This week is the last week of living in our house. Our living room is furnished with a lamp and two lawn chairs. The only real furniture left is in the bedroom. Soon, that will be gone too. The indoor garage sale went better than expected with one exception - the "super helpful" organizer. What started out as what I hoped to be an opportunity to relieve some stress from our shoulders and a big step forward in this process ended with tears and a police report.
The first two appointments with Organizer Lady went well. We agreed on a barter deal for her to run the sale from start to finish - she would handle everything in exchange for our brand new John Deere riding lawnmower worth about $1600. It was her idea and I was thrilled at the prospect of not writing yet another check. I did the math based on her given hourly rate and the time I estimated it would take to pull this off. The math worked. Husband was more skeptical, but I was all in. After day two of sale prep, I was feeling pretty good. We had things more organized and what I thought was a decent game plan to pull off this crazy idea - a garage sale in the Midwest in January. Crazy may be too mild of a word, actually. She repeatedly told us we could make it successful by creating the right amviance. I had myself a bit of a chuckle at the grammar mistake and moved on.
Fast forward to the week of the sale and things got a little weird. And frustrating. While Organizer Lady spent about 12 hours putting our stuff into category boxes, she failed on the other aspects of her role. She was supposed to post ads for some of our bigger items to hopefully sell them prior to the date of the big sale. Nothing seemed to be happening, so I started to explore avenues on my own. It worked. I sold rugs, the living room furniture, art. She was also supposed to take my clothes to a consignment shop. She instead took them to her sister with empty promises to me about more information on her sister's offer for some of them. She also said she took the rest to consignment and thought a tax write-off for donation would be a better option. I asked that she return them so I could include them in the sale. Or take them to another consignment shop myself. She then bailed on our setup plan the night before the sale and offered to setup five days prior to the event. I declined because, well, that would be ridiculous. We wouldn't have the rented tables until the day before so setting up that early would really just mean placing boxes around our house in inconvenient places. No thanks.
Throughout all of this, she also continuously attempted to add items on to our barter deal. Since I was less than impressed with her bailing on the hardest part - the setup - and not selling a thing before the sale, I was not inclined to accommodate. Not to mention, she hadn't even come close to putting in the hours to even earn the lawnmower. I asked to see her ads. Repeatedly. When she finally sent them, they were the most pathetic ads I've ever encountered. Here's an example from Craigslist:
Antique table for sale. $130. (no pic)
No, I'm not joking. I told her to promptly delete her ads and how disappointed I was with them. She said it wasn't her fault, she had been preoccupied with a friend who was suicidal. Really?! A person who would use a friend's lowest point in life as an excuse for a poorly done job is not my cup of tea. She then asked to pick up the lawnmower prior to the sale. That's when my patience ran dry. I gave her two options. Option 1 - She would stop asking for additional payment, stop asking for payment before services were rendered, show up at 7am each morning of the sale and fulfill our agreement without further complications. Option 2 - She could take a check for her time spent and we would end this business relationship immediately.
She agreed to Option 1. I was very explicit. Husband thought I was being way to lenient and wanted to fire her immediately. I should have listened.
The morning of the sale she arrived at 7am and immediately started creating chaos. While I was still in robe fresh out of the shower, she began letting people into the house. Husband fixed that promptly. He sent her out for coffee. When she returned, I was on my way out to take Miss Monster to daycare for the afternoon. One look at Organizer Lady and our normally friendly shepherd turned into a mouth frothing beast. I've never seen her dislike anyone the way she immediately hated Organizer Lady. We should have listened to the dog.
Five minutes after I left I received a phone call from Husband. Organizer Lady, apparently under the impression that Husband and I were not on the same page in this situation, decided that was the moment to again request items to add to our barter deal. Poor decision. After the 15 second phone call from Husband confirming we were on the same page about immediately terminating her, he asked her to leave. Over and over again, asked her to leave. He asked that she go to her car and wait for my return. He had to open for the sale and she was definitely in the way. Finally she acquiesced. I returned and wrote her a check for her time. A check 3 times the amount her work was actually worth, but in accordance with her stated hourly rate.
She cried, pleaded to work for free, wouldn't leave. She tells me she is aware of what a terrible job she's done so far, but it's because she recently left her abusive husband. This woman has some serious problems. She made quite a scene in our driveway. Her biggest mistake was not realizing she was trying to prey on the emotions of two people who aren't the most naturally empathetic. This was a business transaction and it was over. Done. I calmly told her that over and over until she finally left.
Only to return half an hour later. She "forgot" to return all of my clothes. I took them from her and she repeated her obnoxious scene in the driveway. I again calmly repeat how much we want her to leave until she finally did so. But not without asking if her mother could still buy the lawn mower. I told her of course she could. I bore no ill will toward her, and certainly not her family, I just wanted this business relationship severed. Organizer Lady left with promises someone would be around this afternoon for the purchase. Two hours later a gentleman shows up on Organizer Lady's mother's behalf to purchase the lawnmower. With two CHECKS. He said they needed to send two because the one account didn't have enough money in it. *insert red flag #475 here* The two checks amounted to a mere $600. I advised the amount wasn't enough and I wouldn't be accepting checks. He left.
My phone rang 20 minutes later with an, of course, hysterical Organizer Lady. How dare I treat her mother that way. Right. How dare I? I told her I didn't want to hear from her again and disconnected the call. Again, cool as a cucumber. On purpose. One, because it's always best to take the high road. Always. Two, and I'm being completely honest here, because the calmer you are with a crazy person acting irrationally, the more it irritates them. I was getting a bit irritated with her myself and took a tiny bit of pleasure in the knowledge that my excessively calm demeanor was getting under her skin. Petty? Probably. I'm just being honest.
Then I get a text message. She apologizes. I thank her and tell her again, I don't want to hear from her anymore. The day whizzes by and not another peep. I'm too optimistic that the whole ugly ordeal is over. We close the doors on the first day of the sale and retire to the quiet sanctuary of bed. Another text arrives.
This is where she loses her frickin' mind. Her text is a veiled threat about sending her son to our home. And implying my husband was less than gentle about asking her to leave. Never threaten my family. I advise her I will be blocking her and will not receive another phone call or text message. I also contact the local sheriff's office. Just turn on the news once for evidence that these situations can escalate quickly. The officer I spoke with determined we should file a formal complaint of harassment. And, in the event she or a member of her family ever step foot on the property to immediately call 911. Oi.
Needless to say, we kept Miss Monster home from daycare the next two days. The weather was excellent and she enjoyed frolicking in the back yard and meeting new people. We heard nothing more from crazy Organizer Lady - until the next week. She sent me an email asking if she could swing by to drop off yet more clothes she "forgot" to leave. I happily ignored the email.
She can keep them. Small price to pay to keep that level of drama from ever entering our home again. Moral of this story?
Always listen to the dog. Always.