Last week I read in the papers of a man from Yorkshire who handed over £200 for an iPad only to receive well…not an iPad. The Yorkshire Post reported as follows:
“The victim was approached by a man in Dark Lane, Batley, who offered him an iPad for sale. The price was agreed and the men drove to a nearby cash machine on Commercial Street where the £200 was exchanged for a black laptop bag which the victim believed contained the iPad. However, after leaving the scene he discovered that it was actually full of potatoes.”
Poor, poor man. The realisation which must have flashed across his face probably resulted in an expression not too dissimilar to an Edvard Munch painting. I do feel sorry for him though, mostly because I have been in that position of being duped before myself. Twice. The first was during my student days on the way back from the library after a hard night’s studying. A minicab driver pulled up next to me and leant out the window asking whether he could borrow my phone. I interrogated him as well as Inspector Clouseau might, and found he needed to call his girlfriend who was “super pregnant bruv”. With my limited medical knowledge I failed to realise that there aren’t actually different levels of how pregnant one can be beyond “pregnant” and “not pregnant”, and that, coupled with a naïve faith in man that has since disappeared, meant I generously obliged. He then started talking about the weather (odd considering the imminent “super-pregnancy”) before the scoundrel drove off laughing in the face of youthful gullibility (who said university doesn’t educate you beyond the library?).
The other time rings closer to the ballad of Mr iPotato – I found a brand new iPhone 4 on EBay for the quite delicious price of £360, and quickly pounced on the opportunity. Four days later, I received something resembling an iPhone but the clunky graphics and preloaded Chinese music soon gave it away as a fake. I take some comfort in the fact that my seller had at least attempted to fob me off with an imitation Apple product rather than merely groceries.
On both occasions I was greatly annoyed at the material loss suffered, however I must say I was more worried about how much of an idiot I had just been. A minicab driver without the means to communicate? A brand new iPhone 4 from a private seller with almost £150 off? Absolute madness. What the latter story serves to remind is that when something is too good to be true, it usually is. Paying full price on items can cause pinches of discomfort when you see the same thing (supposedly) for 40% off but take solace in the fact that you’re not going to end up with just a bag of over-priced potatoes.