foot brakes…Rubber white-walled tires with a suggested air pressure…Keep your hand off the red switch or the baby ejects…So much to remember. But in the stroller world, this was a Cadillac. I pushed it up our steep driveway and rolled the royal blue wonder into the family room, feeling like an employee on Pawn Stars. I bought it at a great price and could one day turn a profit.
Everything went south from there…
The evening I purchased the stroller, my wife missed the demo to care for our fourth born who was battling the stomach bug. In fact, when I noted the stranger pulling up to the front of our house, I rushed outside before Delaina could volunteer to hear the pitch. I don’t handle vomiting well. In fact, if I’m in the same zip code of a person hurling, I experience sympathy vomiting. In hindsight, Delaina should have given the stroller the old once over.
The first problem arose when my wife tried stowing the stroller into the back of the SUV. No matter how hard she pushed, the rear hatch refused to close. So, on a day scheduled for a home school field trip, a friend chauffeured our newly purchased “blessing” into a neighboring city.
The stroller weighed almost as much as a Chevy Volt, and on multiple attempts, my wife couldn’t heave it into our friend’s mini-van. So, our friend, Ms. Rachel, strong armed the stroller into her ride and off they caravanned to the zoo. And the nightmare continued. At the zoo, my wife learned that the stroller rolled like a dream on straight stretches. Sadly, the wheels didn’t swivel, and tight corners turned into mommy nightmares. After wrestling with the stroller all morning, she called and informed me we needed a new baby carriage. No problem, I thought. This was going to be a money maker.
I listed and re-listed on Craigslist multiple times. No inquiries. No emails. No calls. I lowered the price, consenting to taking a loss. Still no bites. I soon envisioned the man driving away with my check, looking in the rear view mirror, saying,
I decided to give Ebay a whirl. First, I searched for the stroller type and brand. I found a person who sold these models regularly. So, I listed our stroller. The first time around, a person submitted a bid, but within a few hours, retracted his offer. Smart man. I decided to list it one more time…Success, sweet success. So, I thought…
A buyer placed a bid and held out for the auction’s end. I sold the item for a few dollars less than my investment, but with a small padding in the shipping, I felt relieved; I was going to break even. I hauled the stroller to a local UPS store, prepared to ship the “lemon” to Stockton, CA. With a little oomph, I lugged the stroller onto the counter. The employee weighed the item and I guessed correctly. I was going to break even. Then he whipped out a tape measure, typing in the dimensions. The sales clerk glanced up from the computer, peering over his glasses and said,
“We’re going to need to build a special box. “
Sure we are, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
So much for breaking even. I ended up paying the man from California to take the contraption. I could’ve shipped it cheaper on a Peterbilt. My second born looked up at me and said,
“You didn’t get a very good deal, did you Dad?”
Yes, I can hear the man now…Sucker.
I walked out of the store, grumbling, washing my hands of the whole thing.
“At least it’s over,”
I said to the kids. But no, I was wrong. The stroller kept giving like the joy shared after an all-you-can-eat chili cook off.
I received a message from EBay. A case had been opened against me through the auction site. The stroller never made its destination. Without talking to UPS, I assumed it was because a driver slipped a disk tossing it into his truck. When the store opened, I called and explained my plight. According to their records and tracking number, it had been delivered, dropped at his door. Great. I guessed some gang member snatched the box from the porch, hoping to sell the item to make money for drugs. The joke was on him. No one was going to buy. Poor sap probably got stuck pushing his homeboys around the hood.
Believe it or not, there’s a spiritual lesson here. The Bible informs is in Ephesians 6,
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood.”
In other words, spiritual battles are raging all around us. If we’ve strapped on the full armor of God, and the battle ensues, when the dust clears, we’re still standing. But we should never think,
“Okay, that battle’s over. I can let my guard down. Time for a breather.”
That’s not how it works. Satan never plays fair and when he sees our defenses drop, he strikes again. In fact, if you’re living for Christ, Satan oftentimes sets traps at the most unexpected times, and the skirmishes are never convenient. As Believers, we must always be ready for the schemes of the Prince of this world.
Back to the stroller. Where is it? Who knows. It ended up being UPS’ problem. Since then, I’ve decided to limit my sales on EBay to ugly sweaters. Come to think of it, some might consider these from a nether region as well.