On Friday, I was surfing through ads on Facebook Marketplace and I saw something that made my heart soar. No, it wasn’t a clock. It was, in fact, an ad for a cabinet, but it wasn’t the cabinet I was taken with. I’ve become so used to people who can barely put two sentences together online, let alone describe a product they’re selling with any accuracy at all, that this ad description almost made me weep:
Capacious?! And an example in another colour for inspiration? I have found my people!
I immediately followed this seller and took a look at some of her other ads. One in particular touched my heart: “The camera doesn’t do the colour justice; see the close-up picture of the fabric juxtaposed against white paper for a more accurate sense of the colours.” She used a SEMI-COLON. And JUXTAPOSED things. Why can’t everyone be so literate AND courteous? Prior to Friday, I had become inured to the lack of simple spelling, punctuation, and sloppy descriptions that are par for the course on online buy and sell sites, particularly with a highly rated seller named ‘Jan’. The majority of Jan’s ads are an enigma. Yesterday, she was advertising “Decorations Puts”, which I can only assume means ‘decorative pot’, but with Jan, you never know—it could be some kind of insult or a strangely worded command. And right before Hallowe’en, this was a group of things she was trying to offload:
Now, call me crazy, and a lot of people do, but I don’t think that particular Hallowe’en staff deserves even minimum wage—I mean, they all look half in the bag. I appreciate that she managed to spell both outdoor and chair correctly, and I love that she named the bank:
Buyer: Hi, I’m here for the piggy bank.
Jan (cradling it in her arms): His name is PETE.
Buyer: Um, ok.
Jan: SAY IT. SAY THE NAME.
Jan: MR. BANK TO YOU.
But I have no idea what ‘2 landre’ basket is, except ‘landre’ is French for ‘moor’, so I can only assume these baskets are to be used in gothic novels by heartbroken heroines who wander the moors in torrential downpours, kind of like an umbrella but with many holes. Sadly, it seems that Jan is almost as misguided in her efforts as this coat she’s currently trying to hawk:
I can imagine that living with Jan is an ongoing adventure, trying to decipher whatever madness comes out of her mouth, because if she’s this bad at written English, how on earth does she speak?!
Jan’s husband: Hey Jan, where are you off to?
Jan: Gone to stone. Bach will eat moussaka.
Jan’s husband: Delicious. Or terrifying. Only time will tell.
But at least Jan isn’t as morbid as this person, who’s selling Vintage Death. And I was like, who the hell takes a picture with some alive family members and some who look VERY DECEASED? I was sure those two Scottish children were just sleepy from the photographer taking so damn long to get the shot. But then I did some research on Victorian death photography and it turns out they REALLY ARE DEAD. And everyone else in the photo just looks casual, like “Och, it’s a lovely wee day for a pic of the fam. Come on, Mam. Gi’ us a wee smile. Let Dead Robbie lean on you so he don’t fall over.” Victorians. I’m currently writing a Gothic thriller called Charybdis (based on a short story in my new upcoming collection) that partly takes place in the Victorian period so I can’t wait to find a way to fit this bizarre practice in.