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The Case of The Shady Truck…

by J. Money on Wednesday, June 13, 2012

cool photo of moving truck

Imagine you’re sitting at home one evening, maybe drinking a beer and relaxing with your kids, when a huge ass moving van rolls down your street.  At first you wonder who in their right mind would start moving at such a late part of the day, but you quickly shrug it off and keep doing your thing.

Three minutes later someone knocks on your door:

“Hi, I’m John and I came all the way up from Louisiana.  I was wondering if you wanted to buy any furniture from my truck?”

Three things go through your mind:

  1. Furniture?? Why the heck are you selling furniture at 6 at night?
  2. Where the heck did that truck come from?
  3. Who are you?

This case of the shady truck happened to my mother-in-law last night, and she thought it would be something I’d enjoy hearing (she was right :)).  It seems this buffoon had been hitting up the others in her neighborhood too, and fortunately everyone passed on their generous offer. (Though I wished they had peeked inside to tell us what was in there!)

Now I wasn’t at her house witnessing this event, or a part of any of the conversations there that were taking place, but with the few facts I have I’m 99.9999% sure he was out trying to offload some hot products.  From a van he must have stolen and/or had someone’s furniture “accidentally” not make it to their proper home.  (Why else would you be in a huge moving van?)

So today I’d like to take a poll and see how many of you would have taken him up on his offer :)  Since I don’t know any facts on this merchandise or their prices, let’s assume he was offloading whatever furniture you happen to be on the look out for right now, and that it was SUPER cheap (as most stolen goods are).  You don’t know 100% that they’re stolen, but the guy isn’t helping you think otherwise either.

Do you:

  • A) Pay the man and get your heavily discounted furniture
  • B) Politely decline and tell him to go on his merry way
  • Or maybe C) Do something else like call the police or blog about it? ;)

You know me by now that I’d never consider this in a million years (I’m afraid of going to jail!!), but I’m pretty sure others would accept this luck in a heartbeat :)  And I wouldn’t hold it against you if you’re one of them! So let me ask you: Would YOU capitalize on this offer?  And has anything like this ever happen to you before?

I’m gonna try and recreate their steps and try to get to the bottom of it all here today, but if you don’t hear from me again alert the authorities!  They’re holding me for ransom and/or trying to sell me to a different neighborhood! ;)

———–
PS: I can only think of one other reason they’re going door to door: The original owners didn’t want any of the furniture anymore, and told the movers to just “get rid of it.” So they try and unload it for some cash before sending it to the dump…  a likely scenario, but not nearly as juicy ;)

(Photo by vxla)


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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gerard June 13, 2012 at 6:24 am

I would have my doubts too. But if I thought it were stolen goods, I would call the police.
However, it can also have been a person so destitute that they no other option than to sell furniture.

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2 Lance@MoneyLife&More June 13, 2012 at 7:11 am

I would say stolen. I can’t believe that people would pay to move their stuff then decide they didn’t want it. I’ve had sketchy people roll up in vans trying to sell me cheap TVs or cheap stereo equipment and then cuss at me and tell me I’m an idiot when I don’t want it. Definitely stolen no thanks. I’d send them on their way and depending how creeped out I felt I might take further action.

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3 Jenny June 13, 2012 at 7:19 am

I think it’s legit; we get sales folks like this who are getting rid of low quality goods at prices resembling what you’d pay at our best bargain cheap furniture store locally. I think it’s just a smarmy sales tactic in my location anyway. Oh, oh! And it’s way funnier when its the meat-truck guy: “Hey, we’re just done with our rounds and need to sell that last of what’s in our truck so we can offer it to you super cheap”, followed by looking and seeing that it’s clearly not the last of what’s in there, he’s just getting started, but this somehow is a sales pitch that works for him.

Oh, my!

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4 Jon B June 13, 2012 at 7:42 am

It could be stolen…A friend of mine actually purchased a nice entertainment center off a truck like that before. The guy wanted $200, but my friend only had $40 and they made a deal! If someone is willing to take that steep of a discount, they’re trying to get rid of their products qucikly (most likely bc its hot). I think I would pass on the idea though. I would be paranoid that it was a sting operation somehow and I am also scared of prison/the fees associated with the legal system.

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5 Michelle June 13, 2012 at 8:25 am

Wow I would have my doubts, and I’d be a little scared of the person.

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6 Money Beagle June 13, 2012 at 8:48 am

I would have politely declined and done whatever I needed to do to get them off my porch, then I would have called the police.

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7 CrystalH June 13, 2012 at 9:18 am

I would have told him to wait right there while I go and grab my purse and then call the police! hahaha

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8 Eunice June 13, 2012 at 9:21 am

I would’ve called the cops! Who knows if this person isn’t just trying to rob you? I had a weird druggie looking person once come to my house at 9pm trying to sell a lawn mover.. yea right! Called the cops on him.. not that they ever really came. I think they thought I was prank-calling them. LOL

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9 Daydream Kate June 13, 2012 at 10:07 am

C. Don’t open the door and tell him to get the hell off my porch. Last summer a guy was going around asking women if they wanted to buy any meat and then he would try to kidnap them. He grabbed one old lady and started to drag her out of her house when her neighbor saw.

I hate to say it, but I think unless you’re a boy or girl scout, the days of door-to-door sales are dead.

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10 Joe @ Retire By 40 June 13, 2012 at 10:14 am

Oh man, that’s nuts. I guess it depend on my mood. If I was feeling adventurous, I would at least go take a look and probably blog about it.

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11 Kandace June 13, 2012 at 10:52 am

Stolen, or like another reader said some sort of attack waiting to happen. I don’t trust anyone who comes to my door. Sad, but that’s how it is now. I’m 95% sure they’ll taze me and take my kids. Crazy, I know, but crazier stuff happens. We also have the meat trucks here. Thanks, but no thanks to the meat off the truck…

Creepy.

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12 AV June 13, 2012 at 11:14 am

as soon as I shooed away the cheap labor that I had hired out from under the business owner that originally sent him out there I would rush out to the truck to see what kind of goodies were for sale.

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13 LB June 13, 2012 at 11:18 am

I would have called the cops and let them deal with it. I live in a shady neighborhood and really can’t trust anything in the area. Besides, someone just shows up at your dioor @ 6 at night hocking furniture, for extremely cheap CREEPY. Yeah sure, let me trust you so you can bring a piece of furniture into my house and then do weird things to me and maybe even steal from me. No thanks.

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14 Angella June 13, 2012 at 11:20 am

I would politely decline and he can go about his merry way, if I even opened the door. I think going door to door is a little strange though, I’d definitely be uncomfortable. As far as selling items out of a large truck, I don’t think that’s too weird. Around my area there are several people that have large trucks full of furniture that go around town and set up at gas stations or parking lots. Mostly sofas, love seats, chairs, sometimes beds. I always questioned the legitimacy of it, but we decided to stop to pick up a tiny recliner for my son and to my surprise the guy had a permit.

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15 Kelsey June 13, 2012 at 11:27 am

If I was home alone, I definitely wouldn’t go outside to look at the furniture…like someone else said, it could be a robbery or rape tactic. I would just say I wasn’t interested.

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16 20's Finances June 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

I would pretend to be interested, ask if I could take pictures to show my wife (making sure to get the license plate in the photo), and ask for his name and number so I can get ahold of him. Then give the info to the police. haha (and then blog about how I am pretty freakin’ awesome)

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17 Bryan June 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I probably wouldn’t buy, but that’s just because the situation was too weird. It wouldn’t feel right. I probably wouldn’t put it together that the furniture might have been stolen until later.

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18 Cecil June 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm

It could be legit or not. I live in Northern VA, and there’s an area here in Sterling VA where I used to see non-name brand furniture being sold every weekend on a vacant lot of some sort, so it must be some low-quality furniture they’re selling.

On the other hand, I read about and watched on TV the story of Christian Longo (google him) who pretty much stole merchandise and equipment for a living because he was such a huge con artist and sold them for cheap and the people who actually looked to buy his merchandise got leery and decided to report him to the police.

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19 Mo' Money Mo' Houses June 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm

That is so weird! I definitely would’ve passed. Who honestly buys furniture from a stranger who knocks on your door at night? If those pieces of furniture weren’t hot than they would probably be selling them on Craigslist like normal people.

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20 Carrie June 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm

This happened to us once, except this guy was selling meat. Yes, meat!

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21 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager June 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Sketchy! I definitely wouldn’t accept.

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22 LB June 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm

I have to add one more comment because I remembered when this guy came to my dad’s house trying to sell oranges out of the trunk of his car. My dad owns a hardwood flooring/ construction company, so being the salesman he is, he was quite amused. He kept trying to get the guys address and phone number so he could sell hardwood flooring to him while he was at home with his family. Of course the guy got it and quickly left the neighboorhood.

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23 Craig June 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I’ll take my gun with me and take a look at the furniture! I love the conceal and carry license!

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24 Mac June 13, 2012 at 11:31 pm

hmmmm, I’ve heard a lot of great ways to save on purchases, but sketchy vans isn’t standard advice!

If I could feel out the situation and tell there were stolen goods involved, I think I’d have to call the police. That option might be disappointing for the adventurous types. I think part of the benefit of budgeting and making wise financial decisions is that you don’t have to take advantage of these situations in order to feel good about your finances.

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25 Mikayla June 14, 2012 at 2:25 am

@Craig – you scare me a little bit, BUT in this case I’m glad you have my back because ARE YOU FRIGGIN KIDDING ME!?! “would you like to see the furniture in my truck?” come on people that’s right up there with “hey little girl want some candy?” and “does this smell like chloroform to you?”
I know this is a financial blog so we are sticking to the “would you take the deal” aspect, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this on a Criminal Minds episode… How is anyone still conversing about whether or not it is stolen and no one has since asked… J money, did your mom call the cops?!?
side note: I never answer the door for someone I don’t know unless I’m sure I can either overpower them and get the door closed again or outrun them… or if you have a box of Samoas… curse you and your gooey goodness!

@Michelle, Daydream Kate, Eunice, LB, and Kelsey – glad you listened to the stranger danger PSAs ;)

@J$ RE: “friends”… keep blogging worth posting ;)

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26 J. Money June 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

You guys bring up a ton of great points! And who knew about all those *meat* trucks??? So weird!!

@Gerard – Yeah, that’s true… guess we’ll never know :(
@Lance@MoneyLife&More – Cursed you out??? Haha… wow. That’s messed up man. It reminds me of the time someone came up to me thinking I was a drug dealer and asked to buy some weed. I told him he’s mistaken and he got all pissy and told me to F*ck off. And the funniest part about it? I was literally with my MOM when he came up to me!!! Haha… she probably thought I was hiding something from her! :)
@Jenny – Meat??? Hahhahaa… freaky!!
@Jon B – Ohhhhh, yeah – didn’t even think about that! Could have totally been a sting operation!
@Michelle – What if he was hot and young? (he wasn’t in this case, but would that change anything? :))
@Money Beagle – Woah! Hardcore! Haha… I wonder if anyone in my inlaw’s neighborhood did call?
@CrystalH – Y’all are feisty! :)
@Eunice – Hahaha… a lawn mower??? At 9 at night? What the.
@Daydream Kate – Woahhhh!! SCARY!!! I didn’t even think of that kinda stuff :( A great reminder to always be aware of what’s going on!
@Joe @ Retire By 40 – Haha, I’d love to see that post too :)
@Kandace – I can’t believe so many of y’all have these weird meat trucks? I have never EVER heard of such a thing and it totally freaks me out! How do you even know it’s safe to eat, even if you like the bargain?
@AV – Haha…. an entrepreneur at heart, I see :)
@LB – Man, I wonder if that was really this guy’s ploy? It’s totally a good rouse since they WOULD have to get into your house to deliver it, it never crossed my mind at all! :(
@Angella – Oh wow! That’s a great idea to ask for one in the future, would certainly help ease more of the concerns… did you get a great deal I take it on the furniture?
@Kelsey – I know, so scary!! You guys are much more careful than I am as I wasn’t even thinking of the R word at all when I first heard of this :(
@20′s Finances – HAH! I doubt they’d give you all that info though ;) Or at least the *correct* stuff!
@Bryan – It’s def. a weird situation, that’s for sure.
@Cecil – I think I’ve seen those trucks and lots before – I used to live in the Fairfax area :) Forgot about ‘em!
@Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses – Oooh there you go! Good point! Though I know a lot of older people aren’t that familiar with CL and/or the internet either, but who knows.
@Carrie – This meat thing is SO WEIRD!! You’re like the 4th person today to mention that, bleh.
@Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – My thought exactly :)
@LB – Ahahahahaa… now THAT is awesome :) I think your dad and I would get along famously.
@Craig – Woah, really?? It would def. make you feel safer, that’s for sure, haha…
@Mac – AMEN!!! Very well put my friend, very well put.
@Mikayla – “or if you have a box of Samoas…” Hahaha… you better hope these big burley men don’t figure you and all the other ladies out w/ these cookie ideas ;) y’all would be lured out in a heartbeat! (AND I LOVE CRIMINAL MINDS!!! Would be awesome if they did one on this topic ;) My mom did not end up calling the police (she called me instead), but it never even crossed my mind either… prob. a good idea just to be on the safe side)

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27 Mikayla June 15, 2012 at 12:04 am

@J$ – I’m assuming (dangerous I know) that these guys are talking about the Schwans type meat trucks… think ice cream man/dairy delivery truck but instead, he has frozen vac packed meat and fish portioned, skinned/boned, or marinated and ready to cook or refreeze…at an outrageous price of course… but when they make a delivery they hit up others in the neighborhood with an approved lower price for door to door sales, of which the driver gets a kickback…I would love to have been in your brain (esp since you are also a BAU fan) to see what hideous thing you were thinking it was!!! Like meat just hanging on a hook in the back and you could come shave your own shank hahaha
And as far as the police… you may have heard of the psych term “diffusion of responsibility” where a group of people witness an event and assume someone else will do something about it (the murder of Kitty Genovese) or if you have ever taken a CPR class they remind you to point to someone specifically and say “YOU call 9-1-1″ don’t just say “someone call” cuz it might not happen in a group due to that bystander effect… just sayin it’s prob nothing, but how bad would you feel if it was some new home invasion scheme you read about later? Officer such and such might tell you they’ve been looking for them!! you could be a hero!!!! or most likely they’ll put you on hold so long you get distracted and hang up but HEY you tried…

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28 stephanie June 16, 2012 at 11:25 am

I once was offered the chance to buy brand new stereo equipment out of the back of a beat up Pontiac in a 711 parking lot (bet i know what ur thinking, because I was to). We called the cops and after the smoke cleared, it turned out the guy had a bill of sale for everything and was just trying get rid of it!!! Yep, 20 years later and speakers still work great LOL. Sometimes it is what it is.

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29 Money Madwoman June 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Wow! I had no idea everyone was so freaked out by the meat salesmen! I have purchased meat not once, but twice from these traveling meat salesmen. It was darn tasty!

Ok, ok, so the first time was my house but my father-in-law was visiting and he actually negotiated the meat price and purchased it. However, having seen him in action I used his bargaining tactics to negotiate my own smokin’ cash deal (around half his asking price)when a guy came rolling through a couple years later. I still have an extra $20 box of Chicken Cordon Bleu in my freezer that the guy talked me into at the last minute.

You guys worry to much! We’ve all gotta die from something.

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30 Melissa@LittleHouseInTheValley June 17, 2012 at 11:59 am

Definitely would have said no and gone back in the house! I always assume I am a bit too paranoid about people coming to my house, but apparently I am not alone in having these feelings. :)

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31 J. Money June 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm

@Mikayla – Oh yeah, that’s a good remeinder for sure – we gotta be better about calling the police when something strange is going on! I’m not sure this specific case would get me to do it since it never even crossed my mind, haha, but in other instances yes – def. good to specificy who will be calling/etc… hope you’re having a drama-free weekend over there! :)
@stephanie – HAH! Well that’s a happy ending :)
@Money Madwoman – Haha… well it’s sure not gonna be meat from a truck outside my house, that’s for sure ;) I’m glad y’all got some good deals though!
@Melissa@LittleHouseInTheValley – Oh no, we all get freaked out here pretty much (except for Money Madwoman up there ;)) – but better to be safe in my opinion!

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32 Frank June 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm

This is a real business, they load furniture in NC and sell it door-to-door all over the country. If you see something you like but are worried about it, just make sure you pay by credit card, your credit card company will look out for you. Don’t pay by debit card, your bank will NOT look out for you. Also ask to see their permits, there should be state and local permits. You can call the city hall or police department to make sure they are cleared for business.

Here is some more info from the internet: http://furnituretrucks.blogspot.com/

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33 J. Money June 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm

True that. I use my credit card for everything just in case, though I’d still be worried to give it over to someone who may be shady. I’d just use cash in that case, which I’m sure they’d much prefer to take anyways. At least w/ furniture stuff – no way I’m buying meat out of a truck still!

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