Sunday, August 24, 2008

playing nancy drew

Steve and I tried doing some of our own detective work yesterday and, posing as parents with different names (I even set up a new e-mail account!), e-mailed the stroller seller and asked to look at the stroller in a public place. We waited all afternoon to hear back, nerves on edge, discussing how we'd confront whomever showed up ... but there was no response to the e-mail. Yesterday evening, using my own name and e-mail address, I sent her a note ("Are you the pathetic and desperate loser ...? If so ...") and got this reply almost immediately:

Wow. I am most certainly not that person. Our family lives in Hinkley, MN and we purchased our B.O.B. off Ebay about 6 months ago and I had figured it would be much easier to sell while we are down here in the cities for the fair since we just purchased a new one in a different color. I am so sorry to hear what your family is going through and the nerve of someone to steal a stroller.. Who does that? That person will get what is coming to them for sure, I am a strong believer in karma as well. We will keep your family in our prayers.
God Bless,

[Female name]
After reading that, I went back to Craig's List and saw that the ad was gone. Either she sold the stroller, or she got scared and pulled the ad. It's a nice enough note, but I'm still skeptical about her story. For one thing, her Craig's List ad said she bought the stroller new, yet this e-mail says she got it off eBay. Besides, BOB strollers aren't too common on Craig's List, and I don't buy the coincidence. (And I wrote back and told her so.) But since I haven't been able to find the serial number for the stroller, and since we haven't been able to see the stroller in person, I have no proof that it's ours. Just a gut feeling. I think it's time to let it go, though, and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

* * *

More correspondence ... I am having trouble letting this go, and I am plagued with doubts about whether I am right or wrong about this person. Why I am posting all this on my blog, I have no idea, especially when one of my notes is shamefully rude and never should have been written. I should just stop, shouldn't I?

This is the one that really was beneath me:

Only you know whether you're telling the truth -- there's no point in trying to convince me with a nice note. BOB strollers aren't too common on Craig's List, and to see one fitting the exact description of mine listed just two days after it was stolen? Ha. I will remain skeptical until I see the stroller, and I highly doubt that's going to happen, right?


How dare you continue to harass me about my stroller that you apparently think is yours. Convince you with a nice note? I was being nice because your story makes me sick and I felt bad for you. I know how sickened I would feel if someone stole my stroller from me, but then, I wouldn't leave my $400 stroller sitting in front of my house, ever. But regardless, I sold my stroller yesterday so I suppose you'll have to remain skeptical for the rest of your life. Hopefully you do find your stroller, just so you can feel like crap for jumping to conclusions and being completely rude to me. Good Luck!


And, suddenly wondering if all this has been a giant coincidence after all but not ready to throw in the towel completely, an attempt to make peace.

I admit the tone I took was rude and beneath me, and I sincerely apologize if you are an innocent person blindsided by being on the receiving end of this exchange. I can understand how that would make you feel pretty crappy. I can only hope that you understand how I must be feeling right now. I am still sick and angry about the theft of our stroller and still too stunned about the extreme coincidence of seeing an exact same description of one being sold on Craig's List two days later. I do realize that I may be wrong, but I also can't completely dismiss the possibility that I'm not. Perhaps you would have the same feelings if you were in my shoes. You seem like an empathetic person in your e-mails, so I hope you can understand that.

I know that over time, as my anger and sorrow die down, I will have a better attitude toward this whole situation. It's just a stroller, after all, and there are many more important things in life than that type of stuff. God knows, I of all people should know that. I just had a real sentimental attachment to this particular stroller. But I won't digress about that.

I hope this helps you understand where I'm coming from.

God bless,


P.S. Just so you know, people in my neighborhood do leave their strollers out in the yard when they take their children inside, and sometimes they even leave them there for a little while, believe it or not. It's that trusting kind of neighborhood, which is why the theft was so surprising. We never leave it out overnight, but it only takes a split second to steal something.
Please, make this stop.


Anonymous said...

Very fishy, indeed. VEEERRRYYY fishy.

--Laura S.

Marketing Mama said...

Crazy. I love all the sweet God Bless touches she threw in. Weird that she didn't respond to your first response.

Eric, Cindy and Aidan said...

While there may be strollers in different colors that I like better now than when we bought ours 16 months ago, I wouldn't get a new one simply because I wanted a different color -- even though my stroller was no where near as expensive as the one you had. So, she spends nearly $400 on a red stroller six months ago and is already so tired of the color, she decides to spend another $400 on one of a different color? And, she's selling it for half the cost? BS. Plain and total BS. She's right about one thing: "That person will get what is coming to them for sure, I am a strong believer in karma as well." I hope she's ready for what karma will deliver. Shame on her.

Alex said...

I agree it sounds fishy for sure. A little TOO much of a coincidence. did mention the fact about her saying she ought it new but also bought it on ebay...just to let you know...I DID buy a Phil & Teds on ebay that was from an online store and was brand new. I lived in a small town in Canada and couldn't get the colour I wanted there...and in my search I did see many BOBs for sale brand news as well(just to play devils advocate).

That said...again...sounds like she'll be rotting in a very special hell for what she's done.

Mona W. said...

I hate to say it, but I think she was your culprit. The "one day only" sale - come on! Karma will smack her, that's for sure!

Jessica Griffith said...

If she lives in Hinckley, why did she misspell it?

Emilie said...

I was wondering the same thing, Jessica.

And good point, Alex ... I guess it's possible to buy new things on Ebay. But aren't they usually a little cheaper? Even we didn't pay $400 for that stroller.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, many people just misspell things they shouldn't -- just out of habit. See how many folks here rendered eBay as "Ebay" or "ebay" for example.

Queenie. . . said...

Her story doesn't add up. No one would bother with Craig's List on a short hop of a trip, to try to sell a stroller. And the new vs. eBay thing. And the price thing not matching. And who spends a pile of cash on a stroller, and then another pile of cash just to buy it in a different color, but bothers to sell it on Craig's List while they are away for a couple of days? Totally doesn't add up.

Is it possible to put an add in Craig's List announcing that your stroller has been stolen, and asking for help?

Anonymous said...

That woman is full of $hit. (sorry)

Like others pointed out, who buys two $400 strollers because they wanted a different color?

She said in the ad that she bought new for $400. I guess she could have been talking about their newer stroller instead of the old red one she bought on ebay, but that would be really stretching it.

She is a lying thief, and she will get what's coming to her.

I am so sorry. :(

Emilie said...

Well, I guess I could be wrong about the price; it seems the Stroller Strides model of the Revolution is selling for $398 now, though it wasn't that much when we bought it two years ago.

As for misspellings ... I think there's a difference between misspelling eBay (which is technically a capitalization error, rather than a spelling error) versus the name of the town where you live. It does seem strange to me that she misspelled Hinckley.

I guess I'll never know. I would feel pretty awful if it weren't her, but I just can't let go of my gut instinct.

Ahuva Batya said...

You were right, she is very likely the person who took your stroller. If she can drop $800 on two new strollers, she wouldn't really be needing to offload one so quickly. The whole things stinks and you should trust your gut. But speaking as a woman who just spent an entire evening dusting, while having immaginary confrontations with my evil neighbor, I think it's healthist for both of us to let go of our recent experience with humanity letting us down. It's hard, don't I know it. But take a deep breath and let go of that balloon, and watch it float away into the sky.

Jen J said...

I don't buy it for a second. Hinckley is a little over an hour outside the Cities. If she really does live in Hinckley she could easily list the stroller on Craig's list and people (probably) wouldn't think that the drive was too far. It's not like she lives in Milwaukee, WI or so.

My "favorite" part of her e-mail is "I know how sickened I would feel if someone stole my stroller from me, but then, I wouldn't leave my $400 stroller sitting in front of my house, ever."

SERIOUSLY!!! She is going to put you down for leaving your stroller out front? WTH! Hasn't this woman ever left her keys in the ignition while she runs in to the house for just one more thing?


Like several have said... she'll get what's coming to her.

Sue said...

Emilie, I am so sorry you are going through this, what a huge bummer. And yeah...people don't tend to misspell the name of the town they live in - come on!! I also believe this is the person that stole your stroller - things just dont add up here. At this point, it seems out of your hands and you can just know that the universe is just and she will get what she deserves. The only other comfort I can add is that you wont always feel this way about your stroller, the strong emotions will keep fading away.

Christina said...

Emilie, don't feel bad about succumbing to the urge to correspond. I would've done the same thing, being unconvinced and just itching to get some kind of resolution.

I still think this sounds fishy - between the misspelling of Hinckley, the desire to sell after 6 short months and it fitting your exact description. Also, do you have tax when you make an eBay purchase? I thought it was just shipping that's added to your cost.

I can't believe this woman has the gall to chide you for leaving it out on top of it all! So much for being compassionate.

SO SORRY you have to deal with such unresolved frustration!!!

Christina said...

The other thing -- and sorry for dwelling on this -- is that if I were her, only innocent (which I doubt she is) I would give you some kind of proof to put your mind at ease, empathizing for your situation. The ability to resolve it by way of hard proof would be easy for her to do, yet she hasn't lifted a finger. That bugs me!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Christina. I also would want to make an effort to prove this to you to put your mind at ease.

On the other hand, if she truly were innocent (which I do not believe), she could have been deeply offended by someone telling her that this was not her stroller. Not knowing you, she would have needed to look past that feeling in order to try and understand your need for proof.

Nonetheless, her story doesn't add up, and I do not buy it for one minute.

Anonymous said...

When we sold our 9 year old Baby Jogger on Craig's List last summer it sold in about 20 minutes, with more than 10 people wanting it. We had calls from as far away as 150 miles. I also thought we listed it too high, given it's "mileage", but the response indicated otherwise. The woman who bought it drove a total of 3.5 hours (home from work, to the bank, to our house) to get it. You can sell a stroller in Hinckley!!

More than that is the idea that you simply replace your stroller for a more desirable color six months after purchasing it. Seriously. Get some therapy for your multiple issues.

Cindy said...

Maybe you could post an add to the BUYER of the ... ?? Once you get a response maybe you could dig a little deeper with their help.

Good luck and (((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

Em, the first thing that comes to mind, assuming she's the one who stole your stroller, is that the very fact that you confronted her should make her sweat. Yeah, you may not get the happy ending of her getting in trouble with the police, and you getting your stroller back. But at least she knows that you "saw through" her stupid add.

Yeah, it's not fair. You and I both know especially how unfair things can be. But at least you got some justification.

- Susanne

Ellen said...

OMG, Cindy is so right! Post an ad (not "add") to the buyer in the title and maybe something will come of it.
What's fishy is that the person had a really bad attitude when you wrote the email back to them. If I were her, and someone accused me of selling a stolen stroller and it wasn't me, then I would just ignore her emails. But she just bit right back. Why don't you post her email address on your blog so we can all tag-team her? Or tell the police that she's the culprit? The reason they are probably so unhelpful is because they get hundreds of calls like this a day.

Anonymous said...

Hey - you're all too suspicious. :-)

I believe her for two reasons. 1) to buy a new one for the sole reason of getting a different color is so stupid, why would you make that up? Perhaps she is such a profligate spender, that it didn't even occur to her that it would seem odd to others, so she just told the truth. If I were going to make up a story, I'd say my kid had grown out of it, or that with now 2 little kids, we bought a double-stroller (why else do 99% of people get rid of strollers?).

2) Her last comment is key:
"Hopefully you do find your stroller, just so you can feel like crap for jumping to conclusions and being completely rude to me. "
That sounds like something I'd say if I was falsely accused of something. If she's innocent, it's the only way she can feel that your false accusation is "karma-fied".

Don't get hung up on this person. It could have been her, or it could have been someone else. Either way, the thief exists. If it's not her, and you waste your energy being mad at her, think of all the time you missed out on when you could have been mad at the real thief.
Sorry, I jest to make a point.
Seriously, though, it may distract you from finding the real culprit. Focus your thoughts and energy in positive ways. Pray that by some miracle, you'll get it back. Or, pray for the soul of the thief, to change their ways.
Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those....

Who am I to preach? I still get irked a little when I remember my very first baseball glove being stolen at school. It was a 1st Communion gift from my Godparents. Probably my favorite gift up to that point in my life. To this day, I don't think I've ever been as excited about a gift someone gave me. Oh well... I guess I better do some praying tonight too.

- C.S. reader

darcie said...

Hi Em ~ Haven't been here in a while and am SHOCKED at this...I'm a bit skeptical of this broad - and if you aren't ready to let her off the hook yet - you could ask her for her ebay user name - you could see her feedback and what she has purchased over the course of a certain time frame...Seriously - what parent buys a replacement something that costs several hundred dollars simply for the color?

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you have THIS to deal with as well as everything else on your plate!

I totally think that she stole your stroller. I had a very similar experience - my car was stolen and my beloved peg perego was in the trunk. It had so much sentimental value to me - my son slept in that stroller for a good part of his first 6 months of life (long story, doesn't make much sense looking back on it, actually!). So when I found my stolen stroller listed on Craig's List a few months after the theft, I emailed the seller, pretending to be interested in buying. I found out that it was missing the same components that mine would have (since they weren't in the trunk when it was stolen), fancy that! My husband said I should let it go, but I had a really hard time with it. Of course we had already replaced the stroller by then, but that was not the point! I wanted my stroller back, or I wanted the theif to get caught! So I contacted the police to find out what I should do - they offerred to escort me to the seller's location (coincidentally only a block away from where my stolen car was recovered!), but my husband feared for my safety and wouldn't go for it. I kind of agreed with him. But I did send the seller an email similar to yours, saying that I know this is my stolen stroller, I hope you feel suitably guilty for taking something that is not yours that was so precious to someone else, and that if you're not willing to give me back what's mine, you should just please give it to someone who really needs it for free, someone who could really use it. Of course she replyed that she bought the stroller 6 months before at a garage sale (whatever - people don't sell $500 strollers at garage sales 6 months after purchase) and that she did not steal it. I didn't believe a word, and told her so. I didn't hear from her again.

I still miss that stroller! I know - I should get a life already, but I really do! I really hope you get your stroller back, or are able to be okay with not getting it back. :-)

Anonymous said...

What has become of this whole situation??

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

I delted my previous comment to edit a couple spelling mistakes...not that there aren't probably a bunch more I missed!!

Hi Emily,

My computers been down so I just checked back at your site today and noticed your reply to my comment.

There are TONS of new things on ebay and they aren't always cheaper. It depends on the item and if they are "hot"(as in popular not stolen!!!) and hard to find they often sell for more.

With us...I bought my Phil and Teds on ebay and I WAS able to get it for a bit less, but even with shipping and duties to Canada I saved about $75 off what I could buy it for here if they stocked the colour I'd wanted. But some of the stroller colours were selling our super fast and we're going for $100-200 more than I could buy mine for here, again if they had the colours in stock. IS possible that she did buy it there. I do know the BOBs were flying out too...and not for much(if any) less than in stores. And(if shes telling the truth) in a small town where she says shes from...ebay would be the way to go...

Now...again, I don't believe it, and frankly even after reading the updated e-mails I don't believe it. And I would have done the same thing as you did...but then...I enjoy confrontation, and hate getting

Anyway I'm really sorry it happened to you. I love my stroller too and although I've gotten new ones with each child(but I love my Phil and Teds and would keep if it I were having more)while trying to find one that was perfect...I have very fond memories of the walks we took, the games of minigolf we played while our kids slept in the stroller on the putting green...every moment is precious, and considering what you've been going through, I don't blame you one bit for being pissed that someone dared to rob you of one more precious connection to your kids.

Worse case you're wrong and she didn't take it, and she has a fun story to tell people about the psycho at the Fair!!!

Emilie said...

Just so everyone knows ... I've put the stroller behind us now, though I'm still missing it. The Craig's List woman wrote back a nicer note and e-mailed me a picture of her son in the stroller. It could have been doctored, or not - but it didn't look like our stroller. There were significant differences in the detailing. So ... I guess I'll never know for sure whether she was the culprit, but I'm letting it go. Thanks for all your support!